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Buttons, buttons and more buttons

Snuggles out the window

Through the years I have been writing about buttons.  I often write about the different types of buttons, or types, but I need to be sure I’ve covered the most important thing about buttons.  And that is “sewing on a button.”  I sometimes take it for grant it that everyone knows how to sew on a button, but that just isn’t so.  The whole appearance of a garment can be ruined by the way a button is sewn on.  If the button is sewn too tightly to the garment, the buttonhole can’t close tightly.  Therefore the buttonhole will spread causing the front of the outfit to pucker and the buttons to look as though they are misplaced.  Let me give you some things to consider when sewing on a button.

  1.  Mark the correct position for the button.  Remember that the button does not stay in the center of the buttonhole.  It slides to the left corner, which is why the left end of the buttonhole starts at the center front line.
  2. Use a double thread, a heavy duty, or buttonhole twist to sew the buttons.
  3. Even if you don’t want a shank, the button needs to be loose enough so it will button correctly.
  4. In order to accomplish this, place a match or toothpick across the top of the button and sew through the holes of the button, joining it to the fabric.
  5. After the button has been sewn, remove the matchstick and wind the thread around the threads under the button.  This can form a stem but if you wind it more, it will also form a shank.
  6. When this is done, the buttonhole will close tightly around this stem and the button will ride on top of the buttonhole, which prevents the garment from puckering.
  7. If the button has a shank, it will need to be sewn with a stem. Sew the shank button very loosely and then wind the thread underneath the button to form the stem. The shank itself raises the button.
  8. If the button is heavy or the fabric is thick, it is advisable to use a stay underneath.  That simply means you need to sew a small button or a piece of fabric on the wrong side of the fabric as you sew on the button.

Who knew it was this much fun to sew on a button.  Remember to SEW the times of your life with love….or not.


About Sally Cowan (50 Articles)
After Keeping You in Stitches for over 45 years, Sally enjoys her memories of events that happened on her way to retirement. Author of 6 books, lectures, teaching, and TV host on PBS and now has time for her many cats and Snuggles, the dog. She also loves playing trumpet in the Anastasia Baptist Church orchestra.

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