Mend It May – How to…sew on a button

I may well be teaching you all to suck eggs here, but sewing on a button is one the most common mends, and I think it pretty much counts as an essential life skill. It’s also a great entry point into the wonderful world of mending. Armed with a needle and thread, if you can sew back on a button, you can take on the world. Or something like that…
I am sure there are probably lots of different ways to sew on a button-my method may not be the most technically correct, but I’ve never let that stop me when it comes to mending (or making now I come to think of it). If it works, that’s good enough for me…!

You will need:

  • Your buttonless garment
  • Needle and thread.
    Make sure your needle is thin enough to fit through the holes of the button you are sewing back on. The thread can either be the same colour as the button, or if you are feeling ‘daring’ you can go for a contrasting colour.
  • A button
    If you managed to save the button when it fell off, then obviously you can use that. If it’s been lost, then most shirts will have spare button sewn into the label. Or you can raid your button jar (every home should have a button jar…) for a contrasting colour and make a statement with a visiblemend.
  • Scissors for snipping threads

Pic 1-sewing on a button

1) Cut a length of thread about as long as your arm. Thread your needle and double over the thread and tie a knot in both ends at the ends.

Pic 2 - sewing on a button
2) Hold your button in place and bring the needle up from the back of the fabric and pull it all the way through until the knot stops it.
Pic 3 - sewing on a button
3) Poke the needle back down through the second hole, and repeat the process 3-4 times in total.
Pic 4 - sewing on a button
4) Once you are happy that the button is secure, sew a few small stitches in the back of the fabric. I like to also create a couple of knots by sewing back through the loop as I make a stitch for extra security.
Pic 5 - sewing on a button
5) Stand back and admire your handiwork!

Pic 6 - sewing on a button

The process is the same for buttons with four holes, except you sew a ‘x’ rather than a ‘-‘.
And for a ‘shank’ button (one with a loop on the back rather than holes through it) you do the same thing, but just sew through the shank 3-4 times instead of threading through the holes.

A bonus sneaky ‘hack for you all’, is to paint clear nail varnish over the top of your button after it has been sewn on, to seal the threads in place and make it less likely to fall off again!

I am mildly obsessed with buttons, and although sewing them back on might not be my most favourite job, I do love how simply changing the buttons on a garment can completely transform it-it’s well worth a try if you’ve got a coat or a cardi you are bored of.

Do you have any ‘failsafe’ techniques or hacks for buttons-do share them below, or join the Mend It May Facebook group, and share it there.

And lastly, don’t forget to sign up to the Mend It May Pledge, and show your support for all things mending:

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