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Buttons fall off easily. But they’re just as easy to put back on. If, that is, you know how – which is why your favourite shirt has been sitting in a drawer, unworn, for the past six months. This four-step guide from Thread stylist Luke McDonald will get it back at the top of your rotation in less than five minutes.

The kit

Two needles, as thin as you can find.

Some thread. It should be the same colour as the garment itself, or whatever shade is used to fasten the other, still intact buttons.

The original button, or a spare that looks the same. Most garments come with extras for this very purpose – check at the bottom hem. If not, most department stores will have something extremely similar.

Some scissors to cut left-over thread. Or just use your teeth.

The technique

Step 1 – the anchor

How to sew a button step 1

With a steady hand, thread the needle (you’ll need around 12 inches of thread) and knot the end. Push the needle through the fabric, from the rear to the front, in the position where the button will go. Finish the stitch by going back down through the front of the fabric, so you finish at the rear. The stitch should be a couple of centimetres long. Repeat to create an X – this is where your button will sit. It doesn’t just mark the spot; the X provides reinforcement for the thread, so the button stays on tight.

Step 2 – the first stitch

How to sew a button step 2

Position the button using the X as a marker. Start sewing from the rear to the front of the garment, through the first button hole. This is when your second needle comes in; lay it across the button as a spacer between the two holes. Pull the thread all the way through and into the button hole directly below.

Step 3 – the second stitch

How to sew a button step 3

From the rear, bring the needle up through the hole next to the one you started with. Perform the same stitch, back through the hole directly below, so you have two parallel lines. Repeat the first stitch, then the second stitch, until you’ve done six total.

Step 4 – the shank

How to sew a button step 4

After your sixth stitch, bring the needle up through the fabric but not through the button hole. Instead, wind the leftover thread around the stitches that are anchoring the button – this creates a shank, which makes the button more secure. Pull taut, then finish by pushing the needle through the loop. Snip the thread, tie the end, then wear your fixed shirt with pride.