Everyone has done it. You stand too close to a waist-high worktop and the button of your jeans is caught under the lip. You turn to leave and get a horrible jolt as the button jerks free, with or without tearing. Either way the button now has a rough edge that cuts into you when you sit down or is hanging helplessly from a floppy piece of denim. While it may not be an easy task to replace a stud button, it should not stop you from salvaging those jeans.
Replacing a damaged stud button
Pull the jean waistband away from the stud button post.
Place a pair of wire cutters as close to the fabric as possible to cut the post. This may take a few tries to cut all the way through the post. You can score the post with a metal file to make this process easier.
Pull the remaining pieces of the stud button free of the fabric. The wire cutters will cut through the inner pin holding the button to the fabric.
Buy replacement stud buttons at your local craft or fabric shop. Stud buttons come in two pieces: the main button face on a post and the back rivet, which looks like a tack.
Press the tack end through the hole in the waistband left by the previous stud button.
Set the post of the stud button over the protruding tack end. Flip the entire waistband facedown on a towel, holding the stud button firmly against the work surface.
Use a hammer to secure the tack to the button. After 4 or 5 hits, test the button to see if it spins on the tack or is held firmly in place. Also, verify the tack back is flush to the waistband and not at an angle. Continue to hammer the tack until the post does not twist.
Torn or missing button
Cut the button free if it is hanging from the jeans. Trim as little fabric as possible to maintain the integrity of the fabric.
Buy a denim iron-on patch at a craft or fabric shop.
Cut two pieces of the denim patch at least 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) wider than the hole left by the button and tall enough to cover the entire height of the waistband.
Heat the iron to the temperature recommended on the iron-on directions. Place one patch right-side up over the hole on the outside of the waistband and iron it in place. Repeat with the other patch on the inside of the waistband.
Cut a small hole in the fabric where the button should go. Use the tip of a Stanley knife or a seam ripper. The hole is only to make it easier for the tack back of the stud button to get through the fabric.
Follow steps 4 to 7 in the above section to replace the stud button.