How to Replace a Missing Button

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

Luckily, one of the most common clothing-repair chores--sewing on a button--is also one of the easiest. Even if you don't know the difference between a sewing machine and a can opener, you can complete this simple task in a few minutes.

Items you will need

  • Button
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
Step 1

If you haven't saved the missing button, look for a spare attached to the garment lining. If there's no spare, take the garment to the fabric store to buy a button that looks as much like the others as possible.

Step 2

Thread the needle with thread the same color as the kind attaching the other buttons. Cut a piece of thread about a foot (30 cm) long, pass one end through the eye of the needle, and tie the two loose ends into a knot. Double-knot if you wish.

Step 3

Place the button on the garment at the right place. Sometimes needle holes or bits of thread mark the location of the original button.

Step 4

Starting on the inside of the garment (the side that doesn't show), push the needle up through the fabric and through one of the holes in the button.

Step 5

Now push your needle back down through the fabric through a different hole in the button (see A). (If the button has more than two holes, follow the stitching used on the other buttons.)

Step 6

Repeat steps 4 and 5 six to eight times. The last few times, leave the thread loop on the inside of the garment a little bit loose instead of pulling the thread taut.

Step 7

With the needle on the inside of the garment, make your finishing knot: Pull the needle through the loose loops you made at step 6 a few times and tug gently (see B).

Step 8

Snip off the extra thread, close to the knot you just made.


  • If you save in your sewing kit extra buttons that come with clothing and buttons that have popped off, you'll always have a button handy when you need it. Some buttons have a little loop, or shank, on their underside rather than holes in the middle. Not to worry. Just follow the same steps, except at steps 4 and 5 you're just continually making a loop through the shank rather than through different button holes.