Most of the sewing machines here in Cambodia can be manually operated as well as motorised. This is because many of the buildings don’t always have electricity for one reason or another. However come rain or shine work has to be done in order to pay the bills…
Today I took a step back in time and learnt to make buttonholes by sewing vintage style – MANUALLY! Using a fairly old industrial looking Janome sewing machine it took a lot of coordination working the foot pedal and the balance wheel.
The trick was to get the two parts of the machine working in opposite directions. I found the technique similar to using a spinning wheel.
Once I got all my limbs coordinated the rest was quite straight forward. By turning the stitch dial you create a different part of the buttonhole.
Using a seam ripper I finished the buttonhole.
The next trick was to make sure the presser foot was in the correct position before you started the next buttonhole, otherwise the buttonholes would be wonky. Not a problem if that’s the look you going for… Which in all honesty would always be incorporated in my design if I had to work with this machine. I found the process quite challenging, extremely time-consuming and a little frustrating. I certainly take my hat off to all the ladies in Cambodia who make all the shirts around town.
I’ve definitely found a new appreciation for my automatic buttonhole function on my sewing machine 🙂
Fun to learn something new but not so much fun for production even in small batches… I have a new appreciation for button holes!
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