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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 for bachelor star buttons for less than $7.

(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.

(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 $6.50 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 $6.50 will eventually be spread out over multiple jean repairs.

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Wednesday 11th of October 2017

You can buy these buttons on a well known on-line auction site (e**y). Although you may have to buy a pack of 10 (or more). Most of the sellers are in China so you'll probably be waiting upto a month before they arrive.

I often find that the jeans I buy are larger than the indicated size so I'll add a button so that I'm not constantly pulling them up.

I use bullnose pliers and place a piece of cloth over the button to protect it from damage.

-Pete (From the UK).


Friday 13th of October 2017

Hi Kristen,

I forgot to mention; the most common size for these buttons is 17mm (about 5/8 inch), you'll find these on makes like: Levi, Wrangler, Brutus and many other brands as well - or at least this is the size used in the UK (the US might be different). The only jeans that I know of that use a 20mm button are Pierre Cardin (there may be other makes of course).

You could probably find these buttons at a good haberdashery or hobbycraft shop, if you don't like buying on-line.

Great website BTW.



Tuesday 3rd of October 2017

Hi Kristen, I found your blog because I googled how to replace a broken jeans button - love your blog, it's such a good idea. My jeans button broke off when I bent over to pick up something so I was really pleased to find your post. We have a store called Spotlight in Australia so I had a look there and they also only had one size jeans button that was a little too small but I put in some stitches to the button hole (which is kinda the extent of my sewing prowess) on the inside so as not to show and it worked a treat. My buttons didn't come with a holder doover but it was quite easy to put the button through and hammer together. So thrilled thank you.


Tuesday 3rd of October 2017

Yay! I'm so glad you could fix your jeans.

Brian Elliott

Sunday 7th of August 2016

What do you call those jean buttons and where can I find them?


Sunday 7th of August 2016

There's a link in this post to the buttons that I on it and it'll take you straight to Amazon to buy them.

Molly Johnson

Sunday 1st of May 2016

My button is on the pocket on the back of my jeans and I can't find one that matches so I want to replace the other button as well


Tuesday 12th of April 2016

I have a vintage Jean jacket and one of the buttons has fallen off leaving a huge hole. I'm not worried about the hole, but do you know if you can pay the tailor to reuse the old button? Any way to pry the backing off and reuse it? I just want the buttons all to match and can't get the style of button anywhere I'm assuming since it has the vintage brand name embossed onto it. Thanks in advance!!


Tuesday 12th of April 2016

I'm not sure! I think these metal buttons are pretty hard to pull apart, but I suppose maybe a tailor would have a tool to do so. I'd call around and see what they say.

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