The other day I was replacing a button on the waistband of a pair of jeans. They were not mine and the lack of a button was due to a lost battle with an expanding waistline. The strain on the waistband where the button should be weakens the fabric and sometimes causes a hole. To overcome these problems reach for the button box, a sewing needle with a large eye-hole, three matchsticks, sticky-tape and Dental Floss!

Replacing Buttons

Now if you have the original button your problem is halved, if not look for one that will neatly pass through the buttonhole. If a button slips easily through the buttonhole, then it is not large enough and will open every five minutes. If it needs force to go through then it is too big. Then pick a smaller flat button with the same number of holes as the larger one.

Next find a little masking tape or sticky-tape and place the three matches in a row and wrap them in the tape. For safety reasons used matches are best, we don’t need any burnt fingers! This match stack will be placed between the top button and the fabric to leave the threads long enough to form a shank. I made one of these about twenty years ago and keep it in the sewing box.

Stitching 1

Select the length of Dental Floss and thread it on to the needle. I double the thread and knot the end of it. Attach the thread to the fabric with a double stitch and then push it through the smaller button on the underside of the waistband. Place the large button on the top fabric and stitch through the fabric and the button. Make sure to slip the match stack in between the fabric and upper button.

Stitching 2

When you have stitched the buttons securely bring the needle up through the bottom button and fabric, remove the matchsticks and wind the thread around the threads between the fabric and top button to give extra strength and finally take the needle through to the back and finish off with a small double stitch.

Stitching 3

Now you only have one problem, how to conceal the ‘white’ thread in the centre of a dark button. Use your loaf Rollerball or ink pen to darken it.

My photos are a little blurred, but they will give you the idea. I used a scrap of material with light coloured buttons and contrasting tread for the sample. Hopefully I make a better job of matching my colours in the normal course of events.

12 thoughts on “Buttons

  1. Never thought of using three matchsticks my (Victorian) Grannie showed me how to use a folded piece of card or a nail file.

    Don’t they make Button Thread anymore or Waxed Thread?

    I can still remember how to darn my socks aswell!

  2. Jo ~ glad to help.

    Magpie ~ I have Quilter’s thread, Linen thread, and umpteen others. I have a gadget for waxing thread, but the wax I rub on the thread, rubs off as it goes through the fabric. Dental Floss is the best I have come across for taking the strain on a heavy Gent’s overcoat or a tight waistband.

  3. Blimey! Grannymar

    Where would we be without all your useful tips?

    I suspect these days, most people would just go out and buy a new pair of jeans.

    After all those scrumptious recipes you’ve been supplying recently, this tip could come in very handy! 😉

  4. I needed some waxed thread a couple of years ago and found the same thing. How about waxing the thread and giving it a blast in the oven or microwave to soften it so that it soaks in?

    Do you make your own Beeswax polish by any chance?

  5. You are taking me back~ we had to learn to mend and darn. Do you still have a button box~ I have a couple of boxes but will never use all the buttons I’ve collected over the years (old habits die hard!)(I feel a post coming up). I loved sorting and playing with my granny’s buttons when I was young.

  6. Steph ~ One slice of cake at a time … 😉

    Magpie ~ Modern thread has a finish on it and the wax might not soak in. Time in the oven/microwave will cook the thread and weaken it. No I don’t make my own Beeswax polish.

    Judy ~ glad to oblige.

    Paddy ~ I will be along to inspect your work and hope it won’t have me in stitches. 😆

    Chris ~ I do have a button box. In fact you reminded me of a Podcast I did last year about my Sewing Box. On listening to it once more I realise I covered the button/ waistband details on that Podcast. Mind you there are a few other surprises on there as well.


  7. Thank you for the great tip. I’m dyslexic so it’ll be fun seeing if I can follow the directions.

    Hope all is well..

    My best,
    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call gram

  8. Not at all, you should only know the difficulty for me to take a test or follow directions. If you notice and I’m not paying attention or am tired I always writing backwards. I usually figure it out in the end. With of course, frustration I am use to.

    Its not you its me…


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