Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One shirt; eight buttonholes

Hems finished before side seams
DGS3 will be 6 years old this week. Since I am still enjoying shirt-making, he too will receive a little shirt from me. Of course it will be accompanied by something to play with, since clothing-type-presents are not uniformly admired by my grandkids.

This shirt, like most of my projects, includes some lessons for me. Some lessons are completed; some are not.

Wrong side
Take the side seam and hem finish, for example. I like to make felled seams and felled hems (thanks, Pam!). Occasionally the hem at the side seam will wing out while I am felling the hem across the previously-felled side seam. I probably inadvertently stretch the bias.

So I tried felling the hem first. I like it. I'll do it again. Lesson learned.

And then there is the buttonhole issue. My Bernina 440 makes great buttonholes (now*), identical buttonholes, one right after another. Except for...

Collar stands and the collar points.

Right side
The optical sensor on the auto buttonhole foot (3A) does not work if it cannot sit flat on the surface. So my fairly effective work-around has been to use the old buttonhole foot (3) for those tricky spots. It requires more attention and coordination on my part and so they are not as predictable.

Today I spotted a little plastic device in my accessory drawer. After a search on the Internet I now know that it is called a buttonhole leveler. I cannot make it work properly. Bernina offers another accessory that that may actually work. I can purchase it.

left-to-right auto buttonhole foot (3A), manual foot (3), leveler

Good ol' Bernina - masters of the unbundled product, a la carte, not included with the purchase of the machine.

Almost finished shirt for DGS3

So today I used my work-around. Maybe I'll go ahead a buy that other accessory.


*When I first purchased this machine, my buttonholes were perfect about 50% of the time. The rest of the time, the auto-foot would get hung up after finishing about 3/4 of the buttonhole and refuse to move forward. This of course left a nest of threads on the back to pick out. I could not get it to fail for the dealer. Just like a kid at the doctor's office. Perfect. Finally it got bad enough that the technician watched it misbehave. Then he found a *burr* somewhere in the mechanism and fixed it. I continue a love/hate relationship with this machine.


  1. This is a great little shirt I hope he appreciates your effort. I too have the 440 but don't think I have had any problems with the buttonholes - yet.

  2. What perfect fabric you chose for this shirt! I hope the buttonholes are a success.