Buttons that fall off- the fix! Tuesday, Mar 30 2010 

Have that button that always pops off?  You know the one.  Whether it is on a pair of pants, on a shirt, or most often on a coat- buttons tend to loosen and fall off.  Sometimes this is because the edge of a button is rough or slightly sharp.  The edge of the inside of the button wears down the thread.  Sometimes buttons fall off because strain is put on the fabric and the thread gives way, or even pulls a hole in the fabric.

Fixes:

Use two buttons.  Putting a thin, flat button on the opposite side of the fabric can solve this problem beautifully.  When you sew them on, the thread goes through the outside button, then through the fabric, then through the inside button and back again.  When the outside button pulls the thread, the thread then pulls not at the fabric, but at the back button, anchoring it nicely.

Give the button a shank.  If the button on the coat is sewn very thoroughly and tightly, it can be so tight that there isn’t room enough to button it.  A winter coat can be thick and you will need to accommodate for that bulk when sewing on the button.  To do this, leave some give in the thread as you sew on the button.  When you are ready to finish, wrap your thread around the give, and that will make the button stand out a bit from the fabric.  Then, knot your thread as usual and you are ready to go!

Another fix:  Is the button sharp or rough on the inside?  A light coating of clear nail polish can smooth rough spots without plugging the holes in the button or making it look too weird.  Paint on the back side of the button.

Did the button pull a hole in the garment?

The fix:

Find a small bit of similar fabric, the size of a quarter will do, and put it behind the hole.  If possible, nest the new fabric piece between the outer fabric, and the lining.  Then with a small machine stitch and a thread that matches the garment, sew row after row of small stitches over the hole.  Think of it like overdoing quilting, but in a very small space.  The stitches you are putting in will show, so cover the whole and the fraying fabric, but try not to make a big enough sewing area that the button wouldn’t cover most of it.  What you are doing is making a very strong patch!  You can then sew the button in the original spot, where the hole used to be.

Side note:  The patching method works amazingly well with holes in jeans if you get the right fabric for the patch and use the exact right thread color and stitch length.  Properly done your patched area will be as strong or stronger than the original!

gaps between the buttons- the fix! Friday, Sep 4 2009 

With a needle and thread you can make button down shirts wearable!

The buttons and button holes on a standard shirt can spread open when you move, right in that area:

Solution?  Close up that area!  There are a variety of ways to do that.  Generally what I see is a snap or hook and eye added halfway between each button.

My preference is to try on the shirt, and find where it gaps- then sew that portion of the shirt closed.  Turning the shirt inside out, you can take a needle and thread and very lightly do a whip stitch on the overlap.  It doesn’t need to be tightly or evenly sewn to work.   I only sew the gapping part closed, leaving the rest of the buttons and button holes to behave normally.  Tada!  Magically a button down shirt that fits across the bust line, worry free!

Whip stitch:

http://www.google.com/search?q=whip+stitch&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Added bonus?  Your shirt will be easier to iron over that area.