How to Sew a Button with a Sewing Machine

Sewing a button on a sewing machine is quite easy, even though many people think it’s difficult. There are people that would rather sew the button with their hands than use a machine, simply because they think it’s a harder task to use the machine which isn’t true. Using the machine isn’t just easy, it’s also twice faster, and gives you a more durable button on your garment.

How to Sew a Button with a Sewing Machine?

The first thing to do is to choose the right type of button. You can only do this with buttons that have 2 or 4 holes through them. Insert a button feet in the machine.

Set the machine up for a zigzag stitch and put the stitch length to zero. Sew on the button.

Make sure the needle goes through the holes, make about 10 stitches back and forth in the holes with the machine. Tie up the thread behind and cut off the loose thread.

Sewing a button on a machine is about measuring the distance between the holes in the button. Buttons with two holes are obviously faster to sew those with four holes but it’s the same technique, unless you want to sew the 4-holed button diagonally. Then you have to readjust the button to be at the right angle to be sewn.

There are a few steps involved in using a sewing machine to sew a button. The steps include all the process involved in setting up the machine for sewing a button and the actual act of attaching a button to the dress you are making. The steps are as follows;

Step 1. Check that you have all the materials you need

It’s easy to sew on a button with the sewing machine, but you need some materials to help you do that. The materials include the button or buttons you are sewing, the cloth you are attaching the button to, as sewing machine, a button foot or attachment. Without any of these, it will be almost impossible to sew your button with a machine.

Step 2. Add the button foot to the sewing machine

The next thing is to attach the button foot to the machine. The button foot goes into the position of the presser foot. Depending on how your sewing machine is designed, there might be a need for you to remove the presser foot first or not. There are some machines that are made with a presser foot that allows a button foot to be attached to it. If that’s the case, you don’t need to remove the presser foot then. To be sure of this, confirm with your machine’s manual first.

If you don’t have a button footer or button attachment, you can use a piece of tape to hold the button in place on your garment or just press the button down with the machine’s ankle.

If you’re using a tape, place the button wherever you want it on your garment. Then, add two pieces of tape along the button’s edges. The tape will hold the button in position while you sew.

Step 3. Set the stitch type on the machine to zigzag and the stitch length at zero

This is necessary because you obviously aren’t stitching on a straight line, you will need the needle to be going back and forth into the button holes and you are not exactly sewing from one spot to another. You might need to adjust the width too before you start sewing. Then check the position of the needle.

Step 4. Confirm the stitch width

After putting your machine in the right setting, use your machine’s hard crank to move the needle slowly down towards the garment. You must be careful not to push the needle down. Just try to confirm where the needle would be on if you turn the crank way down. Then adjust your stitch width with this position.

Increase the stitch width gently until you are sure that the needle is coming right down on the both button holes you’re sewing. You will be ready to sew as soon as you confirm this needle position. You should know that it might not be necessary to check the stitch width if you are using an advanced machine that has a button setting in it already.

Step 5. Drop the feed dogs

The feed dogs are the teeth on the plate of the sewing machine. The purpose of these teeth is to help in moving the fabric along while you sew. In this case, there’s no need to move the fabric along while you sew, so the feed dogs are unnecessary if you are sewing a button on a sewing machine.

Advanced sewing machines with the button functions drops the feed dogs immediately you choose the button function. But if your machine does not have this function, you can as well just remove or lower the teeth by yourself. If you are not sure how to do this, consult the user’s manual of your machine.

Step 6. Check that the button is well positioned on the garment

This is very important before you start to sew so that you have the button at the exact spot that you want it. So, check, and double check to be sure. One thing you can do to ensure the button is on the right spot is to place some clear tape on both sides of the button so that it does not move from that position you want it in. if you have some tailor’s chalk or a marker that’s water-soluble, you could as well use it to mark the spot where you want the button to be at. Then place the button in that position and mark four dots at the edge of the button. These dots can come in handy as you reference them while you’re sewing.

If you are sewing more than one button as well, you want to be sure that all the buttons are in position. It will save you a lot of time to confirm the positions of all the buttons at once before you start to sew. You could make use of a ruler to make sure that all the buttons fall on a straight line.

Step 7. Start stitching slowly

When you are sewing a button with your sewing machine, it is very important that you don’t start out very fast, as this might cause the needle to come down on the button instead of going into the button hole. This might then cause your needle to break. So, you have to start slow at first by applying gentle pressure to your sewing machine’s foot pedal. If you think you might apply too much pressure with the foot pedal and break the needle, then you can instead turn the wheel at the right hand side of your sewing machine gently, applying minimal pressure to it.

It is important that you sew through the button holes a couple of times. Go in and out of the cloth, and the button holes severally to be sure that the button is being attached securely. When you are done, the button may be a bit tight but with time, it will loosen up.

Step 8. Cut excess thread on the button

There will be excess thread on the button after you have sewn it with your machine. The next thing is to cut out the excesses from the button. Both the front and back of the cloth will have excess pieces of thread to cut out. Use the loop behind the garment cloth to pull the front thread pieces to the back. Then trim the excess extending piece of thread from the button such that, there are only about 4 inches of the thread left extending. Then you should tie it into a knot to make the button more secure. Although, going through the button hole with the machine a couple of times is enough to keep the button in place for a long time, but it’ll eventually loosen up. But the knot will hold the button in place and prevent it from falling off.

Step 9. Sew on extra holes and additional buttons

There are some buttons that have four holes, and not two. After you have followed the above process to sew on the first two holes, then you need to rotate the fabric in a way that allows you carry out the steps again on the other two holes. In this case, you might not tie the knot of the first two holes after sewing, just cut the thread. Then sew the other two holes and cut the thread too. Thereafter, you can tie the knot with the extending pieces of thread from the 4 holes together.

If you are sewing more than one button, and you have sewn the first one and marked the spots for the next ones, just place the button on the spot and repeat the process all over again.

Tips for Sewing a Button with a Sewing Machine

As you sew on your project and you are getting closer to adding button to the garment, there are a few things that you have to consider helping you do the right thing and have your sewing project turn out well.

Choose the right button

Since you are sewing the button with a sewing machine, the type of button you should get is a sew-through button. These are buttons that are flat and have two to four holes through which the thread can be looped and attached to the fabric you’re sewing.

Choosing a sew-through button is not the only criterion for choosing the right button. You should also make your choice of button based on the type of fabric that you’re sewing. If you are sewing a heavy fabric, then you need a heavy button. And if you are sewing a delicate fabric, then you need a small and light button. You can also use a button that is complementary with the style of your fabric to make your design more interesting. If you are sewing a shiny fabric, then you should use a shiny button(s). But if you are sewing a fabric with smooth texture; then you should also use a button that has a smooth texture. If you’re also trying to determine the number of button to put on that shirt, you should settle for an odd number instead of an even number.

If you have a problem choosing a button that matches with the color of your fabric, then you should settle for a button with a darker color instead of one with a lighter color. The darker color button will blend in with the color of the fabric even if it isn’t the same. While a lighter color will stand out, and it’ll be obvious they aren’t the same color.

If you are trying to replace a button that fell off, some clothes usually have a spare button on the side seam that you can use. But if it doesn’t, pick a similar button from an old shirt to replacing but make sure it blends with the other buttons on the cloth, and the buttonhole as well.

Choose the right thread

It is more ideal for you to use a button thread to sew buttons rather than the normal used for sewing clothes. This is because the button thread is very strong and durable for that purpose. But if you don’t have it, it’s fine. You can as well use carpet thread or top stitching thread because of their sturdiness, especially if you are working on a heavy fabric.

You should also make sure that the color of the thread you are using is the same as the color of the garment. If you are replacing a button, try to use a very close color if you don’t have the exact one. But if you are sewing a cloth, use the same colored thread that you are using to sew the cloth. If you are hand sewing the button, you can make the thread you’re using more malleable and better by coating it with a candle wax.


If the fabric you are sewing the button on is a very thin fabric, then it’s a good idea to add a little bit of interfacing to the part of the fabric where you will be stitching the button. This is because adding a button to a fabric will cause some amount of strain on the fabric and if the fabric is very thin, it may tear. But adding an interface will prevent this from happening. In some cases, another small button is added to the second side of the fabric instead of an interfacing piece.

How to Sew a Button by Hand

Step 1. Thread your needle with a length of about 20 inches long.

Step 2. Tie a knot at the end of the thread to catch both ends. You can roll it round your finger to make a circle, and then tighten the resulting knot after removing your finger.

Step 3. Mark the point that you want to add the button on the fabric. Then insert the needle from the back to the front of the fabric on the spot you marked. Make two stitches at the spot to anchor the thread there.

Step 4. Place the button you are attaching on the stitches. You can keep it in place with a piece of tape. Raise the button a little with a button spacer.

Step 5. From the bottom of the needle, insert it into the needle through any of the holes on it. Then stitch from one hole to the other on the button at least 5 times.

Step 6. Finish off the needle at the underside of the fabric. Tie a knot and cut off excess thread.

How Do I Sew a One-hole Button

A one hole button is called a shank button, usually having the hole at the back of the button. They are very much unlike the normal button but finishing them is quite simple.

Once you are done sewing, push the thread and needle across some pieces of the thread that have been attached to the fabric. To make it more stable, you can catch some of the fabric as well.

Repeat this action for about two to three times, then you can detach the needle and tie off the remaining thread. Then cut off the excess afterwards.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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