How to Sew a Button

The question for today is: Do you know how to sew a button the right way? Well if you did, there really wouldn’t be a point of looking it up, right? Still, it’s good to see you want to learn this basic life skill.

Sadly, many folks who are yet to grasp the concept of “progression” tend to label sewing as a girly thing, but we believe that everyone should know how to mend the broken button on their shirt to avoid unwanted mishaps in unfavorable situations. Wouldn’t you agree?

So without further ado, here’s how you properly sew a button.

What You’ll Need

  • Needle – any standard sewing needle will be fine. However, the slimmer the better. Best to have 2.
  • Thread – one 12’’ thread will be needed for the entire process. Use 24’’ if you double them over, which makes it stronger and easier to knot. Try to use a thread that matches the color of the garment, but if there aren’t many options, black, navy blue, and white are the best bets.
  • Button – Ideal to have the original one, otherwise go with whatever you can find. Most shirts will come with a set of spare buttons sewn on the inner side of the bottom front.

Remember that some buttons have two holes while other may have four. We mainly talk about four-hole buttons here, but the same process will work good for two-hole buttons too.

  • Cutting tool – Typically scissors are used. Any sharp objects or a knife can be used too to cut the additional thread. You can substitute for your pearl whites in a pinch.

How to Sew a Button

If possible, remove the garment from your body. If you can’t, do the process while standing in front of a mirror otherwise you might end up doing a bad job, or prick yourself too bad.

Step 1: Thread the Needle and Tie a Knot at the End

Depending on the amount of thread you have, you can choose to “double over,” which basically implies sliding the thread through the needle’s eye and then doubling it over till there is an equal amount on both sides. Do this with a 24’’ and you’ll end up with a 12’’ one to work with. Knot the end in a basic square knot for the doubled-over thread. The same method can be used for the single ended counterpart.

When you don’t have 24’’ of thread, the single thread is your only choice. To tie it off, slip some slack. One or two inches should be enough but feel free to use however much you require – all of it will be pulled back in the next step. To tie off the ends in this case, you can either make some small overhand knots, or simply wrap the thread several times around your forefinger. Make a tight bundle from rolling the thumbs using you thumb, then slip the whole thing off. With one hand, hold the bundled loops and use the other to pull the longer end tight. This should make a tight knot from the loose bundles.

Either way, once the knot has been tied, it’ll be the first thing to stop your thread from coming loose.

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Step 2: Make Anchor “X” Point

Begin from the lower end of the fabric and work the needle all the way through to the point where the button needs to be set. Run the thread in both directions: First through the back; then back to the front. There should a small “X” at the point where the button has to be centered. This “X” also acts as the reinforced anchor to prevent any sort of loosening in the thread due to stress.

Step 3: Place the Button

Position the button right on the “X”, the anchor, and start sewing on the first button hole by moving the needle from the back to the front. At this point, a spacer needs to be added (the second needle or a pin, a toothpick, or even a small stick can be utilized).

Push the button through one of the button’s hole from the underside of the garment. Keep pulling the thread until the knot snags against the fabric’s underside. Use your fingertip to steady the button in place.

Turn the needle around and this time push the needle back down through the opposite hole from the one you used at first. Push it the whole wait and tug the thread tightly. This is when you should be able to notice a small, single of thread across the top of the button that’s connecting the two opposite holes.

Repeat the process for size times, or passes, three per set of holes on the button.

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Step 4: Make the Shank

On the final repetition of the previous step, avoid the button and come back up through the fabric. Do it like naturally like you would with the button, but rotate the needle and take it out from underneath the button.

Use the needle to wrap the threads across. Form six loops across the bridges connecting the buttons and fabric. Give one strong pull and dive the needle into the base again to be knotted on the opposite side of the fabric.

Step 5: Finishing Touch

Create a little knot on the underside of the fabric. Use your needle to direct the thread through a knot, or cut the thread off the needle and use your fingers to tie the knot. Either way, you want it to really stay against the fabric’s back. The overhand loop is probably the easiest knot out there and you can do it with the needle still attached.


So now you know how to sew a button by hand! You can use this for skirts, dresses, cardigans, shirts, and anything you need to fix.

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