Sewing Machine Buttonhole Troubleshooting (Singer, Janome…)

When problems in sewing arise, troubleshooting is the first step to getting back on your sewing track. Sometimes this is easy to do while other times you wish you hadn’t even tried. The repair bill confirms that feeling.

For some sewing machine brands, for example, Brother, all you have to do is look at the buttonhole lever and see if it is in the right place. If not, then readjust the lever by pushing it all the way down and then pulling it back up slightly.

To learn more solutions to buttonhole issues, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about in order to get back on your sewing track and finish your sewing project on time.

Why is my Buttonhole Foot Not Moving?


What makes this more frustrating is that your sewing machine was working fine up till you started the buttonhole. The first thing to do is check your manual and double-check to make sure you did every step correctly when you started making your buttonhole.

Check to see that the needle is not bent or broken, the lever is all the way down or in the right position, and so on. And since the buttonhole feature started to work before it suddenly stopped the frustration grows.

Here is what you need to do. First, check to see if there is an obstruction in the way. Second, check to see if the fabric is touching the buttonhole lever and moving it out of position.

Third, make sure the buttonhole foot is level. That will let the feed dogs handle the fabric. Fourth, you can change the speed and make it go slower to see if that helps move the fabric along better.

Finally, check the usual suspects like clogged or dirty machine areas that pile up with lint, etc. A dirty machine will stop on you at the most inconvenient time.

Singer Buttonhole Foot Not Working


It is surprising to note that the more complicated the sewing machine is, the easier it is for simple things to interrupt its operation. The first thing you should check is to see if you accidentally lowered the feed dogs. If they are not in the right position, your buttonholer feature will not function.

Next, you will need to check the lever on the sewing machine to see if it is in the right position. This lever needs to be pulled down after you attached the buttonhole device and placed the button in its slot.

Once that is done, you just pull the lever down and push it backwards a bit. If this is not done, the device should not sew. Then, you should check the cleanliness of the buttonhole device as well as your machine.

The older Singer professional series of sewing machines needed to have regular cleaning in order to work properly. If these issues are not the solution, you can always go to the Singer website and contact them directly.

They have a good reputation for responding quickly and with the right information.

Singer Buttonhole Settings


Different Singer machines will have different settings. The new computerized models should have all the settings built into the machine so all you have to do is push a button and the buttonhole is made.

The lever is going to be the most important part of making a buttonhole but before you get to that step, you need to mark the spot where you want to have the button go. Then you have to set the pattern selector dial to the buttonhole function and the stitch length to the open rectangle setting.

Then you just set the stitch width to your desired width and you should be set to go. The next step will be to lower the presser foot so that the marks on it align with the marks you made on the fabric. After that, insert the button into the buttonholer and put the lever in its right spot.

We can’t show you the symbols used in the owner’s manual so here is a link to that page (Singer 3820). Check your manual to find the right setting as they may only use symbols that are hard to describe in actual words.

Singer Sew Mate C2 Error


One of the biggest problems with owning and using a computerized sewing machine is that you open yourself up to dealing with more problems than you should ever have encountered in sewing. The C2 error comes from a malfunction of your Windows operating system.

Those malfunctions are due to the OS being corrupted by any number of issues. The slow opening of programs, response times slow, or the system crashes and or freezes. The issues that cause this problem can be a virus, malware, too many start-up entries, a decline in the hardware or RAM, too many redundant program installations, and more.

Since this error is a computer problem, we will provide two links to help you out. There is a program you can download and install which is called a C2 repair tool and it should help you overcome many of those problems. You can find it at this link.

If that link doesn’t work, you can find it on this website as well. The website at that link has a list of issues that may occur with the C2 error and the way the repair tool will help you.

Janome Buttonhole Troubleshooting


The first step in this process is to tackle the common issues first. Make sure the bobbin area, the feed dog area, and the area under the needle plate are nice and clean. If not, then give them a good cleaning. After you have done that, make sure to run a test to see if that solved the problem.

Some sewing machine repairmen have stated that the problem may be with the buttonhole device itself. It is supposed to give sewers more trouble than benefits. If this is the case, you either have to replace the buttonhole device on the Janome or buy a different sewing machine to handle the task.

Other issues that may cause problems when you are making your buttonholes, is that the balance may be off a bit and you will have to adjust that to get perfect buttonholes. The instructions on how to do that are in your manual.

Or you might need to have a stabilizer plate inserted in the machine when you use the buttonhole device. Check your needle to make sure it is sharp and in the best condition possible. Then don’t forget to use good interfacing as well.

Finally, double-check the buttonhole lever to make sure you placed it in the right spot.

Pfaff Buttonhole Troubleshooting

This will depend a lot on the type of sewing machine model you own. On the more up-to-date sewing machines, the computer screen may show the word ‘man’. The word is telling you that the buttonhole should be finished manually.

Then on some machines, like the 2056, you have to make sure that the pronged part is pushed all the way in before you can make beautiful buttonholes. Sometimes that pronged piece will slip[ out on its own after you have the fabric loaded and raring to go. A little painter’s tape should hold it in place.

Also, on the buttonhole foot, the sliding part needs to be put all the way toward you before you start sewing. If it is not in the right position you may have some trouble. Other machines will have different sources for buttonhole issues and either check your manual for solutions or call your trusted repairman who knows Pfaff machines.

Brother Buttonhole Troubleshooting

The different Brother sewing machines have different parts that govern the buttonhole feature but here is one list of solutions you can try to see if that corrects the problems you are having:

  • Push the lever into the right position. All the way down and then back slightly.
  • The lever needs to be able to touch the buttonhole device in order to switch sides.
  • Use the buttonhole fine-adjustment screw to make adjustments. The screw simply needs to be turned to the left or the right to make the buttonholer work evenly.

Some Final Words

Button holers can be finicky. If there is a little item that is out of place, you could have problems making good buttonholes. The good news is that most of the fixes can be done by you and without harming your warranty.

Check your manual for the tips you need as each sewing machine is going to be a little bit different. Remember to keep your machine clean.

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