Tutorial: How to sew a button

This past week I had a customer who was desperate to have a button sewn back onto her beautiful french cashmere sweater. She was mega desperate.  She had taken the sweater to 2 cleaners/tailors and they did a hack job on it. The woman was leaving for LA the following day and desperately wanted to take her new sweater with her. Did I mention she was desperate? The button was a beautiful, decorative, slightly chunky rhinestone shank button. Lesson 1: There are two types of buttons, the regular button with holes in it and then a shank button like the kind on a pair of jeans.  
 I was hesitant to take the job because she wanted to wait while I fixed it on my lunch break. The sweater being cashmere was very delicate and already numerous holes were poked thru. 

I teach sewing at a few places in the city and I find that many people just want to learn how to sew a button on and hem a pair of pants. So I thought I would share the knowledge and give you a tutorial on sewing a button.

1. If you are in a crunch use any kind of cotton or poly thread. But if you have the time you should buy proper quality thread. I like Gueterman brand.  Other quality brands are Coats and Clark and Mettler.  The rhinestone button that I sewed on for this customer was being sewn onto a cashmere sweater, very fragile fibers, so I used a wool/nylon strictly utilitarian thread from Sajou called Laine St Pierre found at Purl Soho.

Step 1 - Double strand your needle. Cut the thread to be no more than 18". Knot the end. Start the threading from underneath the button thru the fabric. 

Step 2 - Insert thread into a hole next to it, not diagnonal. Then slip another needle or a toothpick under the thread to form some extra space between the thread and button. You don't want the thread to be super tight next to the button because this can cause it to break.


Step 3- Stitch thru the other holes three or four times.

Step 4 - FInishing off - wrap the thread under the button and around the stitches you just formed. You are building a little shank that the button sits on. Remove the toothpick.

Step 5 -  Wrap around about three times. Now it's time to make a knot twice or back stitch. Back stitch on hand stitching is going thru the same stitch a few times, then make a knot in your thread. 

All done! Never pay someone to sew a button on for you again! 

Please feel free to post any questions.

Thanks and Happy Monday!