Fix a Ripped Out Button (or Other Small Hole)



This is a sweater/jacket I picked up at the thrift store the other day, I thought it would be good for our upcoming ski trip to Bend (and also because I’m cold basically all winter long).  Only one or two small problems, the original buttons are some crazy unique things, more like a snap with one large flared button side and a flat back, and two of them are missing, leaving holes where they ripped out.

But small holes like that are pretty easy to fix, especially since the result will be covered by a new button.

The fabric here is a sturdy (not very stretchy) knit.  I happen to have some sturdy black knit fabric to cut little circles from, but if I didn’t I would use a woven rather than something too thin or stretchy.  The fixed place is going to have lots of stitches in it and not be very stretchy anyway.

The easiest way to get the patches to stay where you want them is to baste them in.  (Basting just means stitching that’s not permanent, but meant to hold something in place while you sew.)



Because I want this spot to be super sturdy, I put one small patch directly behind the hole and another one on top to back a larger area (both on the wrong side of the jacket).  I used contrasting thread for basting, but you may want to try matching, it will make pulling out the smaller stitches later not as necessary.

Next, smooth the sides of the hole down and as much back where they came from as possible, and sew using your machine.  If the fabric has a distinct color on each side, you can use different color top and bobbin thread – I used cream on top and black in the bobbin.  (A picture of me sewing this would show nothing, since it’s all under the foot!)  I used a short stitch length and went back and forth over the hole, mainly in the same direction as the knit ribs of the fabric, and then a bit side to side.  Make sure to catch all the raveling edges.  When you’re done it should look something like this:



Pull out the basting threads, bury the sewing thread ends, and you’re done!  Next week: how to sew on the button.

One final note, only one of these cuffs had the button come off.  But as you can see, the other one is about to go.  And besides, it will look more natural if they’re symmetrical.  Sometimes it just feels good to pull something off with pliers – rawr!



Got something you would like to fix?  Not sure how?  Leave a comment!



7 thoughts on “Fix a Ripped Out Button (or Other Small Hole)

  1. What if it is a dress shirt that the buttons have been torn off by accident (caught in a door handle). How would you repair the shirt and putting the buttons on the same area?

    • Hi Dee Ann! If the fabric is ripped I would use the method shown here. You might not need to put a patch on both sides of the hole, just put a little bit of fabric behind the rip, sew over it to reinforce the fabric, and then sew the buttons back on. If the fabric hasn’t ripped, you can just pull out the old thread and sew the buttons on again. I hope that helps!

  2. I have a pair of Jean’s that the button on the fly ripped out, literally, & all the surrounding jean is ok except for maybe 30% is totally frayed. I thought slipping some fusible webbing in between the 2 layers of Jean all around the button before sewing up around the button might keep it where it should be longer, but I’m not sure. I thought it was a good idea since part of it is frayed and not solid to even stitch. I couldn’t picture a way that would’nt have the button pop back out soon.

  3. Thanks so much, I bought a really good quality donated trench coat (not regular fabric but more loose weave, not water resistant but to wear over a dress) with similar issue, button, thread and fabric “hanging off” coat…to bad it wasn’t the hidden part of double breasted…anyway I was wondering how best to repair it! So thanks for the “How to” I’ll be using it as an overcoat & my old down filled as a liner when necessary!

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