It appears needlework is an art lost on the British, with a survey of more than 2,000 people for the British Heart Foundation revealing that a mere four in 10 of us can muster the attention span or ability to replace a button on an item of clothing, while half of us go creeping to mum with sewing woes. Here’s a beginner’s guide for sewing on a button to help save face.
You will need:
• Cocktail stick or pin
1. Line up the edges of your garment, then mark the button position with chalk.
2. Thread your needle, making sure you allow yourself enough thread to work freely – about 40cm/16in (halved once it has been thread) should do it. Tie the two ends in a knot and make a couple of stitches on the back of the fabric by pushing the needle through the first layer a couple of times.
3. Push the needle up through the back of the fabric and through one of the holes in the button. Before bringing the needle back down, place a cocktail stick or pin on top of the button as a spacer (this will ensure that the button isn’t sewn too tight to the fabric, a common rookie error). Make four stitches between the two holes across the cocktail stick by pushing your needle and thread down one hole and back up through the other.
4. Without removing it, twist the cocktail stick 90 degrees and make four stitches across the remaining two holes. You should end up with a cross of thread between the four holes. You want your last stitch to come up between the fabric and the underside of the button.
5. Remove the cocktail stick, wind the thread round the stitching between the button and fabric, pulling tight, then push the needle through the fabric until you’re back where you started. Snip the thread, leaving a couple of centimetres to tie off as close to the back of the fabric as possible, and you are done – self-worth restored!