My Pfaff Creative makes unsurpassed buttonholes. It’s a computerised machine, so of course she’s got programs for several types of lovely buttonholes. But this is not unique and not particularly remarkable. The most remarkable bit is a simple mechanical aid that makes all the difference.
The first thing you notice is of course the sliding buttonhole foot, but that’s not unique – a lot of machines have that. The remarkable bit is the sliding frame that is inserted from the back: the metal strip slides under the needle plate, and the plastic strip slides under the foot.
The fabric is inserted between the foot and the frame. The plastic bit of the frame has a non-slip layer, so that the fabric is held firmly. During sewing, the foot and the frame slide together with the fabric clamped between them.
The frame slides easily along the needle plate, much easier than fabric would do without the frame. The buttonhole program is based on counted stitches, so if the feed is slowed due to fabric resistance, the buttonholes come out shortened or misshapen, or both. Even with this frame mechanism, you have to make sure that the bulk of your garment does not interfere with the transport and does not block the frame as it moves towards the back.
The best way to handle it, I found, is to keep my hands under the material left and right of the foot and lift it up a little at the back so it would not block the moving frame. But the result is beautiful and well worth it if you have to make a lot of buttonholes.