A little while ago, I bought my vintage Brother machine on eBay, and posted this (very fuzzy) photo of the mystery objects which came with it. I asked if anyone knew what they were, and lo-and-behold, someone does! Yay!
This lovely lady (of whose tailor’s ham and sleeve roll I am EXTREMELY desirous – mine are the standard emo black-and-red plaid), has informed me that they are for buttonholing. Further investigation reveals that they are buttonhole templates, to be used with a buttonholer attachment, like the one below:
In this (not-mine, and therefore non-fuzzy) picture, you can see more clearly that some templates are for straight and some for keyhole buttonholes.
Now, obviously I am in desparate need of more reasons to lurk vintage sewing paraphernalia on eBay *cue
only slightly manic laughter*… In fact, when I mentioned to Paul that the mystery was solved, and showed him the buttonholer, he said (no hesitation here, ladies and gents, very matter-of-fact): ‘I assume you’ll be getting one of those then.’ Readers, he knows me so well.
It’s obviously meant to be, as the photo above came up on a quick search for a picture to illustrate what I was talking about, and is from this post, published just yesterday! Hello comprehensive instructions for how to use my as-yet-unpurchased buttonholer. Happy days indeed.
At the risk of sounding a bit… I dunno, ignorant? (OH WAIT), I genuinely had no idea this attachment was a thing. I did wonder occasionally what you did about buttonholes with a straight-stitch machine, but came to the conclusion you either made bound buttonholes or hand-worked ones. Both pretty time-consuming, and not necessarily something you want to be bothered with for everyday garments. Turns out our endlessly inventive and practical ancestors also thought this, hence the buttonholer attachment.
Have you ever used one of these? What d’you think? I am especially excited about the possibility of keyhole buttonholes… I’d be really interested to hear from any of you who use this attachment on your vintage machines. It seems like a bit of a faff compared with the 1-step or 4-step buttonhole incorporated in modern machines, but then I’ve never been happy with my buttonholes done this way, so I’ll definitely be trying the old-fashioned way.
Happy sewing, we’ll catch up soon!