With the death of home economics in schools, a few essential skills have left by the wayside. Sewing need not be a bloodsport nor do simple repairs need to be done by a professional (1. It’s expensive. 2. They’ll think you’re crazy for not knowing how to sew a button). So rather than throwing out a perfectly good shirt, do the following:
- Look inside the garment or the little envelope that came with the garment for extra buttons. If there aren’t any, take the shirt to a fabric store to find a similar button or consider taking a button from elsewhere on the garment where it won’t show (top button you never button, bottom button below the waistband).
- It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a shank button (thread attaches to opening on the back of the button) or a sew-through button, the process is basically the same. With a shank button you’ll be pulling the thread through the back. With a two hole sew-through button you’ll go up one hole and down the other. With a four hole sew-through button you’ll stitch diagonally.
- Thread your needle with approximately 24 inches of matching thread. Knot the ends together, trim off the excess and move the needle to the midpoint of the thread.
- Line the button up on the garment using the previous holes as your guide. Push the needle up one hole and down the other. On the backside, just this once, push the needle through the two strands of thread just above the knot to secure the knot and make sure it doesn’t pull through the fabric.
- If necessary, use a pin or a penny between the fabric and the button to ensure enough space for the buttonhole to fit around the button.
- Continue stitching approximately four times (on four hole sew-through buttons, stitch four diagonally from hole A to hole C and stitch four diagonally from hole B to hole D).
- Come back up through the fabric but not through the button and wrap the thread around the shank (threads below the button) several times.
- Push the needle through the shank then through the fabric. Make a few back stitches to secure the thread and cut off the excess thread.
As a bonus, follow this link to find out how to hand sew a blind hem.