Different Types of Buttons for Clothes with Sizes and Uses

What is Button?
Various kinds of accessories are used on Garments. Among those accessories button is the most commonly used type of fastener, comprising a disk, ball, or dome-shaped fastener secured to one panel of fabric and joined to another panel of fabric by means of drawing it through a buttonhole. Normally a button is a small disc, typically round, usually attached to an article of clothing in order to secure an opening, or for ornamentation. In modern clothing and fashion design, a button is a small fastener, most commonly made of plastic, but also frequently of seashell, which secures two pieces of fabric together. It could be manufactured from an extensive variety of materials, such as natural materials like antler, bone, horn, vegetable ivory, ivory, shell and wood; or synthetics like celluloid, Bakelite, glass, metal and plastic. Hard plastic is the most used raw material for manufacturing of buttons.

Buttons are small instruments used to fasten two parts of a garment. Buttons are an element that makes the difference and enhances a men’s or women’s garment, a leather item, a pair of jeans, or even non-apparel items. Elegant and classical buttons mean a unique style; the perfectly shaped and colored button is a design feature. Buttons are of different materials, colors, and shapes and they allow the wearer’s personality to stand out, enhancing a garment, a leather item, jeans, or other secondary articles.

Buttons may be manufactured from an extremely wide range of materials, including natural materials such as antler, bone, horn, ivory, shell, vegetable ivory, and wood; or synthetics such as celluloid, glass, metal, bakelite, and plastic. Hard plastic is by far the most common material for newly manufactured buttons; the other materials tend to occur only in premium apparel. In this article I will discuss various types of buttons and their uses in garments.

Different Types of Buttons for Clothes:
The selection of the buttons depends on the garment style, cost, and care of the garments. Various types of the buttons, as can be seen in Figure 6.7, are listed below:

  1. Shank button
  2. Stud button
  3. Two-hole button
  4. Four-hole button
  5. Snap button
  6. Alloy button
  7. Coconut button
  8. Metal button
  9. Packet button
  10. Plastic button
  11. Resin button
  12. Wooden button
types of buttons
Figure 1: Different types of buttons

Most popular types of buttons are briefly described below.

1. Shank buttons: These kinds of buttons have a small bar or ring construction with a hole known as a shank jutting from the rear side of the button, through which sewing thread is sewn to join the button as shown in Figure 2.

Shank buttons
Figure 2: Shank buttons

2. Stud buttons: Stud buttons are metal round discs pinched through the fabric. They are often found on clothing, in particular on denim pieces such as pants and jackets as shown in Figure 3. They are more securely fastened to the material. As they rely on a metal rivet attached securely to the fabric, stud buttons are difficult to remove without compromising the fabric’s integrity. They are made of two couples: the male stud couple and the female stud couple. Each couple has one front (or top) and rear (or bottom) side (the fabric goes in the middle).

Stud buttons
Figure 3: Stud buttons

3. Covered buttons: In this type, the buttons are generally covered with fabric and have a distinct back panel that protects the fabric over the knob as shown in Figure 4.

Covered buttons
Figure 4: Covered buttons

4. Flat or sew-through buttons: These buttons have two or four holes in the button through which the sewing thread is sewn to secure the button as shown in Figure 5. Flat buttons could be secured by means of a button.

Flat or sew-through buttons
Figure 5: Flat or sew-through buttons

5. Worked or cloth buttons: These are produced by embroidering or crocheting tight stitches over a knob called a form as shown in Figure 6.

Worked or cloth buttons
Figure 6: Worked or cloth buttons

6. Mandarin buttons: These kinds of buttons resemble knobs and are made of complicated knotted strings as shown in Figure 13.12. These buttons are a main component in a Mandarin garment, where they are closed with loops. Pairs of mandarin buttons worn as cufflinks are called silk knots.

Mandarin buttons
Figure 7: Mandarin buttons

Button Sizes:
The button size differs depending on its usage. Shirt buttons are normally smaller in size and the distance between the buttons are less, but coat buttons are comparatively bigger in size and spaced apart. Button sizes are normally expressed in ‘lignes’, with 40 lignes equal to 1 inch. For instance, a formal men’s shirt has a button size of 16 lignes (10.16 mm) and a men’s suit jacket has a button size of 32 lignes (20.32 mm).

Both button loops and buttonholes may be found individually and in sets. Button loops normally extend beyond the edge of the fabric, while buttonholes are cut in the fabric panel itself. There are three standard buttonhole shapes such as rectangular, oval and keyhole. Normally, the number of buttonholes is equal to the number of buttons, but shirt cuffs often have several buttonholes so the wearer could choose the button hole that provides the better fit. Most of the buttonholes have a perpendicular bar type of stitching at both ends which is referred to as a ‘bartack’, which strengthens the ends of a buttonhole.

Uses of Buttons in Clothes:
Buttons have multifaceted roles in clothing, serving both functional and decorative purposes. Primarily, buttons are used as fasteners in garments, securing front or back closures on shirts, blouses, jackets, and dresses, providing practicality in dressing and undressing. Designers often select buttons that complement the fabric, style, and purpose of the apparel. Here are various uses of buttons in the garment industry:

  • Buttons are used for opening and closing purposes in garments.
  • Buttons are mostly used in all classes of men’s, women’s, and children’s garments, as skirts, shirts, trousers, leather items, a pair of jeans, school bags, blouses, tops, T-shirts, etc.


  1. Apparel Manufacturing Technology by T. Karthik, P. Ganesan, and D. Gopalakrishnan
  2. Garment Manufacturing Technology Edited by Rajkishore Nayak and Rajiv Padhye
  3. Practice of Garments Merchandising and Management by Engr. Md. Faruk Hosen

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