How To Sew A Button: 2-Hole, 4-Hole, & Shank Buttons
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How To Sew A Button: 2-Hole, 4-Hole, & Shank Buttons

Recently updated on November 25th, 2022

The process of sewing a button may seem simple, but you would be surprised at how many people do not know how to do it. Do not worry if you are one of those people. You can easily replace a button by hand or with a sewing machine. Here at SewingWithEase, we’ll show you how.

What You’ll Need for This Tutorial

All of these things are likely to be found at home by most of us. How would you feel if you didn’t? You can often find them at your local craft store, and they’re cheap.

Replacement Button

It’s time for the fun part. Take a moment to think about the button you lost. Are you looking for an exact replacement? There might be some work involved in that. You might be able to find a matching button at your local fabric or craft store or even in the household section of your local grocery store if it’s a common type. Your garment manufacturer may need to be contacted if the button is specialized.

Alternatively, you might want to consider adding a different set of buttons to your garment to revitalize it. A piece of clothing can take on a whole new personality when it is painted in a different color or made of a different material.

A button can be a two-hole, a four-hole, or a shank, regardless of color, shape, or material. A two-hole button and a four-hole button are self-explanatory. There is a circular bit on one side of a shank button, such as the wooden button above. In order to attach a shank button, you sew through the shank rather than through the button.


Hand-sewing needles come in a variety of types. Any of them will work for attaching a button. The sharpness and size of the needle should, however, be considered.

You may be able to accomplish the task with a dull needle, such as a darning needle. Sharp needles, however, will easily penetrate the cloth and cause minimal damage. Furthermore, you should choose a needle that is small enough to not damage the fabric of your garment as well as fit through the holes or shank of your replacement button.


A wide variety of threads are available. Additionally, most of them can be used to sew on buttons. However, it may be a good idea to use a button thread to minimize the chances of losing your new button. Carpets and upholstery are also sewn with button thread, a thick, tough thread.


Keep things tidy by cutting off your thread ends with scissors.

Fabric Marking Pen

By using a fabric marking pen, you can keep track of where your buttons should be placed. By doing this, you can ensure your new buttons line up with the buttonholes, and they will look nice and straight. You can also use them to mark your location. This can be a lifesaver when you have to set your work down or drop a button while sewing.

Different colors are available for fabric marking pens. The ink in some of them can be washed. There are also inks that disappear when heated. It is also possible to use tailor’s chalk, which is easily removed with a brush.

Pin or Toothpick

To prevent your new button from falling off, you may want to sew it on as tightly as possible. Leaving a little space between the button and the fabric is always a good idea. The first problem with a too-tight button is that it can pucker the fabric, making the garment look unflattering. As the thread is under more pressure, if your button is too tight, it could break more easily. A tight thread might also take some fabric with it if it is really tight.

Using a toothpick or a pin can give your new button just enough breathing room. Paperclips or other similar-sized objects can also be used. In a bit, we’ll explain how you can do this.

Beeswax (Optional)

Beeswax can make any thread stronger, straighter, and tougher, no matter what kind it is. As a result, the thread will glide through the fabric more easily. In addition to sewing fabric, this is an old bookbinder’s trick.

Thimble (Optional)

Thimbles can help protect your thumb and allow you to press harder on the needle when pushing thread through a thick cloth or multiple layers.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing a Button

Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing a Button

Machines and hand sewing are both methods of sewing a button. For each type of button, the process is slightly different.

The Best Way to Hand Sew a Button With Two Holes

We will start with the most straightforward task: sewing a two-hole button by hand.

  • Step 1: Prepare Your Materials – The first step is to ensure that you have all the necessary equipment. The needle should be threaded. The photo shows how you should double the thread thickness to make your repair stronger. Coat the thread in beeswax after tying a knot.
  • Step 2: Make Your Mark – Prepare your item by laying it out. Once the buttonhole is smoothed, it should sit directly over the old button. Mark the location of the new button with your fabric marking pen. You should repeat this process for each replacement button if you are replacing more than one. Your button should now be positioned over the mark on the garment. The smooth side of flat buttons is often ridged, while the ridged side is smooth. The smooth side should be facing the fabric on the back.
  • Step 3: The First Hole – While holding the button in place with one hand, insert the needle through the first hole with the other hand. The knot may be snug against the fabric’s back if you pull the thread all the way through. When I tie off my thread at the end, I like to leave about an inch of thread.
  • Step 4: The Second Hole – The needle should now be brought down through the second hole.
  • Step 5: Toothpick Time – Using your toothpick now is a perfect time if you’re planning to do so. Make sure the button and the fabric are in contact with each other. Instead of inserting the toothpick between the stitch and the button, you could slip it on top of the button.
  • Step 6: Sew – Place the button on top and sew it in place. Continuing to go up through the first hole, down through the second, and back up through the first, make a continuous loop. Repeat this process eight to ten times.
  • Step 7: Tie Off and Snip – Under the fabric, knot your thread several times once your button is firmly attached. By knotting the thread end several times around the bottom of your circle of stitches and securing the knot with a few stitches, you can also “sew off” the thread end. The toothpick should be removed, and the edges snipped off. That’s all there is to it!

What Is The Best Way to Hand Sew a Button With Four Holes?

  • Step 1: Prepare Your Materials – Put the needle at the center of the thread after threading it, pulling the ends of the thread together. Beeswax should be applied to the entire thread after knotting the ends.
  • Step 2: On Your Mark – Make a mark where you want your button to go with your fabric markers. Placing the edges of your garment over one another as if you were going to button the garment and then poking the tip of your fabric through the buttonhole will help you mark the exact location of the button.
  • Step 3: Holes 1 and 2 – Your mark should be on top of the button. Keep the ridge side up! Bring the thread up through the first hole from underneath the fabric. No matter which hole you choose, it doesn’t matter. Once the first hole is drilled, bring it down through the diagonal hole.
  • Step 4: Make Some Room – Is a four-hole button compatible with a toothpick? Sure, you’ll do it. Put it between the button and your fabric or underneath the diagonal thread you just made.
  • Step 5: Holes 3 and 4 – You should now have your needle underneath the fabric. Once you’ve stitched the first hole, bring it up again through the other hole. It can now be lowered through the hole that sits diagonal to it. The “X” shape should now be precise.
  • Step 6: Criss Cross – The diagonal stitches will be sewn over and over again to create the “X”. Sew the diagonal several times between holes 1 and 2, then switch to one between holes 3 and 4. Alternating is also an option.
  • Step 7: Finish the Job – The thread should be knotted or sewed off once you have completed six to eight “X” shapes. Your work is now complete! Remove your toothpick, snip your edges, and enjoy!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Hand Sewing Shank Buttons

Flat buttons are easier to make than shank buttons. Although I recommend keeping the thread relaxed, you don’t have to use a toothpick.

  • Step 1: Prepare Your Materials – Ensure that you have a double length of thread when threading your needle. Treat your thread with beeswax and knot the ends.
  • Step 2: X Marks the Spot – Make a mark where you want the button to go with your fabric pen. Once you have marked your button, place the shank down on it.
  • Step 3: Stitch it Up – Put one hand on the button shank and press it against the fabric. Pull the thread up through the shank, through the fabric, and back down through the fabric using the other hand. Six to ten complete loops should be made.
  • Step 4: Tie it Off and Snip – The thread should be knotted and snipped as soon as you’re finished.

A Sewing Machine’s Guide to Sewing a Button

There are some people who prefer to sew buttons by hand. The process is easy and quick, and you’re not risking either your button or your machine needle. Machine sewing can also be quick and easy if you want to sew your button by hand. As long as you take care, it can also be done safely. A button foot (optional) and some sticky tape are two extra items you’ll need for this project.

  • Step 1: Secure Your Button – Use sticky tape to secure your button to the fabric.
  • Step 2: Prepare Your Sewing Machine – You need to do several things. Choosing a stitch is the first step. It’s best to use a zigzag stitch. The next step is to set your stitch length to zero. You won’t want the button to move forward during the machine’s operation. You can now lower your feed dogs. Through your feed dogs, the work moves forward. Stitch lengths of zero should not move. Feed dogs can be lowered, however, to provide additional safety. Slow down your stitching speed. It’s better to be safe than sorry! You can also wear your button foot if you have one. While you sew, your button will be held in place by a button foot. It’s optional, but it makes things easier.
  • Step 3: Insert Your Work – The fabric and button should be placed on top of the feed dogs. Place the presser foot on it.
  • Step 4: Sew a Test Stitch – Slowly lower the needle using the hand wheel to make the first buttonhole. Turn the needle until it reaches the second hole while continuing to use the hand wheel. Can it be inserted directly? Do you think the stitch is too wide or too narrow? Make any necessary adjustments to the stitch width, then set it.
  • Step 5: Sew Your Button – Your button should now be stitched carefully.
  • Step 6: Finish By Tying And Snipping The Edges – After you finish sewing, remove your work from the machine. Make sure the edges are tied off before turning it over.


You don’t need much skill to replace a button, but you should use the right sewing tools. In case you are curious about what fabric to use for your next sewing projects, we have already prepared handy articles for your needs. Something that you should take a look for sure is the use of lining garments with muslin fabric.

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