How to Sew Buttons onto Leather

What You'll Need
Replacement buttons
Heavy duty thread
Heavy guage needle
Backer button

Leather jackets tend to be the first article of clothing that loses its buttons, so it makes sense to know how to sew buttons onto leather. It is often easier and more cost effective to replace the whole set of buttons on a leather jacket then try to match the existing button to the new buttons. You can find a wide variety of buttons at major fabric stores. Here are a few simple steps to take into consideration when you are looking to sew new buttons onto your leather jacket, pants or even seat cushions. This example takes you through the process of affixing a button onto a leather coat. The same process applies for other materials and furniture that use leather.

Step 1 – Prep Your Fingers and the Needle

Decide which finger you will use the most during this fix-it process. This is different for everyone. Are you left-handed or right-handed? Fit the thimble over the finger that will do most of the work. Decide which finger feels best to you and protect it with the thimble.  

Thread the eye of the needle with the heavy duty thread. Make a knot at the end of the thread so the thread does not push through the other side of the button when in the process of sewing it in place.

Step 2 – Sew the Button

Beginning at the backside of the coat, take the heavy guage needle and push it gently through the backside of the coat, lining it up with one of the holes in the buttons. Take your pliers and push the needle all the way through the other side of the coat. Once the needle starts to show through on the topside of the coat, clasp the pliers around the needle from the top and pull it all the way through. Pull the thread tightly (tight enough to keep the button in place, but loose enough to give the button some give as you secure the rest of it in place.)

Step 3 – Add the Backer Button

Once you have firmly secured the button in place, pick up the backer button and run the thread through one hole and then the other. Secure the backer button in place on the underside of the coat.

Step 4 – Last Finishing Touches for Sewing a Button onto Leather

Continue to push the needle up through the coat and back down the coat onto the underside. Do this repeatedly until the button is firmly in place and has very little give. Make a tiny knot with the thread and the needle on the underside of the coat. Cut the excess thread from the coat and pull the needle away. Straighten the button on the coat and you are done! Repeat this process for each of the additional buttons you wish to add to your leather coat.