Bernina 440 QE: Button Hole Tutorial

Buttonholes seem to be one of the most scoured and studied aspects of a sewing machine when seasoned pros decide to get a new machine. Is the stitch quality good?  Are they easy to make?  Are they consistent?  If you sew clothes, its these types of finishing touches that make all the difference.  Many have asked me questions related to button holes on the Bernina 440 QE, and I’ve finally decided to put together a little button hole walkthrough for the curious! Hopefully this will answer some of the questions that have been put out there.  If not, please let me know – I’m probably going to do a little Q & A post in the near future.  Let’s hop to it, shall we?

Getting Started

First things first.  Reach into your handy accessory cabinet and pull out the Button Hole Foot – # 3A.  Can you find it in this picture?  It’s like a little Where’s Waldo search:

Isnt this a cute little hiding place for this strangely shaped foot?  Cozily nestled between the... needles and the

Isn't this a cute little hiding place for this strangely shaped foot? Cozily nestled among the... needles.

Let’s take a quick look at the 3A foot.  The basic anatomy is pretty simple.  It’s got what I’ll call a clear shoe with a little red mark that slides back and forth within the surrounding metal frame when you stitch your button holes.  The frame helps you determine the length you want your button hole.

Top view of the button hole foot.

Bottom view of the button hole foot.

Notice the black gear wheel that rides along the metal teeth of the foot. This is what moves the shoe back and forth as it creates a button hole.

There are two red bits you should be aware of:

These two red pieces are essential to creating the perfect button hole!

Now that we’ve checked out the parts, place the foot on the machine.

Put the foot on the machine, just as you would any other foot...

Put the foot on the machine, just as you would any other foot...

It’ll look like this when you’re done:

Its an odd looking beast, isnt it?

It's an odd looking beast, isn't it?

Now it’s time to thread the bobbin and the thread.  I was in the dark about this little feature until after I posted the initial version of this tutorial, but thanks to some great readers, I am now enlightened!  You thread the top thread like normal.  The bobbin, on the other hand, has a super secret little hole that you can thread for tighter thread tension throughout the button hole experience.  Looky here:

The part that sticks out on the right is called the finger. It's got a little hole up there just for your bobbin thread to go through!

So, you thread your bobbin like normal, but then once you’re done, slide that little thread through the microscopic hole on the finger (the bit that sticks out on the right).  When it’s threaded properly, it’ll look like this:



Clever, isnt it?

Clever, isn't it?

The hole on the finger can be used for button holes and also for doing embroidery with the embroidery module.  Essentially, you can thread through the finger any time that you’d like the tension to be tighter.

First thing I do once the foot is on the machine and the machine is threaded is to pull the thread down through the foot to get a nice clean start.  To do this, I hit the needle up/down button twice (needle down, then up again).  Then I grab the thread from underneath:

This needle up/down button is I think my absolute favorite feature of this machine.  Simple pleasures, right??

This needle up/down button is I think my absolute favorite feature of this machine. Simple pleasures, right?

Now slide something – seam ripper, scissors (closed, not open!), or a pin – underneath the foot and slide the threads out and to the back:

Now the top thread is through to the bottom of the foot, and the bobbin thread is pulled up and both are happily hanging out.

Now the top thread is through to the bottom of the foot, and the bobbin thread is pulled up and both are happily hanging out.

Making a Button Hole

Now we’re ready to get started!  Our trusty stitch card says that button holes can be done with stitches 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.

Bernina stitch card. Look at all the button hole options!

I’ll be using number 11 for this tutorial only.  The rest of the button holes can be done just like the ones I do here!  Enter stitch number 11 on the machine by pressing the # [triangle] key and then the one key twice (#-1-1)

What would you call this... the Number Triangle button?

Once this is done, your screen should look like this:


The screen, as always, has some useful information.

Notice that it’s telling us to use foot 3A.  We’re done with that part already, so we’re ahead of the game!  Next, notice that the stitch length (the vertical 0 – 5 scale on the left) shows three dashes and ends up at the little squiggly mark between 0 and 1.  This is apparently the squiggly mark to indicate button hole stitch length. This little machine is so clever.   Finally, it’ll actually show you the shape of the button hole we’ll be making.

The left vertical part of the button hole image will be blinking, indicating which part of the button hole it’s ready to sew (or in progress of sewing).  We’ll come back to this diagram in a minute.

Now we’re ready to get the button in on the action after long last.  Find your favorite button that you’d like to make a button hole for.  The Bernina button hole foot only supports buttons that are 3 inches or less, since that’s the length of the foot.  If you have a bigger button than that, I’m afraid you’re out of luck!

Place your button on top of the foot.  The very top of your button should line up with the first red mark on the foot.  Careful!  If you have a small button, it’ll be easy for this to slide up past the red line.  It’s best to hold the button in place while you measure.  The little arrow on the bottom red slider should line up with the very bottom of the button.

Its time to find your button and measure it on top of the foot!

The button, in its temporary home.

Now that you’ve got the bottom slider set up properly, you can remove the button from the foot and place it aside.  Its brief cameo appearance is this tutorial is officially over!  From here on out, it’s all button holes, all the time.

It’s time to place your fabric underneath the presser foot and begin stitching.  Begin and go slowly.  Here’s how this will go down:

See how the red lines are coming closer together?  Soon well need to act!

The red lines eventually meet up when the button hole is as long as it needs to be to accommodate the button of your choosing.

Hitting the reverse button as the two red lines meet tells the machine that youve reached the desired length for this button hole.

Hitting the reverse button as the two red lines meet tells the machine that you've reached the desired length for this button hole.

Please note!  You will know that the machine is done stitching when the graphic on the screen blinks the left vertical side again.  If it’s still blinking the bottom part of the button hole, you’ve got more stitching to do.

You’re done!  Your button hole is now complete!  Marvel at your work:

All done!

One Last Step

To realize the full potential of your button hole, you’ll have to open it up to make room for the button!  Take your trusty seam ripper, insert it carefully into the fabric, taking care to not get any of the thread, and gently run it up the length of the button hole to open it up.

Careful! If you're too quick here and catch the threads, this could mess up all of your hard work, leading to an unraveling button hole!

The Auto Feature – How to Make More Identical Button Holes.

Once you finish your first button hole, take it out, snip the threads, make sure the button fits, and admire it. But not for long!  We’ve got more work to do.

The Bernina 440 has the ability to make all subsequent button holes exactly the same length as the one you just created, using an auto-button hole feature.  You would use this if you were making, say, a shirt that had 5 or 6 identical buttons.  In theory, you could replicate the steps you just took, but there is room for error, specifically in terms of the timing in which you hit the reverse button to identify the length of the button hole as you are stitching.  Even though I know you wouldn’t make any mistakes, Bernina makes sure you can’t when you do your next button holes.  Here’s how it works.

You’ll notice that since you finished your first button hole, there is one key difference on the display.  The inside of the button hole graphic on the display now shows the word “auto” where it was blank before.  Check out the picture below to make sure yours does too!

The inside of the button hole diagram now says auto, indicating that its ready for more automatic button hole fun.

The inside of the button hole diagram now says "auto," indicating that it's ready for more automatic button hole fun.

The “auto” indication means that the Bernina is ready to make more button holes just like the one you just did – exactly the same!  Little did you know it at the time, but when you did your first  button hole, you were actually programming the machine, telling it just how big you wanted the current and future button holes to be.  It remembered, and is ready to make more.

Now, when you place your fabric under the foot and begin stitching, it can be a hands-free affair, in which you just sit back and watch it create another identical button hole.  Brilliant!

This will happen for as long as you’d like to make identical button holes.  But what if you have a different vision, and all of the buttons on your shirt are different sizes?  How do you get rid of the “auto” feature?

Resetting the button hole programming

If you’re ready to move on to other button hole sizes, then you need to clear out the programmed size that you told the Bernina about previously.  To do this, simply hit the clear button (affectionately known as “clr” on the machine) to get rid of the auto designation and to start from scratch.

Clear out all memory of your previous button hole...

Clear out all memory of your previous button hole...

The “auto” will disappear, and you are free to start again with a brand new, differently-sized button and repeat all the steps from above.

I love this wee yellow button...

I love this wee yellow button...

Threading Comparison

Since I was in the dark for a while about the best threading technique for button holes, I decided to see if the threading through the bobbin finger really made any difference or not.  Here’s my comparison shot:

Hmmm... Whats the verdict?

Hmmm... What's the verdict?

I guess I don’t see a huge difference.  But the one on the right – not threaded through the finger – does look a tad messier, especially on the left side of the button hole.  For my novice eyes, I’m not sure I’d notice from far away!  Anyway, I figure I’ll still thread through the finger, since it can’t hurt!


Troubleshooting Tips

My machine doesn’t make very nice button holes!

Eek!  I know how you feel.  I’ve had several attempts that yielded bad button holes.  Here’s what I changed to make it work:

Ick!  The top two button holes are made with a denim needle (it was a pretty dull one at that...).  Just not as delicate as one might hope, and the stitching didnt seem so even.  The bottom button hole was made with a universal needle sized 70/10. Muuuch better!

Ick! The top two button holes are made with a denim needle (it was a pretty dull one at that...). Just not as delicate as one might hope, and the stitching didn't seem so even. The bottom button hole was made with a universal needle sized 70/10. Muuuch better!

It won’t repeat my button hole!

Other issues and solutions you’ve encountered?  Send them along and I’ll post them here.
That’ll do it for my first button hole tutorial!  Next, I’ll do a quickie on how to actually attach a button to your fabric so you can have something to put through your delightful new and shiny button holes.


Update:  Some of you have experienced some issues making buttonholes.  Specifically, several of you have said that you get through the first half of the buttonhole with no issues, but when you hit the reverse button, the buttonhole just keeps stitching backwards and never stops.  While this hasn’t happened to me, I have found a few tips from here and there to remedy this behavior:

  1. Something’s dirty and preventing it from “seeing” what it needs to.  Remove the throat plate, remove any fuzzies.  Also, at the top of the buttonhole attachment, atop the clear cylinder, there are two round glass parts that look like mini magnifying glasses.  Clean those off.  Some have had success after performing these steps.
  2. The buttonhole attachment is out of calibration.  Apparently, your dealer can calibrate the buttonhole attachments, but I don’t think that we customers are able to do this on our own on the 440QE (I think you can do this on the 800 series yourself, though.  A good reason to upgrade! :-) ).  I don’t know what the actual process of calibration entails, so I’m not even sure what to try at home.
  3. If calibration doesn’t do the trick, then I’ve read that it’s likely that the buttonhole attachment itself needs to be replaced.   Having your dealer try another buttonhole attachment would help you know if that were the case.
  4. If replacing the foot doesn’t work, then it could be the sensor above the foot, cables between the sensor and the S-Print (main processor control board on the front panel), or the S-Print itself.  Your dealer can help to troubleshoot this!
This hasn’t happened to me, and I haven’t ever performed these tips, so I cannot verify their usefulness.  However, I hope this gives you a troubleshooting starting point!

Posted by robyn on January 5th, 2009 under bernina 440 qe, crafts, sewing, sewing machines, tutorials

102 Responses to “Bernina 440 QE: Button Hole Tutorial”

  1. zenzhey Says:

    Great tutorial! But I have to…I am so glad my machine only has 5 stitches!! So much simpler! This looks extremely complicated…

  2. MichelleB Says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I could have used this back in October (LOL) when I needed to make many buttonholes for a costume. I admit, I cursed my machine. But then I figured it out, and fell in love all over again. I whipped out those buttonholes like nobody’s business.

    MichelleBs last blog post..I have been busy

  3. Ms Fine Says:

    YOu’ll get a smoother finish too if you put your bobbin thread through the small eye on the bobbin finger. Know what I mean?

    Ms Fines last blog post..Resolutions?

  4. melinda Says:

    I think this is your calling. I feel like I could stitch a button hole now, even though I lack both button and sewing machine.

    melindas last blog post..Happy belated New Year, from our house to yours

  5. justine Says:

    i love your little instructional posts!
    i bought a bernina because i was so impressed with this buttonhole foot, i still get a little thrill every time it makes a pretty buttonhole for me :-)
    do you thread your bobbin thread through the hole at the end of the little finger on the bobbin case? that was like a tension revelation to me with the buttonholes!

  6. CJ Says:

    Great tutorial, maybe you could get a job with Bernina when they update their manual (which is SORELY lacking, in my humble opinion). The last time I made a buttonhole I noticed the bit about the thread thru the eye of the bobbin hook. Of course little explanation as to what that looked like – I guessed and results were okay.

    CJs last blog post..2009 To Be Read Challenge

  7. robyn Says:

    Big oops! I totally left out the part about threading through the bobbin finger (read: um, didn’t know about it until just now…)

    I’ve updated the post. Thanks to all the readers and commenters who caught my error! I even added a little comparison section so you can see the difference between threading that way and not threading….

  8. Stephanie Says:

    Robin, this is such a great tutorial. I actually managed to try out the 440 QE buttonholes this weekend, but the manual definitely left something to be desired. Had I not had experience with automatic buttonholes in the past, I would definitely have been in the dark. I think this tutorial is very useful.

    One thing I would add – when you are opening your buttonholes, place a straight pin at the very top of the buttonhole so it’s perpendicular to it. This way, you can’t accidentally rip through the top of the beautiful buttonhole you just made.

  9. sharon Says:

    Really great tutorial, Robyn, brilliantly clear, I shall definitely put the new machine through it’s paces on this one.

    sharons last blog post..Cyber Fyber Exhibition

  10. Dori Says:

    This is a labor and testament of your love and dedication to Bernina. They should totally hire you.

  11. Margie Veon Says:

    This saved my sanity! The manual is terrible and I agree you should rewrite the whole thing and your photos are wonderful! Keep up the great site.

  12. Kathleen Says:

    I just read this tutorial after having made my first button hole about one hour ago! Sure would have been helpful. That being said, the manual mentioned adjusting the upper thread tension to 2.5 to create a raised look in the buttonhole. I did and it did seem to work. Of course I didn’t know about the finger on the bobbin…oh well. Thanks, I’m going to print your instructions and add to the manual.

  13. Brenda Says:

    Thank you so much for this great step by Step tutorial. I was going nuts trying to figure this out on my own (I have no idea what I did with my manual) and it was the only thing I had left to do to complete my project. After reading your post I knew exactly what I was doing wrong… I wasn’t pressing the reverse, duh! Thanks so much, You are a lifesaver!

    Brendas last blog post..Needle Case, done!

  14. Barbara Says:

    I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate that you posted this tutorial. I have a Bernina 440 QE, and I never got to take the class that went with it because the store was an hour from my home and I had to work as well as breastfeed an infant, so time just never worked out for me.

    So, I have had to learn on my own, and have generally done well, but the buttonholes I needed to make for this dress I am making for my now 2 1/2 year old were freaking me out. And the manual that comes with the machine is really not helpful.

    So, thank you. I printed it out and put it in my manual. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  15. robyn Says:

    @ Barbara:

    I’m so glad that the tutorial was useful to you! I’m sure your 2 1/2 year old will appreciate how hard you worked for those buttons!

  16. robyn Says:

    Brenda, you’re very welcome! The project you used it for is very cute! I love needle cases!

  17. Carol Says:

    Your tutorial saved my life today. I lost my manual and was desperate. Thanks!

  18. Janet Says:

    Thank you so much for this. I never did the lessons but the manual is very sadly lacking. I was making the mistake of pushing that reverse button at the end of each step because I couldn’t find any instructions that explained it.

    Janets last blog post..Look at what I found

  19. ToniB Says:

    Sundress almost done. Just two buttonholes, just two buttonholes. Find manual. Final 3A foot. Now what. Reread manual. Reread manual again. (Subtsitute velcro??) Did my manual come without important chapter on using the buttonhole foot? Google. Dog Named Banjo? Give it a try. Wow!! My day is complete. My manual has 27 additional, useful, pages added. Gratefully, gratefully. TKB

  20. Maryann Says:

    Thank you – Thank you – Thank you

    Yesterday I was trying to make my first buttonhole using the 440QE. Took the classes but could not remember what was demonstrated AND the Bernina book and also the tutorial was no help at all.

    Today I decided to try to google my question and this site showed up first. Hooray – I have printed it. Bernina should have to pay you for your talents. Since they probably won’t – Just pat yourself on the back from me and say GREAT JOB.

  21. claire Says:

    Thanks for a most excellent tutorial. The pics were great, it was like having an instructor in my home, and on July 4th too! Thanks!

  22. spinx Says:

    I am so grateful to you! Bernina’s manuals are written for the more proficient, I think. I could not figure it out as I read and reread all instructions. The buttonholes I made are beautiful and, yes, I did think that I was brilliant after I did them. Then I figured that without your great tutorial they wouldn’t look so brilliant, so thanks again and again.

  23. Donna H Says:

    Thank you so much for this. I have a Bernina 150QE and struggled for years with this feature and the 3A foot. I knew what the red slider on the foot was for, but I never placed my button on top of the foot to measure it. Great tutorial. I’m bookmarking your site. Thanks again!

  24. Marcy Says:

    Yesterday I took on making a queen sized duvet cover, and was at the final stage of it, needing to make 9 buttonholes. Of course, I forgot how, and had misplaced the manual. I googled Bernina-buttonholes- and found your excellent tutorial. You have done a beautiful job here, and I love your text as well. Buttonholes are so EASY. Thank you!

  25. Marcy Says:

    Robyn, have you used the Bernina to sew on buttons?

  26. Jennifer Says:

    This tutorial was wonderful, however I still couldn’t get my buttonholes to look very nice :(

    I set the size and hit the return button when the red marks meet, but the foot doesn’t return all the way to the top dial (“0″) so then the second side starts several stitches lower and ends several stitches lower. It does the zigzag across the bottom but the first side has a small gap at the bottom.

    I thought perhaps it was the fabric I was using so I “helped” it return to the top by pulling the fabric up, which helped – the top sides of the two halves were then even, but still the foot continued to sew the second size just a bit longer than the first and so there was a still a bit of a gap on the left side of the hole. What am I doing wrong??

  27. Margie Veon Says:

    Jennifer, My 440 did the same thing so when I took it in the tech did something to correct it and now works fine. Something was out of wack!

  28. Georgia Says:

    I had the same problem as Jennifer. I took the foot off and cleaned the top plastic bubbles. Then I turned of the machine and started over. It worked correctly!! I had been putting button holes in think knit fabric & I thought it was the fabric, so I “helped” it also by pulling the fabric up. After the cleaning and rebooting the machine, it worked without my help!

    I don’t know what I did, but it decided to work correctly.

  29. Claire Says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. I’m having the same problem as Jennnifer. I have 15 small buttonholes to make and I’m short on time. I’ve cleaned everthing – short of taking to be repaired – what else do you suggest. My project has to be done within the next week. Help!

  30. Estelle Says:

    I have a 440 QE , using the 3A foot. First time trying to make a buttonhole and was hoping to automatically make the keyhole one, as I have about ten to make on a duvet cover.

    I guess I don’t understand their thinking at Bernina.

    I thought I could just punch in “No. 14″ and it would move along and do the automatic buttonhole.

    Mine, however, does the first side up and down, including the keyhole, and then just stays at the top and makes a knobby knot. ?????How do I get it to move from the left side auto blinking?? Reading your tutorial, it sounds like I have to “make my own” keyhole one first,but I can’t even get it to do that. and THEN I get to make all the other automatic ones? Is that how it goes? Thanks for the help.

  31. Melinda Says:

    My buttonhole foot doesn’t seem to be working properly. The first bar is fine and, when I press the reverse stitch button, the straight stitch goes back, but then the stitches still just keep going back instead of finishing the buttonhole. Is it something I’m doing or do I need to replace my 3A foot? Can they be repaired?
    .-= Melinda´s last blog ..New Year’s Resolutions =-.

  32. Kristina Says:

    Thanks for the post. I am trying to see the different buttonholes advertised on Berninas but the straight one seems to be the main one shown. By the way–a buttonhole should be a tiny bit longer than the button is wide, to allow for easy buttoning and unbuttoning. To make it exactly the length of the button is usually only for decorative buttonholes.

  33. karen shortell Says:

    Wow!!! thanks for this tutorial. I have never seen anything as detailed and helpful as this. You should write a book and sell it for money!!! I know that anyone who has read any of your tutorials would buy it. I sure would.

  34. embroidery punching Says:

    totally agree with karen

  35. Dianne Says:

    I have a Bernina 180—10 years old. I have the opportunity to buy a quilt shop 440qe that has been used for 3 years as a classroom machine—-$2225. Do I really want to get rid of my 180???

  36. robyn Says:

    Never used a 180, but the 440 is a true delight! :-) If you buy a 3 year old classroom machine (which has probably gotten good use!) I would bargain with them to get it well under $2000. Good luck if you go for it! Let us know how your decision turns out :-)

  37. Dianne Says:

    Will I miss the ball dial on the 180 to change stitch length if I get the 440 with a button to change the length,etc?

  38. robyn Says:

    I don’t find the stitch length buttons to be an inconvenience at all, but I know old habits can die hard :-)

  39. Ann Says:

    Please help?!!!!

    My daughter and I have followed your instructions religiously and attempted at least 50 buttoholes but for some reason after we set the length and the machine begins to sew back up towards starting point it just keeps sewing – backwards, backwards, backwards! It won’t sew the first bar tack let alone the remainder of the hole. The screen shows that it’s sewing the bar tack and then the second bead but it’s not, it’s just sewing straight backwards. Any ideas? (Machine has just recently been serviced)

  40. Anne Que Says:

    Dear Robyn,
    What an adorable blog you have! I lost my manual for my bernina 440 and did not remember how to use the automatic button hole. Your instructions have been very helpful, thank you.
    I also studied the tutorial on the walkingfoot, which I have for years but never used it because it looked so complicated and I left it in the little box. That also was very helpful and I will certainly use it from now on.
    kind regards

  41. salty » linky links Says:

    […] Bernina Buttonhole Tutorial @ Dog Named Banjo […]

  42. robyn Says:

    Hi Anne,

    Thanks for finding my blog! I’m glad you found the buttonhole and walking foot tutorials helpful. Using both is much easier after the first time. I now can’t live without my walking foot!


  43. robyn Says:

    Hi Ann,

    Sorry for the late reply. Have you made any headway with your always-backwards-stitching buttonhole foot? I’m not really sure what would cause that, save for a sticking backwards button. Also not sure why it wouldn’t bar tack? I hope you’ve found a solution and would love to hear what the issue was!


  44. Kate Says:

    Thanks for the tutorial and explaining whabout threading it through the finger. I made perfect buttonholes.
    .-= Kate´s last blog ..Jump Rope Dress Part 2 =-.

  45. Susan Says:

    just want to thank you for your tutorial on making buttonholes with the Bernina. What else can you teach me? Have you used the embroidery module? I haven’t purchased it yet, but would love to hear what owners have to say about it…good and bad?

  46. Maureen Says:

    The tutorial is excellent. I used a Nechhi sewing machine for 50 years which had an excellent instructions book and made magnificent buttonholes. My machine has finally retired and I bought a Bernina 440 QE but as I live too far from the shop I cannot attend all the classes and became frustrated with the manual as it only identifies the instruments and after rattling my brains trying to figure it out and wanting to finish the garment to wear tomorrow, I thought, Yea, the internet! Saved! Thank you.

  47. Debbie Says:

    You are awesome! Right after I bought my Bernina the Dealer closed on me, these tutorials are my only learning tool. Thank you so much and like the walking foot you are a lifesaver! Great teacher you are!

  48. Mika Says:

    I was in a sewing class this morn & had to do a buttonhole on my 11 year old 160. Forgot my manual & don’t remember the lesson from a decade ago. Alas, my teacher wasn’t familiar with Bernina’s. So desperate in class, I did a search on my iphone & found your tutorial. Thank you, Thank you!

  49. Diana Says:

    Thank you! My class was years ago, and this is the first time I’ve tackled buttonholes since. The written instructions in the manual weren’t doing it for me, and I couldn’t find any videos. This was just what I needed.

  50. Kerry Blue Says:

    I am indebted to you! My machine is only a couple of months “old” and I could not make head nor tail of the manual, the instructional CD, etc etc. I puzzled and puzzled over the books this morning and STILL could not fathom how to use the buttonhole attachment. Your guide is WONDERFUL, exactly what I needed, with all the steps clearly laid out. I just put the laptop next to the 440QE and off I went. Eight perfect button holes later I am sure to win some points with my Mother-in-law for the garment I made her! Thanks heaps – from the Tweed Valley, Australia

  51. Farida Says:

    Thanks for the tutorial.I’ll try and let you know..

  52. Jennifer Says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. They showed me how to do this 5 years ago when I bought the machine but was at a total loss tonight as I finally had the need to make a buttonhole. Your tutorial allowed me to keep going! Thanks again!

  53. Susan Says:

    Oh my gosh! Thanks to those who posted the solution to the buttonholer not working. I was just getting ready to take it in when I read that I should make sure everything is clean. It WORKED!! After many, many tries and a failed project my buttonholes look like normal again. Thanks for the tutorial and for all the helpful comments.

  54. Betsey Hines Says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I was so frustrated. This all made sense and best of all==worked!!

  55. Julie Says:

    Thank you so much, I tried repeatedly without success to get the buttonhole length correct, following my instruction booklet, but hadn’t realised I needed to hit the reverse button! REALLY appreciate this tutorial.
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..Splendid Isolation =-.

  56. Jessi Says:

    Very nice tutorial! Good reminder of what the class told me.

    We learned to thread the needle before putting the foot on, then pulling the foot up the needle, pulling the thread down through it, and then attaching the foot. I do this for all the closed feet to get the thread below and behind the needle.

  57. Sandy Lewis Says:

    Thank you, thank you for this tute on buttonholes. I am Texas and left my manual in Ohio. You have saved my day.

  58. Jane Le Says:

    Thank you so much for this. It answered in more detail and better than anything I could find on youtube! Off to make my button holes now. Wish me luck!

  59. Maia B Says:

    This is truly a superb tutorial on a beautiful, excellent blog! My sincere thanks. You’d make an excellent educator for the mastery classes. If you wrote a supplemental manual or made a DVD on the 440, I’d buy it!

  60. Debbie Says:

    Thanks so much for publishing this! I can’t seem to find the manual for my machine and need to make a buttonhole to finish a project tonight. So instead of being stuck…onward I go!

  61. Beth Anderson Says:

    Hi Robyn,

    Your buttonhole tutorial is great, but my Bernina 440 is inconsistent. I made adjustments then tested on a scrap. The buttonhole on the scrap was good but the machine continued along on the left side even though it was programmed. I had to pick out several buttonholes, which we ALL hate. It was a jacket with 12 buttonholes, and I finally got 12, having ripped out 3:( On another garment, I did manual buttonholes…

  62. ruth rae Says:

    one million thanks! I have misplaced my manual and forgot how to use this attachment! your have saved me! thank you for a brilliant how to!

  63. Maryanne MacRae Says:

    Great tutorial – really help me in my hour of need. Thank you.
    I do however have a problem! My machine stitches down the left side ok and reverses up the right side when i push the reverse key, however, it does not always go back to the top of the stitching but leaves a couple millimetres at the top, does the over stitching at the top, goes down to the bottom and adds a couple of millimetres of stitches and finishes off. Sometimes if its a short buttonhole it doesnt do this, but on longer ones it does. Is that all as clear as mud? :-) Any help suggestions greatly appreciated.
    Maryanne MacRae´s last blog post ..Protoquilting

  64. Martha Says:

    Thanks for this post. I am trying to use a little accessory that came with my 440. It is called a buttonhole leveler – a longish plastic device that is intended to help with buttonholes on the edge. I think.

    Are you familiar with this device? I cannot make it work. I always have trouble with the sensor on shirt collar bands as it is not as level as the front of the shirt.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas.


  65. Florence Says:

    The Bernina Book is really lacking on directions. I kept wishing my Singer Athena 2000 had not died-the most simple Buttonhole maker.

    Your instructions were EXCELLENT!! Easy to follow and reproduceable. I tried # “0” on my 430 but it would not cooperate. When I used # “11”, it was a snap!

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  66. Kathryn Brooks Says:

    Thanks so much for putting in the time to create this tutorial. It is much appreciated.

  67. Eileen Says:

    Thank you so much, I had been so frustrated with the buttonholes on my 430
    Now they are beautiful
    You saved me a lot of money, I was thinking of getting another machine just for buttonholes LOL

  68. Ellen B Says:

    Thanks so much for the great tutorial. Much much better than the manual. I followed your directions (including the note about threading through the finger on the bobbin) and the result . . . great-looking buttonholes on three dresses for my granddaughter! Thanks again!

  69. Kristine Says:

    Thank you for this great explanation. My Bernina is still fairly new and I find the instruction booklet hopeless; ie, devoid of instruction. Thank goodness for the internet and seamstresses who have gone before me. A great tutorial that I’m sure took a long time to prepare. I’m thankful for your help. I’m now off to sew buttons on a shirt dress.
    Kristine´s last blog post ..Crochet flower hair ties

  70. Gloria Says:

    Thank you! I’ve never learned how to use the auto button hole maker…this tut will certainly help me out.

    Funny thing is, I’ve never known how to properly use the Bernina storage case either. I ended up using some generic boxes and mixed my Bernina stuff with other sewing machines stuff. I have 4 machines..just in case one stops working or whatever.

    Okay, I will admit it. I’m turning into a machine hoarder. It WILL be nice to separate the Bernina items again. I’m going to get my Bernina box back out of my closet and start using it. Thx for this great button hole tut too.

  71. trudy Says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. I totally forgot how to do button holes and now I have 5 great ones

  72. Barbara Says:

    I just want to say “thank you” for posting this tutorial. I had not understood that I must press the reverse button to get the length I wanted. I don’t think the manual explains this anywhere! So thanks again; you saved me!

  73. Virnette Says:

    You have saved my skin… its december and I am just learning my new machine… making TinkerBelle nighties for my two year old granddaughter – I had sort of figured this out, but wasn’t sure I was doing anything correctly. Now I am confident enough to move from a trial to the garment. Thank you so much!

  74. Pru Holden Says:

    Thank you soooo much . . .
    Ages since I last did a buttonholeand had forgotten to use the reverse button at end of 1st side! Couldn’t find anywherein the manuel to explain howto make an automatice buttonhole. Bernina should pay you!

  75. Technique: Sewing Buttonholes and Buttons | MADE Says:

    […] settings (and even some machines without), you might have an automatic buttonhole option. The foot (image below) is much longer, with settings and gauges to help make more precise buttonholes. I’ve […]

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  77. Debbie B Says:

    Gotta tell you..I’ve been frustrated with the auto buttonhole on my Bernina 730 for almost 3 years. I bought it used so didn’t have the dealer classes. So I have been using my trusty 30 year old Bernina 1130 to make buttonholes all this time.
    I’m trying your tip about hitting the ‘reverse’ button as soon as I start sewing today. Like others have said Bernina’s manual and website are sorely lacking ininformation!! I love my Bernina machines though and wouldn’t trade them for another brand.

  78. Denise Says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial!!! I found your blog via Pinterest and it saved me! I feel brave now on my Bernina!!!

  79. SusieQ Says:

    Recently bought a used 440QE and the manual gave a very poor explanation of using the buttonhole function. Thanks so much for your tutorial on the subject. Is there any way to make the buttonhole opening wider? Want to run some cording through the hole.

  80. Betsy H Says:

    Great tutorial! I’ve had my 450 for 7 years and you taught me things I didn’t even know about my buttonhole foot. As another person stated, the Bernina manual is pathetic. Thanks for making it all clearer.

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  82. Demetria Says:

    Tremendous things here. I’m very glad to peer your article.
    Thanks so much and I’m taking a look ahead to contact you.

    Will you please drop me a mail?
    Demetria´s last blog post ..Demetria

  83. Laura Grabow Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this excellant tutorial. I have not used this function only because the Bernina manual is so shall we say cryptic about this buttonholes I love you other tut’s too!

  84. C.S. Says:

    Solution Tip – here is a possible solution for those 440QE buttonholes that continue sewing up the right side without stopping.

    Hit the reverse button again when the stitch reaches the top or a stitch or two past the top (experiment, depends on the size of your buttonhole), this seems to tell the machine to go to the next step for some reason and works like a dream for me.

    Good Luck and I hope it works for others.

    This is a fabulous tutorial and I love all your posts regarding the 440QE, they have been very clear and concise.


  85. Josie Says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. I have had my Bernina for about four years and never learned to make buttonholes until now! This was so clear and helpful. Thank you!!

  86. Alison Says:

    Thank goodness I found this!!! Best info I’ve EVER seen on the buttonhole for the 440. Seriously, I’ve never even tried it…and kept a brother machine out just for it’s wicked good buttonhole. I found your tutorial this morning, did 2 trials on a scrap of fabric, put a buttonhole on my daughters dress and sent her to preschool. Genius! Job well done!! Sad I didn’t find it 5 years ago!

  87. Jamie Says:

    Great job! Tried reading the manual but it came nowhere close to your tutorial. Thanks a million. So glad I found this website!!!

  88. Jamie Says:

    Great tutorial!!! Thanks so much for the step by step directions and the pictures! Not sure if I would have ever gotten them done based on the Bernina manual!!

  89. Jamie Says:

    Great tutorial!! The step by step directions and pictures were just what I needed. The Bernina manual was very little help. Thanks a million!!
    Jamie´s last blog post ..Protoquilting

  90. Preye Says:

    Wow. Thank you so so much. I have finally conquered my fear of button holes thanks to you. I did a Google search and found a link to this post. Tried the first time and it didn’t work out so well, so I read the tips and went on to clean out my machine (first time ever so you can imagine the amount of lint), changed the needle to a universal needle (last time I changed needles was over a year ago) and dug out my manual (I use a Janome QC 6260 and everything kind of looked different from your pictures). I am super excited and have been sewing random button holes on scraps of fabrics for the past 1hour. I especially love the memory function…such a time saver. Lol. I wish I had seen this tutorial a year ago. Thank you thank you thank you. 😀

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  92. sheia Says:

    worked like a charm, saved me getting out the manual and trying to figure it out. Many thanks

  93. Amy Laura Says:

    I found this tutorial more than 6 years after you first posted it, but I have to thank you for doing so! I couldn’t figure out how to use the foot. My book didn’t help, the Bernina site didn’t help, and lots of googling didn’t help. Once I found your tutorial, everything went smoothly and I have a beautiful buttonhole with no more fear of doing them in the future.

    Thank you!

  94. darlene Says:

    would this foot fit my bernina 1230? it looks wonderful …

    the tut is great, very clearly written … great job …

    thanks so much ….. darlene

  95. Catherine Fowler Says:

    This is a great tutorial. The Bernina manual was really useless on this. I will surely be back next time I have to do a buttonhole.

    One question: my stitches were so tight. Can I make them wider?


  96. Sandi McGinnes Says:

    Good for most buttons- PHEW – I was losing my mind trying to figure out the Bernina manual on the button hole. FINALLY this tutorial makes it clear. I thought putting the thread through the extra hole on the bobbin made a higher bump for the button hole stitch – which I like. It works great for button up to 1.25inches (about). I have some larger 1.5 inch buttons. How would I do those on my machine? There are lots of tote bags and other projects that need a little bigger button.

  97. Sandi McGinnes Says:

    I have some larger 1 3/8 inch buttons with a 1/8 inch deep rim. I could NOT figure out how to use the button hole foot 3A and this is the only tutorial I could find – a lifesaver! I then hit the biggest button hole limit – which seems to be 1 1/4 inches. How would I do those on my machine? There are lots of tote bags and other projects that need a little bigger button.

  98. Lee Says:

    Best tutorial! Spent all afternoon looking and found this…..My favorite now …Thanks

  99. Iris Says:

    Oh thank God for you. I am trying this for the first time and I dodn’t know how to advance the machine through the sides. You are the only one who explains it clearly. You should republish this!

  100. Kathy Fair Says:

    Wonderful instructions.
    And I haven’t even started my buttonhole.

  101. Kami C Says:

    Thank you!!! You saved my sanity and a Halloween costume. I was ready to drop kick the Bernina tutorials!! They came out perfectly!!

  102. Sonia Says:

    Thank you for a most enlightening tutorial It’s so easy once one knows how

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I'm Robyn. Thanks for stopping by! This is my craft blog.

Contact me at robyn [at] dognamedbanjo [dot] com.

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