Button Mending Done Right.

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My favorite sweater lost a button last week. And it wasn’t one of those situations where I looked down and the button was dangling by a thread. It fell off at the laundromat, in either the washer or the dryer. That button was gone. Another one fell off a few days later when I attempted to wear the sweater. Clearly, I needed to take action.

Replacing buttons is a quick process – it only takes 5-10 minutes to attach each button – and it can transform a favorite jacket or sweater. Buttons are pretty inexpensive at craft stores, and you can find them at thrift stores as well. When you’re buying them, I recommend getting an extra one to keep stashed away. One important thing is to make sure that the buttons are similar in size to the ones that you’re replacing, otherwise they either won’t fit through the buttonholes, or won’t hold things in place.


When I’m attaching new buttons, the first thing I do is put a pin to mark the spot where I’ll be stitching. I suppose you could measure to line it up properly; however, I eyeball it, and that has worked well for me in the past. When threading my needle, I prefer to double the thread and knot the two ends together. Generally, you’ll want to match your thread to your fabric; I did not, because I wanted to match the white stitches on the button, and also because I somehow have three spools of white thread. I’m not sure how that happened, but it seemed silly to buy gray thread when white would work perfectly well.

To begin sewing, I pull the needle through a tiny bit of the fabric under where the button would go. This way, the knot is hidden under the button, rather than sticking out somewhere. Then, I bring the needle up through one of the holes in the button, and back down through the one that’s diagonal from it. If your button only has two holes – or one in the back – you’ll just go through those. I like the criss-crossed look on four-hole buttons, though.

I try to keep my stitches fairly near to each other on the back side, so that there isn’t a crazy mess of thread everywhere – especially when my thread doesn’t match my fabric! I go back and forth making a tiny x of stitches through the four holes, usually three or four times on each diagonal.

Finally, I bring the needle through to the back side of the fabric one last time. I pull the needle under the stitches I’ve made there, and then the needle goes through the loop to make a knot. I’ll do that twice, and then cut the thread close.

I’m quite happy with the sweater’s new look!


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