Tons of clothes come with an extra button or two when you first buy them, just in case one accidentally pops off. (Anyone else have a stockpile of the extra ones they save in those little plastic baggies? Just me?) I hope that doesn’t happen because it’s annoying as hell, but if the day comes when the one thread it was hanging on finally snaps, the fix can be easy to DIY if you’ve got some thread and a needle on hand. And if you don’t, you might want to buy a small sewing kit because it’s just a useful thing to have anyway?
So just take a deep breath, gather your supplies, and follow the steps below to hand sew a button back on.
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1. Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end.
I always use way more thread than I think I need, just to avoid having to rethread and knot another piece in case I run out in the middle of the task. You’ll also want to pick out a color that’s the same or a close match to the one on your shirt, pants, skirt, what have you so your handiwork doesn’t stand out.
Another thing before you start? Make sure the button is on the right side! The flat part should be against the fabric, and the side with the ridge should be facing up.
2. Center your button where you want it and poke your needle up through the fabric.
Poke up through the bottom of the fabric and into one of the button holes to begin. Pull the thread all the way through on this first go so the knot catches on the back of the material and is anchored.
3. Thread the needle into the button hole on the opposite side.
So basically, the motion is that you thread up through the fabric of the first hole where you started and then down into the opposite side, pulling the thread tight each time. You repeat this motion three or four times (depending on the thickness of your thread) so it’s really secure.
Also, one thing to note is that you should be inserting the needle into the same general area each time so you’re not poking holes all willy nilly.
4. Repeat threading on the third and fourth button holes.
Follow these same steps for the last two holes—thread up through the fabric of one and down into the other—so that you create an “X” shape with the thread.
5. Once the “X” is complete, flip the fabric over and push the needle through it without going into the button.
The goal of this step is to get your needle between the fabric and the back of the button.
6. Then wrap the thread around the base of the button.
With your needle in between the fabric and button, flip it back over to face the front, then start wrapping the thread around the button three or four times. Pull the thread tight each time you go around. This step creates some space between the button and fabric so it’ll function better, and it also ensures it’s sewed on super tight.
7. Complete the button with a knot at the back.
Thread the needle back through to the back of the fabric. Create a small stitch at the back, pulling the thread just enough so it creates a loop. Thread your needle through this loop to create a knot. Repeat this motion a couple times and pull tight each time, then cut the thread when you’re done. Congrats! You sewed on a button!
If you read through all this and are still scratching your head (@ all the visual learners out there), watch the below slightly blurry yet easy-to-follow YouTube video from Nicki Callahan and you’ll get it. It has almost two million views, so you’re definitely not alone in needing button-sewing guidance. (She even uses a super large one so you can see all her steps clearly, bless.)
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