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How did they make buttonholes with a featherweight?

How did they make buttonholes with a featherweight?

Old 06-09-2011, 06:29 AM
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My daughter and I are vacationing at the beach in NC. Went thrift shopping yesterday and bought a mens XXL shirt and turned it into a sundress for her. It's awesome. I'm amazed that I could actually do it. I need to close the front. Of course, we could use a snap, but it got me to wondering.....how did they make a buttonhole with a featherweight?????? I'll post a photo of my daughter in the dress when "sleeping beauty" wakes up.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:31 AM
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They were probably hand sewn. I remember Grama sewed most of her garments on the machine but had to hand sew certain part like button holes, buttons and hems :D:D:D
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:37 AM
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When I was growing up we had a buttonhole attachment for the machine with various size cams to make the different size buttonholes. The buttonholes are much nicer than the ones on my modern machine. I still use it if I need to make buttonholes. You should be able to find the attachment fairly easily on the internet.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mom-6
When I was growing up we had a buttonhole attachment for the machine with various size cams to make the different size buttonholes. The buttonholes are much nicer than the ones on my modern machine. I still use it if I need to make buttonholes. You should be able to find the attachment fairly easily on the internet.
There are sites where you can find the attachments. I was trying to identify some of the attachments I have and it is quite easy to find them. Just put attachments for Featherweight in your search engine and it will come up.(you probably figured that out already! :lol: :oops: )

I have a buttonhole attachment for mine but I have never used it.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:50 AM
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Thanks everyone for your prompt replies. I had no idea there was a buttonhole attatchment for the featheerweight, I googled and found it. Thanks for all the info. I really enjoy hearing about how everyone's grandma sewed in the old days. My daughter is in graduate school getting an MFA in creative writing. She is writing her thesis which is a novel set in the 20's and 30's. She has immersed herself in the era with a bobbed hairdo, red fingernails, we are listening to old music. The dress is part of the immersion....making do with what you've got. I'll post a photo as soon as "sleeping beauty" gets up.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:53 AM
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The Singer buttonhole attachment usually comes in a deep green plastic case and contains the black coloured attachment and all of the different sized drop in discs and a cover plate for your feed dogs. The standard one came with 5 discs and others could be purchased. It makes straight and keyhole buttonholes and is wonderful because every buttonhole you make is the same size and perfect! You can adjust the width and the length varies from 3/8" to 1 1/16". The buttonholer in the green box was made for any straight stitch machine and even fits my Janome. The one in the rosy/pink box was for slant stitch Singers (301, Touch and Sew). The older buttonholes have metal discs while the newer ones(after 1960 or so) were made of plastic. These old buttonholers can often be picked up for less than $10. My local thrift store sells them at $3! I use my ancient old buttonholer all the time because the built in one on my Janome will not handle large or thick buttons which I need for the bags I make.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kathy OSU
My daughter and I are vacationing at the beach in NC. Went thrift shopping yesterday and bought a mens XXL shirt and turned it into a sundress for her. It's awesome. I'm amazed that I could actually do it. I need to close the front. Of course, we could use a snap, but it got me to wondering.....how did they make a buttonhole with a featherweight?????? I'll post a photo of my daughter in the dress when "sleeping beauty" wakes up.
Or they made bound buttonholes. There were "attachments" but I do not know when they were marketed.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:58 AM
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I remember my dressmaker Auntie sewing button holes by hand, thus the 'button hole stitch".
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:14 AM
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What a fun project, Kathy! Have you seen the One Hour Dress Pattern from Mary Brooks Picken? It's a flapper style dress pattern from 1924. It has lots of variations so you could make a whole wardrobe of this dress. :)

I bought the e-book from this gal:
http://emailedvintagepatterns.com/in.../clothes/women She does a very good job of scanning and her prices are great.

This was one of about a billion booklets/patterns/books written by Mary Brooks Picken, the founder of the Women's Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences - they taught distance classes in a variety of subjects - cooking and sewing and anything having to do with keeping house. Women learned sewing to supplement the family income or to support their families.

Amy Barickman put out a charming book recently called Vintage Notions which uses a lot of material from the Women's Institute, so your daughter might get some insights from this "distillation." :)

The mechanical buttonholer makes nicer buttonholes than any I've ever seen. At a glance, they look hand made and they're very secure. They're a bit of a pain to set up, so if I only have to do one, I run it up on a zig zag machine or do it by hand. But if I'm making a shirt, it's worth the time to fuss with it and set it up and mark the shirt properly, etc. Makes a heck of a racket, though - you'll swear your machine is falling apart when you first hear it. :D

Good luck with the project! :)
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:23 AM
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My mother sewed on her featherweight for years and made shirts for my father. She had a special attachment for buttonhole making....it looked extremely complex
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