How To Add Metal Buttons To Dungarees

Equipment for attaching metal buttons

Welcome to my step-by-step guide to adding two metal buttons to your Pauline Alice Turia dungarees. (And thanks for everyone’s lovely comments on my pair! To the readers who think dungarees are the devil’s work: thanks for your entertaining comments, too!)


  • Three metal buttons – one for your practice go, two for the final make.
  • A scrap of the same fabric you’re using on your final make.
  • A hammer or mallet.
  • An awl and piece of wood.
  • A Youtube video from Vince. Skip to 7 minutes in.

There are 44 steps in the instructions for these dungarees. Adding metal buttons to the bib comes at step 39. Which means you’d better be confident! Trouble is, there’s not much guidance out there.

Eventually, I stumbled upon Vince’s Youtube video. Vince is the Great Uncle I never had. In my imagination, he lives somewhere in the midwest of America, works the land and is a direct blood descendant of the father in Little House On The Prairie. He has hangnails and cracked skin on his hands. He definitely wears dungarees.

Anyway, Vince was a big help. I watched a short bit of his extensive Youtube video and ran to gather my equipment for a practice go.

1. Pierce a hole in your fabric with an awl, and a piece of wood to take the point. If you don’t have an awl, dig out a kebab skewer or something from the kitchen. The main priority is not to stretch and distort your fabric by forcing a blunt instrument through it.

Step one Collage

2. Push your button tack through the hole you’ve created.

3. Slip the shank of your metal button over the point of your tack.

4. Flip fabric and button over so that the tack head is face up.

Step two Collage

5. Find a surface with absolutely no give in it. A wobbly table didn’t meet my requirements, so I went outside to the back garden and a crumbly concrete back path.

6. Hammer away on the back of your button tack! Four or five good whacks should do it. Button attached! (You might want to ensure that easily scared pet dogs are far away and feeling safe. Otherwise, you’ll find them hiding in a corner of the garden, trembling.)

Step three CollageI have a few other construction tips for the Turia dungarees:

Use fabric with a bit of stretch in it. You’re going to be making some rigorous demands on these dungarees, especially when you make a sudden lunge. (I like to work a sudden lunge into most days, don’t you?)

Which brings me to…

Torn seam

I over zealously trimmed my seams at the point where the pinafore back met the shoulder straps. Then I tightened my dungarees extra specially tight for neat blog photos. Then I went into one of my sudden lunges. The horror! A seam popped.

This was easy peasy to fix (thank goodness) but my advice would be:

a) Don’t trim the seam at step 21 of this pattern.

b) You might want to add some top stitching to this detail for extra stability.

c) Desist from sudden lunges. Even if a chocolate eclair is passing under your nose.

d) Desist from eating chocolate eclairs. Unless you’re pregnant. Then you can eat whatever you like.

I also added strips of fusible interfacing to the zip insertion, to prevent the fabric from rippling.

You definitely don’t need to add a zip on each side seam, as the pattern suggests. One zip on one side will do the job. The beauty is, you can choose which side to suit your right or left handedness.

If you don’t like a cropped leg, add length to the legs when cutting out.

I cut true to bust and hip size. I ignored waist size, which would have meant grading up at this point. Why bother? These are dungarees!

If you’re sewing with corduroy, you will need a press cloth. Remember my Fabric Focus on corduroy!

That’s everything, I think. I’ve probably forgotten something. Let me know if you have any questions! Are you one of the people planning a new pair of dungarees? I’m already dreaming about my second pair.

This entry was posted in sewing, sewing and knitting, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to How To Add Metal Buttons To Dungarees

  1. Nakisha says:

    “Unless you’re pregnant. Then you can eat whatever you like.” Very, very true!

    I’ve wondered how those are applied; like snaps sort of! When I add snaps to a garment I bring it to work and use one of the insanely sturdy work benches. makes a HUGE difference!

  2. onedabbles says:

    Dungarees are way beyond my abilities. I am making a corduroy skirt using the Maria Denmark Jasmin skirt, though, and your post about working with corduroy (another new experience!) was just in time. Thank you.

  3. Jan says:

    Sorry, no dungarees for me. When you are unthin, they are unflattering!

  4. paulinealice says:

    What a great tutorial! Do you mind me sharing it and linking back here on my blog?

  5. redsilvia says:

    I love your dungarees! I would be so frightened of 40+ steps to do anything though. You are a good woman.

    Interesting wordsmith differences:
    You : Me
    Dungarees : Overalls
    I wore my overalls for ages (Ben’s with original Doc Martins) and adored them. You are making me so nostalgic and covetous.

  6. Jo says:

    I have now bought this pattern and am plotting my very own version! All thanks to your terrible influence 🙂

  7. helen says:

    It’s very satisfying bashing those snaps in with a mallet!
    Great dungarees, I wore them 25 years ago as a teenager, not sure I could pull it off now!

  8. Lisa says:

    Just cut out the Turia. Thanks for all your tips!

  9. Pingback: Make your own: Pinafore dress – Kim's creative corner

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.