Curiosity and the red flag on the Canadian Grand Prix led me to try out my vintage Singer buttonhole attachment yesterday evening.

I bought it from eBay and it arrived during the week – I was initially surprised by the size of the box – I thought it was huge!

Singer Buttonhole Attachment

Given its age, the box is in amazing condition and I eventually plucked up the courage to open it and take out all of the bits.

Singer Buttonhole Attachment

In addition to the main “bit”, there’s also a screw to attach it to the machine, and a cover plate to cover the feed dogs – so the attachment can move the fabric without interruption. Finally I got a set of instructions.

Which I opened today and began to read… this attachment LOOKS very intimidating, but once you get to know what bits do what, it starts to become a little clearer. Essentially, you can adjust the following stuff:

  • Length of buttonhole
  • Space in the centre of the buttonhole
  • Width of stitches used to make buttonhole
  • Space between stitches
  • You can also tweak it so that you start either at the end or along the length of the buttonhole… playing with it was quite fascinating. So here’s my first attempt!


    The one on the left was my very first – using the shortest setting – and you can see it made a very short, fat buttonhole.

    Next up I tried adjusting the length and then sewing over the hole twice, to give it added strength.

    I also tweaked the stitch spacing, the width of stitches and the size of the cutting space.

    Eventually, I got to what is probably my best attempt:


    Quite satisfying to see it all come together!

    The biggest problem I have is the foot pedal wanting to run away with itself. For the best results you need to stitch sloooowly, so I can see how amazingly this would work on a treadle, or even a hand crank as you’d have a bit more control – but it’s all a matter of practice I’m sure.

    Absolutely loving this attachment. It was everything everyone promised it would be. Can’t wait to try out one that uses templates to make slightly different buttonholes too. So many things to try!


    3 thoughts on “Buttonholes

    1. I’m very jealous. I keep looking at these because I want one for my Featherweight, but I can’t justify it because I have a perfectly good modern machine which does them already.

      1. Good point, but you can pick up the attachments quite cheaply – for between £5-10 sometimes – and you can get non-Singer versions that do the job quite well.

        If you’d like to have a play with it, I’d be more than happy to lend it to you – as my machine needs to be serviced before I can use it and I’m nowhere near being able to sew anything well enough so that it requires buttonholes.

        Let me know 🙂

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