Can Sewing Machines Sew Buttons - a tutorial by The Sewing Korner

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro at sewing, you’ll likely continue to be amazed at what the average sewing machine is able to do.

From sewing machines made just for beginners to more complex machines that can do everything with little effort on your part, you can easily find the sewing machine you need if you know where to look.

If you’re curious if sewing machines can handle tasks such as sewing on buttons, you’re in luck because most sewing machines can indeed handle that task with ease.
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    Decorate with the Right Buttons

    One thing’s for sure, if you want to decorate your fabric in a unique way, adding buttons is always a smart idea. Buttons come in so many sizes, shapes, colors, and designs that you can always find gorgeous buttons to do whatever you need them to do. If you’ve ever wondered, can a standard sewing machine sew buttons, the answer is a resounding YES.

    Before we get to the specifics of using your sewing machine to sew buttons, let’s start with some great ideas on how to use buttons to brighten up any sewing project and make it much more unique. Below are just a few of the many ideas you can find if you start your research online.

    • Add a few brightly colored buttons to your latest cross-stitch project. Even if it’s just a sampler, sewing a few buttons here and there on the fabric can brighten up the entire project.
    • Sew a few buttons on the quilt you just made. You can sew them on randomly or place them aligned with the pattern of the fabric for a little extra pizzazz.
    • Take fabric and make coasters or items to hang on the wall, and make sure you include some buttons on them for extra decoration.
    • Sew buttons on your pillows, including pillows that you made yourself. If you don’t have any homemade pillows, now is a great time to make some!
    • Make buttons into flowers. The button can be the center of the flower and the rest can be made of any type of fabric you have around the house.
    • Buttons are a great way to brighten up a t-shirt because even solid-colored t-shirts with no writing on them can be made a lot more interesting once you sew a few buttons on them.
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    Even now, many people assume that if they want to include buttons on an article of clothing or any other item, they have to sew the buttons on by hand, but the fact is, you can easily sew buttons on just about anything using your sewing machine once you learn how.

    Getting Started Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

    When it comes to sewing buttons with a regular sewing machine, all you need are two things. The first is a machine that offers a zigzag pattern, and the second is a special button sew-on foot. The specialized foot you choose may look a little different than another brand of sewing machine, but they all do the very same thing. Each one provides a way to see the holes so that everything is aligned properly, and they have gripper teeth located on the bottom of the foot that hold the button in place so that it doesn’t become loose.

    To get started, you have to have all of your items nearby, such as the buttons, the garment, and of course, the button sew-on foot. Use the instructions that came with your machine to ensure you’ve installed the foot the right way, and if you don’t have one of these attachments, you can simply take two pieces of tape and tape the button down on either side to keep it in place.

    Next, make sure your stitch is set to the zigzag option and that your stitch width is set to zero. Put your button in the right position, then check to make sure it is exactly where it needs to be. Keep in mind that the zigzag option is important because it allows the thread to go back and forth across the button. Also remember that you must have the width properly adjusted before you begin sewing.

    To get started, use the hand crank to manually move the needle toward the button, but stop before it actually gets to the button. This allows you to see exactly where the needle is going to land once you get started, and you can use this position to help you set the width of the stitch and make sure it’s where it needs to be. Go ahead and increase the width a little at a time until the needle is coming down directly over the button holes on both sides of the button. This has to be done before you begin to sew.

    Make Sure the Feed Dogs Are Lowered

    The teeth on the plate of your sewing machine are called feed dogs, and they have to be lowered when you are sewing buttons. Why? Because these teeth normally help the fabric move along as you sew, but since your buttons need to stay in place as you sew them, you don’t need the teeth at this point. On some machines, the feed dogs lower automatically when you’re sewing on a button, but if your machine doesn’t do this, you’ll have to do it manually before you go any further.

    If you’re not sure about your own sewing machine, just read the instruction manual and it should give you the details you need to take care of this important step. The most important thing at this point is to make absolutely sure your button or buttons are in the location you need them to be, and if you want to mark them to be sure, you can use either tape to hold them in place or tailor’s chalk to mark four dots on the corners of each button to make sure you don’t lose sight of where they need to stay.

    Once you start sewing, always go slowly to make sure the needle hits where it needs to hit; otherwise, it may accidentally hit the top of one of the buttons and break it, which could be a disaster. As you’re sewing, make sure you stitch through each of the holes in the button several times – not just once or twice. It may actually seem like it’s a little too tight once you’re done, but since most buttons loosen up a little bit over time, this is a good thing.

    Finishing up the Job

    After you’ve finished sewing on the buttons, you’ll want to cut the excess thread on both sides of the button, making sure you don’t have more than four inches of thread on either side. Use the loop and feed the front piece of thread to the back so that both pieces are in the back of the fabric, and if you like, you can tie the two pieces into a knot so that the button is even more secure. Since buttons can loosen up over time, this knot gives the button a little added security so that it stays in place even longer.

    Now that the question, can a sewing machine sew buttons, has been answered, you can feel a little more confident the next time you have to sew on a button, and any additional assistance you may need can be found online.

    Video: Using a Darning Plate to Sew a Button On

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