“I can wear this again – I just need to sew on a button.” That’s easy for you to say. And easy for you to do by following a few simple steps. Here is how to sew a button!
Buttons come in two styles. The most common has two or four holes drilled through the surface of the button. The other style is a shank button. It has no visible means of support (holes) when viewed from the top. Instead, they have an extension on the back for threading. Many of these buttons are decorative – covered with fabric, molded from pressed glass, or tooled from leather. The shank allows space for the layers of fabric to remain smooth without bunching or pulling.
Let’s start with a 2-hole button.
For a 4-hole button, work one pair of holes, then stitch the parallel set of holes.
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Begin by marking button placement on your fabric. These pencil marks will not be visible after stitching, but you could mark with threads, water-erasable marker, or air-erasable marker if you prefer.
Knot the end of a double length of thread (you’ll want 10-12 inches of doubled thread) and bring the needle up through your first mark. Pull until the knot is snug against the back of your fabric.
Keeping your button right side up, bring the needle through the first hole.
Insert the needle through the second hole of the button and through the fabric at your second mark. Don’t pull too tightly yet.
Place a straight pin (or something similar) between the top of the button and the thread. This will maintain some slack for the thread shank that you will create in a later step.
Make several passes up and down through the fabric and button, keeping the pin in place. Keep the “spacer pin” in place. Bring the needle up between the fabric and the button.
Remove the pin and wrap the thread around the slack that has been created between the button and the fabric. 6-8 wraps should do it. You have now created a thread shank that will keep your fabric smooth when the button is fastened.
Bring the needle through to the back, then knot and clip your threads.
Ta-da! You’ve learned how to sew a button!
Next up – sewing a shank button!
Mark your button placement in the same way as for a 2-hole button. Bring your double-threaded needle up through the first mark. Pass the needle through the button shank, then back through the fabric at the second mark.
Keep your threads straight as you pull the needle and thread to the back. Pull just enough for the shank to rest on the fabric – you don’t want to pull too tightly and create puckers.
From here, think of the process at three separate steps. Step one is bringing the needle up through your first mark.
Step two is passing the needle through the shank horizontally – don’t catch any fabric!
Step three takes the needle back down through your second mark. Keep your thread snug, but not so tight that it puckers the fabric.
Lather, rinse, repeat. About 6 passes should keep your button secure.
Check the back throughout to admire your nice, flat work.
Knot the back and clip your threads.
Finished shank button from the side…
…and from the top. Smoooooth.
Here is a quick video that shows you how to sew a button.
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