How to Sew on a Button By Hand – Quick & Easy Beginners Guide for Shirts, Coats & Jackets


Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! In today’s video, we’ll be discussing a necessary
skill for any well-dressed gentleman, sewing buttons onto your garments. We’re going to share techniques for shirts,
trousers, jackets, outerwear, and these techniques can be applied to most any other kind of garment
as well. It’s safe to say that most of us, if not all,
have probably had some experience with a button coming loose on a garment. Not only can it be embarrassing if it happens
in front of others but it can also shorten the useful life of a garment. You could, of course, take the garment into
a tailor to have the button reattached but a simple and cost-effective solution is just
learning how to reattach a button yourself. With this in mind, let’s get started on today’s
tutorials by outlining the different materials you’re going to want to have handy. Of course, a sewing needle is going to be
your main tool here. Any type of basic needle will do but generally,
the slimmer the needle you have, the better for this application. In terms of thread, having about nine to twelve
inches will be enough for most situations, however, if you want to double your thread
over to make it stronger, doubling the amount of thread would also be necessary. Therefore, you’ll probably want about eighteen
to twenty-four inches of thread in total. Ideally, you’re going to want to have a thread
that matches the thread used on the garment but if you don’t have something in exactly
the same color, it’s typically safe to just use a light colored thread for light garments
and dark colored thread for dark ones. We’re also going to need a button, of course. Most button-up shirts will have spare buttons
on the inside of the bottom front of the shirt’s placket. Most jackets and outerwear will come with
some spare buttons typically in a small plastic bag inside one of the pockets and many pairs
of trousers will often have a spare button on the inside
of the waistband. As another note, there are buttons with differing
amounts of holes. The standard button will have four holes but
you’ll also occasionally see buttons with two holes or even less commonly some other
amount. The main methods we will be illustrating today
concern four-holed buttons but they could apply to buttons with different amounts of
holes as well. There are also certain types of buttons that
have no holes whatsoever, these are referred to as shank buttons and they require a slightly
different method of sewing which we’ll cover toward the end of the video. You’re also going to want a small implement
called a spacer to be placed on top of the button while sewing, this will leave a little
bit of extra room between the button itself and the fabric and we’ll explain why that’s
important later on. For your spacer, you could use another sewing
needle, a matchstick, or any similarly sized tool. Some sewing kits will also come with a small
metal rod that has two blunt ends, you can use this one without having to worry about
poking yourself as you would if you were using a second needle. You’re also going to need a cutting tool,
this could be a pair of scissors, a pocketknife, a seam ripper, or any other sharp-edged object. A water-soluble marking pen, fabric pencil,
or tailor’s chalk can also be helpful if you want to make a small mark on the fabric of
your garment where the button is going to be located. An optional tool here is a thimble. If you’ve ever wondered what that monopoly
piece is actually for, when you’re working with thick fabric, it can sometimes be a little
painful to actually push the needle all the way through. As such, you can wear a thimble on the thumb
or finger that primarily does the pushing. If you’re traveling and don’t have some or
any of the above supplies, you can ask the front desk at a hotel for an emergency sewing
kit. We’ll start with what we’re going to call
step zero which is removing a loose button from a shirt. If your button is loose but still hanging
on, you should use your cutting tool to take away the thread that’s still keeping the button
on the shirt. A seam ripper will work best for this but
you can also use a different type of cutting tool, just make sure that you’re not damaging
the fabric of the shirt itself. Next, just use your cutting tool or your fingers
to remove any excess old thread that still happens to be hanging on to either the button
or the garment. Step one then is to thread your needle and
knot the end of the thread. Another optional tool you might want to have
handy is a little implement called a needle threader, these will come in some sewing kits
and they make the process of threading a needle much easier. If you’re just working with single thread,
just pass the thread through the needle and tie a couple of simple overhand knots to make
sure things are secure. If you have doubled your thread over, you
can create a knot by wrapping the thread around your forefinger several times, roll the loops
that are created into a tight bundle with your thumb, then slip that bundle off of your
finger. You can grip the bundled loops with one hand
and tug the long end of the thread tight with the other hand, this should pull the loose
bundle into a tight knot that you can work with. Step two is to create your anchor point. This is the time to make a small mark on your
fabric where the button will be located if you so choose but this is optional. To create your anchor, start by looking at
the back side of the fabric, run the needle through from the back side to the front then
move a short distance, the distance between holes on your button and run the thread back
through from the front side to the back side. Repeat this process one more time perpendicular
to the first small line of thread you created on the garment. This will create a small X where the button
is going to be centered. The X is also the anchor for your thread to
make sure that that doesn’t loosen up while you’re sewing. Step three is to position the button. Put your button on the anchor X point and
begin sewing by pushing the needle from the back side through to the front side and through
the hole of the button. You can place your spacer on top of the button
and put the needle through the opposite hole in the button, back to the backside of the
fabric. You can put a finger on the button to make
sure that things are secure while you’re making your first few passes. Using the anchoring X on the fabric as a guide,
you can alternate between sets of holes or you can do one set and then the other. You can make six passes in total; three for
each set of holes on the button. When the button is secured, you can remove
the spacer. Step four is to create what’s called the shank. On your final pass from the backside to the
front, come back up through the fabric but don’t go through one of the holes of the button. Turn the needle slightly and bring it out
from underneath the button. Wrap your thread tightly around all of the
threads beneath the button at least six times in total. You’ve now created a shank which will stand
the button away from the fabric, this will make it easier to button your garment since
the button won’t be sitting directly and tightly against the fabric. Pull to make sure things are secured here
and then put the needle back through from the front side to the back side. Step five is to tie things off to make sure
they’re secure. With both ends of your thread on the backside
of the fabric, you can use your needle to make a small loop in one part of the thread. You can use the needle to guide the thread
through that loop to create a knot or you can snip the thread off of the needle and
just tie the knot with your fingers. Either way, it’s key to make sure that your
knot is tight here. For extra security, you can always add a few
more knots just to make sure things aren’t going to come loose. Cut off the excess thread on the back side
of the fabric when you’re done and your button is successfully reattached to your shirt. These directions can be used particularly
effectively on shirts and trousers but jackets and overcoats are going to require some different
methods that will work a little bit better. Overcoat buttons can be sewn on in the exact
same method as with shirts or trousers but sometimes, you’ll see this done with another
smaller button swen on simultaneously to the main button on the back side of the fabric. Metal buttons can also benefit from having
a stay attached on the reverse, as metal buttons can be heavier or made from more valuable
materials so you wouldn’t want to lose them. Also, to get metal buttons to stand up as
straight as possible, you can use a waxed thread which is going to be a little bit more
durable. Metal buttons are quite often shank buttons,
we will cover how to sew on a shank button in a moment. Sewing buttons on to a suit can be done in
the same way that we’ve just outlined for shirts but it’s often done with a slightly
different technique so that there’s no visible knotting on the backside of the fabric. Here, you can start the same way as before
by marking your button placement if you so choose, threading your needle, and making
a large knot in your length of thread which should still ideally be 18 to 24 inches and
doubled over for strength. Next, insert your needle into the front side
of the fabric about 3/4 of an inch away from your mark but stop the needle point between
the layers of fabric. Don’t go all the way through to the backside. Work your needle over to the mark you created
and then bring your needle point back out through the front. Next, using the loop method we outlined before,
create a small knot at your mark just to make sure that things are secured at this point. It’s also helpful to do this another time
or two just to make sure that things are absolutely stable. When knots are secured at your buttoning point,
pull on the big knot, the one that you originally created with the thread to bunch up the fabric
and expose some of the internal threading that’s inside the layers of the jacket. If you clip off the big knot and then release
the bunched up fabric, the tails of the thread will slip in between the layers of the jacket
so you won’t be able to see them. In other words, you’ve got a good amount of
thread to keep the knots at yourmarking point secure but because it’s neatly inside of the
jacket’s layers, you won’t see it. Next, insert your needle through one of the
holes in the button. Hold the button against the coat and place
your spacer over the button as with the previous method. Put the thread through the button and again,
in between the jacket’s layers. You’re going to repeat the sewing process
without ever exiting out of the back side of the fabric. Each time you make contact with the front
side of the fabric in other words, you’re just going to pick up a little bit of that
fabric layer. Never go all the way through the jacket. Make your six passes as before, wrap around
to create the shank, insert the needle at the base of the shank, and knot a few times
to secure it. After knotting, put your needle in between
the jacket’s layers again. Work the needle three-quarters of an inch
away from the button and come out the front side again. Essentially, this is a reverse of the way
we started this particular process. Pull tight, clip the thread closely to the
fabric and release so that your final tail of thread will also be hidden between the
jacket’s layers. Now, you’ve got your button reattached to
your jacket with no visible tails of thread anywhere and everything is knotted and secured. Now, we’ve mentioned shank buttons a few times
already throughout the course of the video. As we said, a shank button differs from a
standard button and then it doesn’t feature any buttonholes. To sew a shank button on to a garment, start
as before with 18 to 24 inches of thread, doubled and knotted. You can use less thread overall with a shank
button if you wish though, as you won’t have to wrap the thread around itself to create
the shank. The anchor that you create on the fabric will
probably be simpler here as well. Start on the back side and run through to
the front. Move your needle a short distance only slightly
greater than the width of the shank itself and pull it through
from the front to the back. Move the needle back to your original point
on this side and put it through from the back side to the front side. Now, your simple anchor for this style of
button is done. Next, run the needle through the button shank
and then go through the fabric from the front side to the back side. Repeat this process several times until you
feel that the button is secure against the fabric. With the thread on the back side, use a simple
knot or two or more to tie off the thread and then cut off the excess. You can either run the needle all the way
through the fabric as we’ve just outlined or you can combine this method of sewing on
a shank button with the method we outline for sewing buttons onto a jacket without going
all the way through. Also, you can feel free to use a stay button
on the back side of the fabric with a shank button if you so choose and there you have
it! Armed with these simple sewing techniques,
you should be able to attach or reattach buttons to your garments and prolong their usable
life. What’s more, you won’t have to depend on a
tailor in order to have this done. Are there tips with any of these methods that
you think we missed today? Or do you prefer a different sewing method
altogether that we didn’t mention? If so, share with us in the comments below And as always a reminder to subscribe to the
channel and hit the little bell icon so that way videos like these will come straight to
your inbox in today’s video I’m wearing items that feature
different kinds of buttons my off-white shirt which has French cuffs is from Charles Tyrwhitt
it features conventional four hole buttons and while my brown slacks are primarily held
together in the front with metal sliding fasteners they do feature conventional four hole buttons
elsewhere meanwhile my vintage camel-hair sport coat features shank buttons my socks
are also brown in color and feature a subtle diamond pattern and my shoes which you’ve
seen before are my tan wingtip derbys that feature heavy broguing most of my accessories
today come from Fort Belvedere starting with my silk bourette bow tie which features a
beige and dark brown houndstooth also from Fort Belvedere are my small Edelweiss boutonniere
and my gold Eagle Claw cufflinks which feature tiger’s eye as the stone all of these accessories
are available in the Fort Belvedere shop here rounding out the outfit today is my vintage
Brown pocket square which features a paisley design at its center of green beige purple and orange.