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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.)

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.

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).

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.

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