Beginners Guide to Sewing a Button
Do you want to learn how to sew a button for craft projects or mending? It’s a handy and simple skill anyone can master! If you’ve ever lost a button from a shirt or coat, knowing how to mend it yourself can elongate wear and get you back in your favorite clothes faster than going to the tailor. Follow this guide to learn to sew a button all by yourself.
How to Hand Sew a Button Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Gather Your Button Sewing Supplies
Hopefully, you aren’t kicking yourself for throwing out that matching spare button that comes with most clothing. But if you are, don’t despair! You can head to the local craft store to find a matching button and thread. While you’re there, pick up a needle and one straight pin—two supplies you’ll need when sewing buttons. Whether you’re new to sewing or an expert, it never hurts to use a thimble to keep your finger from getting poked, too.
Step 2: Thread the Needle
When you sew a button, always double the thread. This adds strength to your button so tugging won’t cause it to fall off all over again. To double your thread and thread the needle follow these steps.
- Cut off a length of thread (usually 10–20 inches will be plenty)
- Use thread gloss to reduce knots and improve glide through fabric by applying pressure with your thumb and pulling the thread across the top of the wax.
- Thread the end through the eye of the needle. If you have trouble, dampen the edge of the thread to eliminate fraying
- Pull the thread so that it is equally long on both sides
- Then, tie the two ends together at the bottom in a simple knot.
Step 3: Position the Button on your Garment or Pillow
Don’t forget this important step of how to sew a button! Before you make a single stitch, make sure your button lines up with the other buttons in the row, as well as the corresponding buttonhole on the other side of the garment. Using a water soluble pen to mark the exact location of the button is really helpful for accurate button placement. The last thing you want to do is have to unpick your button and start over because of wonky button placement. You know what they say, measure once, cuss twice!
Step 4: Make the First Stitch
Starting from behind the fabric (the part that won’t show or the “wrong side”), push the thread through the fabric and through one hole in the button. Pull the thread all the way through until it catches on the knot at the end.
Step 5: Stick a Pin In It
Stick your straight pin through the fabric, in the center of where the finished button will sit. This step is important because the pin creates a little space between the button and the garment, preventing you from accidentally stitching the button on too tight, which will make it hard to use and potentially cause the string to break and button to fall off.
If your button is purely decorative, you may skip this step. However, if you want to be able to fit the button through a buttonhole, you’ll need some wiggle room.
Step 6: Make Another Stitch
If your button has two holes, push your needle through the top of the second hole and then back through the fabric (front to back). Pull the thread all the way through until it catches again. Your button should now rest on top of the straight pin, with stitches on both sides of the pin. Your needle should once again be on the wrong side of the fabric.
If your button has four holes, push your needle through the top of the hole that is diagonal from the previous hole and then down through the fabric. Pull the thread all the way through until it catches again. Your button should now rest on top of the straight pin, with stitches on both sides of the pin. Your needle should once again be on the wrong side of the fabric.
Step 7: Repeat
For a two-hole button, continue pushing the needle and thread up through one hole, then down through the other side—pulling the thread all the way through until it’s taught each time. Repeat several times to secure the button. Three to four stitches through each button hole should provide plenty of strength.
For a four-hole button, continue pushing the needle and thread up through the first hole, then down through the diagonal hole, pulling the thread all the way through each time so that it’s taught. Repeat until you have three to four stitches through each button hole. Then, repeat this process for the other two holes: pushing the needle up through one hole, then back down through the diagonal hole, another three to four times. The finished product should look like an “x” made out of thread in the center of the button.
Step 8: Create the Shank
To create the “shank” for the button, push the needle and thread through the fabric one last time, but don’t go through the button. Remove the straight pin. Next, take the thread and wrap it in circles underneath the button (between the button and the fabric) about six times. Push the needle and thread back through the fabric on the opposite side.
Step 9: Secure the Thread
Make a few final stitches underneath the button to keep the thread secure. Cut the needle free from the thread, then tie the ends off to secure them to the garment. Cut off the loose ends of the thread.
Step 10: Now You’re Done Sewing Your Button!
Congratulations, you’re done! Now, get out there and show-off your good-as-new clothes or home décor item and enjoy that feeling of accomplishment you’ve earned from learning how to sew a button. For more tips and beginners guides, watch for more blog posts from the Little Fabric Shop!