Buttons are often regarded as just small fastening device, and we often take it for granted. Actually, there are several different types of buttons, each with their own special features, qualities, and purposes.
Two of the most common button types are the flat buttons and shank buttons, which are widely used in various types of garments. In this article, we will discuss the main differences between the two types, and several considerations you should have before purchase.
Flat buttons can further be divided into two-hole and four-hole flat button types. However, the main characteristic between the two remains the same, in which there are flat with holes in the middle. The holes are used to sew the thread through, to attach the button to the garment.
Shank buttons, on the other hand, have a hollow protrusion on the back, which also will be used to sew the thread through to attach the button. Due to this shank structure, shank buttons can have many different shapes, which is often regarded as the main advantage.
Due to the difference in shape, both types undergo different manufacturing processes, and depending on needs, can be made with different materials.
Flat buttons typically undergo a relatively simple manufacturing process: the material, commonly plastic, is molded into the desired shape and the two or four holes are added.
With shank buttons, however, the process can be much more complicated due to the hollow protrusion part, the shank itself. The protrusion can be a separate piece fused into the button unit. In other cases, the shank can be molded directly from the button material, which is commonly the case with buttons made of specialty materials like glass or shells. Due to the more complicated manufacturing process, shank buttons are generally more expensive than flat buttons.
Flat buttons are inexpensive and can be sewn with a sewing machine. They are generally more versatile. However, flat buttons are generally not suitable for heavier garments, and mix-and-matching colors and shapes can be very difficult. Flat buttons are generally the more common choice for formal clothing due to their simplicity.
Due to their more rigid structure, shank buttons are more suitable with heavier garments, such as leather jackets or turncoats. Also, with a wide variety of size, shapes, and color selections, it is easier to mix and match shank buttons to various projects.
Tips For Purchasing
- Understand your needs first, especially what type of garments you will use. Generally, for heavier garments, shank buttons are the better choice.
- Consider the fact that you cannot machine-sew a shank button, so you will need to consider the extra effort and time required.