i hate it when this happens. trying to blog something "meaningful" every single day was too ambitious for me. between the demands of building an opera, allergy-induced sleep deprivation, and my desire to be a good wife and mother, i am wiped out.
but i do want to keep trying so i thought i'd respond to alexandra's question posed in the comments section of my post about sewing gadgets: she asked if i prefer the singer auto-pilot buttonholer, or the buttonholes made by my sewing machine(s).
i prefer the buttonholer--because none of my machines make buttonholes. or rather, none of them make automatic buttonholes. all my machines were made before 1970--my two favorites were made in the late 1950's, the singer 410A, AKA the slant-o-matic, and the singer 500, AKA the rocketeer. they do make a lot of pretty stitches by turning the dials on the front to various combinations, and you can get cams to put in the top that will do a few more pretty stitches, but there are no automatic functions--no buttonholes, no start/stop, no needle-up--just plain sewing.
however, i do make buttonholes on these machines without the buttonholer--i do it manually. this is really simple to do--so simple, in fact, that i have students do this on the second or third day in the shop--and the thru-hiker website shows you how to do it.
i use the buttonholer on things that will be seen up close--like rudi's hawaiian shirts--because they are worth the effort of installing the attachment--but for anything that won't get a lot of scrutiny, i just plop the project in the machine and zig-zag like crazy.
if you are a stickler for perfection, you can even get a presser foot to help you measure the buttonhole as you sew it, but i don't use it. and after you've practiced this buttonhole technique a few times, you won't need it either.
while you're at the thru-hiker website, check out their other tutorials--this is the place to go if you ever need a personalized pattern for an anatomical sleeping bag hood. and really, who doesn't?