Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercise.
Dawn O’Porter: I don’t know about you but buttons are always falling off my clothes. Here’s our step-by-step guide to replacing a button with my workshop tailor, Michael.
How to attach a button
Michael: A trick to make this look good when it's done is to leave a space between the button and the garment and to give us that space, I’m going to use matchsticks. It‘ll make the button lie nice and flat.
Step one - secure the thread
Michael: So first of all you need a mark as to where your button is going to sew, on this jacket where the button’s come off there is a mark. Come in from the side of the marking, pull your thread through but leave the end dangling. Now, to secure the thread we are going to make a loop, pass the needle through the loop, pull that tight and that’s secured your thread.
Step two - attach the button
Michael: In from the back of the button, back into the mark and pull it tight but remember put your match, or whatever you are using for the spacing, underneath. Pull the thread tight; this gives us a distance. Don’t pull the thread too tight because we don’t want the button to be too tight. Repeat the process maybe three, four times. I’m using very strong button thread. It’s much better than ordinary sewing thread. Make sure you always come back through the same hole. I’m now moving over to the other holes in the button and I’m going to do the same again and make sure I’m sewing it over the match.
Step three - secure
Michael: Push your thread up behind the button but don’t go through the holes, take your match out, get your thread and wind it three or four times around the stitches. This gives what we call a shank. Then finally push your needle through to the back. Then we are going to do a knot on the back. Same process that we did on the front, make a loop, thread your needle through, pull that tight. That’s secured it. Push your needle into the fabric, pull it through, cut off the end, cut off the end on the front of the garment and you have one button with a shank. There’s a little gap between the button and the garment. So when it does up, the buttonhole is not going to pull.
© Channel 4
Worksheets and downloads
Have you ever sewn on a button? Do you know how to mend your clothes?