As a crafter I'm sure you are all too familiar with this scenario:
Friend/family/colleague approaches crafter.
"You like making things."
"You can sew."
"So you can reattach this button."
Over the years, I've kind of made a point of saying "no." to this. It took me a while to get there though. At first I'd always respond with a hesitant "yeees".
My eyes rolling all the way to heaven of course.
Crafting, or even sewing, and attaching buttons that have come undone really aren't the same thing. And it always annoyed me that people seemed to think I would enjoy doing them this service simply because I like to pick up a needle and thread every now and then.
Sewing on buttons really isn't one of those rewarding activities that make you feel like you have been productive, let alone created something unique you can be proud of. It's nothing like making a dress from scratch. Even if it happens to be a button up.
Come to think of it, I haven't done much sewing since I finished university. During my undergrad I always had my sewing machine handy. I even grabbed this hideous shell of an old cupboard from a housemate and converted it into a sewing desk (of sorts). That way I didn't have to constantly assemble and dismantle my trusty sewing machine.
But my housemates (all boys at some point) of course took this as an invitation to have me alter shirts and hem jeans.
So one day when a housemate asked whether I could sew a button onto his shirt where one had gone missing I - not even slightly annoyed of course... - retorted "no, but I can teach you to do it yourself", he simply dropped to the floor matter-of-factly and took my instructions with gratitude.
It was the cutest thing really. He sat there, cross-legged on the carpet and spent ten minutes trying to poke the needle through the button holes rather his finger. A talented boy, that one.
He was in his mid-twenties also, so I figured it was about time he learned how to get this right.
I remember this well, because I always loved how willing he was to learn, no discussion. But mainly because my playlist had just switched to a rather hilarious, indie rendition of "I'm a Barbie Girl" and he was quite amused.
This little lesson also made me think about how some things are so simple to some, often because they have been practiced for years, often from a young age. But even then, typically there are little tips and tricks involved passed on from parent and grandparents.
And let's face it. People always seem to be missing buttons. On coats and shirts, pants and skirts. Why is kind of a mystery to me. I feel like it's about time the fashion industry came up with a solution to this button crisis. There must be some way to more effectively attach buttons!
But until then we'll just keep re-attaching those damn little buttons over and over again if need be. So if you still need a little practice or your housemate needs some detailed instructions, let me share with you everything I know to simplify the process.
Feel free to leave out any steps once you feel comfortable with the whole process though.
HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- extra pin
Step 1: Select a button and thread that match the garment. Thread the needle. To speed up the whole process, double the thread. Simply pull the thread through the needle until there is an equal length of thread extending from both sides. Tie a knot at the very end of the thread.
Step 2: Position the button on the garment by lining it up with any other buttons, also making sure to check that the button lines up with the buttonhole. Once you know where the button will go, create an anchor point: Start at the back of the fabric and run the needle through to the front. Running the needle back and forth through the garment, create a small "X" where the button will be centered. The "X" will serve as a reference point, but also helps to anchor the thread making sure it doesn't loosen too much during stress.
Step 3: Place the button onto the anchor point. Starting at the back of the fabric, run the needle up through the garment and through one of the button holes pulling tight. Push the needle back down the diagonal opposite hole and through the fabric. Before pulling tight, place a straight pin beneath the button and between the two stitches you just made. (Note that this can also be a match or skewer depending on what you have on hand.) The pin will create some extra space and make sure you don't stitch the button too tight throughout the process. Pull tight.
Note: You can also place the straight stitch on top of the button rather than beneath it depending on what you are more comfortable working with.
Step 4: Run the needle up one of the remaining button holes and down the diagonal opposite hole. You have now created another "X". Repeat this process, switching between opposing pairs, creating several "X"s one on top of the other. Pull the thread all the way through on each stitch.
Step 5: Once the button has been secured nicely, run the needle up through the fabric, but not through any hole in the button. Remove the straight pin and wrap the thread clock-wise around the thread between the button and the garment several times.
Step 6: Push the needle back down through the fabric. On the back, make a few stitches to secure the thread, tie a knot and cut off the excess.
If you are adding buttons for aesthetic rather than practical purposes, I recommend playing around with the various ways in which to attach them!
I don't know about you, but I kind of want to sew buttons onto everything right now...