How to Keep Buttons from Popping Open: Foolproof Techniques for 2023

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how to keep buttons from popping open

Common Reasons Why Buttons May Pop Open

Buttons may pop open for several reasons, including:

  1. Inadequate thread tension: If the thread used to sew on the button is too loose, it can easily unravel and cause the button to come off. It’s important to ensure that the thread is securely tightened when sewing on buttons.
  2. Poor quality or worn-out buttons: Cheap or low-quality buttons are more prone to popping open. Additionally, buttons that have been used for a long time may become weakened or damaged, making them more likely to come undone.
  3. Tight fit or strain on the garment: If a button is placed too close to the edge of a garment or if there is excessive strain on the fabric (e.g., when sitting or bending), it can cause the button to pop open. It’s essential to consider the placement and reinforcement of buttons based on how they will be used.

Inadequate Thread Tension

When sewing on a button, it’s crucial to use proper thread tension. If the tension is too loose, there won’t be enough resistance to keep the button securely in place. On the other hand, if the tension is too tight, it may put unnecessary strain on both the button and fabric, increasing the risk of popping open. To achieve optimal thread tension, adjust your sewing machine settings accordingly and test a few stitches before sewing on your actual buttons.

Poor Quality or Worn-out Buttons

The quality of buttons plays a significant role in their durability. Cheap or low-quality buttons are more likely to break or come undone compared to higher-quality ones. When purchasing buttons, choose those made from durable materials like metal or high-quality plastic. Additionally, regularly inspect your buttons for any signs of wear or damage. If you notice any issues, it’s best to replace the button before it pops open and potentially damages your garment.

Tight Fit or Strain on the Garment

The fit of a garment can also contribute to button popping. If a button is placed too close to the edge of the fabric, there may not be enough material to hold it securely. Similarly, if there is excessive strain on the fabric (e.g., due to tightness or movement), it can put pressure on the button and cause it to come undone. To prevent this, consider reinforcing areas where buttons are attached by adding extra layers of fabric or using interfacing.

Choosing the Right Size of Buttons to Prevent Popping Open

Consider the Thickness of the Fabric

When choosing buttons for your garment, it is important to consider the thickness of the fabric. If you are working with a lightweight or delicate fabric, opt for smaller buttons that will not put too much strain on the fabric. On the other hand, if you are working with a heavier or thicker fabric, choose larger buttons that can withstand the weight and tension without popping open.

Take into Account Buttonhole Size

The size of the buttonhole also plays a role in preventing button popping. Ensure that the button fits comfortably through the buttonhole without being too tight or too loose. If the button is too small for the buttonhole, it may cause strain on the fabric and lead to popping open. Conversely, if the button is too large for the buttonhole, it may not secure properly and increase the risk of popping open.


  • Test different sizes of buttons and buttonholes on scrap fabric before sewing them onto your garment.
  • Consider using shank buttons for thicker fabrics as they provide extra space between the button and fabric.

Fabrics and Materials Prone to Button Popping

Certain fabrics and materials are more prone to button popping due to their characteristics. Fabrics with little stretch or give, such as denim or tightly woven cotton, can put more strain on buttons when stretched during movement. Similarly, materials like leather or vinyl can be less forgiving and may cause buttons to pop open if not properly secured.

In addition to considering fabric type, take note of any embellishments or decorations on your garment that could affect button stability. For example, heavy beading or embroidery near the button area can add extra weight and strain on the buttons, increasing the risk of popping open.


  • Reinforce button areas on fabrics prone to popping by adding interfacing or additional layers of fabric.
  • Avoid using buttons on garments made from very rigid or stiff materials, as they may not provide enough flexibility for proper button closure.

Sewing Techniques and Stitches for Preventing Button Popping

Reinforcing the Button Area

One effective sewing technique for preventing button popping is reinforcing the button area. This can be done by adding a layer of interfacing or fusible webbing to the wrong side of the fabric where the button will be sewn. This extra layer provides stability and strength to the fabric, reducing the likelihood of buttons popping open. Additionally, you can reinforce the button area by sewing a small square or rectangle of fabric onto the wrong side of the garment, directly behind where the button will be placed. This added layer acts as a reinforcement and distributes the stress on the fabric when buttons are fastened.

Using Strong and Secure Stitches

The type of stitch used to attach buttons can also play a significant role in preventing them from popping open. One commonly used stitch is the double-threaded shank stitch. To create this stitch, thread your needle with two strands of thread and make a knot at one end. Insert your needle through one hole of the button, then bring it back up through another hole diagonally opposite to create an “X” shape. Repeat this process several times, making sure to pull tightly each time to secure the button firmly in place.

Another strong stitch option is using a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. Set your machine to a zigzag stitch setting and adjust both stitch width and length according to your preference. Sew over each hole of the button multiple times in a zigzag pattern, ensuring that each pass overlaps with previous stitches. This creates a secure attachment that helps prevent buttons from popping open during wear.

Tools and Equipment for Securing Buttons and Preventing Popping Open

Buttonhole Foot Attachment

One useful tool for securing buttons is a buttonhole foot attachment for your sewing machine. This attachment allows you to create precise and reinforced buttonholes, which can help prevent buttons from popping open. The buttonhole foot typically has markings or guides that help you measure the correct size for your buttonhole. By using this attachment, you can ensure that the buttonhole is the perfect fit for your button, providing a secure closure.

Button Thread

Using the right thread when sewing on buttons can make a significant difference in preventing them from popping open. It is recommended to use a strong and durable thread specifically designed for sewing buttons. Button thread is thicker and more resistant to wear and tear compared to regular sewing thread. When sewing on buttons, double-threading your needle with button thread provides extra strength and security.

In addition to using the appropriate thread, it’s also essential to choose the right needle size for sewing on buttons. A thicker needle, such as a jeans needle or a heavy-duty needle, can handle the thickness of the fabric and provide better stability when attaching buttons.

Alternative Fastening Methods to Avoid Button Popping

Snaps and Hooks

If you want to avoid using traditional sew-on buttons altogether, snaps and hooks can be excellent alternatives. Snaps are fasteners that consist of two interlocking metal or plastic components: one with a protruding ball-shaped piece (stud) and another with a socket that fits over it. These components snap together securely when pressed firmly.

Hooks are another alternative fastening method that can be used instead of buttons. They consist of two metal or plastic pieces: one with a hook-shaped component and another with an eye-shaped component. The hook slides into the eye, creating a secure closure.

Advantages of Snaps and Hooks:

  • Snaps and hooks provide a secure closure without the risk of buttons popping open.
  • They are easy to attach and remove, making them convenient for garments that require frequent opening and closing.
  • Snaps and hooks can be hidden within the garment, creating a cleaner and more streamlined appearance.

Preventive Measures for Sewing on Buttons to Avoid Popping Open

Selecting Appropriate Button Size

Choosing the right button size is crucial in preventing buttons from popping open. If the button is too small for the buttonhole or too large for the fabric thickness, it can put excessive strain on the threads holding it in place. To avoid this issue, select a button that fits comfortably through the buttonhole without being too tight or too loose. Additionally, consider the thickness of your fabric when choosing a button size. Thicker fabrics may require larger buttons to ensure a secure attachment.

Securing Buttons with Thread Shank

A thread shank is an additional loop of thread created between the fabric and the button when sewing it on. This loop provides extra space between the button and fabric, allowing room for the fabric layers to move without putting pressure on the threads holding the button in place. To create a thread shank, insert a toothpick or small spacer between the button and fabric before sewing it on. Sew through all layers (button, spacer, and fabric) multiple times to secure them together. Once finished, remove the spacer by gently pulling it out from under the button.

Care Instructions and Washing Techniques for Keeping Buttons Intact

Handwashing or Delicate Cycle

To keep buttons intact during washing, it’s essential to follow proper care instructions. If your garment has delicate or decorative buttons, it’s best to handwash the item to prevent excessive agitation that can cause buttons to loosen or pop open. Fill a basin with lukewarm water and a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics. Gently agitate the garment in the soapy water, paying extra attention to the button area. Rinse thoroughly and lay flat to dry.

If handwashing is not possible, using a washing machine on a delicate cycle can be an alternative. Place the garment in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase to protect it from excessive movement and friction inside the machine. Use cold water and a gentle detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics. Avoid overloading the machine, as this can lead to increased agitation and potential button damage.

Avoiding High Heat

High heat can weaken the threads holding buttons in place, increasing the risk of them popping open during washing or drying. To prevent this, avoid using high heat settings when tumble drying garments with buttons. Instead, opt for low heat or air-drying methods such as line drying or laying flat on a towel.

The Effect of Different Button Styles on Popping Open and Precautions to Take

Flat Buttons vs. Shank Buttons

The style of buttons used can affect their tendency to pop open. Flat buttons, which have holes directly through their center, are more prone to popping open compared to shank buttons that have an attached loop at the back. When sewing on flat buttons, it’s crucial to use strong stitches and reinforce the fabric adequately around each hole.

For shank buttons, precautions should still be taken even though they are less likely to pop open due to their design. Ensure that the shank is securely sewn onto the fabric by passing your needle through both the shank loop and fabric multiple times. This will provide extra stability and prevent the shank from loosening or breaking.

Reinforcing Buttonholes and Adding Layers of Fabric to Prevent Popping Open

Using Interfacing or Reinforcement Tape

One effective way to reinforce buttonholes and prevent them from popping open is by using interfacing or reinforcement tape. Interfacing is a material that can be sewn or fused onto the wrong side of the fabric to add stability and strength. Cut a strip of interfacing slightly wider than your buttonhole, place it on the wrong side of the fabric, aligning it with the buttonhole opening. Sew around the edges of the buttonhole, securing the interfacing in place.

Reinforcement tape is another option for strengthening buttonholes. It is a narrow strip of woven or non-woven material with adhesive on one side. Place the reinforcement tape along both sides of the buttonhole on the wrong side of the fabric, ensuring that it covers the entire length of the opening. Press firmly to adhere it securely. The reinforcement tape provides extra support and prevents buttonholes from stretching or fraying over time.

Add Extra Layers of Fabric

In cases where buttons frequently pop open due to excessive strain on the fabric, adding extra layers can help distribute stress and prevent popping open. One method is to sew an additional layer of fabric behind the button area, either by attaching a small patch directly behind each button or sewing a larger piece as an underlayer for multiple buttons. This added layer acts as a buffer between buttons and body movements, reducing strain on individual threads holding buttons in place.

Another option is creating reinforced plackets or facing strips using multiple layers of fabric in areas prone to button popping open, such as center fronts of shirts or waistbands of pants. These extra layers provide additional strength and stability, minimizing the risk of buttons coming undone.

In conclusion, by following simple steps such as reinforcing buttons, using double stitching, and avoiding excessive strain on clothing, individuals can effectively prevent buttons from popping open and ensure their garments remain intact and secure.

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