May 25, 2020

416 Comments




 

 


The Easy Way to Sew Machine Buttonholes- Freezer Paper!

Sewing Easy Machine Buttonholes Using the Freezer Paper Method

This week we have a fun treat! Shari Fuller, the designer behind the Thimbles and Acorns brand, is going to share her amazingly cool buttonhole sewing tip with us! After trying this, I'm pretty sure you'll never go back to your old method - seriously! My hope is that you will walk away with the confidence to sew professional looking buttonholes!

Limited Time  Giveaway! We're giving away a $50 Pixie Faire Gift Card!

To enter the giveaway, be sure to scroll to the end of this post and leave a comment. Tell us- would you rather sew buttons and buttonholes or sew a zipper?

Sewing Easy Machine Buttonholes Using the Freezer Paper Method

But first... If you're new to sewing buttonholes with an automatic buttonhole foot attachment on your sewing machine, be sure to check out my Simple Closures Video from the Sewing Academy series, it includes a full tutorial showing how to install and use a button hole foot. I also demonstrate how to open up the buttonhole successfully without accidentally cutting through the threads.

Now on to the tutorial from Shari Fuller!  

Sewing Easy Machine Buttonholes Using the Freezer Paper Method

Watch the Freezer Paper Buttonhole video below: 

Or follow along with the full tutorial here:

For many sewers, the thought of adding buttonholes to a finished outfit is enough to send chills down their spine… it does for me.  The thing is, it isn’t terribly difficult to make buttonholes, especially if your machine has a one-step buttonhole feature.  The problem is more about placement.  A slightly crooked or offset buttonhole can ruin the finished look of an otherwise masterfully sewn outfit… and it is nearly impossible to remove a buttonhole without damaging the fabric.

The key to beautiful buttonholes is to carefully mark all your placement lines so you can get them right the first time.  Transferring markings directly onto fabric, however, isn’t always as easy as it seems… which is probably why we are tempted to take shortcuts we inevitably regret.  Markings can be difficult to see on dark or printed fabrics, and it can be difficult to remove markings from lighter fabrics.  This is where the freezer paper comes in, the white paper is easy to write on and easy to see, and when you are finished, you just peel it off without a trace!

To begin, gather your project, freezer paper, buttonhole foot, pen, ruler, scissors, rotary cutter (optional), and an iron.

1. Measure the width of your buttonhole foot.

2. Cut a strip of freezer paper the same width as your buttonhole foot.

3. Draw a line down the center of the strip of freezer paper.

4. On a scrap piece of fabric, make a sample buttonhole that fits the buttons you will be using in your project.

5. Measure the length of your sample buttonhole.

6. Using the measurement of your sample buttonhole, determine the buttonhole placement on your project and transfer the placement marking to the center line on your strip of freezer paper. The top of the strip should line up with the top edge of your project. Don’t forget to figure in the seam allowance when determining the placement of the first buttonhole.

Tip: For doll clothes, I like the top button to be 1/4-inch from the finished edge, so the marking for the top buttonhole should be 1/2-inch from the top of the freezer paper to allow for the 1/4-inch seam allowance.

7. Fold the freezer paper strip in half along the center line. Trim the excess length of the bottom, leaving about 3-inches to help center the template under the buttonhole foot.

8. Snip the ends of each buttonhole marking 1/8-inch in from the folded edge…

… then snip out the center of each buttonhole.

Your finished template will look like this.

9. With the plastic side down, position the freezer paper template on you project. The top edge of the template should match the top edge of the project. Use the center line of the freezer paper to help with the alignment. Press the freezer paper so that it adheres to your project.

If you are unsatisfied with the alignment, simply peel the freezer paper up, reposition it, and press it in place again.

10. Starting with the bottom buttonhole, position the template so that the needle lands at the bottom edge of the buttonhole opening. Adjust the template so that the side edges are aligned with your buttonhole foot and the center line runs down the center of the buttonhole foot. Stitch your buttonhole. Repeat this process for the rest of the buttonhole, working from the bottom up.

When you are finished, peel the freezer paper template from your project. If you are careful not to tear it, you can reuse this template several times.

Look, beautiful, straight, and even buttonholes! (…though, I wouldn’t suggest using white thread on read fabric)

While this tutorial demonstrates how to make a template for simple vertical buttonholes, the concept can also be used for horizontal and arbitrarily placed buttonholes as well. Instead of cutting a strip the same width as your buttonhole foot, cut a wider strip or template that will accommodate the buttonhole placement and draw guidelines on the freezer paper for your buttonhole foot.

 Thanks, Shari! This is a fantastic resource!

Applying this method can help you approach sewing patterns with functioning buttons with confidence! Be sure to check out our Buttons and Bows Collection to see more patterns where you can apply your new buttonhole skills!

PDF Sewing Pattern George Washington's Uniform For 18-inch dolls PDF Sewing Pattern Button Up shirt For 18-inch dolls PDF Sewing Pattern Annie Ruffle Dress For18-inch dolls

Sewing Easy Machine Buttonholes Using the Freezer Paper Method

ENTER TO WIN A $50 Pixie Faire Gift Card!

To enter this week's contest, simply click the link below and then enter through the giveaway widget at the bottom of the blog post, there are many things you can do to earn multiple entry points!

Contest Details: You enter through the entry form that is embedded on this page and appears just below this paragraph, if you don't see it, be sure to visit the page from your desktop or an alternate browser such as Google Chrome. It may not appear on all mobile devices. The complete rules and entry details appear on the entry form. This is not a comment contest - in other words, leaving a comment on the bottom of this page is not an official entry method. The only required entry method is to leave a comment under this post and then confirm that you did it in the contest widget. One person will receive the PF Gift Card. You can enter once, or gain multiple entries by completing the other entry methods and increase your chances of winning. Please review all Terms and Conditions on the giveaway page before entering. While we wish we could run this contest everywhere, for legal reasons it is only open to eligible residents of the U.S. and Canada, not including Rhode Island. This contest is exclusively endorsed by Liberty Jane Clothing and Pixie Faire. 

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We'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell us -would you rather sew buttons and buttonholes or sew a zipper? Commenting below and confirming your entry in the widget above gives you one entry method, the other methods are listed in the widget above, be sure to enter in as many ways as you can to receive the maximum amount of entries to win one PF Gift Card!

Thanks, everyone!

The Pixie Faire Team


100 Comments

Lyn  K
Lyn K

July 10, 2020

Depends on the outfit, I fine with both. The freezer paper, a great tip as not only does it make placement precise, it’s shows how better prep results in a better outcome.

Shelley S.
Shelley S.

June 01, 2020

Thank you for sharing the new method. I’ll definitely give it a try. But I still like zippers better, or snaps or velcro & the buttons sewn on for that detailed appearance as someone previously mentioned.

Teena Baucke-Rients
Teena Baucke-Rients

June 01, 2020

Based upon the new skills and techniques I’ve added to my sewing arsenal the past few years, I no longer fear using either one! :)

Judith Elizabeth Culbreth
Judith Elizabeth Culbreth

June 01, 2020

I prefer both, but also use snaps or velcro with buttons on the outside (for decoration)

Donna
Donna

June 01, 2020

I prefer to just do Velcro instead of buttons. I can do zippers. I must check out your buttonhole method.

Kelly Pilkinton
Kelly Pilkinton

June 01, 2020

I prefer the process of seeing zippers, because I can put one in in 5 minutes or less. However, I adore the look of buttons and button holes.,The just look precious on doll and children’s clothing. I use both techniques regularly. Love your freezer paper tips! Can’t wait to try them. 😁

Constance
Constance

June 01, 2020

Although I use both, I prefer buttons and buttonholes. I like the look, and, it gives me pleasure knowing how much work went into creating. Also, I sew more historical clothing. Thanks sew much for the tutorial!

Jane
Jane

June 01, 2020

I love to put zippers in all my doll dresses, as they are
easier for the little ones to use. Button holes are more work
to sew and Velcro sticks to everything with Velcro.

Robin
Robin

June 01, 2020

I’ve made lots of buttonholes and inserted lots of zippers, so I guess my answer is both! Have to say, your freezer paper method is awesome! Would have been especially helpful when I was just starting out, but I’m sure I’ll use it now, too. Thanks!

Liza
Liza

June 01, 2020

This is brilliant!!! I’m going to give this a try.

Linda Noblin
Linda Noblin

June 01, 2020

I prefer to use zippers but it really depends on the garment.

Lynn
Lynn

June 01, 2020

I much prefer zippers. My machine makes terrible buttonholes for some reason.

Jo
Jo

June 01, 2020

If I need to choose I take zipper so much easier to put on and take off the dolls clothing

Patti
Patti

May 31, 2020

I would rather sew in a zipper!

Sandy
Sandy

May 31, 2020

I would much rather sew a zipper than buttons.

Melani
Melani

May 31, 2020

This is terrific information. Thank you so much. Can’t wait to try them out. I love how buttonholes look, but have not liked making them.

Shirley
Shirley

May 31, 2020

I like button holes. I also use snaps with a button. I have never tried putting a zipper in doll clothes.

Laura
Laura

May 31, 2020

I like both. It depends on the style of the outfit.
In a pinch I use velcro!

Juanita Lanaux
Juanita Lanaux

May 31, 2020

I would rather sew buttonholes than a zipper. I have not yet mastered zipper insertion.

starry
starry

May 30, 2020

so cool!! id rather sew zippers or buttons than buttonholes

Maureen A
Maureen A

May 30, 2020

I like sewing on buttons but not button holes. I need to try this method!

Dorothy
Dorothy

May 30, 2020

I love your tutorial for small buttonholes! It’s genius! I tried it and it was pretty simple. I would have said I prefer zippers, but with you tips, I am changing my mind to preferring buttonholes. Thank you!

Piroska
Piroska

May 30, 2020

I find buttonholes more fiddly, and though I can do them, I’d rather do zippers.

Debbie Eldridge
Debbie Eldridge

May 30, 2020

I usually use velcro, lol. This is a really good way to make the buttonholes straight though. One reason I don’t do buttons is because of the crooked mess I have when I am finished!!

Michele
Michele

May 30, 2020

I prefer the look of buttons and buttonholes, or buttons with snaps underneath to actually fasten. This tutorial looks great, and I could certainly use some pointers! That said, I would like to learn how to better utilize zippers in doll clothes.

Rhonda
Rhonda

May 30, 2020

zippers are by far the easiest for me to sew!

Kalena
Kalena

May 30, 2020

Zippers

Angela
Angela

May 30, 2020

I prefer to use zippers… I have been actively avoiding buttonholes, because I have no idea what I’m doing. This tutorial is super helpful and I can’t wait to try buttonholes again!

Bev Hiler
Bev Hiler

May 30, 2020

I prefer zippers, but can’t wait to try this button tutorial. Thank you Bev

Michele
Michele

May 30, 2020

Right now, I prefer sewing buttonholes. I’ve had success making buttonholes with my Janome. I would also like to try zippers. I need to order some small invisible ones. I appreciate the buttonhole tutorial! Thanks, Shari Fuller!

Hilliary
Hilliary

May 30, 2020

I like zippers but love the button look also. I am more proficient with zippers so would have to say I would rather sew them on.

lisa seward
lisa seward

May 29, 2020

I would rather see buttons and pigeonholed them zippers. But would rather use hoops and loops over buttons. This hack, is helpful tho I’ll give it a try.

Dena M
Dena M

May 29, 2020

I don’t like sewing buttonholes or zippers on such tiny garments, but prefer buttonholes to zippers. I usually do snaps and buttons over them.

Rose
Rose

May 29, 2020

It depends on the garment and what supplies are available.
The age of the doll owner is also a factor.
The tutorial is very helpful, thank you !

Cathy
Cathy

May 29, 2020

I struggle with both, and tend to use Velcro or snaps. Thanks for the tutorial, I will definitely try this.

Anna P
Anna P

May 29, 2020

I think they’re both really hard, but I guess I’d choose a zipper! But this tutorial is helpful!

Patricia
Patricia

May 29, 2020

I sew buttons on OVER my snaps. As others mentioned, it’s HARD to sew such tiny zippers or buttonholes on doll clothes. AG is better than say….BARBIE…..but still, it’s hard to get big fingers and/or hands in where they need to be, so hold the buttons/zippers until they get sewed. BUT, I am excited about Ms. Shari’s lesson. I will try it, and hopefully, I will be able to ‘master’ tiny buttonholes! THANKS!

Jeanne
Jeanne

May 29, 2020

I use zippers or snaps.

LizT
LizT

May 29, 2020

That’s a really hard choice! I dislike sewing both buttonholes and zippers on tiny doll garments! I find it very tricky on small pieces. I cheat by sewing snaps for the closure and using decorative buttons as a faux finish.

Patti M
Patti M

May 29, 2020

Neither, snaps with faux buttons for me. I did love the way Shari taught to sew on snaps in the closure video series. But in truth zippers throw off the scale of the garment and button holes just seem difficult for my young friends to get buttoned. I NEVER use Hook and loop tape, it is terrible on the dolls hair.

Barbara Gresham
Barbara Gresham

May 29, 2020

Zippers are quicker for me!

Melinda
Melinda

May 29, 2020

Zippers are easier for me because my good sewing machine doesn’t make good buttonholes.

Debby
Debby

May 29, 2020

I do both zippers and buttons but have not done many button holes as I did not have a machine that could do them… Since I just got a new Baby Lock Verve I am going to do more.

Debby
Debby

May 29, 2020

I do both zippers and buttons but have not done many button holes as I did not have a machine that could do them… Since I just got a new Baby Lock Verve I am going to do more.

Lani
Lani

May 29, 2020

Don’t like to think of doing either one — especially on these small garments. Did take a look at the freezer paper demo and that does look ever so much easier for buttonholes. Plan to give it a try one of these days.

Yojana
Yojana

May 29, 2020

Haven’t tried buttons yet! Only done zippers

Galilee
Galilee

May 29, 2020

I would rather sew buttons

MichelleK
MichelleK

May 29, 2020

Honestly, I do everything I can to avoid them both, but if I had to choose, I would pick buttons, but I’ve heard that zippers are easy once you know how. I am going to learn how. thanks for the chance to win!

Kerry
Kerry

May 29, 2020

Buttons add so much in the design of a garment as well as being able to be in scale, which zippers can’t accomplish as easily, so I’d have to say buttons for those reasons.

kathleen
kathleen

May 29, 2020

I like to make my buttonholes by hand, as my Grandmother taught me. I always had trouble with getting them straight by machine. Zippers are less visible and more forgiving of my errors!

Sara
Sara

May 29, 2020

I would prefer to set a zipper but I can do buttons and buttonholes.

lisa
lisa

May 29, 2020

Zippers are difficult, I prefer buttons.

Kevin Leistner
Kevin Leistner

May 29, 2020

I will use both buttons and zippers. However, I find my machine does not like to sew the really small button holes that are needed for the 1/4 buttons, so I held up doing those by hand and that can be a time consuming process.

Sandy
Sandy

May 29, 2020

Love the tips with freezer paper.
I have an expensive (now not so new) machine that requires many, many steps to make a buttonhole. The 3-page manual directions are tedious and there are no directions on line. Plus, the center stitches tend to overlap. (My old machine made perfect repeatable button holes). So, I tend to use snaps or invisible zippers. My dream – I wish all patterns would mark the CENTER BACK LINE. This is for several reasons.
1. For zippers.
2. For snaps. I always encase the back seams (with an overlap) for a finished look. I also extend one interior seam slightly to act as interfacing to add an extra thickness for sewing on the snaps. Some patterns (with no center back line) are very skimpy and finish with raw edges. Guess-able at best.

Florence
Florence

May 29, 2020

I like zippers better because usually it takes multiple buttons and buttonholes.

Heidi Mittiga
Heidi Mittiga

May 29, 2020

I prefer zippers because varied heights due to different fabrics or seam alliwances can cause the stitches in a horizontally placed buttonhole to stall in one place, which then causes the buttonhole to be uneven.

Julie F
Julie F

May 29, 2020

Even though tiny buttonholes can be tedious, I much prefer to make them than putting a zipper in a doll garment. They add a detail look to a doll outfiit!

Sara
Sara

May 29, 2020

I am inspired! This technique is going to improve my sewing skills.My button holes are always a disaster so I’m looking forward to having them look like they should.

Carol
Carol

May 29, 2020

Appreciate the information and will definitely try the freezer paper. My choice depends on the outfit. Thank you!

designdreamer
designdreamer

May 29, 2020

This is a tough one, but before I had my Bernina, I probably would have said buttonholes, but automatic buttonholes are SO much easier. Also, it probably depends on the garment, and type of zipper. Although in many ways invisible zippers are easier, there are LOTS of ways they can go wrong – i.e., if it crosses a seam, you have to make sure they’re lined up, AND if you’re using heavier fabric, or more than one layer of fabric THAT can cause a problem. On the other hand it also depends on where a buttonhole is placed – any unevenness and my buttonholer gets jammed (yes even my beloved Bernina! lol!) I’m talking near a collar on a shirt or the waist seam on a shirtdress. All that to say I still prefer buttonholes to zippers.

Joy
Joy

May 29, 2020

Usually, I prefer zippers since there is less time involved. It depends on what I am creating.

Donna Deters
Donna Deters

May 29, 2020

I would rather do a button hole

Donna Deters
Donna Deters

May 29, 2020

I would rather do a button hole

Gina
Gina

May 29, 2020

I prefer adding buttons because they are so much easier to find cute/matching buttons to a fabric verses a zipper. I can’t wait to try this new technique for button holes. Thanks!

pamela
pamela

May 29, 2020

I prefer buttons and buttonholes. I have never used freezer paper before,but I will now!

Christine L. Brown
Christine L. Brown

May 29, 2020

I struggle with both zippers and buttonholes. But I guess I would say I choose zipper before buttonhole. I feel like my zipper never lines up correctly with the fabric top and bottom. And finding small zippers is a challenge as well.

Melinda
Melinda

May 29, 2020

They’re about the same to me, but I think buttons and buttonholes are a little easier, even in a smaller fashion, than zippers.

Barbara Buehler
Barbara Buehler

May 29, 2020

Been sewing for 60 years, this is the best system for placing button holes I have ever seen. running out to get my freezer paper now!

kathi
kathi

May 29, 2020

I prefer zippers over button holes because they have never been fool proof and I mess up!! But really eager to try this method, I think I can handle that!! Need to put freezer wrap on my shopping list. thanks for the tutorial!!

Rebecca Landy
Rebecca Landy

May 29, 2020

I love this! I have never been able to keep a straight line! I am off to the store to get freezer paper! Love you, Pixie Faire

Susan
Susan

May 29, 2020

I prefer to put in a zipper—it’s faster and if I make a mistake, easier to pick out the thread and start again. And I have had to do over lots of times.

Diana Geiger
Diana Geiger

May 29, 2020

I would rather sew in a zipper than do a button hole. Thank you Shari for the tutorial I will be a little more confident on sewing buttons on.

dee evans
dee evans

May 29, 2020

I would do fake buttons holes and use Velcro. cheater. cheater I know. looks hard

Pat
Pat

May 29, 2020

I think zippers are easier but have done both on the doll clothes….buttons are so much cuter!

Rebekah
Rebekah

May 29, 2020

I haven’t sewn either for probably 20 years, as I’ve just recently gotten excited about sewing again; but this encourages me to try. I think I’ll start with buttonholes over zippers ~

Karissa
Karissa

May 29, 2020

I would rather sew a zipper, although buttons and buttonholes are cute too!

Msru
Msru

May 29, 2020

I prefer Velcro just because of little hands have trouble with buttons and zippers. I will definitely try the button holes and zippers for older customers.

Ruth Ann
Ruth Ann

May 29, 2020

On tiny garments if I don’t use Velcro or snaps, I usually use buttons. I may try little zippers.

Sheila
Sheila

May 29, 2020

back in my early sewing days had an extreme mental block buttonholes and my sister had the same but for zippers so we would trade them off for the other to finish the closer BUT with the new machines I LOVE my push a button and make a buttonhole but agree with the blog post always have a issue with placement especially on doll clothes will try this hack and see if I can make it work

Lawana
Lawana

May 29, 2020

I like all the methods of closure. It depends on the outfit I am sewing.

Candy
Candy

May 29, 2020

I like to use snaps, but it depends on what I’m making. Buttonholes are a lot easier with the new sewing machines, but I don’t know if my granddaughter can manage them yet.

Rachel
Rachel

May 29, 2020

zipper!

Monique
Monique

May 29, 2020

I prefer zippers. My machine doesn’t do button holes for me.

Rebecca
Rebecca

May 29, 2020

I have had success doing both zippers and buttonholes, just not every time I’ve done them. Tiny buttons can be a challenge to sew on just right, and my button hole attachment sometimes is finicky with the small buttons. For doll clothes, I prefer zippers.

Alecia
Alecia

May 29, 2020

I haven’t actually done a lot of sewing on little things, but I just love the look of buttons so much better. :-)

Dotti G
Dotti G

May 29, 2020

I would much rather sew buttons and buttonholes. Zippers have never been easy for me even though I like the look on some styles.

Karen W
Karen W

May 29, 2020

Personally, I prefer velcro, but after watching the tutorial on buttons, I’d give them a try.

Sonja
Sonja

May 29, 2020

I can do both, but this technique from Shari is really a nice way to make sure the buttonholes line up! I’m looking forward to trying it out. My machine likes to stop halfway through a buttonhole, so I tend to use a zipper or velcro if I can.

Sherril
Sherril

May 29, 2020

I’d rather sew in a zipper than make buttonholes. At least I have done that!

Edis
Edis

May 29, 2020

Right now I’d much rather install a zipper than sew buttonholes. With buttonholes, you have to be absolutely precise for the garment to come out right. I am excited about your tutorial. I intend to overcome my fear of buttonholes and expand my sewing repertoire. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

Sherrie P.
Sherrie P.

May 29, 2020

I’m okay using any closures it depends on what I am making.

Debbie
Debbie

May 29, 2020

I prefer zippers a little more—I don’t get quite as anxious about those.

Melody
Melody

May 29, 2020

I’d much rather install an invisible zipper but will definitely use the tips I learned the next time I need to sew buttonholes.

Cynthia
Cynthia

May 29, 2020

For little hands, I use Velcro on most doll clothes, otherwise buttons. I’m going to use this method on some baby clothes I’m sewing this summer.

Brandi
Brandi

May 29, 2020

I’ve never tried either although a zipper seems a little more straightforward!

Ellen
Ellen

May 29, 2020

Thanks for this tutorial. I have always had trouble with both zippers and buttonholes… but this makes it look a whole lot easier. I think I can answer this better after trying Shari’s technique.

Nina
Nina

May 29, 2020

I’d rather sew zippers for two reasons:my machine is a bit persnickety with buttonholes and I prefer zippers on doll clothes so the children can dress the dolls easier (mind you, I do the buttonholes when I’m sewing historical costumes).

S
S

May 29, 2020

I prefer zippers.

Barbara Rouse
Barbara Rouse

May 29, 2020

Having never sewn either on a sewing machine I’m not sure. But I have worked with zippers on my embroidery machine so they won’t be as daunting try. For that reason I’ll say zippers for now. ;)

Karen
Karen

May 29, 2020

I prefer sewing buttonholes.

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