Sunday, 10 March 2013

Overcoming Phobias

I've never really relished the idea of making buttonholes.  I think it's a phobia dating back to school sewing lessons.

I can remember the sewing machines we had at school. They were mainly Husqvarna and Benina and all of them basic models. They had straight stitch, could go forwards or backwards and could zig zag but that was about it.

Although you could select a buttonhole stitch, you had to stitch it manually. This entailed measuring the button with a ruler and then judging both length and width by keeping the button sitting to the side of the foot. Then you had to remember to change the setting on the machine for step 1, 2, 3 or 4 depending on what side of the buttonhole you were on. I always found it a bit hit and miss. Well, more miss really.

Anyway, since those early days of sewing, I have avoided buttonholes with a passion. The mere thought of a buttonhole would make me quake.  My current Janome is nearly ten years old and in all that time, I have never even as much as looked at the buttonhole foot. It's been stowed away in the little cardboard accessory box that came with the machine. That is - until yesterday.

I woke up yesterday with an urge to sew a project. You know how it is. There is an overwhelming, intense, yearning to stitch. A burning desire to use up some stash and create something useful with it.

I decided to set myself a challenge. My stash box was overflowing and was in some serious need of clearing out. So, the challenge was to only to use items that I already had. Going out to buy more wasn't an option.

I've had this pink fabric for years and I was delighted to find out that there was just enough to make a single duvet cover and pillowcase. Cool. Unfortunately, I didn't have any popper tape or press studs. Not so cool.  It meant that I would either need to leave the opening free from any form or fasteners or... can you sense my panic - use buttons.

OK, after three deep breaths, a cup of tea, a comforting chocolate biscuit and a bit of a sit down, I went looking for the buttonhole foot.

Not that it's that easy to miss. It's the longest foot I've got.

I was a little stumped at this point as I hadn't a clue what to do with it, besides popping it on the machine that is.

Manuals are funny things aren't they? When you don't need them you can put your hand right on them.  As soon as you need to look something up they are nowhere to be found.  It's as though they have sprouted legs and started playing hide and seek.  I spent nearly 2 hours searching through boxes looking for it.  I gave up in the end and watched some videos on youtube.

Load the button into the space at the back end of the buttonhole foot.

Pop the front end of the foot on the machine.

Lower the little bar thingy from behind the presser foot

So far so good. 

Set the machine on button holing... now the scary bit. Push down on the pedal. Eek!

Oh wow - it just does it!  The little bar thingy measures the button and the machine automatically sews each side of the buttonhole. It even auto stops and gives a cute little "ping" when it's done. It's a bit like the "ping" my car gives me when I try to open the driver's door with my lights on. 

Why have I not tried buttonholes before? Why didn't anyone tell me buttonholes could be so simple?  

I did still have a bit of a technical hiccup though.  My bobbin ran out of thread halfway through a buttonhole which was a bit annoying.  

Now, if I could just have a little "ping" to let me know when the bobbin thread is due to run out - I'd be tickled as pink as the duvet cover. 

Bye for now