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an overjoyed sam at the statue of a giant thimble and buttons in toronto

I'm Samantha (Sam), a mechanical engineer, seamstress, crafter, & entrepreneur. Enjoy perusing photos of my sewing and craft-related adventures. I hope my blog brings inspiration and happiness to your day!

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Sewing Buttons to Knitted Garments Tutorial

stitching buttons to knit tutorial

I’ve got a tiny, simple tutorial for you today. I know the experienced seamstresses among you will say to yourselves, really? that’s tutorial-worthy?, and my reply is, sure. Because I’ve got a soft spot for you newbies out there.

I was walking around Target yesterday, buying up clearance boys’ flannel shirts to which I’ll add a few darts and wear proudly. The boys’ shirts always end up with the better plaids, somehow, plus they’re longer. And since I’m buying in kids, they’re cheaper (as in, less than $4 each). As Michael Scott would say, this is a win-win-win solution.

turquoise & orange striped gloves: beforeSuddenly I was hit with a revelation: what is it like to buy clothes when you can’t sew? How discouraged would I feel if I were forced to buy clothes exactly as they are, rather than buying them for what they could become? I can’t even imagine. I’m sure that I’d spend much more money on my clothes, and I wouldn’t be as happy, as me, wearing those clothes. So I’m planning a series of “before & after” tutorial/inspiration-based posts, meant to give a little push and instruction to those who might think “oh, but i’m not crafty”. Because modifying clothes, making them perfect for you, isn’t all that hard. And it is so very worth it.

So here’s a simple tutorial: how to stitch buttons to knitted garments. I found these convertible gloves, turquoise and orange stripe!, in the dollar spot. My favorite colors, but they had a black button! Who decided that? A change of button quickly carried these gloves to their full potential, and I’m hoping you’ll apply this simple technique to your gloves and cardigans so that they are perfect for you.

stitching buttons to knit: step 1

First, pick out a rather large needle. We’re going to be stitching through the gaps in the knit, so there’s no sense fussing with a tiny needle for this project! Cut a decent length of thread (16 inches or so, more if your button has 4 holes), and thread your needle – but don’t tie any knots.

stitching buttons to knit: step 2

Pick out the spot where you want your button to go, and insert the needle between the knit loops of yarn. You may have to stretch the fabric a little bit to find your hole, but you generally don’t want to have your thread go through the yarn because that can decrease the structural integrity of the knitted object. Be sure to leave a tail on the other side, see?

stitching buttons to knit: step 3

Pass your needle through your button, then go back into the knitted garment a few loops away from where you were before. Make sure your tail is still there on the other side!

stitching buttons to knit: step 4

Now take your tail and your “active” length of thread and tie them in a reef knot or two. Make sure the first knot is tight… this ensures that your button will not wobble around.

stitching buttons to knit: step 5

See? A nice tight knot. Don’t cut your tail!

stitching buttons to knit: step 6

Now keep going up through that first hole, through your button, and down through that second hole until your button is sturdily attached.

stitch buttons to knit: step 7

After you’ve done enough passes, pull your thread through to the back side and tie it to the tail again with a few more reef knots. Now you can trim both your tails! And you’re done!

stitching buttons to knit: finished

See? So much better than that plain black button.

sewing in striped gloves

And now I can sew in style. ;)

Originally posted on February 13, 2011: before & after: how to sew buttons to knitted garments

2 comments to Sewing Buttons to Knitted Garments Tutorial

  • Is your sewing area so cold that you need to keep your hands warm while you create? Nice idea for the hand warmers and any garment with the wrong buttons. Some times all different buttons and colors can be fun too.

    • Sam

      Mary Lou- I actually do wear fingerless gloves sometimes in the sewing room! The room has two big windows and I hate to shut out the light, so it does get chilly and my hands get cold when I’ve been sitting for awhile.

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