My shiny new sewing machine is down for repairs, so I've been using my old 1994 Singer 2517. It's a hoss, but definitely leaves something to be desired in the buttonhole department. It's almost completely a manual process - each of the four sides of a buttonhole are stitched individually, and the wheel has to be turned to the next setting for each side. Stitch, turn, stitch, turn, start, stop, start, stop, wash, rinse, repeat. It's got a clear foot that allows you to see markings on the fabric to guide your buttonholes, but it's actually really hard to see any detail through, and doesn't let the fabric slip under it smoothly at all, so I end up using my regular steel one - and no matter which foot I use, the feed dogs walk the fabric ALL OVER THE PLACE when the buttonhole settings are in use, so it requires a LOT of pressure and fidgeting to get the things to come out relatively straight.
So on my latest project (which I'll show you in a few days once it's finished), I tried something new:
That's Washi tape. Washi tape is a craft masking tape that is re-usable and doesn't leave a sticky residue on surfaces. My roommate uses a lot of it in her paper crafts; she got this measuring tape Washi in a sampler pack she ordered (Etsy? I think?), and passed it along to me. It only goes to 16" and and then repeats; but the measurements are accurate, and so I've been finding lots of ways to use it in my sewing room - there's a yard-long strip on my table in front of my machine, and a 6" strip on the machine it self for a quick guide.
On my most recent project, I also used it to help me make a nice set of buttonholes. I wrapped one piece of tape around the edge of my garment, to line up all the buttonholes correctly near the edge of the fabric, measured my buttons, and then placed a second piece of tape on the outside - all I had to do was go from one piece of tape to the other, and I used the measurements on the tape to space the buttonholes out evenly. I still had to put a lot of pressure on the fabric to keep the buttonholes straight, but that was the ONLY thing I had to worry about. And when I was finished, the tape lifted right off the fabric, didn't pull the fibers at all, and didn't leave anything behind.
It worked GREAT! I had 42 buttonholes to do on this proejct, and the tape was a HUGE time-saver. In the 22 years I've been using this machine, I've never had it go as smoothly as it did with the Washi tape! I will definitely be doing this again!
Until I get my new machine repaired, that is.