How To: Sew a Button on a Jacket

There are certain things that every adult needs to know how to do: apologizing graciously when they're wrong, cooking an egg, and bravely pulling the gunky stuff out of the kitchen drain. For me, sewing on a button falls solidly in this category. There's no need for a tailor to do this; it's easy!

You need:
The button (If you've lost the button, finding a match may be the hardest part of this entire process. Make sure to check inside the jacket; often the manufacturer sews an extra one inside.)
Needle
Thread
Scissors
Wooden skewer or a toothpick

Here's what to do:
• Measure out about 16 inches of thread. Don't be stingy. Nothing is more frustrating than running out of thread when you've almost finished a project. On the other hand, don't go crazy either. Thread that's too long will tangle up.

• Thread your needle and knot the end of one layer of thread. Try licking you finger and rolling the final inch of thread around until it knots up.

• Line up your button, making sure the holes are straight. Notice which way the other buttons are sewn and copy it.

• From the inside of the coat, push the needle through the fabric and one buttonhole and pull it taut.

• Place your skewer between the button and the fabric and sew down through another buttonhole and the jacket, trapping the skewer in between. The skewer is a placeholder so the button isn't sewn on too tightly which, especially with a thick coat, makes it tough to button up.

• Keep sewing through those two holes until they're secure, and then do the same with the other set, so the button is balanced.

• Remove the skewer and make a shank by wrapping your thread several times around the threads holding the button to the jacket (in between the button and the jacket). This protects those threads and helps them last longer.

• Push your needle through to the inside of the jacket and tie off your work by nipping a bit of fabric with your needle, then making a loose loop with the thread. Before you close the loop, pull your needle through it and pull tight. Repeat several times in the same place until it's secure. Trim the excess thread.

• Paint a dab of clear nail polish over the threads on the top of the button to seal and secure them even further. You're done!

I've been putting off this project for about five months, but it took me only five minutes to finish. I hate having a jacket out of commission, so next time I won't wait so long.

(Images: Jennifer Hunter)

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