Glad you asked that: Please help me understand how my Janome Buttonhole foot works.

file2-1 (2)Sewing Buttonholes can be one of the most feared techniques in sewing. Believe me, for a long time I have chosen a zipper over a buttonhole on every project that asked for it. But then I got my Janome Skyline 9 sewing and embroidery machine, and discovered buttonholes are actually super fun and easy to do. Virtually all Janome sewing machines come with built-in buttonholes, and depending on your model, it might be an automatic stitch program or a manual buttonhole. What does that mean? An automatic buttonhole stitch will do all four parts (2 sides + the 2 bar tacks) in one step, without stopping. Manual buttonholes do the same thing but you have to manually move to the next segment of the 4 steps of the buttonhole.

Your machine comes with a foot designed for buttonholes. It is often packed in the accessory tray of the machine or may be found in the packet of accessory feet  – depending on your Janome model.

There are several features on the buttonhole foot that make stitching buttonholes that fit your buttons  very quick and easy.

  1. Same clip on/off feature as other machine feet
  2. Clearly marked center lines, and length adjustments
  3. Removable stabilizer plate (depending on your model)
  4. Unique tab system for determining the stitching area
  5. Button placement area for perfect sizing every time

We strongly encourage you to use your manual which has lots of step by step instructions on how to sew button holes on your specific Jnaome machine. Your local Janome Dealer is also your go-to place for a demo of how to use the Buttonhole system for your particular Janome model. ( We suggest you phone to set up a time to go in for a mini lesson on buttonholes on your model. We recommend this rather than just walking into the store as our Janome stores can get very busy -espeically during this busy Fall season. Making an appointment is always a wise and courteous idea).

However, we offer a helping hand today by sharing a few tips with you:

Always make a test buttonhole on some fabric scraps, to make sure that you have everything perfect before you sew the button holes onto your almost finished project.

I want to draw attention to one unique feature of the buttonhole foot, and that is this section here as pointed out in the pic below:

This portion allows you to adjust the length of the buttonhole once you have your button in the button holder at the back of the foot. Sometimes we measure our length accurately, but the buttonhole is still either too loose or too tight. You can change this measurement by tightening or loosening the screw to the left of the button holder. This is excellent for quick adjustments due to thin or thick buttons.

file1 - Copy (2)

Another great feature built into your Janome machines is the buttonhole lever, or tab, that pulls down and fits between the two stoppers on the buttonhole foot. This works within the space taken up by the button in the button holder to determine the length to be sewn. The following video shows how to adjust the button holder:

You may be wondering, however, what these parts of the button hole foot system are for:

Buttonhole Lever

The picture above shows how the buttonhole lever looks when pulled down. You cannot stitch an automatic sensor buttonhole if this step is forgotten. Some Janome models will remind you on the screen with a little message if you forget to do this.

Stabilizer Plate

The picture above is a stabilizer plate, which acts as a base plate for thicker fabrics (think double layers of your finished garment, like cuffs and hems). It goes under the buttonhole foot (third photo below), with the fabric in between to hold it in place without slipping.

Rubber grip “teeth”

Let me demonstrate:

I hope this helps remove some of the fear of buttonholes!

Until next time,


This entry was posted in JANOME BUTTONHOLES and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Glad you asked that: Please help me understand how my Janome Buttonhole foot works.

  1. Hello Liz, you have very Interesting articles with a lot clearer diagrams, manuals and pdf files don’t always show enough details. I managed to sew the buttonholes ok but now my 9900 doesn’t recognise that the buttonhole lever is pulled down and keeps telling to do it. I haven’t a clue if it is the computer software or the lever. Has anyone here had this problem?


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Maureen,

      This sounds like a technical query which we are not equipped to deal with on this forum. Please contact your local Jnaome dealer for service/technical support.



  2. kaykan says:

    Your posts are helpful, thank you. Having done the buttonholes, can you do a post on stitching buttons? I still do mine by hand! Kay ________________________________


    • lizafrica says:


      We sure can. I am currently looking at our schedule for the coming months and into 2019 so I will add this request to the list. Thanks for your input!




    I am not sure of how to insert the button. Nothing seems to give enough for me to put the button into the back of the buttonholder.

    Joann Sanderson


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Joann,
      You do need to open the space for the button fairly firmly and then close it again around the button. It needs to be reasonably tight to hold the button in place while you do the button hole so try again. If you are still struggling, please ask your local Janome Dealer to show you how to do this.



  4. rosemary mcdougall says:

    very informative now I know where the steel plate goes just wondering is it possible to machine stitch the button on and if so how do you do that thank you


  5. Terry Dyer says:

    I love you tutorials, the store I purchased my Skyline 9 from just went out of business.. so i will need them even more.
    Thank you
    Terry Dyer


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