A family of buttonholes

I was playing around the other day on our classroom BERNINA Aurora 440QEs and had a minor revelation. I knew there were buttonhole options but it had never registered how many buttonholes were accessible with the push of a button. The 430 has 6 while the 440QE boasts 7! And that doesn’t even include the 2 eyelet options.

The handy stitch card sits right on the machine for easy reference

In order–the Standard, the Narrow, the Stretch, the Round, the Keyhole, the Straight Stitch, and the Handlook.

The family of buttonholes

So what the heck are all those used for?!  I immediately go to the manual; it’s a great resource for all sorts of questions.  Some of it is a personal or aesthetic choice.  The Standard, The Narrow, & The Handlook are for light to medium weight fabrics and projects like blouses and dresses.  Both The Round and The Keyhole are for heavier fabrics and projects like jackets and trousers. They suggest The Straight Stitch for leather, but I might also consider it when making bound buttonholes.  The Sewing Bible has an excellent work up that utilizes the #34 Clear Reverse Foot for accurate stitching.

Buttonholes are definitely a time I play with utilizing the start/stop button.  Since the machine will stop itself at the completion of the buttonhole, there’s no need to keep your foot on the pedal.  Just watch for the two red marks on your #3A foot to meet, press the Quick Reverse (or Backstitch) button once, and watch the machine work its magic.  Don’t forget you have to unplug the foot pedal or the start/stop won’t work.

You can easily tell the start/stop button--it's blue!
Adjust the red slide on the left based on the size of your button

The lens on the #3A automatically registers the length of the buttonhole for exact duplication.  This automatic feature works with all the buttonhole options for easily replication.  Notice the “auto” flashing with the buttonhole icon on the screen.  We know it’s “recording” the length.  After one is produced, there’s no need to use the Quick Reverse/Backstitch button. The machine can produce as many as you’re willing to sit down for. You can also store a buttonhole in memory. Only one at a time though. But hey, sometimes that’s more than enough.


It’s also recommended to thread the bobbin thread through the bobbin case finger to produce the best looking buttonhole possible.  This extra bobbin tension helps pull the top thread under and is also a great trick for any satin stitching as well.

And don’t forget about cutting them open. I can’t count the number of times I accidentally sliced into my stitches with my old standby–the seam ripper. Next time, consider picking up BERNINA’s Buttonhole Cutter.  With a wood block underneath, the chisel cuts cleanly through without disrupting the perfect buttonholes you’ve just created.

The Aurora 440QE is available for Open Sewing and for classes in our main floor classroom.  Features such as start/stop, #3A foot, & automatic duplication are available starting with the 3 Series. Collect some projects–come sew buttonholes that will make you weak in the knees. Try them all. We’re always here to help!

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