Sewing Made Simple: How to Sew a Button

It happens to the best of us. A button loosens from a blouse or blazer and, if we’re lucky, we catch it before it falls to the ground and out of sight. For many, the re-attaching of a button is our first encounter with a needle and thread – a serendipitous eye-opener to the exciting world of sewing, to the self-sufficiency and thrills of knowing how to mend, make our own clothes, and express ourselves with threads, fabrics and notions.

Sewing Made Simple, by Tessa Evelegh, is for the novice button sewer and experienced crafter alike. Packed with tips and techniques on everything from tools and patterns to trimmings and fabric selections —plus 20 DIY projects—it’s the ultimate sewing resource (for both hand and machine work) and a stunning book as well. Polish up your button-sewing skills with this handy tutorial and discover the world of Sewing Made Simple.

1. Start by threading a needle with double thread and knot the ends together. Using a marking pen or a pin, mark the position of the button on the garment. Pass the needle from under the fabric to the right side and through one of the holes. Place a toothpick or matchstick over the top of the button and stitch over this into the other hole and down through the fabric. Repeat two or three times to make a firm fixing.

2. Remove the toothpick or matchstick and push the button up to the top of the stitches. Pass the needle down through the hole to the underside of the button and wind the thread tightly around the threads under the button to form the shank. (See illustration, right. The shank is the vertical column of threads under the button, which—when the garment is buttoned—allows space for the other piece of fabric to sit comfortably beneath the button.) Pass the needle down through to the underside of the garment and finish with two small stitches on top of each other.

The chapter “Notions: Fastening It” highlights more than 30 different types of buttons (including this assortment, above) with details of their uses and origins.


The project “Evening Purse” features buttons as embellishment.


Buttons are a decorative and functional element of home decor, as seen here in the “Tailored Pillow” project.


The gorgeous photography proves that sewing notions are much more than just functional objects – they are items of beauty as well.

Elizabeth Yarborough

Elizabeth Yarborough

Elizabeth Yarborough is an Associate Editor in the Lifestyle Publishing Group.
Elizabeth Yarborough



  • Stitcher's Source October 2, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Sewing made simple really is one of the best books to have on hand, it was my go to when I got started.


  • Candice November 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    The toothpick technique helps a lot to maintain the right space you need when sewing a button, I used to have a hard time calculating on how tight I should do the sewing until I found out about this technique.


  • Galantry26 May 26, 2015 at 6:05 am

    I love bottons ! When I was young I use to play with my grand-mother’ blue box of bottons ! we didn’t have games like our grand-children have now, and I steel love bottons, perhaps in her memory !
    I like the idea of your home decor with bottons !
    I don’t know where you are ? I was bord in a small french Island, just under Newfoundland (Canada) called “Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon” ; do you know it ? I am in France since 1968, far away from home and my family because I married a guy there ! Best regards ! Anne-Marie


  • Cece February 16, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Thank you for this button seeing lesson. II have never heard about using a toothpick or matchstick for spacing or even creating a shank . thank you!:)


  • September 2, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    It looks so easy to make 🙂 Many thanks for sharing this tip.


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