So your knitting's done and dusted (or crochet, for that matter), you've sewn it up, now is the time to select which buttons are perfect for your project, and get them sewn in place.

Picking buttons for a finished item often comes as an afterthought but actually, it’s a very important decision, which is worthy of a little extra consideration. Buttons add a splash of colour, texture and most importantly, have a serious job to do!

Here are a few clever tips to help you choose and add buttons to knitwear, which can be slightly different to attaching buttons to woven fabrics and cloth.

Check out these clever tips to help you add buttons to knitwear.

This coat, above, is a perfect example of exactly how it should be done!
Look carefully at the buttons, don’t they look great? Follow the guide below to keep yours looking neat and tidy too!

Choosing your buttons

Most shops will be quite happy to let you take buttons out of the tube and lay them on your jumper, try them through your buttonholes to check the sizing, and even lend their opinion. But if you’re still not sure, there are always some foolproof options which you can always turn to in a real button crisis.

variety of buttons all shapes and sizes

© iStock

If you go for multi-coloured buttons, make sure they have a little bit of your base colour on them. This way they tend to end up suiting the colours you’ve knitted the thing with, and avoid an unfortunate clash.

If you’re being completely indecisive – simply turn to nature. Natural materials such as wood, metals, seashell and coconut often are often used to make buttons, and when they’re not painted or glazed you will find they coordinate easily with a wide variety of colours. However, steer clear of coconut buttons for baby things, they’re not suitable for washing.

Knitted baby cardigan with cat buttons
Wooden buttons are always lovely, and simpler ones won’t draw attention away from intricate pattern work (like Aran or fair-isle jumpers). If you don’t want to pull focus from tricky patterns that have taken you forever to knit save the jazzier show-stopper buttons for the plainer jumpers.

How to attach your buttons, beautifully


    • Well the first thing you should do is make sure you place your buttons exactly opposite where the buttonholes are placed. Lay your buttonholes over the intended location of the buttons, and reach through the hole in the fabric and place a marker underneath the hole. You could use a safety pin, some yarn in a different colour, anything to mark the spot.
    • When you come to sew the button on, try and leave a little ‘give’. Remember that knitted/crochet fabric is very thick compared to most machine-made fabrics, so if you stitch your button firmly flat to the fabric, there’ll be no room for the fabric under the button when your coat’s done up.
    • Just to be super-duper precise, make sure you decide which way you want your stitches to go through the holes in the button. For 2-hole buttons, this means picking whether or not you want your stitch to travel across from left to right or, if you want a vertical stitch, by going from top to bottom. If they’re all different, it can all look a bit disheveled.