Foot of the Month: Update a Blouse with New Buttons

September 2, 2017By Joanne BankoFoot of the Month, Projects, Sewing 5 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

This month we are featuring foot “M”, the button sewing foot. With this foot you can easily update a ready-made blouse by removing dull buttons and replacing them with buttons color matched to your blouse fabric. In no time at all you’ll have a whole new look! This foot makes quick work of sewing on buttons, with the added strength of machine stitches. You’ll be amazed when you see how easy it is!

Materials and Supplies 

  • Brother Sewing Machine with included Button Sewing foot “M”, also known as the Button Fitting foot – Part No. 130489-001
  • Standard flat buttons
  • Good quality sewing thread for machine
  • Seam ripper for removing buttons
  • Machine needle appropriate for fabric
  • Optional – Seam sealant
  • Optional – Wash out liquid fabric glue
  • Blouse or similar garment with standard buttons.
  • New buttons for replacements on the blouse.
Note: Purchase the same size button or check to see if slightly smaller or larger buttons would be an improvement.

Instructions for Using Button Sewing Foot

  1. Guidelines for button Sewing Foot “M.”
  • Check your machine manual to select the featured stitch used for sewing on buttons by machine. See Figure #1.
Foot of the Month
Figure #1
  • For many Brother machine models, the machine will automatically lower the feed dogs in preparation for sewing the buttons. This is important because the fabric needs to stay in one position while sewing.
  • Notice the stitch width is pre-set to 3.5mm for the width. Most standard buttons have the same amount of spacing between the holes regardless of the size of the button. When the button is properly placed under the foot, the needle should easily clear both holes on the button. To test, you will want to hand walk the needle into both holes. Adjust the width if necessary.
  • The button sewing foot is only suitable for standard flat buttons. Buttons with shanks attached cannot be used with this foot. See below:

Foot of the Month

  • To set up the machine for button sewing, begin by selecting the stitch. You can use the auto tie off feature but refrain from using auto thread cutting. It’s necessary to leave thread tails to securely finish the button sewing. When finished gently pull the fabric forward, leave long tails and then cut the threads.
  • There are two ways to use this foot – with or without the shank lever. Method one is shown using the shank lever. This lever is designed for thicker buttons or button sewn onto thicker fabrics. The added height formed by the lever makes it easier to slip the button in and out of the buttonhole. Snap the button sewing foot onto the shank of the machine.
Tip: When attaching button fitting foot, the letter “M” will be at the back, on the left hand side.
  1. To begin, place the button on the fabric with the metal toes resting on top of the button, having the button centered under the foot. See Figure #2.
Foot of the Month
Figure #2
  1. Slide the lever forward. Test the width to make sure the needle easily clears both holes. See Figure #3a and Figure 3b.
Foot of the Month
Figure #3a
Foot of the Month
Figure #3b
  1. Place your foot on the foot control and sew until the machine stops. Or, if you prefer to use the start stop button you can use that instead. When finished sewing, you can bring the thread to the underside using a hand needle and then tie off the stitches by making a strong knot. Treat with seam sealant for extra security. See below:

Foot of the Month

Foot of the Month

  • Depending on the thickness of your fabric or your button, you may want to wrap the two ends of the upper thread around the underside of the button to create a strong shank. See Figure #4.
Foot of the Month
Figure #4
  1. For method two, slide the shank lever back to sew a button that does not need extra room. Align the foot in the same manner as you did in Step 2 and test by turning the hand wheel. Sew until the machine stops. To finish feed the thread to the underside using a hand needle, and tie in a strong knot. Apply a light dose of seam sealant for extra security.
  2. Use your new button sewing skills to transform a blouse as follows:
  • Carefully remove buttons with a seam ripper. See Figure #5.
Foot of the Month
Figure #5
  • Use chalk to mark the original position of the button.
  • Use a drop of wash out fabric glue to hold buttons in place until you’re ready to stitch. Let dry completely before sewing. See Figure #6.
Foot of the Month
Figure #6
  • Sew each new button on as you learned in the steps above. See Figure #7.
Foot of the Month
Figure #7

See before and after pictures below:

Foot of the Month
Foot of the Month

Enjoy using your new button sewing skills for future projects!

Additional Tips:

  • Check your machine manual for stitch numbers and settings that are specific to your particular machine model.
  • To sew buttons with four holes it is best to stitch the two holes closest to you first, tie off threads as shown above, and then reposition the foot to sew the second set of holes in the same manner.
  • Seam sealant is a great help in making buttons more secure but it is a good idea to test in an inconspicuous spot to make sure no staining occurs on your fabric. In addition, always use a light dose of seam sealant to avoid unnecessary stiffness.
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  • Is it just me . . . or does it drive you crazy too when buttons fall off of ready made garments!?! Consider re-stitching them with the button sewing foot. Yet another pet peeve is white buttons on a colored blouse. That’s an easy fix too as there are many button colors to choose from. The button sewing foot makes quick work of sewing on color-matched buttons.

  • Your knowledge of the sewing industry and instructions of your projects are the best around. You inspire me to begin projects that at first might seem difficult but with the machines we have today it can be done. Thank you ❤️

  • I tried my button foot. Thought I had done something wrong as my button stitching looked exactly like button in picture 4. How do you stitch so there is no loose loop on top? Tried twice, went back to hand sewing as I didn’t like the loose thread. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Janice,
      Thanks for taking the time to write. When sewing on a button with this specialty foot the little bit of “loopiness” is designed so that there is a little “wiggle” room when you need to button and unbutton. If you slide the shank lever out of the way you will get a little less of a loop but it really is part of the structure of button sewing by machine. Machine work versus handwork give different options and different result whether it is button sewing, blind hems, etc.

      Having said all that, when you get to the step where you feed the thread to tie it off on the backside with the hand needle, you could feed it just below the button and then wind it around the underside of the button to tighten up the slack in the loose zig zagged threads. This process would be similar to hand sewing a button when you are adding a thread shank for thick fabric or a bulky button. I hope this helps. feel free to give me another holler if you need more explanation 🙂

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