Bound Buttonhole on an Embroidery Machine

by Ramona on March 29, 2013

Last night I did a webinar on Bound Buttonholes for our ASG members. I could tell by the number who signed up that many sewists are looking for tips and tricks to do them. I presented the two traditional methods of sewing them along with two ways I have invented to do them easily: the organza box method and a method to make flat bound buttonholes which has actually become my favorite (this can be done in the embroidery hoop as well!). At the end of the webinar I showed some creative twists to do with bound buttonholes. If you are a member of ASG, you can view the webinar recording in the Members Only archive. If you’d like to see the webinar, just join ASG! Our library contains things on pattern drafting, serger tips and tricks, a Sew-A-New series for beginning and returning sewers, and so much more. Our library is growing and all live webinars and recordings are free as a benefit of membership!

Late last fall I was working on a paper-pieced quilt block. I am absolutely fascinated at how precise points are and how beautiful blocks turn out. I really like technical sewing and paper piecing provides the accuracy and precision that fills that need in my sewing. While sewing, I’m always thinking ahead to other things I need to do in the future. While paper piecing that block, I began to think about the future webinar I needed to do called Let’s Talk about Bound Buttonholes. I set the pieced block aside and developed a very precise paper pieced bound buttonhole. It’s fast and very accurate. It is presented in the webinar recording.

That, of course, made my mind wander to the embroidery machine. Paper piecing and the embroidery machine are really similar techniques because  the digitizing done in software to lay down the stitching is very similar to stitching in paper piecing. I created a digitized bound buttonhole in my software and tested it. The digitizing is very simple, using just one tool in the software that creates straight lines. Small edits would have to be done if the fabric were thinner or thicker, but testing is always part of the process of embroidery and testing would show where edits would need to be done in the technique for fabric variations.

The basic steps are:

  • Digitize buttonhole with stops at appropriate places
  • Hoop tearaway stabilizer
  • Place fabric (marked with buttonhole placement) and nylon organza
  • Stitch outline, cut open, push organza to the back and press well
  • Form and place welt fabric
  • Tack down welt
  • Sew two long edges
  • Sew two short edges
  • Remove stabilizer
  • Final pressing

As you can see, minimal steps for virtually perfect Bound Buttonholes. I have done a video that may be viewed on the Amereican Sewing Guild HQ YouTube channel (free and open to the public for viewing). Please try the technique if you are a machine embroiderer, and let me know you think!

Sew ’til next time…..



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