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How to Sew on a Button

Updated on August 11, 2012

So, the button on your shirt has fallen off or come loose or maybe you want to add a new button.

Buttons can be used the traditional way to secure two pieces of fabric together, or as
a decoration. Buttons can be attached to more than just clothing, fox example they can be used as; a closure for wallets, bags and pillowcases and they can also be used as a decorative feature on garments or similar items.

Sewing on a button is easier than you might think and here's a few simplified steps that will have that button on in no time!

Steps to Sewing on a Button

  1. Choose a thread that matches the fabric, the button and the other thread used to sew on any other buttons on the piece.
  2. Thread your needle with the thread you've chosen , double the thread and tie a knot at the ends of the threads (away from the needle)
  3. Place the button on the fabric in the place you want the button.
  4. Check the buttonhole matches up with where you have placed the button.
  5. Place the needle under the fabric and push it up through one of the button holes and pull it all the way through.
  6. Push the needle through the opposite button hole, holding the button in place. Pull the thread all the way through.
  7. Repeat the process until all holes are secured with stitches and there are enough stitches to hold the button firmly in place.
  8. When you finish with your stitches, push the needle from the bottom of the fabric up underneath the button. Pull the thread all the way through and wrap the thread around your stitches a few times to reinforce them. Make a knot by slipping the needle under one of the stitches.
  9. Push the needle back through to the underside of the fabric, make a few back stitches and cut the thread towards the end.
  10. Tie a double knot with the ends of the threads and cut off the excess.

A Visual Guide on How to Sew on a Button

Different Types of Buttons

The button shown in the video above is a flat or sew-through button, the most common type of button - however there are also different types you may use.

Flat buttons
Flat buttons | Source

Flat or Sew Through Buttons

Flat or sew-through buttons are the most commonly used. They have holes (between 2-4 holes) which the thread is sewn through to attach the button. A flat button can be attached using a sewing machine or by hand, depending on your skills.

This shank button has a broken shank - it would clearly not be able to be sewn back on again and a new button would be required.
This shank button has a broken shank - it would clearly not be able to be sewn back on again and a new button would be required. | Source

Shank Buttons

Shank buttons have a loop at the back where the thread is sewn through to attach the button. The loop or shank of the button can be made from a different material than the button itself (such as a metal shank) and added to the button afterwards, or it can be carved or molded directly onto the back of the button. Buttons with the shank molded or carved onto the button are called "self shanking buttons".

Old fashioned stud buttons
Old fashioned stud buttons | Source

Stud Buttons

Stud Buttons - also known as press studs, pressure buttons, or snap fasteners - are round metal discs that are pinched through the fabric. Stud buttons are most commonly found on clothing, especially denim items. These buttons rely on a metal rivet that is attached to the fabric to fasten it to the material. Stud buttons are generally not removable without damaging the fabric.

Stud buttons come in a "couple" - each couple has one top and bottom side and the fabric goes in the middle.


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    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thanks Helena!

    • kissayer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristy Sayer 

      6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      How fabulous that you are teaching your girls how to sew! I'm the only sew-er in my family so I had to teach myself.

      The step by step pictures are definitely coming, I just haven't had a chance to get them done yet!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      So glad you've given these clear directions. My grandmother was a professional seamstress and all the women in our family sewed our own clothes growing up. Just this last week, I've been teaching my girls to sew a dress. Yet most of my friends don't know how to sew hems or buttons or anything else. Great clear directions. I do like the video, but I would love to see some step by step pictures too, so someone could read and look as they are doing the steps.

    • Helena Ricketts profile image

      Helena Ricketts 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      Very useful hub! This is something that everyone should know how to do.


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