Vintage Sewing Tools: The Singer Bound Buttonhole Maker
I was at the flea market recently and bought this mostly complete set of the Singer Bound Buttonhole maker.
I’ve seen the main metal tool from this kit in boxes of miscellaneous sewing tools but never knew what it was. Having the entire kit answered the question.
Along with the metal tool, the envelope contains directions and paper pattern pieces. These patterns are perforated to be easily separated and are used to cut the fabric for the “lips” of the bound buttonholes of various sizes: 3/4 inch to 1 1/2 inches. In the past, once these pieces had been used, and no replacements were available, the tool was forgotten.
I have scanned the pattern sheets into my computer and now can print as many copies of the pattern as I want. Please see the PDF linked below to save your own copy.
I have drawn lines along the perforations, so I will know where to cut to get my new pattern pieces.
I have cut one of the pieces. Notice that there’s a dotted center line along the length of the piece. There are also two stitching lines marked, and the end of the buttonhole. These are used to align the piece to the buttonhole markings on the fabric’s right side.
For the sample, I’ve cut a rectangle to represent the main body piece and applied fusible interfacing to the buttonhole area. I have also used the pattern to cut the fabric for the buttonhole lips. On the main body piece, I’ve marked the center line of the buttonhole, and the end.
Pin the paper pattern onto the WRONG side of the buttonhole lip fabric. Machine-baste the pieces together along the marked center line. This the welt unit.
With the pattern side up, lay the welt unit onto the right side of the fabric, aligning the machine-basted line along the fabric’s center line. Align the crosswise marks on the welt unit with the end mark on the main piece.
Pin in place.
Using a stitch length of 0.5 mm to 0.75 mm, sew along the stitching lines marked on the pattern.
Tear away the paper.
This is where the metal tool, or pressing tool, comes in. Open the end, and slip the narrower blade between the two stitching lines.
Close the end of the tool.
Press first one side of the welt unit, then the other, over the edges of the metal tool.
Remove the tool and cut ONLY the welt unit layer along the machine basting line.
This creates two separate pieces that will form the lips of the buttonhole.
From the wrong side, slash the body layer between the two rows of stitching in an elongated X, as shown.
Turn the the buttonhole lips through the buttonhole opening to the wrong side, abutting the lips’ folded edges neatly. Press.
Using the Singer adjustable zipper foot, sew the triangle ends to finish the ends of the buttonhole.
Sew with a 0.5-mm to 0.75-mm length stitch.
Sew both ends.
Now I have a very narrow bound buttonhole.
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