How to Sew a Button: A Step by Step Guide for Beginners (2023)

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Basic Tools and Materials Needed to Sew a Button

When it comes to sewing a button, there are a few basic tools and materials that you will need to have on hand. These include:

  • A needle: Choose a needle that is appropriate for the fabric you are working with. For lightweight fabrics, use a fine needle; for heavier fabrics, use a thicker needle.
  • Thread: Select a thread color that matches your button and fabric. Use a strong thread, such as polyester or cotton, to ensure durability.
  • A button: Choose a button that is suitable for your garment. Consider the size, color, and style of the button to complement your project.
  • Scissors: You will need scissors to cut the thread and trim any excess fabric.
  • Pins: Pins can be used to hold the button in place before sewing it on.

Additional Optional Tools:

In addition to the basic tools mentioned above, you may also find the following tools helpful:

  • Thimble: A thimble can protect your finger from getting pricked by the needle when pushing it through thick fabric or multiple layers.
  • Tape measure or ruler: These tools can help you accurately measure and mark the placement of your button on the garment.
  • Fabric marker or chalk: These tools can be used to mark the exact position where you want to sew your button.


Make sure all your tools are clean and in good condition before starting your sewing project. This will help ensure neat and professional-looking results.

Choosing the Right Thread and Needle for Sewing a Button

When it comes to sewing a button, selecting the appropriate thread and needle is crucial for achieving a secure and long-lasting result. The type of thread you choose should be strong enough to withstand regular use and washing. It is recommended to use a polyester or nylon thread as they are known for their durability. These threads are less likely to break or fray compared to cotton threads.

In terms of needle selection, it is important to choose one that matches the thickness of your thread and the size of the buttonholes. For thicker threads, opt for a larger needle with a wider eye. This will make threading easier and prevent any damage to the thread. On the other hand, if you are working with delicate fabrics or smaller buttons, a finer needle would be more suitable.

Factors to Consider:

  • Type of fabric: Different fabrics require different types of needles. For example, sharp needles work well on woven fabrics while ballpoint needles are better suited for knits.
  • Button size: Larger buttons may require stronger threads and thicker needles to ensure they stay securely attached.
  • Thread color: Choose a thread color that matches or complements the fabric color so that it blends seamlessly with the garment.


  1. If you’re unsure about which needle size or type to use, test on a scrap piece of fabric first before sewing onto your garment.
  2. Consider using waxed thread when sewing buttons as it can help prevent tangles and make threading easier.

Proper Technique for Threading a Needle When Sewing a Button

Threading the Needle

To properly thread a needle when sewing a button, start by cutting a piece of thread that is approximately 18 inches long. Take one end of the thread and insert it through the eye of the needle. If you are having trouble threading the needle, you can try wetting the tip of the thread or using a needle threader to make it easier. Once the thread is through the eye of the needle, pull it until both ends are even.

Knotting the Thread

After threading the needle, you will need to knot the end of the thread to prevent it from coming undone while sewing. To do this, hold both ends of the thread together and create a small loop near one end. Pass the needle through this loop and pull tight to create a knot. Repeat this process one more time to ensure that your knot is secure.


– Use sharp scissors or a thread cutter to cut your thread cleanly.
– If you have difficulty threading needles, consider using a needle with a larger eye or using a magnifying glass for better visibility.

Tools needed:

– Needle
– Thread
– Scissors or thread cutter
– Optional: Needle threader

Step-by-Step Guide to Securely Attaching a Button Using Hand Sewing

When attaching a button using hand sewing, follow these steps for secure results:

Selecting Appropriate Thread and Needle

Choose a strong and durable thread that matches your garment’s fabric and button color. Ensure that your needle is suitable for hand sewing buttons – it should have an eye large enough to accommodate your chosen thread.

Marking Button Placement

Use a fabric marker or tailor’s chalk to mark the desired button placement on your garment. This will help you sew the button in the correct position.

Securing Thread with Knot

Start by threading your needle and knotting one end of the thread as mentioned in the previous section. Insert the needle from the backside of your fabric, bringing it up through one of the marked buttonholes.

Sewing Button with X-Stitches

Position your button over the hole, aligning it with your marking. Insert the needle through one of the holes in the button, then bring it diagonally across to insert through an opposite hole. Repeat this process several times to create a secure “X” pattern on top of the button.

Finishing Off

After sewing enough stitches to securely attach the button, finish off by creating a knot on the backside of your fabric. To do this, insert your needle through a nearby stitch or fabric layer and loop it around once or twice before pulling tight. Trim any excess thread.


– Use a thimble to protect your fingers while pushing the needle through thick fabrics.
– For added strength, consider applying a small amount of clear nail polish or fray check to secure knots.

Tools needed:

– Needle
– Thread
– Scissors or thread cutter
– Fabric marker or tailor’s chalk
– Optional: Thimble

Best Stitches for Sewing Buttons and How to Execute Them

Types of Stitches

There are several stitches that can be used to sew buttons onto garments, each with its own advantages. One common stitch is the flat button stitch, which involves creating a series of parallel stitches across the button. This stitch provides a secure hold and is commonly used for medium-sized buttons. Another option is the shank button stitch, which creates a loop or “shank” between the fabric and the button. This allows for more movement and flexibility when fastening the garment. The shank button stitch is often used for larger or heavier buttons.

Executing the Stitches

To sew on a button using the flat button stitch, start by threading a needle with a double strand of thread. Insert the needle through one hole of the button and pull it through until the thread is halfway through. Then, insert the needle into an adjacent hole and bring it back up through another hole diagonally opposite to create a cross shape. Repeat this process several times until you have created parallel stitches across all holes of the button. Finally, secure the thread on the wrong side of the fabric with a knot.

For sewing on a button using the shank button stitch, start by threading your needle with a single strand of thread. Insert the needle from underneath the fabric and come up through one hole of the button. Slide a small spacer, such as a toothpick or matchstick, between the fabric and button to create space for the shank. Then, wrap your thread around this spacer several times before inserting your needle back down through another hole in an adjacent position. Continue wrapping and stitching until you have created enough loops to form a sturdy shank. Finally, remove the spacer and secure your thread with a knot.


– Use a strong thread, such as button thread or dental floss, to ensure the button stays securely in place.
– If the fabric is thick or heavy, consider reinforcing it with interfacing before sewing on the button to prevent it from pulling or tearing.
– When sewing buttons onto delicate fabrics, place a small piece of scrap fabric between the button and the garment to protect the fabric from damage.


– Needle
– Thread (button thread or dental floss)
– Scissors
– Spacer (toothpick or matchstick)


– Buttons
– Interfacing (optional)
– Scrap fabric (optional)

Determining the Correct Placement of a Button on a Garment

When it comes to determining the correct placement of a button on a garment, there are a few factors to consider. First, you’ll want to think about the functionality of the button. Is it meant to be purely decorative or does it need to hold two pieces of fabric together? If it’s functional, you’ll want to place it where there is enough tension and stress on the garment.

Another factor to consider is the style and design of the garment. You’ll want to place the button in a way that enhances the overall look and balance of the piece. For example, if you’re sewing buttons on a blouse, you might want to place them evenly spaced down the center front.

Factors to Consider:

  • Functionality of the button
  • Tension and stress points on the garment
  • Style and design of the garment

Reinforcing the Fabric Before Sewing a Button On

Before sewing a button onto a garment, it’s important to reinforce the fabric in order to prevent any damage or tearing. One common method for reinforcing fabric is by using interfacing. Interfacing is an additional layer of fabric that is sewn or fused onto the backside of your main fabric. It adds stability and strength, making it less likely for your buttonholes or buttons to pull through.

You can also reinforce your fabric by adding extra stitches around where your button will be placed. This can be done by hand or with a sewing machine. By creating multiple rows of stitches, you’re distributing any tension or stress across a larger area, reducing strain on individual threads.

Methods for Reinforcing Fabric:

  • Using interfacing
  • Adding extra stitches around the button placement

Sewing Buttons Using a Sewing Machine: Settings and Techniques

If you prefer to sew buttons using a sewing machine, there are a few settings and techniques to keep in mind. First, you’ll want to select the appropriate stitch on your machine. Most sewing machines have a specific buttonhole stitch that is designed for sewing buttons. Consult your machine’s manual to find the correct setting.

When sewing buttons with a machine, it’s important to use a button foot or attachment. This specialized foot holds the button securely in place while allowing the needle to pass through the holes. Make sure to adjust the width and length of your stitch according to the size and thickness of your button.

Tips for Sewing Buttons with a Sewing Machine:

  • Select the appropriate stitch on your machine
  • Use a button foot or attachment
  • Adjust stitch width and length based on button size and thickness

Alternatives to Hand-Sewing Buttons: Snap Fasteners and Adhesive Options Compared

If hand-sewing buttons isn’t your preferred method, there are alternatives available such as snap fasteners and adhesive options. Snap fasteners, also known as press studs, are two-part fasteners that snap together when pressed. They can be sewn onto fabric or attached using special tools.

Adhesive options, such as fabric glue or fusible webbing, provide another alternative for attaching buttons without sewing. These adhesives can be applied directly onto the back of the button and then adhered to the fabric. However, it’s important to note that adhesive options may not be as durable or long-lasting as sewing.

Comparison of Alternatives:

  • Snap fasteners: sew-on or tool-attached
  • Adhesive options: fabric glue or fusible webbing

Tips and Tricks for Troubleshooting Common Issues While Sewing Buttons

Sewing buttons can sometimes come with its own set of challenges. Here are some tips and tricks to help troubleshoot common issues that may arise while sewing buttons:

Buttonhole too small:

If your buttonhole is too small for the button, carefully trim the edges of the hole using small scissors or a seam ripper. Be cautious not to cut through any stitches.

Buttonhole too large:

If your buttonhole is too large, you can reinforce it by adding a few hand stitches around the edges. This will prevent further stretching and keep the button secure.

Button not staying in place:

If your button is not staying in place, try adding a small amount of clear nail polish or fabric glue to the thread on the backside of the button. This will create a stronger bond and help keep the button securely attached.

In conclusion, learning how to sew a button is a valuable skill that can save you time and money. With just a few simple steps, you can easily repair or replace buttons on your garments, ensuring they last longer and remain in good condition. So why not give it a try and become more self-sufficient in maintaining your wardrobe?

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