How to Sow a Button?


You may not have been paying close attention when they taught you how to sow a button in school but don’t worry because it’s pretty easy. You don’t need anything special, just of course your button and your sewing materials. This is a simple skill but could come in very handle for many occasions that you may not imagine.

Buttons do tend to fall off so it’s good to know how to sow a button in that event, especially if you’re out somewhere and you need a quick fix.

Things You Will Need

Here are the very simple tools you need to sow a button.

  • Needle

    If possible, prepare two needles just in case one of them snaps which is unlikely to happen but you’ll never know. Or you might lose it for whatever reason. You can use any basic sewing needle. It’s better if it’s slim because it needs to fit the button holes. But you will also use this second needle to help you keep the button secure.

  • Thread

    Get about 12 inches of thread for the entire process. If you’d like to double your thread to make the stitch stronger and make it easier to knot, prepare 24 inches of thread. Use thread that matches the color of your garment, but if you can’t find an exact match or a close color, black or navy blue would very well do.

  • Button

    Of course, you will need the most important thing that you will actually sew a button to your clothes. Try to get an original button. Usually, the store provides some spare buttons when you buy clothes that are buttoned down. But then again, who keeps those? Chances are you’ve already lost them… we all do. So if you no longer have the original button, simply use whatever you can find that will not look too outrageous from the shirt, pants, bag, or wherever you need to sow it on.

    Some buttons will have two holes in them. Others have four. Our guide is typically for a four-hole button but you can easily adapt it to two-hole buttons.

  • Scissors

    Next, you will need your cutting tool to sow a button. It doesn’t have to be scissors though they’re the most convenient. You can use a small knife, a cutter, or anything sharp to cut the excess thread. Some even use their teeth but that could just hurt a bit.

Tip: If you’re traveling and more than likely, you don’t have the above materials, you can ask the front desk of your hotel or inn for an emergency sewing kit. But as a precaution, it’s good to always have your own mini sewing kit if you know you’re wearing something with buttons.

Threading the Needle

Before the actual sowing, here is a trick on how to properly thread a needle. It looks like a no-brainer but other people find it stressful and frustrating. So here is a simple method that is fool-proof then you’re ready to sow a button.

Here is how to tie a knot for other purposes.

  • Double Thread

    If you have 24 inches of thread, go ahead and double it over. Slide the thread through the eye of your needle and then double it till both sides are of the same length. For double threads, you will have to knot the ends together in a basic square knot.

  • Single Thread

    If you have 12 inches of thread, it will be a single thread and you’ll just have to tie off one end of it to a few small knots. This will be the anchor to help keep your thread in place.

How to Sow a Button

Now you have your materials ready and your threaded needle. Let us take a look at these simple steps on how to sow a button.

  • Create an Anchor

    First, create an “X” point which will be your anchor. Start at the back of the fabric and run the needle through to the front where you want to sow a button. Run it again to the back and then to the front so you have a small “x”. Make sure to set it where the button will be centered.

    This X will also ensure that the thread doesn’t come loose as you sow a button.

  • Position the Button

    Position your button where the X anchor is and start sewing by pushing the needle from back to front through the first hole.

    Now use your second needle as a spacer. Stick it to the thread that is showing up on top of the button.

    Then sow the button with the spacer in place. Push your needle up from the back of the garment and through one hole of the button. Pull the thread until it snugs against the fabric and push it back down through the other hole. Since this is for a button with four holes, do it for each pair of holes for three passes.

  • Shank

    To sow a button, after securing it, pull your needle and thread back up through the fabric without passing through the button holes anymore. From underneath the button, wrap your thread around the threads beneath your button. Create six loops and pull it tight, then lock it by inserting your needle back to the base so you can tie it on the back of the garment.

  • Knot

    To complete the process to sow a button, make a small knot on the back of the fabric to tie it off. Use the needle to insert the threat through a knot and make sure that it’s snug and secure against the back of the fabric.

    Tighten it up and then cut off the excess thread.

You can use the above method to sow a button whether on a shirt, suit, or trouser. You may even sow a button that got cut off from a bag, pillow, hanging kitchen towels, dolls, toys, or anything you can think of! Or if you get creative one of these days, you can probably just sow a button to a completely new arts and crafts project or photo album.