How to Sew a Button

Learning how to sew a button on is a basic sewing skill. However, most people don't do a very good job of it. Learn the proper technique here.

It is much easier to learn this through pictures. The directions get kind of tedious, but they'll help you follow the steps.

In learning how to sew a button on, there are a couple of terms I use that you may not be familiar with. I call the button you are sewing onto the front the fashion button. I call the small one on the inside of the coat the backing button. Coats often go through a lot of stress when being fastened. The backing button keeps the fashion button from pulling the threads through the coat and ripping it.

Begin by threading a needle and knotting it. You will be sewing two buttons back to back, at the same time. Hold them in place until you can get a couple of stiches to hold them.

bring needle through fabric back
You're learning how to sew a button on each side of the coat at the same time. Position the backing button on the inside of the coat. Hold it there while putting your needle through one of the holes.
bring needle to fabric front
Bring the needle through all layers of fabric to the front of the coat. If this is not the right position for the fashion button, adjust it until it is in the correct spot. Old needle holes will guide you.
put button onto needle
Continue holding the backing button in position. With the needle protruding out of the coat, position one of the holes of the button so the needle goes into it. Check for proper button position again.
put backing button on

Come through a diagonal hole in the fashion button to the inside of the coat. Put the needle through the hole of the backing button
begin attaching backing button
Put your needle into a diagonal hole in the backing button, now, and push it all the way through to the front. Make sure it comes out through the original hole in the fashion button.
leave room for the button shank
Don't pull your thread too tight. You have to leave room for the shank we will create in Step Nine. Go in and out of these two buttons three times in the same holes.
multiple stitches in backing button
Here you see what stitching three times looks like on the backing button. Try to keep your threads from twisting and knotting together.
fashion button with 2 diagonal stitches
Once you have stitched three times going across the button in one direction, repeat the process in the other direction. Your stitches will make an "X" on both the backing button and the fashion button.
bring needle through fo shank
Now bring your needle through the fabric, but go behind the fashion button. Come out on the side of it, not through one of the holes. You are starting to make the shank.
Make shank on button
Wind your thread around between the button and the coat, four or five times. This creates a space between the button and the coat, so you can button it more easily.
Bring needle behind backing button
Now bring your needle to the inside of the coat, but between the backing button and the coat. Wind your thread only once around. You don't want a shank here, you just want to secure the threads.
knot behind backing button
Knot your thread. Here is a closeup of the knot behind the backing button. Pull the threads secure, then clip carefully, close to the iinside of the coat
finished button on coat
Here is the finished button. The threads lay evenly in a crisscross pattern and the shank creates just enough room to button the coat easily while keeping both buttons secure.

It has surely taken you longer to read about how to sew a button than it would take you to actually do it. So come back here if you need a reference, but once you do it the first time, you'll be on your way to becoming a pro!

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