Beyond the Size

Button Up: A Guide to Sizes Types and Backings

Button Sizes: All You Need to Know Before Sewing

Buttons are important elements in clothing design and play a crucial role in the overall aesthetic appeal of any garment. They add texture, color, and character to outfits, and also serve a practical purpose of fastening clothing.

Whether youre a fashion designer, a tailor, or a DIY enthusiast, understanding button sizes and types is essential to achieving a finished product thats both visually pleasing and functional. Button Sizes Ligne, Diameter, and Standard Sizes

The size of a button is usually determined by its diameter, which is measured in millimeters.

However, the French term ligne (pronounced lean) is commonly used in the apparel industry to refer to button size. One ligne is equivalent to 0.635 mm or 1/40 of an inch.

Therefore, a 20 ligne button has a diameter of approximately 12.7 mm or 1/2 inch.

Button Size Chart

Below is a button size chart that shows the ligne measurement, the diameter in millimeters, and the corresponding standard size for various types of clothing. | Button Ligne | Button Diameter (mm) | Standard Size |


| 20 | 12.7 | Children’s Clothing |

| 24 | 15.3 | Shirts, Blouses, Dresses |

| 28 | 17.8 | Baby Clothes, Light Outerwear |

| 32 | 20.3 | Heavy Outerwear |

| 36 | 23.0 | Heavy Outerwear |

Its important to note that these are just general recommendations and that button size ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific needs of each garment.

For instance, a shirt may require smaller buttons than a coat.

Matching Button Size for Buttonholes

Choosing a button thats too small or too large for the buttonhole is a common mistake that can ruin the appearance of any garment. When selecting buttons, it’s important to ensure that they fit snugly into the buttonhole without being too tight or too loose.

When in doubt, it’s better to opt for a smaller button and enlarge the buttonhole, rather than vice versa.

Types of Buttons

Buttons come in various shapes, materials, and colors. Here is an overview of some of the most popular types of buttons:

Acrylic Buttons

Made of a synthetic material, acrylic buttons are known for their durability and affordability. They come in a range of colors and shapes, making them versatile for a diverse range of outfits.

Beaded Buttons

Beaded buttons add glamour to any garment. They come in various designs and multiple colors.

Beaded buttons are used to add a unique touch to festive, formal, and elegant clothing.

Braided Buttons

Braided buttons are often made of silk, cotton, or metallic fibers. Braided buttons are elegant options for formal wear and their texture can make an important statement on the clothing they adorn.

Leather Buttons

Leather buttons are cowhide buttons that are long-lasting when used on outerwear. They often require maintenance such as leather care as needed to maintain their appearance.

Novelty Buttons

Novelty buttons come in funky shapes and bright colors. They are often used in children’s clothing, costumes, and casual clothing.

Novelty buttons are not typically used in formal wear.

Shell Buttons

Shell buttons are glossy and elegant. They are best suited for formal attire.

They come in subtle tones of white and beige that adds an extra element of sophistication to any outfit.

Wood Buttons

Wooden buttons deliver a rustic look and feel and offer a distinctive finish. They are best for casual clothing and work well with garmets that have earth tones and earthy textures.

Wear and tear can cause wood buttons to fade over time.

Choosing A Button Backing

Buttons are fixed on garments with different types of backings. The following are common button backing types:

Shank Buttons these have an extended loop at the back that allows the button to sit above the fabric and creates a snazzy look on the clothing.

Holed Buttons these have small holes on the back, making them quick and easy to sew onto clothing with little fuss.

Fashion and Designer Buttons

High-end designers and fashion houses often use unique buttons that are custom-made for each collection. These buttons often add a unique and personal touch and elevate the design of the garment.

Designers and high-end fashion houses have taken to a new trend with the use of logo buttons as a subtle boost to branding. In conclusion, by understanding button types and sizes, you will be able to choose the best buttons for your projects, ensuring that they are visually appealing, functional, and compatible with the specific garment.

Knowing the different types of buttons can help you choose the best ones to use in your clothing designs, adding texture, color, and personality to your pieces. Being familiar with the various sizes can help you choose the appropriate button that matches the garment and buttonhole sizes.

Go forth and sew with confidence. 3) Choosing a Button Backing: Which One is Best for Your Project?

When it comes to sewing buttons on garments, choosing the right button backing is just as important as selecting the button itself. The button backing serves as the support for the button, ensuring that it remains securely attached to the garment.

There are various types of button backings to choose from; each has its unique features that make them suitable for different types of clothing.

Bareback Buttons

Bareback buttons are the simplest type of button backing. They do not have additional parts and are attached directly to the surface of the fabric.

Bareback buttons have low profile and work the best for light fabrics. They do not add any bulk to the material and lay flush against the garment.

In many instances, they give the impression that the button is floating on the fabric. This makes the Bareback button backing perfect for those who prefer a minimalist look that doesnt compete with other aspects of the garment.

Shank-style backings

Shank-style backings are made of small loop or ring placed at the back of the button, which is suspended above the fabric surface by a short stem or post. These buttons are often used on thicker fabrics and heavier garments, such as winter coats, where the buttonhole may need a little extra space.

Shank-style buttons can be wobbly since the button itself isn’t sitting directly on the surface of the fabric. In other words, the loop gives space between the button and the fabric.

Because of this, the button may not have as much stability, making it more prone to popping off or getting snagged.

Tunnel Shank Buttons

The tunnel shank backing is a slightly more advanced version of the traditional shank style backing. In this case, the loop or ring is replaced with a tunnel that the thread runs through.

This structure allows the shank to be hidden from view, underneath the button. But unlike the common shank, the tunnel shank provides more stability.

It also eliminates the wobbling experienced in the

Shank buttons. The additional structure makes it easier to hold the button in place with less danger of it coming loose.

Tunnel shank buttons are regarded as the safest backing for the button, and the shank makes it comfortable against the skin. They are perfect for clothing that needs a higher level of sturdiness.


Fashion and Designer Buttons: The Perfect Finishing Touch

Fashion and designer buttons are an exclusive type of button that is not readily available to everyone, but, when looking for that special finishing touch, they are certainly worth the investment. Fashion and designer buttons are usually reserved for high fashion pieces.

Designer buttons are designed to turn an already sophisticated garment into a work of art. This type of button is much more expensive than other options because of their superior quality and the amount of work that goes into creating them.

The main purpose of fashion and designer buttons is to make a statement. They are often used to grab attention and contribute to the overall look of the clothing.

A tasteful designer button can transform a plain dress or jacket into an exquisite work of art, giving any garment that extra oomph. Designer buttons are often produced in limited quantities.

Designers understand that clothes arent just made to be functional but that they want to make a statement as well.

Fashion and designer buttons are typically made of high-quality materials such as precious stones, metals, or other precious materials.

These exclusive buttons are handcrafted to form unique and intricate designs, giving the garment a couture-like appearance. The buttons come in a range of different shapes, sizes, and colors to complement the garment on which it is sewn.

These buttons often add luxury and texture, making unique pieces that stand out and exude an elegance that is unmatched by any other button style. In conclusion, choosing the best button backing and type of button to use in your garment is crucial to deliver a finished product that looks great and is functional.

The type of backing, shank or tunnel shank, one chooses should be dependent on the fabric. Novice sewers should consider starting with bareback buttons for light fabrics and upgrading to shank or tunnel shank for heavier ones.

Designer and fashion buttons are an investment worth making, particularly for that very special occasion. Luxury and elegance are key elements of designer buttons, and they help to elevate the garment to an entirely different level.

Keep these tips and tricks in mind during your next sewing project and enjoy the perfect, beautiful finishing touch. In conclusion, understanding button sizes, types, and backings can help you choose the perfect button for any garment, ensuring visual appeal and functionality.

Shank or tunnel shank buttons are recommended for heavier fabrics, while bareback buttons are ideal for light fabrics. Fashion and designer buttons, while more expensive, add elegance and luxury to any garment, making them worth the investment for special occasions.

With these tips, you’ll be able to pick the perfect button for any clothing project, elevating the overall look of the garment and ensuring that it remains functional for many years to come.


Q: What is a button ligne measurement? A: A button ligne measurement is a unit of measurement for buttons and is equivalent to 1/40 of an inch or 0.635 mm.

Q: What are the standard button sizes? A: Standard button sizes vary depending on the type of clothing, with recommended diameters ranging from 12.7 mm to 23.0 mm.

Q: How do I match the button size with the buttonhole size? A: It’s important to choose a button that fits snugly into the buttonhole without being too tight or too loose.

When in doubt, it’s better to opt for a smaller button and enlarge the buttonhole. Q: Which button backing should I choose?

A: The choice of button backing depends on the weight and thickness of the fabric. Bareback buttons are recommended for light fabrics, while shank or tunnel shank buttons are recommended for heavier fabrics.

Q: Are fashion and designer buttons worth the investment? A: Yes, fashion and designer buttons are worth the investment as they can add luxury, elegance, and texture to any garment.

They are recommended for special occasions and high-end fashion pieces.

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