How to Sew on a Button

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Yesterday, Linda LaSala of Girlawhirl contributed a few ideas at FaveCrafts for updating old clothes with brand new touches to give them life. One of the ideas was adding new buttons to a cashmere sweater.

Cashmere Sweater Before

Cashmere Sweater Before

Cashmere Sweater with New Buttons

Cashmere Sweater with New Buttons

Fabulous no? With this idea in mind, I thought that some of our readers might appreciate a basic tutorial on how to sew on a button. Even if you know how to sew, perhaps you might like to see our version of how to make a strong, reinforced button. There might be a few tips in here you find useful.

  1. Select thread that will match your button. Cut off at least 5 inches of thread with sharp scissors. You want a straight cut.
  2. Thread your needle by inserting the thread through the eye of the needle. Licking the thread makes this easier. To reduce the number of times you have to thread the holes in the button, double thread your needle. To double the thread, simply pull the thread through the eye of the needle until you have equal lengths of thread extending from both sides. You can repeat this with another thread for a super-strong quadruple-thread.
  3. Tie the ends of the thread together for a beginning knot. If you did not double the thread, tie a knot at the end of the thread.
  4. Align the button on the fabric. Make sure it lines up with the button hole on the other panel. If a button was on the garment previously, use the old button holes as a guide.
  5. Push the needle through the fabric up from the button through one hole in the button and slowly pull to the knot.
  6. Before you start stitching across the button, place a needle, pin, or toothpick across the button and hold it there while you make the first stitches. Removing this pin when finished creates the necessary space between the button and the garment so that it can be buttoned.
  7. To match the other buttons on the garment with 4-hole buttons, check whether the stitches are crossed or parallel. For parallel lines, push the needle down through a hole next to the first hole. For crossed X lines, push the needle down through the hole diagonal.  For a 2-hole button, you only have one choice!
  8. Bring the needle up through a new hole in a 4-hole button, or the first hole in a 2-hole button.
  9. Repeat the process until the button is secure, making sure the stitches are equally made. Remember, you have to do this less times with a double or quadruple thread.
  10. On the last stitch, push the needle through the material, but not through a button hole, in the area between the fabric and the button. Pull the thread through.
  11. Remove the pin or needle and pull up gently on the button to give you some space.
  12. To reinforce the thread between the button and the fabric, take the needle and wrap it around the thread five or six times.
  13. Push the needle back down through the fabric.
  14. To secure the thread, backstitch a couple times. Stick the needle into the fabric near the knot, push the needle over a quarter inch to the left and bring it back up, pulling taut. At the left end of your stitch, repeat this process. Do this a few times. You can also make these stitches at the beginning before sewing on your button.
  15. Cut off any excess thread and you are done!
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  1. Laura says

    What a detailed and helpful post! Being able to sew on a button opens up the possibilities for so many more projects.

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