Moving the buttons on your button boots (or button shoes) was a perfectly normal part of the fitting process with new footwear. The good news is that it's easy to get the perfect historically accurate "snug" fit, though it does take a little time.
- Your button boots (or shoes)
- Seam ripper (or awl)
- Small scissors
- Strong thread - upholstery thread, strong embroidery floss, elastic thread doubled
- Beeswax (optional, but helpful)
- Put a boot on.
- Fold the fly (flap) over your leg, pulling it tight.
- Cut all the buttons that need to be moved off the boots, snipping the thread holding them in place.
- With a pencil, mark the new placement of the button through the keyhole end of the buttonhole. You want your boots to be *tight.*
- Take the boot off.
- Poke two small holes right next to each other (using the seam ripper) on either side of each new button pencil mark.
- Stitch each button on, passing through the button's looped shank and the two holes in the leather several times. Beeswax will help keep your thread from tangling and form a nice tight loop and knot.
- Tie the thread off however you like.
- Repeat for each button.
- Repeat for the other boot.
- To get your boots really nice and tight, stitch your buttons 1/8 to 1/4 inch further than the mark you made with the pencil. The leather stretches and eases with wear, and you want the boots to fit tight all the way up, like a corset for the ankle.
- We also made a blog post about moving buttons that contains lots of clear photos.