Sewing Tips: Sewing On Metal Buttons

Helpful hints for sewing metal buttons on correctly so they don't fall off, rip the fabric or come loose.

Metal buttons come in all shapes and sizes, but what they tend to have in common is that they are somewhat heavier than other buttons. They often have irregular shapes and larger sizes, as well. There are some helpful tips to sewing metal buttons to clothing so that the buttons do not fall off, rip the fabric they are attached to or have the thread forever coming loose.

As a matter of fact, there are some types of thread made for hand sewing heavier buttons. Often, they have a name like heavy duty topstitch button and carpet thread, or something similar. Most hand sewing threads are treated with a special finish that prevents tangles, snags and knots. These threads have a very smooth surface and are considered the best choice for thread strength and button security. These threads are also a cotton and polyester blend, usually with the polyester thread wrapped around the cotton. Remember to match the thread color to your fabric, not the button. If you cannot match it exactly, go a shade darker instead of a shade lighter.

If you are unable to find this type of thread, it is also possible to use general purpose thread by running it through beeswax. Most fabric stores sell cakes of beeswax encased in a notched plastic frame for this purpose. The beeswax inhibits knotting and also adds the strength needed for securing buttons.

Still another option is to use unwaxed dental floss to attach your metal buttons. Once the button is in place, knot it in the back and then apply heat to the dental floss. The floss is nylon, so when heat is applied, it will melt.

If your button is really heavy and the fabric you are planning to attach it to is rather flimsy, one way to keep your button from ripping out the fabric or sagging is to stitch a piece of grosgrain ribbon to the back side of your fabric where you plan to attach the buttons. This not only lends strength to the fabric but it looks pretty, as well.

After choosing your thread, cut a piece that is no more than 20" in length. It is also a good idea to double you thread when sewing on buttons. Twenty inches is a workable length that should not get tangled. Tie a knot about one inch from the end opposite the needle. Starting from the back side of the fabric, run the needle through in the approximate area you want to place the button and pull it tightly until the knot is firmly against the back of the fabric. Slide the button over the needle and down to the fabric. If there are two holes in your button, go down with the needle through the opposite hole and up through the same hole you started with. If your button has four holes, a criss cross stitch tends to hold the button more securely. Do this until you have filled at least half of the hole space in your button. Turn your fabric over and knot the thread securely against the fabric. Dab a bit of seam sealant on the knot to help hold it tightly. Repeat with any other buttons. Now your garment with gorgeous metal buttons is ready to wear!

When you get ready to wash your garment either by machine or taking it to the dry cleaner's, here are two ways to keep your metal buttons from getting scratched or torn off. Buy some squares of velcro at least 1 1/2 inches larger than your buttons. Taking the rough side of the velcro, cut a slit in it halfway. Slide this under your button with the loop side up. Cover it with the opposite piece of velcro. The velcro holds itself in place and protects your button while the garment is being cleaned.

A second way to protect your metal buttons is to cover them with tinfoil, tucking it securely around the button. This also holds well and keeps the buttons and garments from getting damaged. Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy your attractive metal buttons throughout the life of your garment.

© High Speed Ventures 2011