Learning to use a button hole machine
So I’ve been playing with the button hole (and previously) machine I bought and not making as much progress as I would have liked. I was having a heckuva time figuring out how to line up the goods to get button hole placement where I wanted it. There is no depth guide to bump up against when you’re feeding the goods. This didn’t make sense; machines are usually engineered to facilitate this sort of thing so I was obviously doing something wrong.
Perhaps I should back up a bit. If you’ve only used a home machine to make buttonholes, an industrial is a bit odd by comparison. Succinctly put, what you would normally think of as the front is the side and the side (the left side) is the front you sit at to operate it (a photo of the side is top right, follow the link to see the front). I hope this isn’t confusing but when you make a button hole on a home machine, it is sewn vertically relative to your seated position. It is also true of this machine that button holes are sewn vertically relative to your position but if you were looking at the side of the machine, the buttonholes would be made horizontally.
But back to my problem of lining up markings to place button holes where I wanted them, as it turns out, there are guides on the machine but they are for vertical placement such that you’d find along the placket of a dress shirt. The photo below illustrates:
So this machine is optimized for a great many casual products but I typically do coats and suits, products that usually require horizontal button holes (photo).
Meaning, I need to rig up some kind of guide¹ to butt a front edge against at the proscribed optimal depth. For now I’m using two pieces of masking tape (photo), this is guess work unless somebody has already figured this out (which I’m sure they have, I just don’t know who it is). The feeding depth of a garment edge will vary based on button hole length and button stand width. It also means I will have to completely change the way I’d been making button hole guides (links to guides listed below). Again, this is one of the reasons why a pattern maker will need to know what kind of equipment you or your contractor has so the patterns and guides can be made optimal to the equipment.
I’m sure I’ll write more about this machine once I am more familiar with it but for now will mention it has one excellent feature -the machine stops sewing immediately if the thread breaks! Speaking of threading, it is challenging to thread the needle on this machine without a needle threader. I was shopping for a supply of those this morning; knowing me I will need a couple dozen.
¹ Mr. Fashion-Incubator says one should be able to use magnet seam guides on computerized machines -heresy considering everything you see on the web. I thought that might be the case, how can a motor work without magnets? In any event, I will get one and show it to him before I try it. These magnet seam guides might be bigger than he imagines.