Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Love My Button Foot

I'm the first to admit I have a serious addiction to presser feet. I own 99% of the feet Viking makes for my machine and a few others Viking doesn't make. I'm sure I'll have them all one of these days. Most of the feet work wonderfully. Many I can't live without anymore and some others mostly collect dust, and yet I still can't bear to part with them. The button sewing-on foot is one of the gems.

Before Viking came out with this foot I would still sew buttons on by machine, using the hump-jumper thingie and a piece of tape. It was fiddly and I'm not really sure if it was actually easier or faster than sewing them by hand but at least it wasn't sewing on by hand! ;-)

The Viking foot comes with this little button grabbing tool. You squeeze it slightly and insert the prongs into the holes in the button. The tool expands a bit and the button is "stuck" on it until you squeeze the tool again to release it. This removes all the fiddly-ness from placing the buttons into the foot and in position over the fabric.

The foot itself has a "shelf" where you rest the button. When the presser foot is in the full down position, the button is sandwiched securely between the two layers of the foot. There is also a finger that can be moved in and out for creating thread shanks of varying height.

Here's the grabber tool still holding the button after I've put the button into the foot. I leave the tool in place until I put the foot down.

Here the foot is down and I'm ready to stitch. Pardon all the lint on my machine. It was cleaning day today and the machines all got a thorough going over, but not until after this photo was taken.

My machine has a specific button sewing stitch, which is basically a zigzag stitch set for the width between most button thread holes. I say "most" although I've not yet had a button for which this stitch wasn't perfect so maybe I should amend that to "all." It's a handy stitch and coupled with this foot, it's the answer for sewers like me who prefer not to sew on buttons by hand.

If you have a Viking, you must get this foot! If you don't have a Viking, other brands do have a similar foot and there are generics, but I don't think any of those come with the little grabber tool. (Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.)

You've now been enabled. Again. ;-)


  1. This looks better and slightly less fiddly than my method of just taking off the foot completely and dropping the feed dogs for sewing on a button. In fact, I didn't even know they MADE button foots, I think I'll have to go on a search now =)

  2. I have tried sewing buttons a few times on my now older bernina and before that on my long gone Singer and it was fiddly. This looks like a wonderful improvement. I didn't think a new machine would ever tempt me but since my daughter got a fancy new bernina I am trying to figure where one could go here. Dh would be more enthusiastic if I ever actually sewed anything these days.Yes you are being an enabler but that is ok. You are inspiring me to get a project going with all of your neat sewing. mssewcrazy

  3. Debbie - how do you finish off the thread after the button is sewed on? Can you just cut the thread clean off?

    My Bernina also has a button foot (it looks and works differently, but the concept is the same) and I usually need to bring the upper thread to the back and tie it off.

    Sometimes too the tension on my finished button stitching is a also bit too loose, so I wonder if that little grey holder thingy that you have alleviates that problem (the Bernina button foot doesn’t have anything like that; it’s just a stand alone metal foot, that’s why I ask)

  4. Phyllis, my machine has a lockstitch and a thread cutter which pulls both threads to the back for me.

  5. Debbie,

    Crystal here, sorry I do not have an account. hcrystalaz on your coop list and patternreview, :). I have the same machine and serger as you! From before I ever found your wonderful blog. My dealer does not have this foot, can you send me the part number?

    On another note, you mentioned in a previous post about an ebayer that sells generic binding feet for the 936, I cannot find him, can you help me? I was told at my dealer yesterday that they now only have one size and that you have to buy it with a bunch of other feet in a kit that is $260 OUCH! I really want that foot, :( but not at that price...

    Thanks for your help,


  6. Crystal, The Viking part no. for the foot for the D1 is 412 93 45-45.

    I don't think I said the Ebay seller (SharpSewing) sells generic binders for the 936. He sells them for stand-alone coverstitch machines. I have a Babylock Coverstitch machine and use the binders on that. They don't fit the 936.

  7. Thanks Debbie. It sounds like the Viking button foot has a superior design over Bernina’s (for the 180E anyway, which is my machine and it’s about 6 years old.)

    The Bernina button foot is an open toe foot shaped like sideways “E”, and it just holds the button down onto the fabric while the machine sews a preprogrammed button stitch. Whereas the Viking foot actually clasps the button so you can position the fabric underneath.

    On my Bernina I have to use a dab from a glue stick to keep the button from shifting.

    What interesting here is that each machine manufacturer used unique design for their accessories and unlike industrial sewing machines there is no standardization. So if button sewing is important to you should test drive that foot when making a buying decision!

  8. That looks a lot less cumbersome than my Elna button foot.

  9. Looks way more functional than my Janome button sewing on foot. Mine does not have the elevation of the button on the garment. I end up getting the button in place and using a sharp pointed wooden skewer (spelling?) from the kitchen to give something to stitch over to give some thread shank to the button.

    Any ideas for a comperable generic?

  10. Hey, do you want mine? I don't like mine at all.

  11. Another toy to search for....and your lint proves the machine is well used, and therefore well loved.

  12. I will be searching high and low for one of those! I am a foot junkie. I love how they make sewing just a little bit simpler.

  13. I'm with you -- the button foot is a must have.

  14. After reading this post....I knew I had to have one!

  15. I prolly need one of these! Except for my bernina it'll set me back about $500. :P I've been doing the no-foot/drop the feedogs button sewing on thingie for years!

  16. O.K....O.K....after reading this blog entry about a hundred times over the last few months, I bought one of these feet. I can only say WOOPEE!! I never sewed on buttons by machine before, and everything you say is so true. NOW I sew buttons on by machine! THANK YOU DEBBIE!!!


Thank you for each and every comment. I appreciate them all, but I have to be honest and let you know that I'm usually bad about answering questions. I hope you understand that there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want to do.

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