Sewing Buttons Questions

April 1, 2011 10:55 pm
Q. What’s the best way to sew a button?

A. Sewing on buttons is not difficult, but requires care and patience. Since buttons do come loose or fall off, it’s a very useful skill. It’s best to use the original button if you have it, if not check for extras that may have come with the garment. (It’s a good practice to have a common place for extra buttons that often come with new garments, if they’re not sewn into an inner seam somewhere. Label the buttons if you can.)

Once you have a suitable button, find a thread that matches the button, the garment, and any thread used to sew on other buttons. Observe the way that the rest of the buttons are sewn on and try to imitate it.

Tools: Needle, thread, button

Take twelve inches of thread, knotted securely at one end, and thread your needle. Make a single stitch in the shirt in line with the row of buttons, about 1/8 inch long, and then make another stitch perpendicular (across) to the first.

Hold the button about 1/8 inch away from the shirt and thread the needle up through one hole in the button and down the diagonally opposite hole. Do the same with the other holes and then repeat four times.

For coats and sport jackets, wrap the thread tightly around the 1/8-inch shank that has been created between the button and the cloth to create a tight thread shank. The purpose of a shank is to provide space for thicker fabric to lay flat when the garment is buttoned up. A shirt button typically does not have a shank, except perhaps on the collar where the neckband is thicker.

Push the needle through the base of the thread shank to the inside of the garment. Pass the needle under the stitches, leaving a small loop. Pass the needle and thread through the loop and pull tight. Cut the thread about 1/4 inch from the knot.