So you need to mend a button. This usually happens at the most inconvenient times, like as you are walking out the door to a meeting or putting on your favorite pair of sexy pants for a date. Ugh. There’s no time to run to a tailor, and, TBH, there’s really no reason pay anyone to make this very basic repair. Think of learning to sew a button as another step toward making yourself more self-sufficient. All you need are a few tools and then simply follow these 5 steps for how to sew a button like a badass button-sewing pro.
Needle: the slimmer, the better
Button: The original if possible, otherwise a button that matches the size and color of the rest
Thread: 12-24” length. Try to use a thread that matches the garment color.
Small Pointed Scissors: You can also use a knife or something else that is sharp to cut the extra thread.
Step 1. THREAD THE NEEDLE
Ideally, you have 24 inches of thread available. You will then thread your needle (sometimes licking the tip of the thread first helps I’m serious. No giggling.), then tie the two ends together in a knot. This method of threading the needle is often called a doubled-over thread.
If you have less than 24 inches, you will need to do a single thread. For this method, you will slip the thread through the eye of the needle and give it an inch or two of slack on one end. Tie off the back end of the single thread by wrapping the thread around your forefinger several times, rolling the loops into a tight bundle with your thumb, and then slipping the whole bundle off your finger. Grip the bundled loops with one hand and tug the long end of the thread tight with the other, pulling the loose bundle into a tight knot.
Step 2. STITCH AN ANCHOR “X” POINT
Starting from inside the garment, do a couple of little stitches on the spot where the button will go to secure the thread.. Run the needle from the back end of the fabric to the front where the button is going to be needed. Going back and forth you will create a small “X” where the button will be centered. This “X” reinforces the thread to ensure it doesn’t come loose during stress.
Step 3. POSITION THE BUTTON
Thread the button on to the needle and position it on the anchor “X” to begin sewing through the buttonholes. As you begin stitching, pull the thread all the way through until the knot is snug against the underside of the fabric, while you are using a fingertip to keep the button in its place.
If you are mending a two-hole button, then you will keep coming up through one hole and down through the next. If you are sewing a four-hole button, then you can do one of two things. You can either create two parallel stitches or two diagonal stitches creating a cross stitch in an X pattern. Stitch through each hole about four or five times for a shirt button and about six to eight times for a coat or pant button.
Step 4. CREATE THE SHANK
When sewing a button, you need to make sure there is room for the fabric of the shirt or coat to fit underneath when you are done, which is particularly important for thicker fabrics, otherwise it will pucker. Either a second needle or a toothpick, pin, or small stick can be used as a spacer, or you can use your fingertip if you’re feeling adventurous. .If you used a spacer, then on your last stitch of the button, come back up through the fabric, but do not go through the button, instead turn the needle aside and bring it out from underneath the button.
Remove the spacer you used. With your threaded needle, wrap your thread around the threads beneath the button a total of 6 times. While you wrap around the thread, lift the button away from the garment to create a shank. Pull the thread tight and push the needle back into the base to be tied off on the back side of the fabric.
Step 5. TIE IT OFF
The simplest knot to tie off is an overhand loop tied with the needle still attached. To do this, you will pin the thread down right against the back of the fabric, under the button. Make a little circle in the thread just beyond your fingertip and pass the needle through the circle. Tighten it down and snip off the excess thread.
Ta-da! Congratulations, you did it! Now get dressed, and take a selfie on your way out the door. You just saved yourself some money, and a trip to the tailor (or your mom) and sewed your own button like a grown-ass adult!