How to replace a broken jean button

by Kristen on January 8, 2014 · 28 comments

in Fix-It!, Sewing

replace a broken jean button

This recently happened to a pair of my jeans:

jeans missing a button

Unlike Lisey’s shoe situation, this wardrobe malfunction didn’t happen right before church, it happened AT church.

(Fortunately, I was wearing a belt.)

(But I’m here to tell you that jeans really stay up better with a belt AND a button.)

I’ve replaced lots of buttons before, but never this sort. I figured it couldn’t be too hard, though, so I stopped in at JoAnn Fabrics to find a replacement.

Sadly, all they had were 11/16″ buttons, which were too small for this pair of jeans.

I figured I’d be able to easily find a larger button on the internet, but good heavens, it’s a little tricky to find something bigger than 11/16″. Which is weird, because those buttons look kid-size to me.

Anyway, Amazon came to the rescue, and I found these 20mm Bachelor Star buttons for $5.49.

(Does anyone know how this style got its name? I tried googling it, but the results were full of stuff about stars from the Bachelor TV show.)

When my package arrived, though, it was clear I’d been sent the wrong ones.

20mm jean button vs. 11/16"

Too small.

I emailed the seller, and he kindly sent me a new package of the correct buttons and he didn’t even ask me to send the other ones back. So, props to Dime Buttons! (not paid to say that-I bought my buttons with my own money.)

(Also: I now have enough jean buttons to last me for the rest of my life. If your jean button pops, I am the person to see!)

These buttons basically just snap together, and a handy-dandy tool is included to make this job easy.

IMG_8374

Also included: an illustration of Mom Jeans.

jean button replacement kit

So, you load up the tool with a front and back piece, and then bend it over the jeans to press the pieces together.

jean button rivet tool

You can manually squeeze it enough to keep it together, and then you’ll need a hammer and a hard surface to finish the job.

I didn’t take a picture of this part (because I can’t hammer and hold my camera at the same time), but you just whack away until the two pieces are firmly stuck together, and then you can pull the plastic installing tool off.

And ta-da! You’ve got yourself a brand new button.

fixed jean button

This was actually kind of a fun repair.

A side note: if the material where your button used to be is worn/shredded, you’d have to reinforce it before installing the button (I’d sew a scrap piece of material onto the underside.) Fortunately, mine was sturdy enough as is.

I spent $5.49 on this project, but that’s way less than a new pair of jeans costs, and it gives this pair a new lease on life…I don’t have to repurpose them or donate them now.

And I’ve got enough replacement buttons now to fix many pairs of jeans, so I’m guessing the $5.49 will eventually be spread out over multiple jean repairs.

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Joshua’s 365 post: What the Morning Brings

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tammy January 8, 2014 at 7:52 am

I didn’t know you could get replacement buttons! That’s good to know.

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2 Patti January 8, 2014 at 8:39 am

Good to know…now the rest of us won’t have to do all the research when we pop off our buttons…thanks.

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3 Gladys (The Pinay Mom) January 8, 2014 at 8:45 am

This is so easy fix! Thanks for sharing.

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4 Lili@creativesavv January 8, 2014 at 9:04 am

Great job on the button replacement! I have this clamping-type contraption for putting on rivets and snap. That looks like it works in the same manner.

You and I were on the same wavelength, today. My post is about mending, too!

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5 glory Lennon January 8, 2014 at 9:08 am

I’ll bet it gets the name from it being a single button, therefore a bachelor. I never went all out to replace the button on jeans with the same type. I just removed it which left a hole–I closed that up and just used a regular large coat button. I didn’t care, nor did anyone notice it. It was fine.

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6 Kristen January 8, 2014 at 9:24 am

That’s a good theory, but it seems like the star pattern is what the name is referring to, though…bachelor stars. There must be a story behind it!

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7 Sydney January 8, 2014 at 9:12 am

I love this post! I had always wondered whether you could replace those buttons on jeans. The Mom Jeans skit is one of my favorites too. :)

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8 R.J. Koehn January 8, 2014 at 11:28 am

I wish I had bothered to try and do this with a few very wonderful pairs of jeans from my past….sigh….

Now I know. Thank you!

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9 SandyH January 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

I’m pretty sure Bachelor Star is a quilt pattern…

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10 Kristen January 8, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Ohhh, that makes a lot of sense!

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11 AFS January 8, 2014 at 11:54 am

I know you now have a lifetime supply of jean buttons. Maybe this info will be useful to your readers.
Another option would be to use the smaller button, especially if it won’t be seen (because of belt or overblouse) the too big button hole can be shortened by tacking the end with a tight zig-zag stitch.

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12 Kristen January 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Oh, that’s a good idea! It didn’t even occur to me.

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13 Rebecca January 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm

This is good to know. My youngest son was given some discount store jeans for Christmas and the button has already fallen off. I set them aside until I figured something out, and the same thing happened to my daughters gifted jeans.

Thanks so much for the info. Off to place my order :)

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14 Kristen January 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Awesome! I’m so glad you can rescue the jeans now.

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15 Ashes January 8, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I wonder if they could be named after cornflowers, for their small size and circle-within-a-circle pattern.
“Cornflowers became known by the name Bachelor Buttons when young men started to wear them as a prediction of the depth of love from their love interest. It was said that if the flower faded quickly, the young lady was not in love with the wearer of the Bachelor Button. The name Bachelor Button and Cornflower are used interchangeably. “

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16 Ginny Taylor February 15, 2014 at 7:27 am

You are a lifesaver! My teen’s favorite (and brand-new!) pair of jeans were headed for the trash.

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17 Beth February 24, 2014 at 4:28 pm

How do you know what size of buttons to get?

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18 Kristen February 24, 2014 at 5:31 pm

I just measured the one that had broken and ordered the same size. Measure the diameter of the old button, not the radius.

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19 gina April 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm

hi Kristen! is it possible to replace a snap button on a pair of jeans, to a regular button? the kind with a button hole? I don’t know how to sew, so do you think an alteration place can do it? thanx!

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20 Kristen April 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Oh yeah, an alteration place would certainly be able to take care of that for you.

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21 Gina April 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

thanx!

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22 Laura July 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm

The name for Bachelor Star Buttons actually comes from around the time Levi created the first pair of jeans during the gold rushes of western America. At the time, men did not bring their wives and families out with them to work the gold mining, so they all lived a bachelor lifestyle. Many of these men did not know basic sewing before they started these trips, so a man came up with a button style the men could replace easily and quickly with out needle and thread. :) this kind of craft history fascinated me as a kiddo. Thanks for the tutorial!

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23 Kristen July 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Oh! So good to know-I did lots of googling and was unable to find the answer.

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24 Seth July 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I’m having a similar problem with my denim vest. A hammer is a terrible idea for me since the buttons are concave bottons, meaning they’ll be smashed flat by a hammer. Not to mention it’ll scratch the button upon impact. The buttons I have on the vest are RUDE. Anyone know where I can get them, because Hot Topic doesn’t sell them separately.

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25 Ashley August 21, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Oh GOSH, this saved my life, my pants just happen to lose the button while doing bathroom things right before I was gonna clock into work. I, being that these are brand new pants (albeit clearance, always the best place), didn’t have a belt on me, so luckily my lighter leash came to the rescue and was able to hold the two holes together with the clip, with no lighter in it of course because that would be weird to see a lighter coming from underneath my shirt.

Still have to wait till tomorrow to order (broke till then), but this saves me a trip to JoAnnes on the meantime

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26 Dawn September 11, 2014 at 10:27 am

Hi
I have a question do you know where to find buttons that slide not snap? Also how would you do it as my son cant snap and I am sooo new to this. I have two pairs of shorts now I can do for myself though. Thanks so much.

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27 Kristen September 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Hmm, do you mean something that’s not really a button, then?

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28 Scott November 13, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Come on Ladies! Any guy that is capable of repairing anything can tell you that replacing this kind of button is a “snap” (pun intended). Grommets are installed the same way! And Bachelor “Star” buttons have ?star??s? on them, and yes, it is a single button as noted in one post, but have you ever heard of a Bachelor Button flower?…

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