How to Sew a Button

I’m pushing myself to learn some basic and old-fashioned skills that current culture has thrown to the wayside. This includes mending garments in order to give them another chance rather than throwing them out and making certain items for my home instead of purchasing them: Cafe Curtains, A Half Apron, Pillow Case, Banner for Baby Nursery…just to name a few.

Learning to sew a button onto a garment has been on my ‘learn to do’ list for quite some awhile, so what better time than winter? As I practiced this skill I soon realized that it really isn’t very complex. All it takes is patience and a few minutes time!

I love the thought that I’ve added another skill to my “old fashioned” homemaking repertoire. Such a small accomplishment, but yet something that many individuals cannot do in this day and age!

Knowing how to sew a button onto a garment is a valuable and old-fashioned skill to have. Learn how to do just that rather than throwing out pieces that are missing buttons! Here you will learn exactly how to sew a button onto a clothing item through basic instructions. With a little practice you’ll pick up the skill in no time! More sewing projects listed at the very end of this post.

How to Sew a Button

What You’ll Need

  • Needle
  • Toothpick, pin, or second needle
  • Thread
  • Button
  • Scissors


1. Thread the needle and knot the end.

You will need 24 inches of thread in order to sew a button onto a garment. This strand of thread will “double over”, which means sliding the thread through the eye of the needle and then doubling it over until equal amounts of thread are on either side.

Simply tie the two ends of thread together into a tight knot.

2. Create an “x” on the garment (this is where you will place your button).

Start at the backside of the fabric. Run the needle through to the front where the button will be placed. Run the thread through to the back and then again back to front. The aim is to create a small “x” shape. This is your anchor point for the button to be centered on.

3. Position the button on the “x”.

Place the button on the “x” and begin sewing by pushing the needle from the backside, to the front, and through the first button hole. Add the spacer (toothpick, another needle or pin).

Push the needle from the front to the backside through the second button hole.

Push the needle up from the underside of the garment and though one of the empty holes on the button. Tug until the button is snug against the fabric.

Push back through the last remaining button hole and tug tightly. You should be left with two small lines of thread across the button, connecting the two holes together.

Repeat this process 6 times (3 for each set of holes on the button).

Pause on the final repetition of this process before pushing the needle through the fabric.

4. Create the shank.

On the final repetition of step number 3, push the needle through the button, but not through the fabric. Instead, turn the needle to the side and wrap the remaining thread around the thread beneath the button. Make sure to loop around 5-6 times.

Pull the thread tightly and push the needle through to the backside of the garment.

5. Tie it off and remove the shank.

Simply tight off a small knot on the backside of the fabric. I suggest knotting it 2-3 times if possible.

Cut off the excess thread and remove the shank.

More on Sewing

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