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How to Sew a Button

It happens to the best of us. Here's how to put a button back on.

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We’ve all been there, the setting usually incredibly inconvenient. You left put together, but now there's a button missing. Damn. Hopefully for you it's in a low-key spot like the cuff. Sometimes, though, one a little more... obvious... suddenly disappears. And if it hasn’t, it will, but sewing it back on yourself isn't mission impossible. In fact, it takes little skill, just a few spare minutes and the willingness to follow directions.

We tapped an expert at Freemans Sporting Club, a New York-based menswear shop that specializes in men’s suiting, to give us a quick lesson in basic button repair.

sew button
You’ll need: a needle, an extra button and two inches of thread (the standard for most hotel sewing kits).
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Step #1

Double Thread a Needle

At a 45-degree angle and with a sharp blade, cut a clean end on your thread to remove any frays. (You’ll need about two feet of thread to sew a button — one foot if you push it.)

With your dominant hand, pinch just a millimeter of thread between your thumb and index finger. With your other hand, push the eye of the needle onto the tip of the thread. Pull through so the ends meet. (It’s much easier to push the needle to the thread instead of the other way around.) Tie a knot at the end of the thread.

Step #2

Identify where you’ll place the button and bring the needle up all the way through the underside of the fabric. The knot should catch and hold its place. If it doesn’t, double or triple knot the thread.

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Step #3

Add your button by threading the needle through one hole and letting the button fall into place on the shirt. Make sure it’s flat; with this method, the button should be stitched as close to the shirt as possible.

Step #4

Bring the needle back down through a different hole, crosswise, so that it’s threaded on the diagonal. Come back up through the original hole. Repeat two more times.

sew button
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Step #5

On the third time back up, pull the needle through one of the two remaining open holes. Bring back down crosswise through the other open hole to form an X pattern. (If the holes on your shirt feature a pattern resembling an equal sign, instead of an X, follow that pattern instead.) Repeat two times.

Step #6

To lock the thread, pass the needle through stitches on underside of the fabric and stop short to form a small loop. Bring the needle through the loop. Repeat. Cut.

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