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How to Sew a Button by Hand

Not wearing your favorite shirt because it’s missing a button? Don’t worry—sewing on a new one is simple and fast.


  • Step 1: Select a button & thread Select an appropriate button and matching thread for the article of clothing.
  • TIP: Check to see if the manufacturer included extra buttons.
  • Step 2: Thread your needle Cut a suitable length of thread with scissors (12 to18 inches is generally enough), and thread and knot your needle.
  • Step 3: Position the button Position the button and check to make sure it lines up with the buttonhole.
  • TIP: If you are replacing a button, look for tiny holes in the fabric left by the previous button, and put your new button there.
  • Step 4: Make first stitch Make your first stitch by inserting the needle into the back of the fabric (where the knotted end won't show) and through one of the holes in the button. Be sure to pull the thread completely through on each stitch to keep it from bunching up.
  • Step 5: Place a pin or a toothpick Take a pin or a toothpick, and center it on top of the button. This will create space between the button and the fabric, so that later the button will slip easily into the buttonhole. For now, hold the pin in place with your finger.
  • Step 6: Secure pin with stitch Insert the needle through the next hole, into the fabric, and all the way through. This stitch will now hold the pin in place.
  • Step 7: Make next stitch Insert the needle back up through the fabric and into the first hole. If you have a four-hole button, stitch up through a new hole. Pull the thread all the way through.
  • Step 8: Repeat Keep repeating these stitches until the button is secure. This will usually take eight complete stitches.
  • Step 9: Tie off thread On your last stitch, end with a double knot on the back side of the fabric.
  • Step 10: Remove the pin Now cut the excess thread and remove the pin. Gently pull up on the button to create space for the fabric.
  • Step 11: Button it up Button up your refurbished article of clothing with pride.
  • FACT: Buttons were invented more than 3,000 years ago, although they were originally worn as decoration.

You Will Need

  • A button
  • A needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • A straight pin or toothpick

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