Teaching Kids to Sew: Attaching Buttons

Buttons are wonderful inventions. These fasteners can be used to attach two pieces of fabric together or to close a fabric opening. You will find buttons on pants, shirts, coats, skirts, and blouses. Yet they are not limited to just clothing garments. Buttons can also be used for decorations on sewing projects such as pillowcases, table runners and children's toys. You can place buttons as eyes, noses and belly buttons on stuffed animals, dolls and puppets.


teaching kids how to sew buttons

Teaching your child to sew on a button is a worthwhile project. They will be able to mend a missing button on a coat or complete a toy project.

Here is a simple tutorial on how to attach buttons on clothing. We will feature how to use a sewing machine to sew buttons with two and four holes.

Sewing Buttons with a Sewing Machine

1. Attach a button presser foot

Most sewing machines out on the market will include some presser feet as accessories. Often, you will find a button sewing foot that will make the job easier. While it is true that you can sew a button on without using a presser foot, for safety reasons we recommend using the button foot when you child sits at the sewing machine. This method will lower the risk of your child putting the moving needle through their finger.

2. Lower feed dogs

You will need to lower the feed dogs as you don't want them to feed the button across the needle plate. There should be a switch that allows you to lower the metal teeth into the sewing machine. Check your sewing machine manual to figure out the method based on your particular sewing machine brand.

3. Button sewing stitch

Your sewing machine may have a button sewing stitch programmed into it. If this is the case, have your child position the button hole right underneath the needle. The needle should have the appropriate stitch width in place with this setting. Yet you can check the width by slowly hand cranking the machine. See where the needle lines up to the button holes and adjust accordingly. If there is no button sewing stitch program on your machine, you can select the zigzag stitch setting and place the stitch length to zero.

4. Let your child start sewing

Now you can let your child sew using the hand crank method or by lightly pressing on the sewing machine pedal. She will go back and forth from one button hole to the next about 7 times. If she is sewing on a button that has four holes, she will need to move the fabric slightly to align the other holes with the needle.

5. Finish off the attachment

Once your child has sewn on the button, she can snip the thread from the sewing machine needle while leaving about 4 inches of thread attached. Using a hand needle, have your child pull both thread ends through the button hole but not through the fabric. She wants to wrap the thread ends around the thread that is on the underside of the button. Once done, she can pull the ends through the underside of the fabric and create several knots to hold the button into place.

Once your child learns how to sew on a button, she can place them on everything that she creates. She will also be able to mend clothing that loses an occasional button.

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