Knitting Help – Attaching Buttons

[music] in this video i’m going to show you how to
attach buttons to your knitting. and if you already know how to attach buttons
in regular sewing to regular fabric, you’re ahead of the game. but there are a few things that are a little
bit different when you’re attaching buttons to your knitting. let’s go ahead and take a look. we are going to attach buttons to this little
sample of knitting here. knit it mock rib. and i’m going to demonstrate on two different
kinds of buttons. this first one is just an ordinary button
with four holes in it. and this one has just one hole on the back
of it. let’s start with this one first. now one thing – i always like to attach my
buttons with the yarn. using the same yarn that i used in the knitted
piece. and we always use tapestry needles in knitting. but you’ll find that oftentimes your needle
will not go through the holes in the button. that’s okay. we can use a finer needle. this needle – i couldn’t, i’ve had this needle
for so many years. i couldn’t tell you what kind of needle it
is, or what it’s normally used for. it has a pretty long eye on it, and it’s a
long sharp needle. uh, if i knew more about sewing, i might be
able to tell you exactly what this needle is used for. whenever i pull this out in videos people
always ask…i’ll just tell you now that i don’t know. hopefully someone will chime in in the comments
with an idea of what kind of needle this is. so i know this needle fits through the holes
in my button, so i can use it to attach this button. and it just so happens that the yarn that
i used to knit this is bulky yarn. so i’m not going to be able to just thread
this yarn through the eye of this needle, so i’m going to use a needle threader. and this is just an inexpensive little thing
that you can get at any fabric store. i used to have one that was, it had wire in
kind of this funny shape, and i actually kind of preferred it, but it disappeared [laughs]. not sure where it went. if i put this threader through here it gives
me a much bigger eye. i’m wetting down the yarn a little bit. pull that through there, and when i pull the
threader through, the yarn is threaded. now if you have a needle yarn combination
where there is no way you’re going to get the yarn through the needle, you can always
separate the plies. you untwist the plies and separate them by
removing one ply, two plies, or half and half, and then you can attach the button using less
of the yarn. but using the same color and the same yarn. but give it a tug, and make sure you didn’t
weaken the yarn so much that the yarn is going to break. this yarn would do just fine. but i can use all of the yarn. so i have the yarn threaded, i have a decent
tail. because i’m going to want a tail end when
i pull this through. i place the button where i want it. and then coming from the back, i don’t have
the greatest coordination when it comes to this. but i’m going to poke through one of those
holes. pull it through, and leave a decent tail on
the back, a few inches. now you have the option of doing two lines
up and down, or a crisscross. i’m going to do a crisscross, i like the way
those look. so i go down into the diagonal, there is half
of it. now i poke around until i can find the next
hole. and go down into the diagonal to finish the
crisscross. now with this yarn and this lightweight button,
i think that will do it. if i was at all worried about the strength
of this yarn being able to hold, i might do that whole thing again. go through the holes a second time. oh, also, if when you separate your yarn into
plies, if that’s what you have to do, if you find that the yarn is not strong enough, then
you’ll need to just get a coordinating thread, polyester thread to attach the buttons. if it looks like yarn won’t work on that project. so i have this all attached, and i’ve left
myself some nice ends on the back here. i’m not even going to weave in the ends here. i’m just going to tie a very tight, very tidy
knot. i can weave in the ends, but i’m confident
that this knot’s going to hold just fine. and i can cut that short, and that looks great. the next kind of button that we can attach
is one of these with just one hole on the back. i think this might be called a shank button. and again my tapestry needle won’t go through
this hole so i’m going to need to thread the needle with the bulky yarn. find out where i want my button. that looks good. i’m going to poke the actual button hole exactly
where i want it. so i can put my needle through right there. go through the hole in the button. again leaving myself a nice tail on the back. and go back down into the work, but not into
the same spot you came out of. you want to be somewhere close, but not in
the same hole. okay, i’m going to pull that through, but
i’m not going to tighten it up all the way yet. i’m going to go back in close, but not through
the same hole, again. through the loop in the button. and now i’m going to tighten things up. i’m going through twice, i don’t tighten it
up until i’ve gone back through a second time from the front. go back down through there. because of the weight of this button and because
it’s only attached in one place, it feels like going through twice is going to be much
more secure. so give it all a good tug. and then i can do the same thing i did on
the other button. a really tight knot. cut it close. ta-da! and that’s it. attaching buttons to your knitting. [whooshing sounds] [music]

36 thoughts on “Knitting Help – Attaching Buttons

  • In the 4-hole button, could I also create a small space between the fabric and the button so there isn't as much stress on the button? This is what I learned from my mom for sewing clothes.

  • Staci, the needle you are using in the video is a darning needle. My family used one for years mending wool socks along with a darning mushroom to stretch the sock over. This maybe just what we Scots used being thrifty souls!

  • I think the needle you are using is a milliner's needle.  Unlike a darning needle, the milliner's needle has a shaft that is not tapered and a long rectangular eye.  Milliner's needles are long and fine for attaching ribbon to straw and felt hats.

  • Thanks for this video! Perfect timing – I'm just about to add buttons to my first sweater! Any tips on making sure the buttons line up with the buttonholes? And do you add buttons before or after blocking?

  • @***** – it usually won't make a difference what kind of button you use, so you can choose what you like.  But really fine (like laceweight) projects probably don't have enough body to support a shank button.

  • So I am a male knitter and my sister wanted me to knit a hat with a Toronto Maple Leafs leaf on her hat may you please show me a video and make a FREE!!! Pattern for me! That would help solo much! Thank you!

  • Hi this is really random but I had a thought Staci. Would you consider doing a series for quick knit gifts? Things like coffee cozies, chunky scarves, bracelets, etc.? It'd be super helpful for the holidays 🙂 thanks for the video, you're always so helpful.

  • Hi there, I believe the needle you are using may be a Chenille that is similar to a tapestry needle with large, long eyes but a very sharp point. Used for ribbon embroidery.

  • Hi! I have a suggestion. Rather than tying the knot on the back of the project, I start the sewing process from the front, behind the button. When I finish stitching, I end where I started…right behind the button.  I tie the knot there.  It can't be seen from either side!  Also, I usually wrap my front to back stitches behind the button a couple of times to create a little "shank" to give it some support before I tie the knot.  Works well for me!

  • Good tutorial, but if you're sewing in a functional button (as opposed to a decorative one), sew on a shank if you're using a flat button. 

  • Hi Staci, your videos are very helpful indeed!!!! Keep the good work going. If i am not wrong, the needles which come with long slender eye would be darning needles and they have a very sharp tip on the sewing end too!!! Hope this helps

  • A doll needle would also work. They come in a pack of five shown here,
    I just used one to put buttons on a sweater I made. Great Tutorial!!

  • That looks like a millinery needle, they're basically like embroidery needles but longer. It's meant to do things that need a sturdy though sharp needle like attach faux flowers to a hat. Now how do I know/remember that? 

  • It's a tapestry needle. The thing is that there are different sizes. You can try a upholstery needle, again it depends on the size and you will have to check them to see which size will fit through the buttonhole.

  • That needle looks like it's a milliners size 1. The eye is elongated, and there is no flare of the shank of the needle at the location of the eye. I have some of those made by Richard Hemming & Son. I came back to this now to edit the comment after seeing that there have already been IDs made, and it looks like everybody has a different "notion."

  • I've used a floss threader (think drug store), big eye, very thin shank. Works wonderfully on very small buttons for baby sweaters.

  • I hope you do not take this as a criticism. Take it as envy from a less well-nailed female. Your hands are lovely, your ring is lovely, and your nails and your perfect manicure are very lovely. You are upstaging yourself from what you are demonstrating by pulling attention to your nails! Maybe my attention deficit is worse than I thought. But I cannot grow nails — they split horribly, even when I don't try to grow them long (due, I surmise, to chronic mineral deficiencies, due to leaky gut and celiac disease and multiple food allergies). I mean, they peel off and are always just a wreck. If I polish my nails, it begins to chip off the very next day. It's like my hair — I cannot color it because it grows so darned fast, I could never keep up with the roots. So I have very gray hair. No choice in the matter. So, here I am, a female with gray hair and horrible nails, never polished, although I would love to have it. I get so entranced by your lovely nails it is hard to follow what you are doing.

    But I would suggest wrapping that yarn around the yarn through the button, if you know what I mean. First, you sew the button on (this is the button without the shank), and then you wrap the yarn a few times around the yarn, between the button and the button band, to about the depth of the fabric, so the button doesn't pull. For example, if your knitted fabric is 1/8th of an inch thick, wrap enough yarn to put 1/8th of an inch of space between the button and the button band. It looks nice and there is less strain on your yarn.

  • I've got long needles like yours and I bought them at Michaels. They are doll makers needles.
    Do you think a shank button should have a backing button? How would I sew this on?

    I think you have lovely hands too. Show them off.

  • This should also work for crochet yes? I couldn't find a tutorial for the bottom hole buttons with crochet, only the two if four hole.

  • Thanks for the video on Attaching Buttons to Knitted Fabric. Your suggestions worked great. I split a piece of yarn into 2-ply. Then went looking for needles that would fit the button holes. I found, in my inherited stash of novelties, a small package of long sharp needles, labeled "Yarn Darners 14/16" on the front. On the back "John English & CO. Large Eyed Needles Manufactured at Feckenham, England." So these needles are yarn darners, just as previous knitters have suggested in your comments!! Ellen

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