How To Sew A Button Back On (The Original DIY)


Somewhere between assembly lines and TV dinners the simple art form of how to sew a button was lost in the name of efficiency. Two generations ago, everyone knew the simple skill–we’d even go as far as to call it the original DIY. No fear, it’s super simple and you can learn in no time. If you are missing buttons, here’s how to fix that small problem yourself. 

1. Thread the needle

No we aren’t talking the yoga pose, remember we are sewing here. So, start by cutting garment thread to be about 1 foot long. For this first step thread the string through the eye of the needle. Stop at the half point in the middle of the piece of thread, and tie the two ends of the string together.  This will look almost like a necklace with the needle at the middle point. Tying the string in this way will make bonding the button to the garment stronger because each stitch is doubled. 

2. Try to spot the original stitch holes

Oftentimes if you check on the garment you can find the original stitch holes.  Locating these is like a blueprint or guide for where to sew on the button and it will make it easier to line up the new button. If you can’t see the original mark, that’s ok, through trial and error hold the button and make sure it will line up with the button hole.

3. The first stitch

After you’ve lined up where you will place the button, hold the button in the spot you will sew to, and pierce the needle through the underside of the cloth, into one of the button holes (it doesn’t matter which hole you go through first). Pull the thread all the way through, but not too tight– you want the knot to catch and not pull all the way through.

4. Securing the button

Next, holding the needle, stitch into the diagonal hole (if it’s a four holed button, or to the other if it’s two holed) and pull the needle back through from the inside of the garment.

5. Sew away

Now that you’ve got the button secure, here is the fun part. For a four holed button rotate stitching x’s and boxes (for a two holed button just go back and forth) inside and out. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve run out of thread or feel the button is properly secure.

6. Finishing

Make the last stitch to face the inside of the garment. Cut the string directly underneath the eye of the needle, so now you have two ends. Using a simple cross knot, tie the two pieces about three times. Cut the excess string et voila! You’ve completely the original DIY, and now are a pro-button sewer!


See Also:

Clothes That Last (Almost) Forever: 5 Ways To Do Laundry Smarter

5 Ways Used Clothing’s Characteristics Makes It Wonderful


image: fstoaldo

Juliette Donatelli

Working in the field of sustainability for over seven years, Juliette is passionate about its intersection within the fashion industry. Juliette began studying ecological conservation, and led consumer awareness campaigns around the world from water usage in southern California, riparian restoration in South Africa, food distribution in Paris and bison habitat in the Great Plains. She has launched her passion--consumerism and sustainability--into a place where it hits home--fashion. Juliette is the founder and editor-in-chief of, Director of Sustainability at Manufacture NY, and loves to read, dance, swim and enjoy the occasional glass of champagne.