How to replace a broken jean button

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 $6.49.

(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.


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.

Joshua’s 365 post: What the Morning Brings


  1. says

    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!

  2. says

    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.

    • Kristen says

      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!

  3. Sydney says

    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. :)

  4. says

    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.

  5. Rebecca says

    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 :)

  6. Ashes says

    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. “

    • Kristen says

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

        • Kristen says

          Oh, no, I meant what I typed! The button sizes you can buy are listed by diameter (not radius or circumference, actually).

          I’d hate for someone to order them by the radius measurement rather than the diameter.

  7. gina says

    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!

  8. Laura says

    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!

  9. Seth says

    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.

  10. Ashley says

    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

  11. Dawn says

    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.

  12. Scott says

    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?…

  13. Jessica says

    Thank you thank you thank youuuuu! I’ve been toting one pair of jeans with me (from Texas, to Japan, to Arizona) for two years that I never managed to successfully fix my button issue on, and just last month ANOTHER pair lost it’s button. I was figuring I’d have to find a tailor because I tried (and failed, more than once) to fix the one that travelled around the world and back with me. it’s always been at the back of my mind, haha.

  14. Bobbi says

    If its the type of button which comes apart and the first section is anchored to the material, its the kind that has a small “nipple” that the top part snaps onto. Much like some jeans and kids clothes. I place the fabric on a couple of newspapers and hammer the “nipple” down a little making it a little thicker, then you can resnap the top part back onto the bottom. It holds indefinitely!! Hammer lightly a little at a time; if you make it too wide the top will never fit.

  15. Carmen says

    Did you have to buy the tool that you used (the red tool)? Or did it come with the buttons?
    Thanks for the tutorial!

  16. Randy says

    Thanks so much! I found just what I needed to fix my son’s jeans by clicking on the Dime Buttons link. I appreciate that people like you post these things as you’d never find out if you just relied on people like me.

  17. Kelli says

    Hi Kristen,
    I have a new pair of jeans that has two buttons with a sort of decorative top, that popped off the first time I put them on. Both buttons! The entire button did not come off the jeans, so the stud part that fits into the fabric is still there, just the half of the button came undone. I tried to glue it on but to no avail. I think I will need to replace the whole button, but do you know how to remove the button from the fabric in first place? thanks!

    • says

      Hmm. Could you use a metal cutting pair of pliers? (I’m not sure that’s the right name for them.) Or could you pry the button apart with two pairs of pliers? There’s probably a front part and a back part that need to come out in order for you to replace the buttons completely.

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