Brother Buttonhole Snap-on Foot Tutorial
June 5th, 2009 by georgia leigh

So I volunteered to make a tutorial on how to use my buttonhole foot/attachment for Sew, Mama, Sew’s awesome Sewing Machine Month. I didn’t know until I had volunteered that I get a free yard of fabric for it, so I’m totally stoaked about this little tutorial you’re about to enjoy.


My buttonhole foot is called the XC2691051 Snap-on Buttonhole Foot for the following Brother models: CS8060, CS8100, CS8150, CS8200, NX200, NX400, and NX600.

The first thing you’ll want to do when making a buttonhole, is to mark the placement of the buttonhole on your project:


This special foot does the entire buttonhole for you with no stopping and even knows how big to make the hole. In order to make the correct size buttonhole, you need to put the button you’ll be using into the foot. Pull the plastic tab as shown here until the button is snugly sitting in the foot:


Remove your presser foot from your machine and snap the buttonhole foot on:


Next choose the type of buttonhole you’d like to make from your choice of stitches. Mine all have the letter “A” above them so that I know the buttonhole foot is used to make that stitch. I’m using the regular, run-of-the-mill buttonhole for this project (stitch 27).


Now you’re ready to make your buttonhole! Center the open part of the foot over the end of the buttonhole that is CLOSEST to you. The buttonhole is made backwards, which I find very odd, but it is important to remember this or you’ll be pulling a lot of threads out! There are red and green tick marks on the foot that serve as guides for centering the foot exactly where you need it.


The next step is crucial in getting your foot to work! You need to pull down the gray lever with the buttonhole picture on it and push it behind the plastic tab on your buttonhole foot. The machine won’t do anything without doing this step:

button forgot

Make sure your threads are underneath the foot and start sewing! All you need to do is watch and press on the pedal. It will make the whole buttonhole (as well as some stability stitches underneath the final stitching) by itself. You’ll know it is done when it slows down automatically and stops moving. At this point it is making some anchor stitches, so let it make two or three before letting off the pedal. Lift your foot and clip your threads. Voila!


I do like to pull the threads from the beginning of the buttonhole to the back of the project and make a square knot for stability. Use a seam ripper to open up the buttonhole (or scissors if you, like me, have misplaced all four of your seam rippers).

That’s it! Easy Peasy, Nice and Cheesy! Next up: the button foot!

Oops, I forgot one thing! Don’t forget to take the button out of your buttonhole foot:) I always forget and spend the next five minutes looking for that “lost” button. . .heh.


50 Responses  
  • suze67 writes:
    June 6th, 20091:04 pmat

    I’m impressed! A very professional presentation and a very nice looking buttonhole.

  • Sew,Mama,Sew! Blog » » How to Make a Buttonhole on a Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, Janome, Pfaff or Viking & a bartack buttonhole writes:
    June 26th, 20099:28 amat

    [...] Brother Buttonhole by Georgia from Puking Pastilles [...]

  • RosaMar√≠a writes:
    June 26th, 200910:30 amat


  • Amanda writes:
    June 26th, 200910:46 amat

    hi! what a nice tutorial! i linked from sew mama sew, you have a lovely blog. I am more of a knitter right now, but I long to get into sewing more too.

  • Coralee writes:
    June 26th, 200912:55 pmat

    Thank you so much for this tutorial – can’t wait to try it out!

  • Ellen Bolen writes:
    June 26th, 20093:27 pmat

    This was great! I have been terrified of using my foot and now I cannot wait to try.


  • Tonya Richard writes:
    June 26th, 20093:59 pmat

    I always forget about the button that I left in the buttonhole foot too! EVERY TIME! Great tutorial, I just bought a Brother machine for my daughter, so it was nice to see how to do buttonholes.

  • Steph writes:
    June 26th, 20094:51 pmat

    Thank you so much for this! And yay, now I know what that grey lever is for!

  • Jacqui writes:
    June 26th, 200910:40 pmat

    You might want to add that it’s very important to push that little grey lever back up again when you’re finished, or next time you come to sew you won’t be able to figure out why your machine insists on going backwards no matter what you do.:P Not that I’d know that by experience or anything, oh no.

  • Jorja writes:
    June 27th, 20097:34 amat

    lol, yes that’s a good point Jacqui! I’ve done the same thing:)

  • Renee E writes:
    June 28th, 20094:54 amat

    It really isn’t as intimidating as it seems, right? I love making button holes, when I need to. Great tutorial!

  • Trish writes:
    June 29th, 20093:46 amat

    Thank you so much for a great tutorial. Feel confident now to start buttonholing!

  • Linda writes:
    July 1st, 20093:10 amat

    We have a Brother 400 with the buttonhole foot. We followed the instructions, but what happens is the machine does one side of the buttonhole and stays at the end of the first side of the stitch and does not come back for the other side. It eventually stops when there is too much stitch in the one place. What are we doing wrong?
    Many thanks,

  • Jorja writes:
    July 2nd, 20099:58 amat

    It sounds to me like it is getting stuck on your fabric for some reason. Check to make sure you are using the correct kind of needle for the fabric that you’re using. If it is a lightweight fabric, then you’ll need to stabilize it before you make the buttonhole by adding fusible interfacing.

    Mine occasionally gets stuck with fussy fabrics as well (or if I’m dumb and forget to change out my stretch needle for a universal one. . .lol)

  • Gillian Martin writes:
    November 6th, 20094:27 pmat

    I have lost my manual and your instructions have assisted me a lot in making button holes. Well done.

  • Jorja writes:
    November 7th, 20097:29 pmat

    Great, I’m so glad Gillian!

  • Whitney W writes:
    January 2nd, 20108:12 amat

    This is great! I spent a lot of time with the manual trying to figure this out and had no luck. Great photos and easy to understand. Thank you!

  • Sher C writes:
    March 21st, 20102:02 pmat

    It’s been a very long time since I used a sewing machine but after many years of deliberating about whether it was worth purchasing one or not, I have taken the plunge and gone for the Brother XR6600. It is due to arrive on Wednesday and I can\’t wait. Easy to follow and well written tutorials like these make what appears to be difficult jobs seem possible. I enjoyed readng through this tutorial and plan to put it into action soon. Please keep the tutorials coming. Thank you.

  • Dawn writes:
    April 12th, 201010:07 pmat

    I am having the same problem that Linda had with it only sewing one side and then getting stuck. I have double checked the needle. . . I am using thick fabric and a needle intended for thick fabric, so I don’t know what is going on. I’ve tried a couple dozen times to make a buttonhole and have not had a successful result. Until now I had not had any issues getting the machine to do what it is supposed to and the directions in the manual were great, but I’m at a loss here. . .

  • Jorja writes:
    April 13th, 20102:34 pmat

    Hi Dawn! Is it getting stuck because the thread is building up like a huge bump? Or is it just stuck (like the machine won’t move the needle?)

  • Dawn writes:
    April 14th, 201012:06 pmat

    It gets to the end of the first side and then makes a huge lump of thread and gets all tangled. Could this be a thread tension issue?

  • Dawn writes:
    April 15th, 20107:11 pmat

    By this I mean that the needle does keep moving, at least until I take my foot off the pedal out of fear that the tangling threads are going to break something.

    I have tried changing the thread tension as well now to no effect. I just don’t get it.

  • Jorja writes:
    April 16th, 20109:42 amat

    Sometimes the feed dogs can’t keep up and the stitches start building on top of each other, so I tug on the fabric (in the direction that it is supposed to be going) to prevent it from getting stuck like this. I know that’s not very scientific, but that’s the only solution I’ve found.

  • Sara writes:
    July 13th, 20107:28 amat

    THe buttonhole instructions were very useful. Thank you.

  • Peggy writes:
    December 7th, 20101:52 pmat

    I must say that your directions are much better than what is in the Brother manual. Out of frustration I tried using a universal buttonhole attachment that I purchased with my last machine and ended up damaging my Brother. It actually made the needle holder break lose from the shaft. Now I have to find someone to repair it. Nowhere did it say anything about the arm that must come down or where it is located. I could see it in the picture but it didn’t give any instructions. Thanks so much. I’m going in to buy a new machine since I really want to get my projects done. Got any thoughts on the Brother SE400?

  • grace strong writes:
    January 2nd, 20112:52 pmat

    Thank you so so much you made it very easy to understand
    I have been trying all day didn’t know I had to let the grey thingy down.


  • Coralee writes:
    January 21st, 20117:34 pmat

    I’ve had this bookmarked for sometime now. Buttonholes have been my boogey man of sewing, but tonight (if I can get my littles to bed) I will use your tutorial and practice. Thank you so much for this great tutorial – you’ve made it look nice ‘n’ easy

  • Donna Caruso writes:
    February 19th, 20118:56 amat

    I have had the same problem as some of the other ladies with the machine being stuck. Sometimes it doesn’t make it all the way to the top end. I find that I have to be tugging on the material and sometimes the stitches are not as even as they should be. I have the Brother ULT 2003. I have tried putting the fabric with the seamed edge at the back of the buttonhole foot and at the front of the foot to see if that was it, but no such luck. I dread making buttonholes. I have tried loosening the tension and that helps a little but if you have any other ideas, they would be appreciated. Thank you.


  • Theresa writes:
    March 2nd, 201111:10 amat

    I have a Brother XL-5031 and I am unable to get the machine to complete a buttonhole hole. It does the end and one side. Any suggestions.

  • Jorja writes:
    March 4th, 20117:39 pmat

    Sometimes mine gets stuck and I have to nudge it a bit to get it going again otherwise it just bunches up.

  • sharon writes:
    March 9th, 20116:37 amat

    Hi, i have a problem you might be able to help me with.
    I have made a jacket out of plaid thickish material to which my button hole foot will not comply as the material i believe is too thick. How would i do a hand made button hole for this thick material ?

    sharon. u.k.

  • Sofia writes:
    March 15th, 20117:18 amat

    I just bought a Brother XL 5600 and I’d been having so much trouble creating a buttonhole. But, after a combination of reading these instructions (my model is a little different) and reading through everyone’s comments…. success!!! Thicker material and guiding it through worked a treat! Thanks everyone!

  • rachel quesada writes:
    August 2nd, 20116:18 pmat

    I was attempting my first buttonhole and couldn’t understand why I was getting the E3 error message. I was pulling my hair out because of the time I was wasting and this needed to be done. Said a prayer and suddenly google popped into my head. Took a chance – requested help and there you were (with pictures no less) I immediately saw the mistake I was making. Thank you so much. You are forever on my “favorites” list. You’re better than the book that comes with the machine. Thanks again.


  • Mauri Skier writes:
    October 15th, 20117:53 amat

    Thank you so much for this. I can’t find my book and needed to make buttonholes for a drawstring skirt. You are an angel.

  • Tricia writes:
    November 1st, 20119:03 amat

    I have a Brother XL-3750 and agree that their manual is lacking. That point you make about putting the gray lever BEHIND the plastic tab is indeed crucial and is not in the manual! Thanks for that!! So you got me one step closer, but I still can\’t get mine to work. After 2+ hours of fiddling and researching and experimenting, i gave up and used the old-fashioned bar tack method. Now that I\’m not working under deadline (halloween costume), I\’ll try it again…

  • Mauri Skier writes:
    December 26th, 201110:55 amat

    by any chance did you do one of theses tutorials for zipper?

  • Sachi writes:
    February 4th, 20125:47 pmat

    I have purchased a Brother XM3700 and tried to sew a button for about 30 times, but all I can sew is one line going back and a big lump at the end…

  • Stacey writes:
    February 26th, 20123:26 pmat


    Thanks for the great tutorial with pictures; it was helpful. The one thing that you did not mention that I think might be the root of the single line with a knot at the end problems is that, at least on my model, the stitch width must be turned up! On my machine, that’s a dial on the top that goes from 0 to 5 and has increasing big zigzags in front of it. If your stitch width is set low (mine was at 1) you end up with the line and a knot at the end. Turn the stitch width up, and it might fix your problem.

  • Kathryn writes:
    March 26th, 201210:34 pmat

    Is there a buttonhole foot which will do buttonholes for larger buttons? I have a Brother NX600 but I need to make larger buttonholes, what can I do?

  • Gail writes:
    October 20th, 20123:09 pmat

    THANK YOU THANK YOU! The manuals don’t show/explain how to attach the A foot or any of the other details you provided. Just made my very first buttonhole and is perfect thanks to you!

  • Chloe writes:
    December 2nd, 20121:03 pmat

    i keep sewing a straight line and then a knot at the end??? any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated, as i cannot finish my project until the buttonhole is in!

  • diane britt writes:
    March 10th, 201310:06 pmat

    I have followed the above tips (tension, width, pulling etc)for brother nx 400 sewing just one line of stitching but still can’t get the machine to complete a buttonhole. Any more ideas please?

  • Dee writes:
    March 21st, 20139:01 pmat

    Finally figured out why with mine. Just pushing the gray bar back is not enough. There is a slot the bar goes into, like getting first gear on a manual transmission with a bad clutch. I was desperate and was wiggling and pushing to the point of braking and the it went back another 1/4 in, works great now.

  • Brittany writes:
    April 9th, 20132:52 pmat

    I too am having the same issues as the ladies above. I have tried adjusting the stitch length screw, the tension and pulling the fabric in the direction it is supposed to go in but still no change. I am using the correct needle, plain quilting cotton and the correct foot with the buttonhole bar placed behind the notch… I need help, so frustrated!!!!

  • taty writes:
    April 13th, 20131:39 pmat

    help!!! i have a problem. after sewing on my buttonhole 1 side comes out small & the other side comes out big. why is this happening? i followed all the instructions correctly & this is still happening.

  • Thomas writes:
    June 22nd, 20132:56 pmat

    What Brother machine are you using? I really like the display shown here. All current models I can find have dropped the foot-designation for the stitches. You have a nice machine.

  • Patrick writes:
    September 26th, 20139:24 pmat

    Thanks for the great tutorial. I have a Brother SE-400 that I’m learning to sew on and this tutorial was spot on. I can’t believe how easy it is to make a button hole on one of these machines. I didn’t even know what the button hole foot looked like until this tutorial but was able to make my first one in minutes after I read it. Thanks again.

  • Rajmohamed writes:
    October 31st, 20132:19 amat

    I am looking the Button Hole Machine Industry type please give all details regarding it and price what type of machine is suitable for
    service to tailoring shop around our town.

    capacity of production

    how much time require to make one shirt



    Gurantee period


  • Greta writes:
    November 10th, 20132:28 pmat

    I having the same problem that so many others are having. My machine only completes the first half of the button hole and then layers stitches over and over each other at the back of the button hole. I have tried all of the above suggestions, but nothing has helped. I would much rather use an old fashioned foot at the point. I’m really frustrated!!!

  • Lacey writes:
    December 8th, 20132:01 pmat

    I’m having the same issue that so many others are having. I have a brother machine and it just keeps getting bunched up on the first side after it does a line. I have no idea what to do. Anyone?

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