with Di Kendall

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Extra Large Buttonholes

By Di, Mar 13 2017 02:45PM

I've just made this 1986 Claude Montanna Vogue Designer top and decided to use some large buttons I had in my collection. The last time I made this top was in the days before machines had the luxury of sensor buttonholes!

So how do you make a buttonhole when the button doesn't fit in the buttonhole foot?

These instructions work with my Janome machine, that starts with a bar tack, reverses up one side before straight stitching back to the beginning, then stitching the second side, finally bar tacking. Some machines create buttonholes in a slightly different order, but the principle will be the same.

A large buttonhole will need stabilising, especially when using knit fabrics. So prepare your fabric with a suitable interfacing between the layers.

Measure the diameter(the widest part) of your button and add 5mm. This will be the length of the buttonhole.

Mark the exact position and size of the buttonhole on your fabric.

I've used chalk. There are many ways you can do this:

* thread tracing is accurate, but the thread can be difficult to remove

* water or air soluble marker are great, but check they really do disappear from your fabric before drawing on the right side of it

* the same applies to Frixion pens

* tear away stabilisers can be good as you can draw on them, but getting the exact position on the fabric can be tricky.

Use your applique/embroidery foot and select the sensor buttonhole.

Most importantly pull down the buttonhole sensor that is positioned to the left of the presser foot, however its essential not to touch this or allow the fabric to bunch up against it.

Place your fabric under the foot, carefully lower the needle to check it is starting stitching exactly on the horizontal line.

Start machining the first side of the buttonhole and stop when the needle reaches the second horizontal line.

Push the buttonhole sensor lever away from you. Continue stitching. The Janome does a straight stitch back to the starting point. Stop at the first horizontal line.

Pull the buttonhole sensore foot towards you. Stitching again makes the second side of the buttonhole.

Stop level with the end of the first line of zig zag stitching, push the sensor away from you and stitch the final bar tack.

Voila! One supersized buttonhole!

Apr 1 2017 03:23PM by Debbie Dawson

Thank you so much for this tutorial, after a couple of practice runs I've just completed 7 buttonholes on my shirt dress for 30mm buttons. Your instructions were clear and easy to follow, may have helped because I have a Janome machine too, but you saved the day, so thanks again.

Jul 12 2017 05:45AM by Sue Milner

Very clear instructions! I've been sewing for years and always struggled with large button holes, and never thought to use a normal machine foot!

Jul 12 2017 05:53AM by Sue Milner

Very clear instructions! I've been sewing for years and always struggled with large button holes, and never thought to use a normal machine foot!

Apr 5 2019 08:55AM by Lynn thomas

Great tips . Thank you

Jul 27 2020 07:20PM by CMH

Janome make lovely buttonholes imho. What I've never been able to achieve though, is a fully made buttonhole when "something" goes wrong partway through. The "something" might be.... the lever/sensor gets accidentally touched, or the thread runs out, or a very uneven underneath surface disrupts the stitching. I must study this some more; perhaps it might might help me understand how to piece a buttonhole back together....because unpicking buttonholes is very tedious. And especially so if in jersey or fleece.

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