May 25, 2020

417 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. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Candace
Candace

May 27, 2020

I put zippers in the backs of dresses rather than hook and loop tape. I hand pick the zippers. i do not like the fact that the tape catches in the hair of dolls, or in other clothes items tumbled together in the basket or box. I like the look of buttons, but usually sew snaps underneath. I will try this idea, it looks easy enough. My biggest problem with buttonhole on doll clothes is the very small area to work with, the tutorial looks like the holes are put into the garment before it is finished.

Jan
Jan

May 27, 2020

Buttons over zippers

Feriba
Feriba

May 27, 2020

Velcro but I do love the look of the buttons and zippers .So since I need to choose it would be zippers

June
June

May 27, 2020

I really don’t like doing either but I guess I like putting in a zipper better. But I will try this method for buttonholes and it may become my favorite .

Claire W.
Claire W.

May 27, 2020

Zippers are definitely easier for me but I’m looking forward to trying the freezer paper marking trick!

cris
cris

May 27, 2020

This is pure genius! This may make Button holes easier than zippers!

Deb
Deb

May 27, 2020

I use both zippers and buttonholes in my sewing. It depends on which looks the best for the item I’m working on. I do love the look of cute little buttons, whether there are buttonholes or not. My granddaughters love it that Grandma likes to sew them doll clothes!

Joanne
Joanne

May 27, 2020

This buttonhole method sure looks easier than zippers now to me! Thanks

Anne R
Anne R

May 27, 2020

Sewing in a zipper is a piece of cake compared to sewing on buttons and making buttonholes but I usually do what is appropriate to the time period or style of the outfit. I have to admit on doll clothes that call for buttons I usually use snaps for the actual closure and buttons sewn on as decoration over them. I really, really, really don’t like to use velcro especially if the doll has long hair that may get caught in it.

Cindy
Cindy

May 27, 2020

I’d rather do zippers, but after reading this tutorial, I’ll give it a try. I like the suggestion to use freezer paper to line up placement, which has always been a problem for me.

candy
candy

May 27, 2020

With the tutorials both are getting easier to sew

JAMES
JAMES

May 27, 2020

Zippers for sure. Consistency much easier to obtain with one zipper installation, versus several buttonholes.

Connie M
Connie M

May 27, 2020

I love zippers for jackets and buttons are great for the historical fashions especially. each have their own purpose.

Marylin
Marylin

May 27, 2020

I prefer zippers.

Cindy
Cindy

May 27, 2020

This will be a technique I’ll have to try. Thanks!!

Doll Lover
Doll Lover

May 27, 2020

I like zippers most for ease of installing, but I think buttonholes & buttons are less likely to get broken during use!

Carol M
Carol M

May 27, 2020

Definitely zippers! Button holes never lined up or I’d cut through them trying to open them. But after reading the easy button hole tutorial , I decided to give it a try on some doll clothes. Start small right? Well I was amazed how well it worked. Will probably still stick to zippers, but with buttonholes thrown in every now and then.

Doll Lover
Doll Lover

May 27, 2020

I like zippers most for ease of installing, but I think buttonholes & buttons are less likely to get broken during use!

Elaine
Elaine

May 27, 2020

I don’t mind sewing the buttons, but the holes…I don’t love them, but don’t hate them. Zippers are harder. Never done one for a doll.

Sandy
Sandy

May 27, 2020

Depends on the outfit. I will need to keep this tutorial in mind the next time I want to sew buttonholes. It really looks a slick way to have the spacing correct.

Agnieszka
Agnieszka

May 27, 2020

Interesting technique thanks for sharing! I have never sewn buttonholes so I prefer zippers.

Margaret
Margaret

May 27, 2020

I am not good at either but prefer buttonholes when the sewing machine is working correctly.

Israa
Israa

May 27, 2020

Button holes!!!!

Lynn Craig
Lynn Craig

May 27, 2020

Buttonholes! I am terrified of zippers.

Mary in Sequim, WA
Mary in Sequim, WA

May 27, 2020

Love the tutorials. Have been sewing for 66 years and these extra tips were wonderful. Depending on the fabric and pattern and will be using buttons more. Have put off using some of my Pixie patterns that will be great with buttons. Will try them today.
Mary

Betty George
Betty George

May 27, 2020

I sew buttonholes because I buy antique buttons at estate sales.

Marla Hein
Marla Hein

May 27, 2020

I’d prefer Zipper!! Now I may like to do buttonholes.

Hélène Dahl
Hélène Dahl

May 27, 2020

I do both, depending on the project. I must admit though that I will not do buttonholes for 1/4 inch buttons. For those, I use Velcro and buttons as trim only. This avoids the need for interfacing.

Karen
Karen

May 27, 2020

Thanks for the reassurance made a difference

Karen
Karen

May 27, 2020

My zipper installation is better than my buttonholes though I blame my machine for buttonhole issues. Need a better one.

Sherrie
Sherrie

May 27, 2020

Buttonholes!
Haven’t sewn them for many years.

Beth
Beth

May 27, 2020

Button hole win in my book! There are so many cute buttons and with the previous tutorial on making buttons, the sky is the limit.

Cathy
Cathy

May 27, 2020

Although I prefer the look of buttons and button holes, I find putting in zippers is a lot less work.

Linda
Linda

May 27, 2020

Thanks for sharing your knowledge about buttonholes. I prefer the look of buttons. I think they are more attractive than zippers. However, because I mostly use velcro because it is easiest. I am going to try more buttons as I have some really cute ones.

Carola
Carola

May 27, 2020

I just figured out this week that I have a machine that can automatically make button holes.
So, now I gotta say buttons!

Melanie Chin
Melanie Chin

May 27, 2020

neither, i’m a beginner, so I use Velcro!

Ann/John
Ann/John

May 27, 2020

I would rather sew in a zipper than a bunch of buttonholes any day!

Jacquie Corrigan
Jacquie Corrigan

May 27, 2020

buttonholes for me — I love the look of pretty buttons!

Vicki
Vicki

May 27, 2020

I use both, each according to the project and what will look best. Cutting the buttonholes without cutting the stitching is challenging. Making a neat neck closure With a zipper is challenging as well.

Donna
Donna

May 27, 2020

Zippers for me!

Ellen
Ellen

May 27, 2020

Buttonholes

Patricia
Patricia

May 27, 2020

Now that I have discovered a source of inexpensive, 5" zippers, in LOTS of colors, I am definitely in the zipper camp. But I must admit that the buttonhole attachment (a big bulky box) on my mother’s 1950’s Singer made great buttonholes!

Carol
Carol

May 27, 2020

I like buttons. There are so many to choose from. I have sewed a lot of zippers but after watching the tutorial I think I’ll do more buttonholes. Thanks.

Lynda Buchholz
Lynda Buchholz

May 27, 2020

Hard to post when hands hurt bad with arthritis.

Charlotte
Charlotte

May 27, 2020

I do not have a button hole foot. I wore out the buttonhole attachment for my Kenmore sewing machine LONG ago! Wish I had had access to the tutorial above when my daughters were little! All those Bow Peep style dresses with all those tiny button holes! lol
I don’t really have trouble sewing zippers into clothing or totes, etc.
Thank you for inspiring so many folks to sew again.

Peg
Peg

May 27, 2020

The freezer paper template seems to easy. I can’t wait t try it this way. Thanks for the tip.

John Asfour
John Asfour

May 27, 2020

I would have to say zippers because I have never sewn button holes. I might change my mind if I manage to succeed using the great tips listed.

Michelle E
Michelle E

May 27, 2020

Both buttonholes and zippers kind of scare me, but I DEFINITELY have more practice with zippers. I can sew up HAND stitched button holes far faster and with less craziness than machine buttonholes. Yep…still need to practice that for sure!

Pat Stoughton
Pat Stoughton

May 27, 2020

Zippers.

Robin
Robin

May 27, 2020

I think I would rather sew zippers, although I am competent doing either!

Sandra
Sandra

May 27, 2020

To doll dress i like snap buttons…🙈 but after this vídeos i will try buttons and buttonholes…

Beth P
Beth P

May 27, 2020

I would prefer to sew zippers rather than buttonholes. Love Shari Fuller’s way to make even, tiny buttonholes!

Suzi
Suzi

May 27, 2020

I am very comfortable with both buttonholes and zippers as my Grandmothers taught me lots of tricks when I was very young. Thanks to Shari for such a thorough tutorial and thanks to Pixie Faire for this drawing!

Melissa L
Melissa L

May 27, 2020

Buttonholes and zippers are both tough! I guess I like zippers better.

Donna Landreth
Donna Landreth

May 27, 2020

I would rather do button sewing. I would like to try this new method on buttonholes. Thanks for the awesome giveaways.😘

Ann
Ann

May 27, 2020

I’ve always thought zippers were easier to sew but with Shari’s method, I am ready to embrace sewing buttons and buttonholes.

Karen
Karen

May 27, 2020

Between Buttons and zippers I would rather sew zippers because it is easier. I am not the best at buttonhole placement and so I am very interested to try this technique out and make more realistic clothing for my dolls rather than my usual loop and hook tape (Velcro). Once I am done with this quarter of college I’ll be doing a lot more sewing, I’m excited to try this out.

Della S
Della S

May 27, 2020

I really don’t like either. I guess zippers are a little easier.

Nancy Brooks
Nancy Brooks

May 27, 2020

I’ve never had a buttonhole foot, so my buttonholes have to be manually configured by counting stitches and switching from left to right needle position and changing stitch width. Not easy! I’d much rather put in a zipper.

Tarine Brown
Tarine Brown

May 27, 2020

I prefer zipper to button. So much easier. But I love this technique use, so I’m gonna try it and see it.

Cheryl B
Cheryl B

May 27, 2020

I feel more comfortable doing buttons. I am still learning my sewing machine so buttons may be easier right now for me. I also have a hard time finding the right sizes on zippers I need.

Gwyn
Gwyn

May 27, 2020

Having done both, I admit a preference for zippers! I sew for adult collectors and older children so I like using closures that work for human clothing.

Lorraine M
Lorraine M

May 27, 2020

I prefer zippers and for doll clothes I prefer velcro.

Candy
Candy

May 27, 2020

It depends on the outfit. Buttons and buttonholes are More work, but look nicer on most outfits. Historically zippers would not be appropriate in costuming of historical outfits. I have trouble with inserting zippers.

Janet
Janet

May 27, 2020

I sew mostly for very small dolls, so I don’t do either . But when i sew for larger dolls, i would like to do nice buttonholes. I like the freezer paper technique.

Zippers are much easier for me, but they aren’t always the right look. I mostly hand sew snaps with non-functioning buttons on the top. I never ever use velcro.

Jessie
Jessie

May 27, 2020

Zipper, usually. I guess I just find them easier to get right! But I love the placement hint in this tutorial, which I plan to try. Thank you so much!

Diana
Diana

May 27, 2020

I’ve been sewing for a really long time so buttonholes and zippers aren’t much of a problem anymore. However, it was not so at the beginning. Glad to have info like yours on a regular basis for the newbies, and it helps me realize I do some things right.

Deb H
Deb H

May 27, 2020

I would much rather sew on a zipper than do tiny button holds. I am hoping that after watching the tutorial button holds will be easier to do.

Marjorie Mickelson
Marjorie Mickelson

May 27, 2020

Zippers, definitely!!!

Helen
Helen

May 27, 2020

Very informative! Definitely want to give it a try!

Katie
Katie

May 27, 2020

I prefer buttons! After making my daughter’s clothing, from infancy on up….dolls clothes are easy peasy.

Kate
Kate

May 27, 2020

Love your trick for placement. I find placement harder than doing the buttonholes. I don’t mind either depending on the pattern. Sometimes buttons are better and other times a zipper looks better. Thanks for sharing your tricks with us.

Sophie Frain
Sophie Frain

May 27, 2020

I’m starting to like button holes more and more! I’ve always liked buttons, and making them functional adds a whole layer of realism!

Diane
Diane

May 27, 2020

I’d rather sew zippers than buttonholes. I guess I’ve had more experience doing that.

Carrie
Carrie

May 27, 2020

I prefer zippers but only because I tend to do them more often.

Marty Blinde
Marty Blinde

May 27, 2020

Zippers, but I like the look of buttons/buttonholes better.

Susan
Susan

May 27, 2020

I have no trouble with zippers – But I can not get the buttonhole as thread heavy as I would like.
SO I am happy to have read your suggestions. I have 2 blouses for me, ready for buttonholes.
I think this will help with placement as well as holding the fabrics still.
Thanks.

Shari Shaw
Shari Shaw

May 27, 2020

I love to sew buttonholes and want to learn how to insert invisible zippers!

Kelly
Kelly

May 27, 2020

Buttonholes over zippers, but I really prefer snaps and/or elastic, stretchy fabric for doll clothes. Thanks so much for freezer paper template idea!

Monique
Monique

May 27, 2020

I prefer zippers. My machine does not make button holes.

Heidi Brown
Heidi Brown

May 27, 2020

I can"t do either but it is time to learn!

Cynthia C
Cynthia C

May 27, 2020

If I had to choose, I’d pick buttonholes as my machine is pretty easy. But honestly, for doll clothes velcro is the way to go.

Karen Boden
Karen Boden

May 27, 2020

Love the buttonhole tutorials

Carol L
Carol L

May 27, 2020

I have trouble with getting the right scale on buttonholes so I usually go with velcro with button sewn on top to look like a buttoned closure.

Maureen
Maureen

May 27, 2020

I would rather sew in a zipper!

Gloria
Gloria

May 27, 2020

I like zippers on doll clothes and buttons on larger items. I hardly ever use buttons on doll clothes but will sew on snaps instead.

Alice Denny
Alice Denny

May 27, 2020

I don’t mind doing either. Working by hand on doll clothes is actually easy. But if I had to choose, I guess it would be zippers.

Denise Darby
Denise Darby

May 27, 2020

I would rather do button holes than zippers.

Sue
Sue

May 27, 2020

I don’t mind sewing either buttonholes or zippers as long as I prep my project correctly. My difficulty is finding appropriately sized buttons and separating zippers for doll clothes. I dislike Velcro as it snags everything

Liana
Liana

May 27, 2020

Buttonholes intimidate me :) I’m inspired by this to give it a try!

Heidi
Heidi

May 27, 2020

Zippers. One time and you’re done. With buttonholes, it’s hard for me to get them all equal on one garment, the way I’ve been doing them with my machine’s capability.

Dee
Dee

May 27, 2020

I can do both buttonholes and zippers, but for doll clothing I prefer snaps. Velcro snags everything, and tiny buttons can be challenging for little hands.

Liz Krch-Cole
Liz Krch-Cole

May 27, 2020

I have admired your button holes for a long time. I never thought that I would be able to replicate them. With your tutorial I feel confident that given some practice I can achieve beautiful button holes. I typically use snaps with buttons sewn over them but that is bulky. Thank you for your generous sharing of this technique.

Sewbig
Sewbig

May 27, 2020

Given the choice of these two options, I’d pick zipper. Faster. And easier to actually use. But there are times when a zipper is appropriate, and times when buttons are.
I do remember using your freezer paper buttonholes when we did the Union Suit. That’s the pattern which got me over my fear of buttonholes!

RuthAnn Schultz
RuthAnn Schultz

May 27, 2020

Zippers are pretty easy if I baste in place first. Tiny buttonholes scare me, though on adult garments, I manage okay.

Cherri
Cherri

May 27, 2020

At the start of the pandemic my hubby surprised me with a new sewing machine (he knew I was going to be spending lots of time making doll clothes). My new machine has an attachment that allows placement of the button so that the button hole is perfect fit to the button – so buttonholes are no longer banned from my doll clothes. I very much appreciated this tutorial to help make sure that placement for the buttonholes are spaced correctly to each other! Thanks for sharing!

Holly k
Holly k

May 26, 2020

Definitely zippers! But maybe with this trick…..

kathy
kathy

May 26, 2020

I don’t like either one but if I had to choose it would be buttons and button holes..

Lila
Lila

May 26, 2020

Is it embarrassing I’ve never done either before? I have sewn on velco, hooks and eyes, and snaps on but I’ve never sewn button holes into something or a zipper in. So I’m equally scared of both.

Elaine
Elaine

May 26, 2020

Sewing button holes or zippers takes patience and time. For clothing to be long lasting and a creative artwork, I would choose buttons and button holes. However, for little fingers Velcro might be the choice.The videos were wonderful and well designed. Thank you.

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