All About the Humble Button


The humble button.  If you’re a sewer, you probably have a plethora of them stashed in jars and boxes.  It’s really hard to pass up a jar at a flea market or yard sale because it’s like a mini treasure hunt.  They can be plain or ornate and very useful – until one disappears.  This happens at the most inconvenient times, usually.  Sewing on a button is a basic skill I believe everyone should learn.  Today, I will show you the method I use to attach this wondrously simplistic item that can cause major wardrobe malfunctions.  I’ll also talk about why I think so many buttons are “popping off” the threads that are supposed to be holding them back.

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Hang on Button

Most of the garments you find in the store today are mass produced.  Buttons are attached with a machine, which just leaves loose ends and no knot to secure it.

loose thread on topthreads on back

That’s why things like this happen:


One quick pull, and the button comes undone.

pulls right off

This just makes me sad.  It’s like manufacturers decided using more thread is all that is needed to hold it in place.  The reality is, these garments are not meant to last.  Mass produced garments are meant to flow with the fashion of the season.  Now, let’s get this button reconnected!


Button Re-attachment 101

All you need to do this is a needle, thread, and scissors.  If you don’t have a basic sewing kit, you should get one.  That should be on your list of necessities right up under fire extinguisher.  That’s how important I think it is, anyway!  Hopefully you still have the original button or the extra one that comes with some garments.  If not, you’ll also need a new button!

Quick Tip:  If your extra button is not attached to the garment, go ahead and attach it.  You can put it in an inconspicuous place and then it’s always there when you need it!

Thread the needle, double the thread, and tie a knot in the end.  Insert the needle between or beside the existing holes in the garment with the knot on top.

1st point of entry

Go back and forth with thread about two times to anchor it.


Insert the needle through one button hole, then thru the hole diagonally across from it.  Now use the existing holes in the garment as a guide for placing the button.

existing hole

I usually go across the first two holes twice, then thru the next two holes twice.  I then repeat the process once more.  This crisscrossing helps secure the threads.

criss cross 2

Insert the needle to come out just underneath the button once you have finished attaching it.

needle underneath

Wind the thread around the stitches under the button about 2-3 times.  This gives the button a little lift, so it’s easier to fasten.

more criss cross

make a stand

Insert the needle close to stitching and secure the threads on the back.  Go through the stitches with the needle, then thru the loop created, and pull snug.  I usually do this twice, just for good measure!  Clip the thread close to stitching.

loop it thru

Let’s Compare

Here’s a picture of the button I re-attached and one that was attached by the manufacturer.  You’ll notice I have used much less thread and my button will last much longer.

thread comparison

This picture is of the lift given by wrapping the thread.  The button attached by the manufacturer achieves this by making the thread looser, which is another reason it comes off so easily.

stack it up


I know not everyone sews their own clothes, or wants to for that matter.  I just hope the next time you’re shopping for new digs, maybe you’ll look a little closer before you plunk down that hard earned cash.  Even higher end garments seem to fall short when it comes to the humble button.

If you want to learn a little more about the history of a button, check out the article link below.  I found this interesting, but then again, I am a sewing nerd!  Y’all have a marvelous Monday and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday for my version of chicken salad!

The Simple, Humble, Surprisingly Sexy Button, by Jude Stewart, from




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