Sewing Buttons On Clothing

Category Clothing
One of the most routine sewing tasks is sewing buttons back on clothing. This is a page about sewing buttons on clothing.


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February 18, 2010

To make sewing a button on easier and much faster, cut a long piece of thread. Select a needle with a bit larger than usual eye and double the thread in half. Thread the doubled end through the eye and now you have 4 strands of thread to work with.

When you make the knot, you will be tying the 4 strands together. Twice the amount of thread to sew with and fewer stitches through the button.

By Trish from Chatom, AL

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I found a button in the washer and sure enough it fell off a pair of my favorite pants. I'm not very skilled at sewing, but I know this is an easy repair so I thought I'd try it.


I used a pre-threaded needle kit from a drug store which only cost a couple dollars. This is convenient if you don't have a sewing kit handy and will be good for several repairs.

If you have lost the button you can find a suitable replacement at a craft store. The kit I bought also comes with a couple shirt-style buttons. Many pants and shirts have an extra button sewed into them. Look along the bottom hem of a shirt or along the waistline of your pants.

Total Time: 15 Minutes

Yield: One Repair


  • needle
  • thread (about two feet)
  • button
  • needle or toothpick for spacer


  1. Assemble your supplies. I used the green thread from my pre-threaded needle kit and the button I found in the wash.
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  3. Start by tying a knot in the end of the string. I had to triple knot mine. Pull it through from the front where you want the button to be placed and make a small stitch. Then, cross that stitch by going back through to make a little X. You will end up with the thread back on the front of the pants.
  4. Run the needle through one of the holes on the button and snug the button down right over where you made the X.

    You'll use another needle or a toothpick as a spacer to give your button a little slack. Push the needle back through the adjacent button hole and insert the spacer before the loop closes up. Gently pull the thread tight.
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  6. Continue with the other two button holes. Stab the needle back up through the next button hole, over the spacer, and back down through the final button hole.
  7. Repeat three or four times going around the button coming up and down through adjacent holes. Take out the spacer.
  8. The needle should be on the back of the fabric. Push it through to the front, but not through a button hole. Instead, aim it out to the side of the button. The slack created by the (now removed) spacer helps here.

    Wrap the thread around the threads that hold the button in place three or four times to cinch them into a bundle. Then stab back through to the back of the fabric.
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  10. Tie off the thread on the back of the project. Simply push the needle under one of the thread loops laying on the fabric and then through the loop created. When you pull it tight the knot will snug up against the fabric. Do this two or three times.
  11. Trim off the excess string on the front and back of the fabric.
  12. Here is the completed button. It should be just as strong as the original.
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February 11, 2005

When sewing on buttons, especially on heavy jackets, use dental floss or 4 strands of thread that has been waxed with beeswax. This will make the button threads much stronger. By Karole

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Cover your button threads on any piece of clothing with clear nail polish.This will make the buttons last longer. It helps the threads endure the heat.

Piece of clothing and bottle of clear nail polish.

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As a very lazy person who hates to sew on buttons I started doing this several years ago. When I put a button on a garment, new or not, I dot the threads with a little bit of clear nail polish.

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Banty gave a nice tip about sewing on buttons. I have another that makes the work look nicer. If you are using a button that is "not" a shank type, make your knot at the end of your thread as usual.

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This is a sewing tip. I have a special foot for my sewing machine for sewing on buttons. I love it because it's such a time saver. Anyway my tip is this: before I sew the button on, I lay a flat toothpick on top of the button and hold it there until I lower my presser foot.

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May 10, 2005

Before you wear a new garment, put a little clear nail polish on the front and back threads of each button. Buttons will stay on longer when their threads are sealed.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 14, 2010

How do I sew buttons onto a leather coat so they don't get loose and fall off?

By Carol from Virginia Beach, VA


December 14, 20100 found this helpful

I am sure there is a "pattern" to sewing ona button. probably something like a criss-cross from hole to hole.
But if you buy some clear fishing line you can thread it to a suitable needle and use a couple of stitches of it to really secure the existing buttons.

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

I would use some heavy duty thread, like quilting thread. You can add a touch of a good glue (tacky glue) or something on the last couple of rounds of sewing for extra stability (carefully on the glue).

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

Use dental floss to sew the buttons on, or to reinforce the existing stitching. If the white floss stands out too much, use a marker to color the floss to blend with the coat. The buttons on my leather jacket have lasted 3 years so far.

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

On my leather coat there is a second button on the inside of the coat that has been sewn at the same time as the front button. I think that helps keep the button used to actually fasten the coat from tearing the leather. Also, it looks as if the front button was sewn with a spacer under it so that it is easier to button it has an extra length of thread between the coat and the button so I can wiggle the button into the hole. I can't believe how nice this coat is. I paid $10 for it at a discount leather store in OR.

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

Either use dental floss (you can color it with a permanent marker) or buy a spool of "buttonhole twist"--a heavy duty thread. Place a wooden matchstick or round toothpick under the button to allow a shank of thread. After sewing the button on, pull the matchstick out and wind the thread around the shank, then bring thread through to the back of the coat, and knot and cut. Try to keep the threads going in and out of the same holes in the coat, since you don't want to weaken the coat material.

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

I was going to suggest thin fishing line too. ;-)

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

Use the button on the back side of the main buttons, but also sew the main button on loosely then take the thread and wrap around the loose threads behind the main button before tying the knot. This will give some looseness to the button so it will not want to break.

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

I highly recommend button hole twist heavy thread for buttons. You can also try painting the threads on the inside of the coat after you've sewn the button(s) on with clear nail polish( it hardens the thread so less likely to fall off so often. There is also something called bachelor button fasteners they are for non-sewers and are made of plastic with a plastic button end. Just thread through the hole or holes of your button the through the lock in in the plastic button, pull tight and cut off. They last a long time.

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

The best things for this are either a fishing line, or dental floss. Try the dental floss first, it's terrific for buttons! :-)

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December 16, 20100 found this helpful

There are some buttons that cut the thread no matter how many times it is sewn or with what, I have found. Years ago I learned that if I used the eye part of a hook and eye fastener I put the eye through the button and then sew the eye onto the garment. I have used this many times and have not "lost a button" since. It also gives space between the fabric as is needed. One can buy them or they can be salvaged before those old bra's are tossed.

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