How to Sew Buttons onto Pants and Shirts

While learning how to sew buttons may seem fairly simple, the method described here is more durable and will improve the look of the clothes.

Sewing the Standard 4-Hole Button

  • Thread a needle and knot the ends of the thread together. If the button is going to be strained, you may want to use button thread, which is stronger.
  • Position the button and, from the underside, bring the thread up through one hole of the button and then down through the kitty-corner hole. Don't pull it tight yet.
  • On top of the button, work a long straight pin under the sewn thread and rest it across the rim of the button so that the thread "tents." Pull the thread taut. The pin is now held in place by the thread.
  • Continue sewing through those same 2 holes, 5 or 6 times, pulling the thread taut with each stitch. Try to bring the thread up and down in about the same spot each time.
  • Bring the thread up through one of the other 2 holes, over the pin, and down through the other hole. Repeat 5 or 6 times. Make sure the fabric behind the button doesn't pucker as you do this.
  • If you wish, bring the thread up under the button and wrap it around the sewn threads several times.
  • Bring the thread down to the underside of the fabric, pass it through the other stitches, knot it and cut it.
  • Remove the pin.

This technique ensures that there's enough room between the button and the fabric for the buttonhole to go over it without pulling.

Other Buttons

  • Use the same method to sew on 2-hole buttons as well; shank buttons have the "breathing space" built in, so just sew normally, keeping the threads close to the base of the shank.