Position the button at the marked location under the buttonhole it’s going to work with. A glue stick or tape can be used to hold the button in position for sewing, or if it’s a soft fabric covered button, a pin can hold it in place.
To sew on a button with holes (two, four or more) simply thread a needle with about 20″ of new Coats Secura or Dual Duty All-purpose thread or and tie a knot in the ends so you’re working with a double strand..
Insert the needle from the fabric wrong side so that it comes up in one hole of the button. Place the needle straight down into a second hole in the button. If you have a four-hole button, you can push the needle down into an adjacent hole, or into a diagonal hole. The latter will allow you to form an X pattern with the threads.
Repeat the needle in/needle out step at least three times for each set of holes to secure the button to the fabric. Remove any tape or pins once the initial stitching is complete to hold the button in place.
Then repeat the process for the next set of holes.
There are several options for decorative sewing patterns in a basic four-hole button—you can make two parallel rows of threads, an X pattern, a box pattern or even a diagonal pattern similar to a flower stem. The latter is made by using a single hole with repeated penetrations radiating out to the other three holes.
For a more decorative look, use Coats Jeans Topstitching thread. The heavier strands make a more prominent design on the button surface.
To finish off your button sewing adventure, push the needle to the fabric underside and knot the thread ends, clipping close to the fabric.
For buttons that will take a lot of use—like on men’s shirts or children’s garments—use Coats Secura thread— it is designed specifically for button sewing. Simply sew on the button as noted above (or by machine), then turn the fabric underside up and steam the thread with your iron for about ten seconds. The heat fuses the thread ends for a durable hold.
Beyond the Basics
But why stop with a basic button application? If the buttons are purely decorative, you can use all kinds of patterning with your stitches—going over the edges in various configurations, tying knots on the button surface, using contrasting threads, etc.
About the Author
Linda Griepentrog is a writer, editor and designer who lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband (a long arm quilter) and dog, Frank. She loves all things fabric! Linda also leads fabric shopping tours to Hong Kong. Contact her at email@example.com.