Basic Sewing: How to Sew a Shank Button Tutorial

Learn how to sew a shank button and add flair and style to your clothing.

Buttons come in two types, flat buttons and shank buttons. Flat buttons are great for clothing, but they can be difficult to sew into place. Shank buttons are easier to sew on.

Sewing shank buttons are a great way to create clothing that pops. This type of button is often used on jackets, sweaters, and other types of outerwear. 

Sewing shank buttons are hollow and have a small hole in the middle that allows you to thread your needle through them.

If you want to sew shank buttons, this article is for you. In this article, we will discuss what sew shank buttons are and how to sew a shank button so that you can start making your own button collections in no time at all! 

What is Shank Button Sewing?

A shank button is a type of button with a shank, or stem, attached to the back. 

The shank is made from metal or plastic and acts as an anchor for the button to prevent it from coming undone. The shank is used to attach the button to different types of clothes and other fabric items. 

What is shank button sewing

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What Are the Different Types of Shank Buttons?

Shank buttons are used for functional purposes, such as attaching the button to fabric, or for decorative purposes, such as adding a design. 

The type of shank you choose will depend on how you want to use your button and what kind of look you’re going for.

Different types of shank buttons

Image Source: SUNMEI Button

Here’s a rundown of some common types: 

Flat Shank

Flat shanks have a flat surface that makes them ideal for buttons that need to be sewn on in a tight way to hold their shape. 

Flat shank button

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For example, you can use flat shank buttons when you learn how to sew a button on a coat or jacket. It’s also possible to use flat shanks as decorative buttons if they have an interesting design or pattern etched into them. 

This type of shank can be attached using either sewing needles or press-on heat tools (depending on how thick your material is). 

Round Shank

Round shanks are the most common type of shank button. 

They are attached by threading a needle through holes on the back side of the button before threading through holes in the fabric. They are used in most applications and come in many colors and sizes. 

Split Shank

This type of button has two pieces. Each piece is inserted into opposite sides of the garment’s hole, so they meet in the middle when worn. 

If you don’t know about sewing buttonholes, don’t forget to read our article “How to sew a buttonhole.” 

Buttonhole Shank Button

These buttons are perfect for jackets, coats, and other types of outerwear because they have a hole in them. 

They can be sewn onto different types of fabric without having to worry about sewing through multiple layers of material like you would with other types of buttons. 

Metal Shank Buttons

Metal Shank Buttons are made from metal or other materials such as plastic, wood, or clay. They often have holes that can be used to attach them to clothing or other items like bags or purses. 

Metal shank button

Image Source: Clothing Buttons

They may also be used as adornments on clothing or jewelry pieces such as bracelets or necklaces. 

You can attach them with wire through holes in the backside, while other types may slide over top without needing any kind of attachment whatsoever. 

Pearl Buttons with Shanks

Pearl buttons with shanks are another popular button type. 

These buttons are made from plastic and are similar in appearance to metal ones, except that they are much cheaper than their metal counterparts. They come in packs of 3 or 5 but can also be purchased as needed from most craft stores. 

Rhinestone Shank Buttons

These are classic buttons that have a shank and a flat design. They are available in a wide range of colors, styles, and sizes. 

Rhinestone shank button

Image Source: M&J Trimming

Colorful Shank Buttons

These buttons are available in a wide range of colors and sizes. They can be used for most clothing projects. 

How to Sew a Shank Button on a Coat: Supplies You’ll Need

Before we begin with the tutorial on how to sew a shank button on a coat, you will need to gather the below supplies:

How to sew a shank button on a coat

Image Source: Freepik

    • Button shank
    • Scissors
    • Thread
    • Needle or sewing pin
    • Sewing machine
    • Iron-on interfacing

Step by Step Instructions for How to Sew a Shank Button

If you know how to sew a button, then learning about the shank button will be easy for you. 

This is a step-by-step guide on how to sew a shank button. The instructions are simple and straightforward. 

How to sew a shank button tutorial

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Step 1: Determine Which Way the Mold Lines Are Running on Your Button.

The first step of learning the “how to sew a shank button” tutorial is determining the direction of your mold lines.

Shank button sewing tutorial

Image Source: Chicken Scratch NY

The mold lines are the small lines that form along the fabric of a shank button, indicating which way to sew it onto a garment. 

The direction they run will dictate how you should fold over your hem allowance when attaching it and where you should sew. Once you’ve determined which way those mold lines are running, proceed with step two below! 

Step 2: Fold Over the Thread at the Start of Your Needle.

Now you will need to tie the thread off in a knot (or use a sewing machine). You’ve just locked your thread, so now you’re ready to sew! 

Step 3: Thread Your Needle.

Once you know how to sew on a button with a thread shank, it’s time to pull the thread through the needle eye. Now tie a knot in the butt end of your thread (the end without any knots, knots will make it hard to sew). 

How to sew a shank button

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Step 4: Tie a Knot in the Butt of the Thread.

Make sure to tie a knot in the thread butt so that it is not too tight or not too loose and/or small or large either! The goal here is to have a balanced, average size knot. 

How to sew a shank button step by step

Image Source: Make Magazine

Step 5: Sew Your First Stitch Through the First Hole in the Button.

This step will help you learn to sew shank buttons. You’ll need to use a sewing needle and thread to sew your first stitch through the first hole in your button.

To do this, hold the needle so that its eye (the part where it comes out) is facing up.

Shank button sewing

Image Source: Craftsy

Take a piece of thread and wrap it around the bottom of your thumb three times, doubling over your thumb each time (this will make it easier for you to grasp).

Bring this looped section down towards yourself so you can pull on it with one hand. Hold onto the rest of the excess length with your other hand at all times during this process.

To tie off this knot, bring both ends together and twist them until they stick together in a secure way. Make sure the knot does not come undone when pressure is applied throughout their use as buttons!

Then guide them through one side of each hole by pulling outward until they reach their respective ends. Once there’s about 2″ left (1/4″ for kids), stop pushing forward further since any more would be unnecessary. All sewing should be done now.

Once finished, cut off the excess from the top edge using scissors, then sew back through the same hole again before moving on to the next stitch!

Don’t forget to check out how to sew a shank button video for a better understanding: 

Step 6: Continue Sewing Through Holes and Piercing Fabric.

Once you’ve sewn through the fabric and button, secure your thread with a knot. Do not sew through the fabric at this point. Just through the button!

Next, maintain tension on your thread as you continue to sew everything together. Be careful not to pull too hard on your thread—you don’t want to break it! 

Step 7: Finishing Off

Now that you have learned how to sew a shank button, it’s time to do a final check. If you have left any long thread at the end of your sewing process, cut it off! 

Shank button sewing for beginners

Image Source: Best Fabric Store

You want your buttons to be as secure and stable as possible, so don’t leave any loose threads lying around. Once you are satisfied with the look of your new creation, fasten off by making a few more stitches. 

Then, return to the bottom of the button and make another small stitch on top of your previous stitch as you exit the button. 

FAQs Related to Sew Button on Jacket

Learning how to sew buttons on jacket is a wonderful way to add some flair to your clothing, but they can be confusing to use.

How to sew a button on a coat

Image Source: Wee Folk Art

We’ve put together a list of the most common questions about sewing shank buttons and have answered them here so you can get started right away! 

Is the Sewing Shank Button Just for Sewing?

No! Sewing shank buttons are also great for attaching to garments with snaps or other fasteners. They make getting the buttons on and off easier while still maintaining their durability and style. 

Sew button on a jacket


Are Sewing Shank Buttons Easy to Use?

Yes! Shank buttons come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors. 

So there’s sure to be one that matches your style—and they’re easy to sew onto any garment or accessory. 

How Long Will It Take to Sew Button on Jacket?

It depends on how many buttons you’re sewing on—but if you’re working with one, expect it to take around 15 minutes per button. This includes preparing your fabric before sewing (i.e., removing any machine-sewn stitches). 

How to Sew a Button on a Wool Coat?

Here’s how to sew a button on a wool coat:

How to sew a button on a wool coat

Image Source: Our Daily Craft

    • Check the wool coat for any loose threads. If you find any, cut them out with scissors or shears.
    • Hold the wool coat in place while you sew the button on by pinning it into place with safety pins or using safety pins as an alternative to pins.
    • Sew the button onto the wool coat using a needle and thread. Make sure to keep the thread flat against the fabric, so it doesn’t pucker up when you sew it down. 

Why Should I Use Thread Shanks?

Thread shanks are used to reinforce the holes in your fabric. The thread is doubled and then sewn through the buttonhole and back up through the fabric. 

Learning how to sew on a button with a thread shank helps prevent the tearing of the fabric, which can occur when you sew a button on without using shanks. 

Shank button sewing on a lined coat

Image Source: Sew It Yourself


Sewing shank buttons are a great way to add an extra flair to your projects. They are easy to apply, and the cost is minimal. 

They are also durable, so if you learn how to sew a shank button on a lined coat, they will last for quite some time.

We hope the above guide will help you understand more about shank buttons and how they can be used in your sewing projects. We encourage you to try them out and see how they change the way you sew!

Once you’ve mastered the art of sewing shank buttons, try adding clothing labels to your sewing projects. 

Clothing labels are a great way to showcase your sewing skills and help customers identify who made the product they’re wearing. It’s also easy to add value to a handmade product and increase its resale value.

Head to the Super Label Store and place your order for the best labels around. We have all kinds of options available on our website, including:

Our custom-made labels are made of top-quality materials and can be used on all kinds of products, from dresses and hats to backpacks.

These labels are also made from high-quality materials that can withstand the test of time, so they won’t fall off or fade away in the wash.

So what are you waiting for? Order today!