How to Sew on a Button With a Sewing Machine

by Stacy Zogheib
You can sew shirt buttons with a sewing machine.

You can sew shirt buttons with a sewing machine.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Although many people know how to sew a button by hand, it is something that most people don't enjoy doing. In addition, it can be tedious if you have more than one button that you need to sew. If this is the case, get out your sewing machine. As long as you have access to a button foot you can use your sewing machine to sew on a button. It may not be faster the first time but with some practice you can use your sewing machine to attach buttons to any type of clothing.

Items you will need

  • Pencil
  • Sewing machine and needle
  • Button foot
  • Sew-through button
  • Fabric or clothing
  • Scissors
Step 1

Attach the button foot to your sewing machine. This foot holds the button securely while giving you access to the button's holes.

Step 2

Lower or cover the feed dogs on your sewing machine and keep the presser foot raised.

Step 3

Mark where on the garment you want to sew your button. Look for loose threads or holes from the previous button.

Step 4

Place the fabric underneath the sewing machine foot so that your mark is between the prongs of the button foot.

Step 5

Place the button under the foot so that the holes are horizontal and between the prongs of the button foot. If your button has four holes you sew them straight across, two at a time. You can use a piece of clear tape to hold the button in place.

Step 6

Lower the foot and align your needle with the hole on the left side of the button.

Step 7

Sew three or four straight stitches through the left-most hole in the button to hold it in place. Your needle will go straight up and down and the fabric should not move forward since you have the feed dogs lowered.

Step 8

Select a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.

Step 9

Adjust the stitch length so that the needle goes through both holes in the button without hitting the edges. Hand turn the wheel to raise and lower the needle and check this before you sew.

Step 10

Sew four to five zigzag stitches to secure the button to the fabric. End your sewing in the left button hole.

Step 11

Select straight stitches again, readjust your needle so it is over the left-most hole in the button, and sew three or four stitches into the left button hole to secure the thread just like you did in Step 7. You should not need to change your stitch length since the fabric is not moving forward.

Step 12

Raise the presser foot, remove your fabric and cut any loose threads.

Step 13

Repeat Steps 5 through 12 with the second set of holes if your button has four holes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place a toothpick between the button holes before you zigzag if you want the button to sit more loosely on the fabric. This is helpful for thicker materials like denim.
  • Sew shank buttons by hand. You cannot sew these with a sewing machine.

About the Author

Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications. She is a teacher and educator with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images