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Sew with Buttons, Poppers and Hooks & Eyes

Sewing with buttons, poppers, hooks and eyes


Selection of buttons and fastenings

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

Example of 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 a button on

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.


Sewing on a shank button 
Thread the needle through the shank and through the fabric, repeat three times.

Back of a shank button

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


Finish off sewing a shank button

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 

Sewing 4 and 2 hole 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.


Stitching a button

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.


How to form a button shank

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.


Four hole button

The button is positioned in exactly the same way as the other buttons and begins with a double back stitch. Stitch through two holes using a pin or cocktail stick.


Methods for attaching buttons

 Stitch the next two holes using the cocktail stick.

 Forming a button shank

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


Rear button shank

 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.


Position top poppers

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


How to secure the top popper part

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


Loop stitch a popper

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

 Securing poppers to fabric

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.

Completed sewing of poppers

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

Hooks & Eyes

Hook and eye

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

Attaching an eye with stitch

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 an eye

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


Completed stitching an eye fastening

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

 Position the hook

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.


Loop stitching a hook

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


Completed hook and eye


For more sewing techniques, take a look here

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