Have you got something that needs mending? I mean, we aren’t the best at mending a downhill relationships or a dodgy pipe, but we can definitely give you a little helping hand with mending your favourite vintage items! This series will give you a step-by-step guide and little magic hints that we’ve learnt over the past 15 years.

Bust button disaster! 

OH NO! Your favourite 70s shirt has just popped a button, and you’re leaving for the disco in 15 minutes! Well, we’ve put together a quick and super easy step-by-step guide to sewing a button onto your vintage garment.

What you will need:

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pin or toothpick

Step 1

Start by finding the correct position for the button, if you’re replacing a button you will usually be able to see where it should have been on the garment. If you’re in a sticky situation and have lost the button, haberdasheries are a great point of call, or even better if you’re on a tight budget, your local charity shop from as little as a few pennies!

Step 2

Thread your needle and tie the two ends together in a knot. Stitch up from inside the garment and do a couple of stitches to secure the button in place, dependent on the fabric, the knot just isn’t enough!

Step 3

Thread the button onto the needle and start stitching through the buttonholes. If you’re using a two hole button, then easy peasy! Just thread up through one hole and down through the next. A 4 hole button needs to have either two parallel stitches, or two diagonal stitches creating a cross. Stitch through each hole around 4-5 time for a shirt, and 7-8 times for a coat.

Step 4

Once the last stitch is done, come up underneath the button and wrap the thread around the stitching underneath the button a few times. This will protect the stitches and help hold the button in place. Then take the thread back down to the inside of the garment and do a couple of secure stitches.

Step 5

Tie a loose knot in the thread and then insert the needle and push the knot down so it is flush with the fabric, tightening it as you go. Remove the needle and cut your threads.

Your trusty peacoat got a button loose? When sewing a button back onto a coat you will need to make sure you have plenty of room underneath to fit the coat fabric once it's done up. This is where the toothpick comes in!

Follow the same method as above but, when you are stitching through the holes, hold a toothpick on top of the button and stitch over it. Remove the toothpick before you wrap the thread around the stitching. When you wrap around the thread, lift the button away from the coat to create a “shank”. This will give you enough room for the fabric to fit comfortably under it.

Now you’re ready to go, enjoy your vintage item and love it as much as it loves you! Stay tuned on our blog for more vintage care hints and tips.


Words: Mary Costello

August 11, 2017 — Mary Costello