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How to Sew a Button on a Men's Dress Shirt

by Staff Writer

Man in dress shirt and slacks

Things You Need:

  • Button
  • Thread that matches the shirt
  • Small sewing needle
  • Scissors

You're all ready for the big night on the town: Your pants are pressed, your shoes are shined and your shirt is clean and ironed. But when you put the shirt on, the middle button pops off! Although you could simply put on another men's dress shirt from your wardrobe, it's just as easy to sew that button back on. You don't need any special sewing skills to sew a button on a men's dress shirt, just a bit of thread and a sewing needle (and, of course, the missing button).

Sewing a Button on a Dress Shirt:

  1. Thread the needle. Cut a length of thread that is 18 inches to 24 inches long. If you have difficulty putting the thread through the eye of the needle, try lightly wetting the thread by licking it to make a sharper point (some sewing kits also include a needle threader). Hold the needle under a strong light to help guide you. Pull the thread through the needle and adjust it so that the needle is in the middle of the thread's length. Tie a simple overhand knot at the end of the two threads.

  2. Place the button. Unbutton the shirt and lay the button on the shirt in its former place. You can usually see the small holes where thread originally held the button.

  3. Attach the button to the shirt. Insert the needle into the fabric behind the button. Push it through one of the holes of the button and pull the thread through the button until the knot meets the shirt fabric. Then push the needle back through an adjoining hole in the button and the fabric. Look at the other buttons to see how they are sewn. Sometimes, you'll need to use the adjoining holes in the button with the thread, forming two small parallel lines; other times, you'll be using the holes across from each other, forming an X with the thread.

  4. Finish securing the button. Make at least a half dozen passes through the button holes. This will secure the button to the shirt. When the button seems solidly attached, make one last pass through the button so that the needle and thread are on the back side of the placket. Tie another overhand knot in the thread, trying to get the knot as close to the fabric as you can. Trim the threads close to the knots.

Sewing Tip:

  1. Don't pull the fabric too tightly when you sew a button on. The button shouldn't dangle from the fabric, but it also shouldn't be too tight against the fabric (or you won't be able to button your shirt).

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