How to sew on a button

July 28, 2015

Losing a button is one of the most common garment mishaps. Replacing it is easy enough and requires the most modest of tools: the button and a needle and thread. Here are some tips for getting your garment back to wearable form.

How to sew on a button

The simple case

Most buttons are sew-through, with two or four holes. On a shirt or blouse you can sew a button on flat. On thicker fabrics you may need the button to sit away a little by creating a thread shank (a small device for elevating the button off the fabric. When you button your garment, the shank will allow the button to rest flush with your garment.)

  1. Secure the thread and thread on the button. As you sew, loop the stiches over a toothpick or matchstick to create some slack to make the shank.
  2. Before you finish off at the back, remove the stick, pull the button away from the fabric and wind the thread firmly around the stitches between the button and the coat to make a shank.
  3. Make one stitch into the shank to secure it then push the needle through the fabric and fasten the thread at the back.

The four-hole shirt button

  1. Anchor the thread on the reverse of the material with a knot and a few small stitches. Push the needle through to the front and thread on the button.
  2. Take the needle down through a second hole, up through the third and down through the fourth, and continue to make about six stitches in each. You can also attach the button using the cross method: up through 1, down through 3, up through 2 and down through 4, starting again with 1. At the back of the fabric, make a few stitches through the thread to finish off, tie a small knot and snip off the excess thread.
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