There are a couple of ways to sew a button on a garment. The reason for the variety of sewing methods is due to the existence of different types of buttons and the use of different hand needle eye sizes. Buttons can be two-hole, four-hole or buttons with shanks. Small needles will only allow a single thread to pass through the eye making the final thread composed of two threads. Larger needles may allow two threads to pass through the eye making the final thread composed of four threads. Generally, it is better to sew on a button with four threads rather than two.
Step One: Gather the materials necessary for sewing the button on the garment. You`ll need the button or buttons; thread to match the button and or garment; hand needles to sew; and scissors to cut the thread. You`ll also need a small spacer, usually a match or a hair pin. It the fabric is unusually difficult to penetrate with the needle, you may also need a thimble.
Step Two: Thread the needle. Cut a length of thread about one arm`s length. If your needle has a large enough eye, pass two threads through the eye. If the eye is too small for two threads, pass one thread through the eye. At the end of the length of thread make an overhand knot.
Step Three: Locate the point where the button is to be sewn. If you are replacing a button, put the new button where the old button was sewn. This location can usually be found by looking for an indentation made by the old stitching on the garment. If this is the first time a button has been sewn on the garment, you`ll need to mark the garment for button placement. Make your first stitch about one-eighth wide through the top of the garment. This is where you`ll attach the two-hole, four-hole or shank button.
Step Four: Place match or hair pin between the button and the garment. This creates a shank when one does not exist, giving space for the thickness of the garment when it the garment is buttoned. Sew through one hole of the button and back through the other hole of the two-hole button. If it is a four-hole button sew through two holes first then switch to the other two holes. If using two threads, sew through the button and the fabric at least five times. If using four threads, sew through the button and fabric at least three times.
Step Five: To finish sewing the button, pull the thread through to the front and wrap the thread around the thread between the button and the garment. This makes a shank. Make a loop and pull the thread through to the back. Make a loop on the back of the garment and pull the thread through to the front. Finally, cut the thread close to the exit point.
If your button already has a shank, simply sew it on following steps one through three and five. Denim clothing often has shank buttons. Following these steps for all clothing will result in a well sewn button that should last for months if not years.