Instructables
Picture of How To Professionally Sew On A Button By Hand
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                     Hey guys, this is part of a series for tailors (at home and work) to cover the basics on how to professionally sew alterations and repairs by hand so that they hold up to regular use (wear and tear). Unless otherwise mentioned, all finished pieces are machine washable and heirloom quality. The number one request a person gets at a dry cleaners or tailor shop is to have buttons sewn back on and you do A LOT. Generally an experienced seamstress can sew a button on from start to finish in under 2-3 minutes. So how do you too sew those buttons on so fast? And keep them from falling apart?
This quick instructable will teach you how.

                   You will need:

1) Buttonhole thread (Professional shops normally use Silamide type A thread sold in small 40 yard cards in any beading store or $1 each on ebay/Etsy). I stock the basic 5 colors: white, tan, brown, gray, and black which pretty much covers everything that comes up.
2) Scissors
3) Needle (John James needles are considered the best on the market. You can buy a 100 professional pack for $5.00 on Amazon which will probably last you your whole life or any sewing store. 3-5 will generally run you under $2. These are GREAT.)
4. Button to be sewn on
5. Article of clothing to be repaired or finished
 
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Step 1: Cut the thread

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When doing button repairs, you want roughly 1 yard or meter to start out with. Cut a piece of string the distance between your fingertips and nose.

Step 2: Fold in half

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Fold the thread in half. Your thread should now be roughly 18 inches long.

Great tutorial! The pictures are especially well done. Thank you!

Interesting. I just use regular sewing thread coated with beeswax and a toothpick under flat buttons to help create a shank to wrap the thread around.
Li Sashay (author)  AnniesAppless19 days ago
That's how my mom used to do it when I was a little kid. It also works, this is just a professional finish if you need your stuff to hold up for years or plan to charge money for your work.
flavrt1 year ago
Finally! Somebody who takes buttons seriously.

Thank you for an informative Instructable. Well written and thoughtfully illustrated, I learned a lot.

Now I have a favor to ask. I need some practical and creative thinking to solve a fastening problem on my swim parka. This coat is oversized because I often wear it with wetsuits up to 10mm thick. Other times with little or nothing underneath, and that's the trouble part. I would like to fasten it without using the zipper, like a cape, so it will snug down against me. Tying it across the breast and maybe also the waist would be fine. This is life-support critical. Swimming up to 5 hours a day is bone-chilling and mind-numbing. I need protection from sea winds between dives and for beach swims too.

The coat is made with 2 layers — nylon taffeta outer shell and polyester fleece inside. The layers float, only stitched together at the hems. But it wouldn't bother me to quilt them together in some areas. I doubt either layer would be strong enough to support the fasteners I need. This has to be rugged. I wear the parka on dive boats for days at time. It's rough. Heavy gear and spearguns are being carried with the boat deck always moving.

I can fabricate any kind of button/hook/cleat from indestructible marine plastic up to ¾ inch thick. Using thread/rope/webbing/elastic/wire is not an obstacle. This problem needs an extraordinary solution: I appreciate you giving it some uninhibited consideration.

Cheers from Sarasota.
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Li Sashay (author)  flavrt1 year ago
Why aren't you using a scuba dry suit for extreme conditions like this where you try and limit your actual exposure to the water as much as possible as it means you lose core body temp 30 times slower. They run for $300-400 around here though the pricey ones will often be closer to a grand. I've seen plenty of fishermen around here spend the winter living out of them with a sweater or something underneath. Your hands don't even get wet 60 meters under.
"Why aren't you using a scuba dry suit …?"

They're fine for commercial divers who scrape boat hulls, but I chase fish. Trust me, swimming in a balloon is no fun. And who wants to wear one to the beach? And then you need a regulator refit and inflator hose and more weights for buoyancy compensation. And you can never pee. I'd rather deal with the challenge of attaching a couple of pretty buttons.

You seem like a creative craftsman. I was just hoping you would have a unique idea for upgrading my parka. Sorry.
Li Sashay (author)  flavrt1 year ago
Flavrt, I'm not opposed to a little DIY hack, just trying to figure out what you need. If you're just trying to upgrade the coat buttons so they work to close in cold weather, you may want to use magnets like the fur industry or a wood toggle and cord like a parka like the skiing industry as you can still manage those with cold frozen fingers. If you want to snug it down belts work. Let me know if that works for you.