How to Sew Buttons with Your Sewing Machine

-Brother Sews Blogger

If you didn’t know, now you know: I have an addiction to buttons. Not just any buttons, either. I love buttons that are used as closures for clothing. I adore how they add character and can even elevate your clothing. I view buttons like jewelry accessories - they just add so much character to your style. If you hand make your clothes, you especially appreciate the tiny little detail of a button and what they can add to your handmade garments.

As you can imagine, because I love buttons so much I use them on a a lot of my clothing. Finding a way to sew them on efficiently was a must for me. When I first started sewing, I learned to sew on buttons by hand. Like so many others, this step made the process less enjoyable. (Did I mention that I was a very impatient person?) Hand sewing buttons is such a long, daunting process – especially for a beginner. I know some people like to hand-sew buttons, but for me it takes away the joy of sewing because of my lack of patience.

Another process of sewing on buttons that is typically intimidating to most people is making sure the buttonholes are spaced evenly and that the buttons are placed in perfect position. If these steps are not properly done, it can be very frustrating and stressful to fix - if it’s even fixable. I was once that person that absolutely hated sewing on buttons and dreaded each and every step, but now that I’ve mastered the process I’ve found ways to make it more efficient and a lot more fun.


If you love buttons like I do, you’ll probably want to put them on everything. Here are some ways to use buttons in your sewing and embroidery projects:
● Add buttons to a brand new garment to finish your design.
● Upcycle a thrifted shirt or dress. Safely remove the old buttons and sew on new ones. Make sure you use a button size similar to the ones you removed.
● Elevate some pants you have in your closet. Remove the metal closures at the waist, and add a fun button design that matches your style.
● A tote bag closure – get creative and add some unique style to your favorite on-the-go tote bag!

- Brother Sewing Machine
- Open Toe Sewing Foot or Button Sewing Foot (‘M’ Foot)
- Buttonhole Sewing Foot

- Buttons
- Marking Tool
- Button Spacer
- Ruler
- Sewing Pins
- Buttonhole Cutter
- Small Cutting Mat
- Fray Check (Prevents fabric from fraying)

Sewing on Buttonholes

1. Pin button plackets together

2. Using a button spacer, space out how you want to place your buttons. When doing this, each notch should be the bottom of each button
3. Mark each space.

4. With a ruler, mark the center of that line with the ruler sitting on the edge of the button placket.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 on a scrap piece of fabric the same thickness of your garment. You'll only need to create a mark for one buttonhole placement. Set aside.
6. Let's set up your machine. Choose a buttonhole of your liking.

7. Place one of your buttons in the back of the buttonhole foot.

8. Attach the foot to your sewing machine.

9. Lower the buttonhole lever
10. Starting with your scrap fabric, let's test out our button settings. Note: Always test before actually sewing on your garment.
11. Lower the sewing foot onto the fabric making sure the horizontal and vertical lines on your fabric match up with the ones on the sewing foot.

12. Slowly push on the foot pedal. The machine should do most of the work for you. Your job is to simply guide the fabric lightly making sure it's straight. Once the buttonhole is completely finished, your machine will stop on its own.
13. This is how your buttonhole should look. The horizontal line that you drew previously should match up with the bottom opening. And not the bottom edge of the buttonhole.

14. If there were any threading mishaps while sewing the buttonhole, re-thread your machine and try again. Note: Make sure that the top thread sits under the buttonhole foot and pull to the back.
15. If your buttonhole came out the way that you wanted it to, let's move on to your garment.
16. Repeat 11-12 on each buttonhole of your garment until each buttonhole is sewn.
17. Place a cutting mat under each buttonhole. Using your buttonhole cutter, cut open each buttonhole making sure not to cut through any of the threads. Repeat this step for all the buttonholes.

18. Apply Fray Check to each buttonhole to eliminate fabric fraying.

Sewing on Buttons

1. Place the placket with the buttonholes over the opposite one and pin all the way down.

2. With a market tool such as an erasable pen or pencil, mark the center of each buttonhole being sure to create a mark on the opposite fabric. Repeat until all buttons are marked.

3. Take your button and place it on top of the center of each mark.
4. This next step is optional and my secret to eliminating slippery buttons. Once the button is placed in the center of the mark, tape it in place. Repeat for all the buttons. Set aside.

5. Let's set up our machine. Change out the sewing foot to the button sewing foot.

6. Change your machine setting to the button setting. If your machine does not have this setting, no worries. Set your machine with a zig zag stitch with a zero length. As for the width, you’ll need to manually adjust it so that the needle sits perfectly in both buttonholes.

7. Like I previously stated, you should always test on a scrap piece of fabric.

8. If your button was sewn the way you liked, sew the buttons onto your garment making sure that the needle sits in the hole perfectly. You don't want to break any needles.

9. Once buttons are sewn on, remove the tape from each button.

10. That’s it! How easy was that?! No more hand sewing buttons on your garment. Breeze through it using your machine.

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