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Tutorial: Sewing On a Button How to Sew on Buttons Pic 1 Full view

Tutorial: Sewing On a Button

Today we bring you a tutorial on sewing buttons by our wonderful mending expert Kaye. This is an extended version of the guide we handed out on our flyer for local DJ Auntie Maureen’s ‘Mens-Affair’ Men’s vintage clothing fair a couple of weeks ago.


Sewing on a button can be a surprisingly easy task once you know how and saves you throwing clothes away or taking them to the drycleaners or a tailor. Better yet, this money and time-saving process takes only a few minutes!

What you need:
•    anything that needs/has lost a button
•    a suitable button
•    a needle
•    some thread that’s the same/a similar colour to what’s been used for other buttons. Alternatively, match the thread to the fabric of the trousers so it’s less noticeable.

1. Before you start, make sure your button is suitable. If you don’t have a button of the exact same type as the original buttons, make sure it will go through the buttonhole but is not so small that it will slip out. Unless it’s a spare button that came with the piece of clothing (usually attached to the inside seam of a piece of clothing in a little plastic bag, or sewn inside the size label) it probably isn’t an exact match!

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2. Thread the needle using no more than 45cm/18 inches of thread. Tie both ends together at the end of threaded needle.

3. Mark where the button should go with a pencil. Try to find the small holes where the original button was attached and use them as a guide for where to mark and then sew.

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4. Hold button where it is to be sewn on the outside of the garment. Bring the needle from the underside of the garment up through one of the button’s holes.
5. Push the needle back through the other buttonhole and into the underside of the garment. If the button has 4 holes do the same with the below hole, bringing the needle up through the hole and then over and back down through the other below hole. (If you are sewing a button onto a coat or pair of trousers, skip to the extra instructions below)

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6. Repeat 5 or 6 times until the button is secure.

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7. On the wrong side of the garment make two or three small stitches to secure the button and then tie off the remaining double thread. Cut the thread with scissors close to your tied off knot.

Sewing Buttons for Coats and Trousers

1.   For a coat or trouser button you will need to make a shank. After the first two stitches through the buttonholes place a cocktail stick, matchstick or other suitable article under the threads on the front of the button, then continue sewing the button on.

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2.    Before finishing remove the matchstick and wrap the thread around under the button 4 or 5 times before pushing needle through to the wrong side to finish and tie your thread knot.

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This tutorial was kindly written for us by Kaye Poole, who also provided the images. Kaye volunteers at Significant Seams on Wednesdays. She runs the Stories and Sticking session for Pre-schoolers on Wednesday mornings and the Mending Club on Wednesday afternoons. Kaye has been sewing since she was a teenager and enjoys making clothes and toys for her granddaughters. She also does quite a bit of mending for the whole family.

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