Sew a Button

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Patagonia and iFixit are collaborating to provide guides for Patagonia's most popular apparel repairs.

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

Here's how to sew the button back onto your clothes.

Replacing a button is one of the most common clothing repairs. Fortunately, it's also one of the easiest. This guide will show you how to reattach a standard four-hole button with a needle and thread. In this guide we're using contrasting thread for visibility, but when it comes time to do your actual project, you'll want to use thread that matches the color of your fabric.

Relevant Parts

Edit Step 1 Button  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 1 Button  ¶ 

  • Locate the area where the button has gone missing.

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Overlap the buttonhole with where the button should be. Going through the buttonhole, mark the fabric below with tailor's chalk.

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Get a length of thread—about an arms-length should be more than enough.

  • Thread a needle.

Edit Step 4  ¶ 

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • Let the needle slide down the thread until it hangs at the center. You should have two equal lengths of thread on either side of the needle.

  • Tie the loose ends of the thread together.

Edit Step 5  ¶ 

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Tie a second regular knot over the first one to make it bigger. You don't want the thread slipping right through the grain of the fabric.

Edit Step 6  ¶ 

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Poke the needle up through the chalk mark from the underside of the fabric.

  • Pull the thread taut, until the knot catches the backside of the fabric.

Edit Step 7  ¶ 

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Thread the needle through one hole of the button. You can pick any hole to start with.

  • Let the button drop all the way down onto the fabric.

Edit Step 8  ¶ 

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Push the needle through the buttonhole directly opposite the one you have already threaded.

  • Be sure to go through only the button, not the fabric.

Edit Step 9  ¶ 

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Push the needle back through the fabric directly next to where you initially pushed the needle up.

  • Pull the thread taut, until the button lays flat on the fabric.

Edit Step 10  ¶ 

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Push the needle back up through the backside of the fabric, directly next to the original knot

  • Work the needle up through one of the two remaining holes without thread .

  • Pull the thread taut.

Edit Step 11  ¶ 

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Go back through the last remaining empty hole on the button.

    • Be sure to go through only the button, not the fabric.

  • Go back down through the fabric, as close as possible to the other two threads.

  • Pull the thread taut.

Edit Step 12  ¶ 

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Drive the needle back up through the underside of the fabric and into the first hole that you threaded.

  • Pull the thread taut.

Edit Step 13  ¶ 

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Go back down through the second hole, directly across from the hole you just came up through.

  • Pull taut.

Edit Step 14  ¶ 

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Push the needle up through the third hole again.

  • Pull it taut.

  • Push the needle down through the fourth hole and pull it taut.

  • Repeat steps 12-14 of this guide one more time, then proceed.

Edit Step 15  ¶ 

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • You have sewn in the button. Now you need a knot to keep the button in place.

  • Push the needle through the loops of thread on the underside of the fabric. Be careful not to catch the fabric.

Edit Step 16  ¶ 

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Leave some slack in the thread and draw the needle through the loop created by the slack.

  • Pull the thread taut, forming a knot.

  • Repeat steps 15 and 16 one more time to add a second knot.

Edit Step 17  ¶ 

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Clip the excess thread off.

  • Check your button for stability.

For more information, check out the Basic Sewing device page.

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Comments Comments are onturn off

What helps after the last step 14 is to wrap the thread around and around a few times underneath the button itself (binding all the threads together) and making one last pass through the cloth before the final knot. This makes the repair much more durable.

mccreerydennis, · Reply

The wrapping below the button is not only more durable, but is actually frequently used when replacing buttons on blazers, sport coats, and the like as a protection from friction as the garment moves and shifts while being worn.

Matt, · Reply

You can use common cotton thread found in most basic sewing kits, but for a stronger, more durable repair you might consider "button thread". It is a cotton-blend thread that is a bit thicker and stronger due to the polyester content.

It can be found in any good craft or fabric shop and is only about 50 cents more than the average spool of common thread.

Matt, · Reply

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