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

Mastering the art of sewing a button might initially appear challenging, but it’s a straightforward and vital skill that can save you time and prolong the lifespan of your clothes. Whether you’re working with a 2-hole, 4-hole, or shank button, this tutorial will guide you through the step-by-step procedure of sewing a button, guaranteeing your success in hand-sewing practices and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Material Selection: Using a sharp needle and durable button thread is crucial for the integrity of your sewing project.
  • Technique Mastery: Understanding the basic sewing steps and techniques is essential for successfully attaching any type of button.
  • Adaptability: Different buttons require different techniques, highlighting the importance of flexibility in your sewing approach.
  • Practical Learning: Sewing tutorial videos offer a more interactive learning experience, which is especially beneficial for beginners.
  • Skill Development: Regular practice with various sewing techniques is vital for improving your overall sewing proficiency.

What You’ll Need for This Tutorial

Essential Materials for Sewing a Button

Before diving into the specifics of sewing different types of buttons, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. This section covers what you’ll need to sew a button by hand securely and efficiently.

Thread a Needle and Anchor Thread Stitches

Selecting the right needle and thread is crucial for a successful sewing project. A sharp needle and durable button thread are recommended to minimize fabric damage and ensure the button stays attached.

Sewing Technique and Button Sewing Steps

Understanding the basic sewing technique and steps involved in attaching a button is key. This includes making marks on the fabric, securing the thread, and executing the sewing pattern specific to the type of button you’re working with.

Sewing a 2-Hole and 4-Hole Button by Hand

Quick Button Sewing on Fabric

For those in a hurry, sewing a 2-hole or 4-hole button can be done quickly while maintaining a secure attachment. Follow the outlined steps, ensuring your stitches are tight and the button is properly aligned with the fabric.

Secure Button Sewing for Longevity

To ensure your button remains securely attached, leave a shank of thread beneath it and employ a locking stitch at the end of your sewing.

Sewing a Shank Button by Hand

Shank buttons require a slightly different approach due to their design. This section will guide you through the process, highlighting the importance of allowing enough space between the button and fabric for ease of use.

Efficient Sewing Method

Learn the most efficient way to attach a shank button, minimizing effort while maximizing durability.

Sewing Tutorial for Beginners

Sewing for Beginners: Needle and Thread Basics

If you’re new to sewing, this section offers guidance on threading a needle, choosing the right thread, and understanding the basics of hand sewing.

Step-by-Step Sewing with Sewing Tutorial Video

For visual learners, follow along with a step-by-step sewing tutorial video, offering practical insights and techniques for sewing buttons and more.

Sewing Tips and Techniques

Fabric Sewing Techniques and Button Attachment Method

Discover advanced fabric sewing techniques and the correct method to attach buttons, ensuring they align perfectly with buttonholes for a professional finish.

Sewing Practice Essentials

Practice makes perfect. Learn essential sewing practices, from basic stitches to more complex sewing projects, to improve your skill level.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing a Button

Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing a Button

Machine and hand sewing are both methods of sewing a button. The process is slightly different for each type of button.

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.

  1. Step 1: Prepare Your Materials – The first step is ensuring you have all the necessary equipment. The needle should be threaded. The photo shows how to double the thread thickness to strengthen your repair. Coat the thread in beeswax after tying a knot.
  2. 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.
  3. Step 3: The First Hole – While holding the button, 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 through. When I tie off my thread at the end, I like to leave about an inch of thread.
  4. Step 4: The Second Hole – The needle should be brought down through the second hole.
  5. Step 5: Toothpick Time – Using your toothpick now is perfect if you plan to do so. Make sure the button and the fabric are in contact with each other. You could slip it on top instead of inserting the toothpick between the stitch and the button.
  6. Step 6: Sew – Place the button on top and sew it in place. Continue to go up through the first hole, down through the second, and back up through the first, making a continuous loop. Repeat this process eight to ten times.
  7. 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 should be snipped off. That’s all there is to it!

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

  1. Step 1: Prepare Your Materials—After threading the thread, Put the needle at the center and pull the ends together. After knotting the ends, apply beeswax to the entire thread.
  2. 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.
  3. Step 3: Holes 1 and 2 – Your mark should be on 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.
  4. 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 made.
  5. Step 5: Holes 3 and 4 – Your needle should be placed 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.
  6. Step 6: Criss Cross – The diagonal stitches will be sewn repeatedly 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.
  7. Step 7: Finish the Job – The thread should be knotted or sewed off after completing 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.

  1. Step 1: Prepare Your Materials – Ensure you have a double thread length when threading your needle. Treat your thread with beeswax and knot the ends.
  2. Step 2: X Marks the Spot—Use your fabric pen to mark where you want the button to go. Once you have marked your button, place the shank down on it.
  3. Step 3: Stitch it Up—Put one hand on the button shank and press it against the fabric. Using the other hand, pull the thread up through the shank, through the fabric, and back down through the fabric. Six to ten complete loops should be made.
  4. Step 4: Tie it Off and Snip—As soon as you finish, knot and snip the thread.

A Sewing Machine’s Guide to Sewing a Button

Some people prefer to sew buttons by hand. The process is easy and quick, and you’re not risking your button or 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 of it, it can be done safely. A button foot (optional) and some sticky tape are two extra items you’ll need for this project.

  1. Step 1: Secure Your Button – Use sticky tape to secure your button to the fabric.
  2. Step 2: Prepare Your Sewing Machine – You must 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 placed by a button foot. It’s optional, but it makes things easier.
  3. Step 3: Insert Your Work – The fabric and button should be placed on top of the feed dogs. Place the presser foot on it.
  4. 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 using 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.
  5. Step 5: Sew Your Button – Your button should now be stitched carefully.
  6. Step 6: Finish By Tying And Snipping The Edges – Remove your work from the machine after you finish sewing. Make sure the edges are tied off before turning it over.

How to Sew a Button FAQs

Can I use any thread for sewing a button?

While most threads can be used, button thread is recommended for its durability and strength.

How do I know if my needle is the right size?

Your needle should easily fit through the buttonholes without damaging the fabric. It should also be sharp enough to pierce the fabric effortlessly.

What if my buttonhole is too tight for the button?

When sewing, ensure there’s enough space between the button and the fabric. If the buttonhole is too tight, gently widen it with scissors or a seam ripper.


Sewing a button is a fundamental skill that everyone should master. With the right materials and techniques, you can quickly learn to attach any type of button, ensuring your garments are always in perfect condition. Remember, practice and patience are key to developing your sewing skills.

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.

Related Posts