Proposal ID 2012-102-1
Submitted January 11, 2012
Owner jogard
Department Drama, School of
Category Unknown
Funding Status Fully Funded
Metric Score None


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  • Josephine Gardner
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  • Kathy Burch
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  • Elizabeth Cooper



Category 4 - Machinery & Research Equipment

This proposal requests funds to purchase a buttonholing machine for the Costume Shop of the School of Drama. This Shop is used by a wide variety of students and clubs, including The Sewing Club. This computerized equipment automates the process of creating button holes, which is one of the more difficult steps in creating clothing. This equipment will greatly increase the quality of projects created by UW students.

Category Justification

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The University of Washington?s School of Drama has a Costume Shop, where costumes for all UW Drama productions are created, and some classes (Sewing and Pattern Drafting) meet. This resource is extremely well utilized outside of classes and productions as well. The equipment there is widely open to student use, and it is well utilized by students, from those working on independent projects to those producing full-length drama.

Many of the students using the room are not Drama Majors. All sorts of students are enrolling in the few technical classes that are offered: Dance majors who want to try and make their own costumes for their productions; Business students who are interested in the fashion industry and see the value in learning how things are constructed as a benefit to communication with the garment factory workers and fashion retailers; Math majors who just wanted to make something to wear that was a little bit different, or fix their broken back packs. They take the initial class, then return throughout their time at UW to take the skills learned to continue to make clothing or fabricate projects. The Costume Shop Workroom has become a very popular place.

In addition to individual usage, there are also student groups that use the Costume Shop. The Costume Club at the UW, which is a registered UW student club, consists of more than 60 students, many of whom have projects under way at any given time. They use this shop as a workspace, meeting monthly either in the Costume Shop or in another room in Hutchinson Hall. Club students use equipment, consult with shop staff, and also work quite independently. In addition, the staff in the Costume Shop is working with the Undergraduate Theatre Society to encourage use of the Costume Shop for their productions as well.

Originally set up to allow the students to experience the aspects of working within a professional costume shop, Hutchinson Room 135 provides students with a flexible space for their work. There are 7 large work tables and 10 sewing machines available for student use. Staff is available for guidance and advice.

Most equipment needed by students is here, but students would greatly benefit from having a computer-controlled buttonholing machine. These machines are designed to design, sew, and cut over 30 different patterns of buttonholes. Conventional mechanical buttonholing machines switch shapes by removing and replacing a series of metal cams. Now they are computer controlled and the possible shapes produced are far superior to those sewing with a conventional mechanical machine.

Settings are adjusted through a computer operating panel. They use an electronic thread tension control system that can separately establish and store thread tension, a crucial feature in precise sewing techniques. Using conventional sewing machines it is often difficult to reproduce the same sewing conditions or identical looking button holes. This reduces the time required for set up changes or adjustments. Data is input and edited through a touch panel screen. Needle movement can be checked at any point within the program. The machine can controlled through many different kinds of media such as CompactFlash card, USC connector, or smart media means.

Benefits to Students and the University

The few technical courses in costume offered through the School of Drama (Beginning Sewing and Pattern Making) allow a student to begin with a concept or idea, develop that idea from many perspectives, and finalize it into a complete garment or costume. They must work with their skills and our machines. This process embraces the desire or need to create. Having the correct machines for the specific type of work enforces this desire. The work must look worth their while, or why would they bother? This creative sense of worth benefits them emotionally. They actually produce something they can wear and looks better than what they can purchase. They will not be limited by what fabrics they choose or how they will finish it. They will not struggle with the domestic sewing machine option where the students have to visually control the length and width of each buttonhole. It is very easy to make a buttonhole too long on one side requiring the student to completely remove the stitching and start over. Students can complete a professional looking project with use of a computer-controlled buttonhole sewing machine. This carries a great sense of both pride and accomplishment.

Students can see in the School of Drama a place where they can come and experiment, produce something that provides them the opportunity for a creative outlet, and find a companionship with other students from all over campus. Recently offered classes have included students from Business, Dance, DXARTS, International Studies, Art, Communication, Mater of Material Sciences and Engineering, American Indian Studies, and Speech and Hearing Sciences.

Departmental Endorsements

As the Chair of the School of Drama (as well as a costumer), I am confident that this equipment will be a great benefit to students working, whether they are working on productions or projects for the Costume Club. It may not be apparent to the lay person, but button holes often are the weak link in a costume. They expose the amateur or confirm the professional. The subtle different between uneven or non-symmetrical buttonholes vs. well-crafted ones is perceived by all users - other costumers can identify what is wrong with an item of clothing. The wearer knows their buttons are not functioning properly. The garment will not wear well ? its useful life has been shortened. The typical viewer will just know that something is wrong. This one machine can avoid that issue, quickly raising the professionalism of these projects by leaps and bounds.

Sarah Nash Gates, Chair, School of Drama

Installation Timeline

Delivery is 30 days after order is placed from a local vendor. Rewiring is expected to take place during that time. Once received, the equipment can be set up and training completed for staff, then placed into use by students. The expectation is that students will have access as of Autumn Quarter 2012.

Resources Provided by Department

A stationary, permanent work space is necessary for this equipment. It cannot be moved from one room to another. The Juki buttonhole machine will be placed in a section of the workroom along a side wall. The necessary electrical outlet is already in place and will be rewired to accommodate a 220 volt motor at the cost of the School. Auxiliary lighting is above this outlet and can be repositioned to best benefit the user. All service and maintenance will be covered by the distributor for the first 2 years. After that regular service will be scheduled through the School of Drama. All necessary materials will be provided by the School. This will include blades and thread. Cleaning will be the responsibility of the user.

It will also require a compressor unit which theSchool will provide.

The School of Drama has raised $1,500 for this equipment from private donors. In addition, the School will contribute an additional $1,500 towards this equipment. We hope that these raised/dedicated fund demonstrate how important this equipment is to our students.

Access Restrictions (if any)

Any currently enrolled student at the University of Washington will have access to the equipment during the hours that the costume shop is open and staffed. Specific use of the machine does require some staff instruction. We would ask that any student who requests use of the equipment reserve a time with one of the staff members. This can be accomplished through email or telephone conversation.
Normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am until approximately 6:00 pm.

Student Endorsements

My name is Peter Donnelly and I am a graduating Drama major with a
focus in costume design here at the University of Washington. I am
writing to put forth a request that the costume shop receive a grant
to purchase a buttonholing machine this year.

Having worked as the costume designer for the school of Drama?s fall
production of Rough Magic and worked extensively on projects for
classes in the shop, I have experienced firsthand what it means to
lack this amazing tool. The buttonholes on shirts and suit jackets can
make the difference between the hours of work you have put into a
project paying off or falling flat. If buttonholes are executed with a
home machine, they can look shoddy and cheap. While hand finishing the
holes can produce a nice effect, the process itself is so time
consuming that it is rarely ever worth it. For the costumes I designed
in the show, it would have made a world of difference to finish the
garments with a professional machine to make them look clean and

Ultimately what is so incredible about attending the University of
Washington is our access to world-class instructors, and gaining
knowledge from working professionals. As a student focused on
costumes, it would make all the difference to see the University of
Washington?s illustrate its commitment to the arts with a grant giving
us access to a tool that we might otherwise never encounter.

Thank you very much for your consideration,
Peter Donnelly
UW Costume Design Undergraduate

I\'m a third (and final) year MFA student in costume design, so I will not be around to benefit from this buttonhole machine if we are lucky enough to get it, but I think it\'s important for the future-- and here\'s why. First: the difference between professional and \"homemade\" looking clothes and costumes is 100% to be found in the details. Buttonholes are at the top of that list and really separate the homemade from the professional-- a bridge that as costume designers, we are in school to learn to cross. Even 40 feet away on a stage, badly made buttonholes can cause unsightly puckering on the clothes, detracting from the entire overall effect in a way an audience member would notice, even if he or she wouldn\'t notice exactly why. Second, as student interest in technology grows and more students are producing their own film/ video projects, details like buttonholes will be seen much more close up-- or even in HD-- and it is increasingly important that we be able, again, to bridge that gap from looking like our costumes are homemade to professional.


Rachel Apatoff
3rd Year MFA student
Costume Design

Name: Tamayo Konishi
Major: Psychology, Comparative History of Ideas
I think having a professional button hole machine will totally change my life. I\'ve just started to make clothes recently, and I have had horrible experiences trying to create a buttonhole for the garment I was making.

I only have bad memories trying to create a hole, that would just ruin my effort of making something nice and decent to wear. It would make my life easier, without stress and crying, making my clothes actually look nice. I am looking forward to using the buttonhole in my UW experience as a student.
Tamayo Konishi

My name?s Henry. I can?t tell you what my major is as I?m not currently in a major yet, but I can tell you what I?m doing with my life. Outside of the costume club, I?m a cage fighter. Before you close this Word document I?d like to say: I don?t have a mohawk or a dozen tattoos. I don?t get into fights on the street or wear TAPOUT shirts like an idiot. My days aren?t all about talking about lifting weights and courting girls. Well? yeah my life does revolve around beating people up. But outside of the cage I am an ordinary costume shop regular and person, I might just look a little scarier. I like making pajamas with patterns of children?s books on them, learning new sewing techniques, and I absolutely absolutely love making clothes for my family of teddy bears.
I am terrible at sewing on buttons through holes that I horribly make. I am terrible for the most part at tiny little details and working with my hands. If my hands aren?t punching, throwing, slamming, or hurting someone, they are completely useless and only act to ruin perfectly fine work. Honestly I stab myself putting the thread into the needle. Stab myself pulling the needle down into the fabric. Stab myself pulling the needle back up. Stab myself pulling the needle through again. Stab myself going across the button. And stab myself cutting off the excess thread off the needle. A professional top-of-the-line buttonholer isn?t going to guarantee that I walk away damage free, but it would be nice to have especially as a resource for the whole club to enjoy. It wouldn?t hurt to have one and it would save me some blood, that is blood that I desperately need to live.

To whom it may concern,

A professional buttonhole machine can make the difference between a garment that looks like it was purchased from a high-end store and a garment that looks like it was sewn in someone?s garage. As a person who uses the costume shop equipment regularly, I know how aggravating it is to have to fight a machine to get a garment to look the way I want it to. This is even more the case with buttonholes, as they are one of the last things put on a garment, and there is nothing more frustrating than spending hours and hours on a shirt only to have the buttonholes look like they were done with a hack-saw. A shop expected to produce professional-looking garments should have professional equipment to work with. As co-president of the Costume Club, I want the members to have the best sewing experience available to them. I know our members would be ecstatic to have the use of a professional buttonhole machine to make their costumes as polished as those of a professional seamstress.

Gina DeBenedictis
Aeronautics & Astronautics Engineering

To whom it may concern,

Investing in a professional buttonhole machine would be money well spent, and provide many students with the tool to turn great work into exemplary work. Not only would the costume department benefit from such a purchase, but those in the drama department, and students from all across the spectrum of majors who participate in groups such as Costume Club. Buttons are one of the finishing touches that go onto a garment, and as such are very important to its functionality and the overall appearance of the item. Making buttonholes can be daunting because once you place your slaved-over project onto a regular sewing machine to make a buttonhole and begin, there?s no going back. Having a professional buttonholer would improve the overall look and quality of garments and projects by perfecting that final touch.

Erica Juberg
Law, Societies, and Justice major

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Rebecca Church and I am writing concerning the prospective buttonholer machine that could be purchased with the student technology funds.

I am a transfer student here; I?ve literally been here only a week so far. Right now I?m trying to enter the architecture program and I hope someday to be a set designer for films. I joined the Costume Club here because sewing/costuming is a personal interest of mine as well as being related to my potential career path.

In my understanding, there are not many of these machines even amongst other schools in Seattle. For us to get one would be an incredible asset not only to those in the drama department but really to any student with an interest in sewing. I only recently joined the Costume Club, (although I do have some background in sewing) and I can certainly say from experience that buttonholing is one of the hardest parts of garment-making. I made a full length coat a couple years ago and I ended up giving it a snap-front closure because buttons are so hard to do well on a normal machine.

Buttons are amongst the last elements, if not the very last, to go on an item of clothing. Having mediocre-looking buttonholes is certainly a frustrating way to finish a project into which so many hours of labor have been invested. Having a professional buttonholer would undoubtedly make that entire process much simpler. It would also give any garment with buttons a professional-looking finish, which is really priceless to anyone creating clothing by hand.

There are so many pros to having a piece of equipment like this, and no cons that I can think of other than it costs money. I really hope that we will see this buttonholer in the costume shop in the near future. Thanks for your consideration and hard work in overseeing our student funds.

Best regards,

Rebecca Church
Major: Pre-Architecture

As soon as I heard of the chance there would be a professional button hole cutting I almost clapped in joy. I know that sounds very odd, but I like to make costumes in my free time. And while I do not many many outfits with buttons, having option of a perfect button hole along my outfit is something that would complete my projects. I understand we have a button hole maker, but the quality does not always turn out perfect.

Hopefully, we can get one that will turn my fun shirts and dresses from average, to extraordinary.

-Claudia D Jacob Mathematics Major.

I believe the costume shop would benefit greatly from having a buttonhole-making machine for use by the students. I took an independent study class, in which I made a sweatshirt and button up long sleeve shirt. The sweatshirt turned out great, as I used a zipper. The shirt turned out to be harder, because we had to use one of the non-industrial machines to try to make the buttonholes. Ultimately, the plaquette ended up fraying to the point where I cant even wear the shirt I made with my own hands anymore.
Kyle Gardner
University of Washington | Class of 2012
Business Administration | Information Systems and Entrepreneurship


Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal

Juki LBH-1790 Buttonholing Machine

$6,050.00 1 $6,050.00

Juki LBH-1790 Buttonholing Machine
Quoted by


This is a professional-grade piece of equipment that will meet the needs of most buttonholing projects.
LBH-1790 is known for its high speed buttonhole functions.The thread tension and main drive mechanisms in LBH-1790 is electronically controlled with easy control options.


The machine is provided as standard with as many as 30 stitch patterns for buttonholing.
The machine eliminates oil stains on the sewing product.
JUKI\'s unique active tension (Electronic thread tension control system).
Frame shape offers improved operability.
Basting stitch mechanism is effective for the production of beautiful buttonholes.
Sewing settings can be easily changed.
Shorter length of bobbin thread remaining on the material

Pricing includes delivery, setup, and 6-month mechanical parts/1 year electrical parts/1 year labor warranty

Sales Tax

$573.17 1 $573.17

Sales tax of 9.5%


Required by State law

Total requested: $6,623.17

Total funded: $6,623.17


From the day that the buttonholer machine was installed it has been a wonderful addition for the students. The Costume Club and Undergraduate Student Society have used it often, and had many sessions with the staff about what is the proper way to use this. It's a big machine and can be intimidating. Once they try it and see how easy it is to use, they are hooked. It was a great purchase and will continue to get much use in the future.

jogard — April 17, 2013 @ 1:10 p.m.

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