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August 11, 2011

How to Sew a Button

by thenattyurbanite

You just never know. There are those times when you’re getting ready to go out and you notice that your shirt/pair of pants/jacket is missing a button. My mom was a Brownie Pack Leader and she taught me basic sewing from the time I was old enough to know not to put the needle in my mouth [six years old]. I’m now rather deft with ye olde needle and thread and this skill has served me well. It will benefit you too.

  1. Choose a button if you don’t have the original. Look inside the clothing for the extra that manufacturers sometimes include, or buy one that matches the size and color of the other buttons.
  1. Choose thread that either matches the thread color used on the other buttons, the color of the button or the color of the material.
  1. Cut a piece of thread about 1/2 yard long [approximately finger to elbow] and thread the needle, feeding the thread through the eyehole. Doubling the thread [pulling it through the needle so that there is an equal length of thread extending from both sides] makes the task easier.
  1. Tie a knot at the end of the thread, where both ends of the thread meet. Tie another knot, so that the end is doubly secure. The thread should now be doubled and ready to sew.
  1. Place the button on top of the material where you intend to sew it into place.
  1. Place a pin or toothpick under the button across the button’s center and hold it there until the next stitch helps keep it in place. When the pin is withdrawn later, it will allow the slack necessary to create a “shank” so that there will be space between behind the button for the material that will need to go there when the garment is buttoned.
  1. From under the material, push the needle up through the material and one of the holes on the button. Pull all the way through until the knot is anchored against the material. Not – Bring the needle up through the first hole [for a 2-hole button] or a new hole [for a 4-hole button] and pull the thread all the way through the fabric.
  1. Push the needle down through the next hole on the button and through the material.
  1. Repeat steps 7 and 8 three times, going up and down through the hole on the button and through the material, so that each hole is secured by multiple strands.
  1. Pull the thread out into the area between button and material, remove the pin and pull up the button a little.
  2. Wrap the thread six times around the thread between the button and the material to reinforce the shank you have created.
  3. Push the needle back down through the material.
  1. End with the needle on the material side and secure it with a knot. Double-knot this end.
  1. Cut off the excess.

For those Urbanites who are more visual learners, here’s a how-to video:

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