Hot Tips

Hot Tip Tuesday #4, Sewing Buttons on by Machine

Quilters are constantly commenting on how I get so much done.  Or they see my samples and are blown away by the details and precision and think that the miles of buttonhole stitch on my applique (my very favorite of stitches) is done by hand.  Well, as most of you know, it’s hard to take such a compliment without telling on ourselves.  It seems my standard issue reply is always “Oh no, it’s all by machine.  I even sew on my buttons by machine.”  To which the reply is mostly, “No way!”  Well, yes way, and today I’ve decided to illustrate just how easy this is.

You’ll need a button and some Scotch tape and whatever you want to sew the button to.

Position the button where you want it sewn, and apply a piece of tape to amply cover the button and secure it on both sides to the fabric.

Set sewing machine’s stitch length to “0”.

Set stitch width, this will be different with different machines.  I set my Bernina 930 (best machine the whole wide world) to “3”.  I’ve found over the years that most buttons have this as standard.  Unless the button is very tiny or very large this setting is exactly what it needs.  You’ll want to verify this for your machine in the next step.

I like to use my open toe applique foot. Probably the most important point in this process (and the blurriest of my photos) is to hold down the thread as you start to sew.  First with hand on the fly-wheel turn it toward you getting the setting for the stitch width set.  After you’ve gone back and forth into both holes twice, use the foot pedal and sew 8-9 times total.  Yes, I usually grimace as I’m doing this although is just a reflex from breaking so many needles in my sewing history!

Leave a long thread tail and cut threads and remove tape.


 Tie a square knot on top the button and then on the back to secure it.  Trim all the threads.

Here’s the finished button.  This is the snowman from one of my latest patterns.  You can see the whole cute little guy here and purchase the pattern too!

See all the buttonhole stitches here?  I love the way my machine applies them so evenly.  And the Sulky 12 wt. cotton thread is my absolute favorite!

I hope you give this time-saving technique a try.

Until next time,


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