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Sew with Buttons, Poppers and Hooks & Eyes

Sew buttons, poppers and hooks and eyes

This article teaches you how to sew common fastenings, how to sew with buttons, poppers, hooks & eyes. It has been written by Little Miss Fancy Frocks – the dynamic mother-daughter duo who lovingly create handcrafted clothing for adults and children. Visit their Facebook page here.

Minerva Crafts have kindly sponsored this article. Visit them for all your sewing and crafting needs.


Fastenings are used to join two pieces of fabric together enabling the wearer to put on and take off a garment easily. They are also used extensively throughout the craft world. Buttons, poppers and hooks & eyes are three of many types of fastenings available today.

Did you know that buttons have been in use for over 5,000 years. Hooks & eyes first appeared in the 17th century and poppers, also known as press studs and snap fasteners, were invented in 1885 by Herbert Bauer.

Today all three types of fastenings are available in a range of sizes and an array of materials. They can be functional, decorative or a combination of both.

Fastenings are always worked through three layers: the top fabric layer, the bottom fabric layer or facing and the middle layer, and an interfacing which stabilises the fabric and strengthens the fastening. 

To work the samples you will need a needle, thread, a button with a shank, a button without a shank, a press stud, a hook & eye, fabric and interfacing.  For your samples use a double layer of fabric with interfacing in between.

Buttons with a Shank


Buttons are available with or without a shank. A shank is the rigid loop on the underside of the button. It allows the button to sit proud of the fabric surface enabling the buttonhole to sit comfortably on top of the button when buttoned up.

Sewing techniques

Mark the position of the button. This will be shown on commercial dressmaking patterns. Using double thread work one stitch and another stitch on top of the first stitch; this is known as a double back stitch.



Thread the needle through the shank and through the fabric, repeat three times.


Turn to the wrong side of the fabric and loop stitch the threads together.


On the last stitch wind the loop around the needle twice (forming a knot) and bring the needle out between the two layers of fabric and cut off.

Buttons with Two Holes and Four Holes 

Learn how to sew buttons

Buttons can have two or four holes. Buttons without a shank must also sit proud of the fabric and the shank will be made by hand.

Mark the position of the button in the same way as the button with a shank.


Basic sewing skills

Stitch through the two holes and the fabric four times and at the same time position a pin or cocktail stick between the button and the fabric.


Dressmaking techniques

Place the needle between the button and the fabric and wind around the button four times. This will form a shank. The underside is completed in the same way as the button with a shank by loop stitching the threads together.

How to attach a 4-hole button

Stitch the next two holes using the cocktail stick.

Methods for sewing buttons

Remove the cocktail stick and insert the needle between the button and the fabric and wrap it around the threads four times.


How do I sew on a button?

Turn to the wrong side of the fabric and loop stitch the first set of threads together and then the second set which will form a cross.


Poppers and press studs

The protruding part of the popper should sit on the top opening and the sunken hole on the bottom fabric opening.

How to sew on poppers

Stitch through the fabric layers with one stitch through each hole to secure the popper.


Sewing fastenings on clothing

Loop stitch through each of the holes securing the top part of the popper.


How to mark placement for sewing buttons

Rub the protruding part of the popper with tailors chalk and press onto the fabric where the bottom popper will sit. The tailors chalk will mark the fabric.

Sewing on press studs

Stitch the bottom popper in the same way as the top popper.

Hooks & Eyes

Attaching hooks and eyes

The hook and eye should be placed either side of the opening allowing the opening to lie flat.

Adding fastenings to sewing

Use double thread and work several stitches securing the eye to the fabric through all layers. This will prevent the hook from slipping out of place.


Loop stitch around the curved part of the eye to the centre.


Attach the eye part of a hook and eye

Stitch the other half of the eye in the same manner.

How to attach a hook and eye fastening

Use double thread and work several stitches securing the hook to the fabric near the edge of the fabric and near the curved parts of the hook.

Techniques for sewing fasteners

Loop stitch the hook in position in the same manner as the eye.

Hook and eye fastening

For other dressmaking tutorials please visit our techniques page and click the dressmaking tag.