Sew on Buttons with a Sewing Machine

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Inside: Sew on Buttons with a Sewing Machine

There is nothing more practical than having to sew on a button. Sadly, there are folks who are terrified of sewing buttons and buttonholes and this causes them to avoid starting any project that would require sewing said buttonholes and/or buttons. So much missed sewing joy due to unwarranted fears.

I have a simple trick that will makes sewing on buttons a lot less scary and a lot more fun. Let’s learn How to Sew on Buttons with a Sewing Machine. (Note: this little trick works for hand sewing, too)

How to Sew on Buttons with a Sewing Machine

Sew on Buttons with a Sewing Machine

Different Sewing Machines

First, I want to point out that most newer model sewing machines have a setting for sewing on a button. Since each machine is different, I’m going to give you some quick basics.

  • This method is possible if you only have is a zigzag setting on your machine.
  • Most sewing machines have a button attaching foot available.
compare sewing feet

Even though they look very different, both of these feet are designed to sew on a button. The thing they have in common is the little bit of rubber that helps grip the button and hold it in place. Check with a local dealer for your machine’s brand and see what they have for your specific machine. Usually, they will show you how the foot works best with your machine.

Anyway, this is about a simple trick to make the process easier, not sewing feet. So, here’s what I do to keep that pesky button in place.

First, I have to mark where my button goes. You can use the pattern directions which will show you the exact spot to put the button {which has never, EVER worked for me} or you can stick a straight pin through the middle of the sewn, but uncut, buttonhole then mark it with a Water Erasable Pen.

I made the marks large enough so I could easily see where to place the button.

mark fabric

A Simple Trick

Here’s the real problem. I can lay my button over the exact spot and then set it under my Button Sewing Foot, however, it is difficult to keep the button stable (even with a special foot that has rubber grips).

Instead, I tape my button down onto the garment.

tape buttons on

I told you this was a ridiculously simple trick. All you do is carefully place the button on the garment and tape it down.

taped buttons

Time to Sew on the Button

Time to sew on that button. Now both of my machines are electronic and all I have to do is press the button-sewing-on button and it is perfectly set to do this. It doesn’t require I drop the feed dogs. It’s really that easy.

Next thing I know my button is sewn on and I’m ready to do another one.

 sew on buttons with a Sewing Machine.

I have not forgotten those of you who may have an older model sewing machine. As long as it has a zigzag setting you can get the same result. You have to do a couple of additional steps, that’s all.

  1. Be sure to put on a foot that will work with a zigzag stitch.
  2. Set your machine to the zigzag setting and using the hand wheel s-l-o-w-l-y determine the zigzag width that will work for your button. On most machines this is slightly less than the default zigzag setting.
  3. Lower the feed dogs.
  4. Now you are ready to stitch.

When you’ve finished sewing on the buttons you will notice that there are two threads on top and two threads on bottom. At this point I remove my tape and discard it. Be sure to get any small remaining pieces.

remove tape

Securing the Threads

There are a couple of options here. You can just clip the threads and be done with it all. The button will be pretty secure, but eventually not being knotted will cause the stitching to unravel and you will need to resew the button.

Not being one to have to redo what’s been done, I like to knot mine on the back. I do this by taking a needle and threading the top threads to the back then tying a knot.

secure threads
trim excess thread

At this point it’s just a matter of stitching down the rest of the buttons.

finished buttons

Making simple tasks easier is just another way that I find joy when I sew. How about you ~ what simple sewing task gives you that sense of accomplishment?

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