Now that we’ve completed our first sewing project, it’s almost time to move on to the next big step in sewing: the sewing machine. Before we do, though, we’re going to get back to the most basic of basics and learn how to reattach a button in under five minutes. But what do you do if you can’t find the buttons that came in the little plastic baggie attached to the cuff or collar of your shirt? Throw the shirt out, of course. (Just kidding!)
Before you cry over lost buttons, look inside the shirt’s body to find the care tag. Fortunately, many clothing manufacturers have wised up and have started sewing their extra buttons to the tag which helps you find them when you need them, instead of when you’re cleaning out the random buttons that accumulate in your junk drawer and/or your sewing basket.
Still no spare button to be found? If you don’t plan to use the shirt as a hand-me-down, check the sleeves’ cuffs. Many shirts have two buttons that allow you to adjust the size of the cuffs, but those spare buttons are pointless to keep around once you’ve adjusted the cuffs for your wrist size. As an added bonus, your shirt looks more tailored without an adjustable button cuff, so that’s a win-win situation in my book!
If neither of the above options works for you, head on over to your local fabric- or craft store (if it’s a craft store, make sure it’s one that sells sewing notions) with your shirt in hand. Locate the section of sewing notions (needles, Velcro, and buttons, oh my!) and find the buttons that best match your shirt’s original buttons. To be honest, the button don’t have to match perfectly, they just have to match well enough to pass at a glance. If the button is missing from your shirt’s placket rather than the sleeve, simply swap the mismatched placket button for one from the shirt’s cuff. (The not-quite-matching button will be much less noticeable on your sleeves.)
Whew! Now that those pesky button-related details are out of the way, let’s get to the easy part and mend our presently buttonless shirts, shall we?
How to Reattach a Lost Button
What You’ll Need:
- Matching button
- Matching all purpose thread
- Thin, sharp needle
- Seam ripper (optional)
Notes: Whatever you do, don’t wash your shirt after the button falls off! The old thread will leave guide holes that show you where to position the button. If you accidentally washed the shirt and can’t find preexisting holes, simply line up shirt as though you intend to button it. Use a pencil or colored chalk to mark a little dot inside the buttonhole. The little dot will show you where to place your button so that it, well, buttons.
Step 2: Insert your needle from back to front through one of the “guide holes”. Alternatively, center your button on the mark you made (see “Notes” above) and hold it tight as you insert the needle from back to front, guiding the needle through one of the holes in the button.
Step 6: Insert the needle through the final remaining empty hole to make an “x” out of your thread. (At this point, you can do a quick test: carefully button your shirt to make sure the button and the buttonhole still line up.)