The need to stitch buttons back onto the likes of shirts, pants, suits and coats has been a requirement of sewing machines since the first-ever stitch back in 1830. If you take a minute to look at the overall appearance of the first-ever sewing machine, you’ll see that it isn’t too dissimilar a shape from those that are used today.
Unfortunately, as the years passed the knowledge of how to sew something as simple as a button back onto a pair of pants has slowly disappeared. There have been attempts to combat the ever-growing decline of interest when it comes to these ‘classic’ ways of fixing clothes.
There was an increase in interest during the COVID-19 pandemic as more and more people sort to find things to do in the remit of their home and stitched knitting. sewing and similar activities gained sudden popularity. Anyway enough of the history lecture, and back to how on earth do you sew a button on to pants?
There are a couple of different routes you can take to sew a button back on, using a mini sewing machine, a sewing machine from a brand like Uten, or using a needle and thread. The key difference in method is between by hand and by machine, but both are easy enough to do (machine more so).
So what equipment do I need if I’m going to sew it back on using a needle and thread? You’re going to need: a button (2 holed or 4), a needle, some thread, and a pin. That’s all, realistically it’s just 3 things as, well, a button is a given.
In comparison, to sew a button using a sewing machine or a mini sewing machine all you need is the machine, a button, and thread for the machine. Again if we assume you already have a button, you need just 2 other items.
We are now going to go over how exactly you reattach a button to a pair of pants using the ‘by hand’ method.
The first step of any repair job is to match the repair to the original object. In this case, make sure to pick both a button (if using a new button) and a colour of thread that matches or adds to the pants. You don’t want it to look unnatural and out of place.
Cut a fairly long length of thread and take one end of the thread. Put the thread through the end of the needle and ensure there’s an even amount of thread on either side of the needle.
Now you’ve got your needle and thread sorted, you need to ensure the thread doesn’t just fall out of the needle. To do that we simply tie a knot at the end of the thread to ensure it doesn’t fit through the eye of the needle.
We’ve all done it before we’ve fixed or built something and it turns out it doesn’t match up to the hole or it isn’t straight. In this case, we want to match the button to the buttonhole on the opposite side, this is a great way to avoid sewing the button in the wrong place and having to start again.
Now push the needle up through the back of the pants and the first hole of the button, ensuring you pull the needle to its full length so the knot you tied is flat against the pants.
This step is optional but for the best results is best followed, using a clothes pin push it through the fabric underneath the button starting from where the first stitch has been made and where you’re going to make the 2nd stitch (underneath the 2nd hole).
Now push your needle through the second hole of the button, again ensuring you pull the needle to its fullest length on the opposite side of the fabric.
There you go, your button is now secured. But it’s a little wobbly right? Repeat steps 5 and 6 until your button is firmly in place and secured to your satisfaction.
On the last stitch DO NOT push it through the fabric, instead push the needle through the buttonhole and out to the side. You then want to wind the thread around the button once, then remove the clothespin and wind it around 5 more times.
Now that you’ve wound the thread 6 times put it back through the fabric. Then create 4 stitches on the back of the button to ensure it’s fastened to your pants securely with minimal risk of falling off. Finally cut off the excess thread and your repair is finished.
Moving on how do you sew a button using a sewing machine or mini sewing machine. It’s a lot easier and faster than by hand, so without further ado here is how:
Exactly like the first step of the needle & thread method, you need to choose a button and thread that either matches or compliments the pants you’re trying to repair.
You then want to place the button where it’s going to be sewn on, once in place lower your machine’s feed dogs, if your machine cannot do so, then simply set the length of the stitch to 0.
You’ll find that the majority (almost 100%) of buttons have a stitch width of 3 to 4 millimetres when using the zigzag pattern. Make sure to set your machine to this width, or like most modern machines select the stitch setting that looks like a button.
Now all that’s left to do is lower your needle on the machine into the first hole. Your machine should stitch the zigzag pattern between both the holes of the button securing it within seconds with little to no effort.
To conclude, we recommend that if you have access to a sewing machine then it saves you some time sewing your button using a machine.
If you don’t have access to a machine, they can be quite costly so we recommend looking into the different types of mini sewing machines on the market. They perform the same task but are more compact and a lot cheaper than a fully-fledged sewing machine.
And if machines aren’t your kind of thing, grab your needle and thread on a rainy afternoon and get stitching!