Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The Singer Buttonholer
If you have a vintage, straight stitch Singer, chances are you have a buttonholer attachment. If you don't, then I suggest you SPRINT on over to eBay and get you one....hurry! Don't pay more than $10, and be sure you get the right one for your machine. The oval aqua case (above) and green treasure chest type case (below) are for low shank machines like the Featherweight, 201, 15-91, etc. The oval pink case (above) and the red treasure chest (below) are for your slant shank machine like the 500/503, 401/403/404, 301 etc.
(NOTE: even with a zigzag machine like the Slant-O-Matics, you still set the machine on straight stitch for this attachment.)
The one below is much older, I think dates back to the 1930's or 1940's - for low shank. It does not take cams, the size of the buttonhole is made by adjusting a screw.
So why do you want one of these if you have a machine with a built in buttonhole stitch? This is why:
Perfect buttonholes! Even keyholes.
Then there is the "fun factor." I love using the big, clunky, mechanical attachments. They aren't electronic so there is no computer chip telling it what size to make the buttonhole. It's just good old fashioned mechanical ingenuity that is FAIL PROOF. Insert the template and get the exact same buttonhole every time - 10 years later, 30 years later, 50 years later....
Here is the slant shank version of the buttonholer on my Singer 503. Note that this is a zigzag machine but it is set on straight stitch to use this attachment and you must use a feed cover plate or disengage the feed dogs.
So this concludes today's Fun With Buttonholers. Five metal templates are included with the attachment itself, and a set of four more are available - nine sizes total. I have all the templates for any size buttonhole I've ever wanted to make. (There is a rare eyelet template available, but I only have a black plastic reproduction since the original is quite expensive and hard to find.)