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How to Easily Sew a Button by Hand

Learn to fix up your pants, shirts and shorts, even if you're a complete beginner.

Learning the basics of sewing will definitely come in handy when you're in a pinch and need to mend one of your favorite pieces of clothing. Whether you're a complete beginner or just need a little refresh, sewing 101 begins with mastering how to sew a button correctly. Not only is it a great skill to know in general, it will save you countless trips to the tailor.

We tapped expert sewer Amanda Perna, who is also the fashion designer behind The House of Perna and a Project Runway alum, to help guide us through a step-by-step tutorial. In the video above, Amanda is showing us how to correctly (and easily!) sew a button by hand. Of course, there are some great sewing machines for every budget, but sewing a button by hand might be more practical for most beginners. Although, if you are new to sewing and want to invest in your hobby, The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab found the best sewing machines for beginners which will definitely take your capability to the next level.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, it's important to note that there are quite a few types of buttons you can work with. For this video, Amanda is using the most common button — a flat button that has four holes. However, you can follow her instructions almost to the T for a flat button that has two holes.

Tools You'll Need

You may want to invest in a sewing kit so you can have everything handy!

  • Fabric thread. About 24 inches will be more than enough — Amanda recommends measuring a forearm's length to make sure you have enough, but not too much. You'll want to try to use a thread color that matches your garment.
  • Needle. A size 9 should do the trick.
  • Button

    How to Sew a Flat Button By Hand

    • Step 1: Thread the needle. Amanda combined two strands of thread by tying them together on the bottom to create a stronger hold.
    • Step 2: Starting from the back, bring the needle through the first hole.
      how to sew a button
      Amanda Perna
      • Step 3: If the button has four holes, follow an X pattern, and thread the needle through the top of the next hole. If it has two holes, you can go back and forth from each.
        how to sew a button
        Amanda Perna
        • Step 4: From the back, thread the needle through the third hole. Be sure to pull tightly. Continue the process through to the fourth hole, and then repeat four times.
          how to sew a button
          Amanda Perna
          • Step 5: Make your knot in the back by pushing the needle through the threads underneath. Once you pull it out, you'll want to make a loop and then pull the needle through that loop. Repeat the process three times.
            how to sew a button
            Amanda Perna
            how to sew a button
            Amanda Perna
            • Step 6: Cut excess thread.
              how to sew a button
              Amanda Perna
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