Sewing on Shank Buttons

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 50,037
    Sewing expert Dawn Anderson demonstrates how to sew on shank buttons.

    Dawn Anderson

    Dawn began sewing when she was 5 years old and it has since become a lifelong pursuit. Dawn earned a B.A. from Shenandoah University and an M.F.A. from Indiana University, both in Theatre Costume Design. During graduate school she had the opportunity to study in England at Bournemouth University where she focused on corsetry techniques, traditional hand tailoring, and fashion history. During college she worked as a costume designer and patternmaker for theatre and dance, making custom clothing for performers, specialty garments, historic reproductions, corsetry, millinery, and taught basic to advanced sewing classes. After college, she went to work as a free-lance designer and cutter in Edinburgh, Scotland. She returned to the US and began her small ready to wear line and sewing pattern company in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. She currently sells sewing patterns for clothing and hats on her website and at tradeshows. She hand makes men's custom jackets and is expanding her women's ready to wear lines. Dawn currently teaches couture sewing and hat making at sewing conventions, local stores, and in her home in Northern Virginia. She is a member of the American Sewing Guild and leads her own group dedicated to Couture Sewing. Dawn has begun writing for sewing magazines and is working on a book on tailoring. She has also started filming sewing instruction videos and hopes to one day have her own TV show on sewing. Please feel free to visit her website for more information.

    Dawn Anderson: Hi! I'm Dawn Anderson and I'm showing you how to sew by hand. Right now, we're going to sew on a shank button. A shank button differs from a shirt button as it does not have holes in the top side; it has a metal loop on the back. Sometimes this is plastic, but it's better to have a metal loop as it's a little stronger. The shank also keeps the button up from the surface of the fabric for buttoning jackets or jeans or thick fabrics. You're going to sew the button on in a similar fashion.

    So, go ahead, cut approximately 18 inches of thread, knot one end and you're going to do the double thread so with the knot in both ends. Now, we're going to start from the back side, bring your needle and thread up. It will go through the shank loop. Then to get it started, I'd like to just go ahead and take up the first stitch the fabric and then pull that through and that's going to snug the button up to the surface and then take your needle through the loop again and then back underneath, stitching the underside and then again through the loop and then under the back side of the fabric.

    So, you are using double thread, which is going to make it stronger. If you were sewing on a jacket that plan on wearing a lot, you could even use quilting thread just to make sure it's very strong. Then to knot it off, go ahead to the reverse side, take up your knots close to the fabric, put your thumb down and cut it. Then you can see on the front side, you have your nice shank button, sewed on. That's how you sew on a shank button. Now, lets move on to sewing on snaps.