Understanding the Different Types of Buttons and Their Uses in Clothing

Buttons serve both functional and aesthetic purposes in clothing and home decor. Learn about the different types, materials, sizes, and uses here.

Buttons play a crucial role in both the functionality and aesthetics of clothing, accessories, and home decor. With a wide array of materials, shapes, and sizes, buttons can be both practical fasteners and decorative embellishments. In this article, we will explore the different types of buttons, their names, and their uses in clothing.

Flat Buttons

Flat buttons are the most common type of buttons, featuring either two or four holes in the center. They can be made from various materials, such as wood, metal, glass, or ceramic, and can be easily attached by hand or with a sewing machine[1]. Flat buttons are versatile and look good on any garment, from shirts to dresses and slacks to skirts[2].

Shank Buttons

Shank buttons have a hole or loop at the back, which is used to attach them to the fabric. They are ideal for heavy-weight fabrics, as the shank provides a stronger attachment[3]. Shank buttons can be made from different materials, including metal, plastic, and wood[4].

Snap Buttons

Snap buttons, also known as poppers or press buttons, consist of two parts that snap together to fasten a garment. They are commonly used in children’s clothing, as they are easy to open and close[5].

Stud Buttons

Stud buttons, often found on jeans, are a type of button that is attached to the fabric with a rivet. They are durable and provide a secure fastening[5].

Toggle Buttons

Toggle buttons are long, skinny buttons that are usually rounded. They are most often used in buttonholes or with loop fastenings. Due to their length, they provide a secure fastening and are commonly used on coats and jackets[5].

Decorative Buttons

Decorative buttons, also known as novelty buttons, come in various shapes, sizes, and materials. They can be made from wood, bone, pearl, seashell, resin, metal, leather, plastic, glass, fabric, corozo, and horn[4]. These buttons are primarily used for their aesthetic appeal rather than their functionality[6].

Other Button Types

  • Hook and Eye Fastenings: Similar to buttons in their use, they consist of a small hook on one side and an eye-like fixture on the other, which the hook fits into[1].
  • Lapel Buttons: Long, skinny buttons that are typically used in buttonholes or with loop fastenings[1].
  • Fabric Covered Buttons: Buttons covered in fabric, often used for a seamless look on garments[7].
  • Chinese Knotted Buttons: Traditional Chinese buttons made from knotted cords, used for decorative purposes[8].

Button Sizes and Materials

Buttons are available in various sizes, measured in a unit called Ligne (French for line), where one Ligne equals 0.63 mm[6]. They can be made from a wide range of materials, including plastic, polyester, mother of pearl, shell, horn, corozo, wood, metal, leather, coconut, ceramic, fabric, enamel, bone, glass, and rhinestone[8].

Choosing the Right Button

When selecting buttons for your project, consider the following factors:

  • Material: Ensure the button material complements the fabric and style of your garment[9].
  • Size: Choose the appropriate button size based on the garment’s weight and style[10].
  • Functionality: Consider the button’s purpose, whether it is for fastening or decoration[11].
  • Attachment: Determine whether a flat button with holes or a shank button is more suitable for your project[2].

In conclusion, understanding the different types of buttons, their names, and their uses in clothing can help you make informed decisions when selecting the perfect button for your project. Whether you need a functional fastener or a decorative embellishment, there is a button out there to suit your needs.

[1] https://threadcurve.com/types-of-buttons/
[2] https://www.sewingmachinefun.com/types-of-buttons/
[3] https://www.nationalsewingcircle.com/article/tips-for-selecting-buttons-and-buttonholes/
[4] https://www.sbs-zipper.com/blog/various-types-of-buttons-in-garment/
[5] https://www.thecreativecurator.com/different-types-of-buttons/
[6] https://www.mygoldenthimble.com/types-of-buttons/
[7] https://blog.treasurie.com/types-of-buttons/
[8] https://threadsmonthly.com/button-types/
[9] https://affixapparel.com/blog/types-of-buttons-in-clothing/
[10] https://tissura.com/articles/sewing-buttons
[11] https://sewguide.com/different-types-of-buttons/


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