Thursday, 19 June 2014

Automatic Singer and Griest Buttonhole Attachments


Been on a bit of  a spending spree on Ebay and bought a couple fancy gadgets that do brilliant buttonholes on a straight stitch Singers, 221K Featherweight and 201K.

NOTE:  You must either cover the feed dogs with the cover supplied with the attachment or drop the feed dogs.  If you don't you will damage either your machine or attachment.

Singer Buttonhole Attachment

It is a beast of a thing but makes really neat button holes.  It just does one style of buttonhole but you can change the size and density of stitches and the length of the buttonhole.  It comes in a sturdy red box, has a feed dog cover and a special screw to attach it to the machine which you can see in the 2nd photo.

It is trial and error to adjust it so that it will fit your button, you will always have to do a dummy run on a piece of scrap fabric before using it on your garment cos if you get the wrong size it will be a git to unpick.  You also have to bring the bobbin thread up to the top of the fabric before you start off then hold both threads and start to sew, it does the buttonhole automatically, its best to go round 2 or 3 times.

 Greist Automatic Buttonhole Attachment

This was the second attachment I bought, again automatic buttonholes but has metal templates for different size buttonholes which includes a neat keyhole buttonhole.  Griest made buttonholer attachments for Singer the same as this one, the only difference is the name but the Singer ones seem to be on sale in the USA and shipping costs are expensive.  So I thought that I would try a Greist one that I found on Ebay, I liked the idea of the templates so that the finished buttonhole will be more uniform and I wouldn't have to do so many practice ones to get the right size.

It comes with 5 templates ranging from 5/16" to 1  1/16" for straight buttonholes and one keyhole buttonhole template for use on suits and coats.  On the back of each template is a measurement line which indicates size of the buttonhole and the distance the fabric may be cut.  They made additional templates but these seem to be harder to find which included an eyelet once which could be useful.  The templates are inserted in the bottom of the attachment.  The stitch width can been adjusted easily with a small lever at the side, narrow for small buttonholes and wider for larger ones.  Again, pull the bobbin thread to the top and away you go.  It does a better stitch than the other Singer one, twice round gives a super buttonhole.

I really like using the Griest.  It comes with a feed dog cover but I intend to use it on the 201K as I can drop the feed dogs on this machine.  It also comes with 2 different screws to attach it to the machine, this attachment will fit other makes of machine but the booklet doesn't give details of which machines, it will be low shank machine but other than that, not sure which makes.  It's in the original cardboard box which has bits of fancy metal on the corners to reinforce it, not sure what age this attachment is, judging by the styling I would guess, 1940's or 50's.  The Singer one looks from the 30's judging by the colour.  Will have to do some research.

Had a problem getting the Singer attachment to work on the 201, it worked on the 327 and Featherweight but the 201 wouldn't pick up the bottom thread.  Tried all sorts of things, changed needles, tension, thread, stitch size, everything I could think of, it was stitching straight stitch fine but wouldn't work with the attachment. So I emailed the lovely April at  she suggested that it could be the needle, apparently Singer needles not made in Germany, USA or GB can be no good.  Looked on the packet of new Singer needles, Brazil, checked the vintage packet that I got the second needle out of, Brazil again.  So took the needle out of the 327 which the attachment worked on, hey presto, fixed zippeeee.

So Brazilian needles in the bin and order some replacement Schmetz ones.  Will keep an eye on Ebay for really vintage Singer needles.

If you want to see one in action, have a look at UTube for demos.


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