What does this button do?

What does this button do?

What does this button do?

Would you know how to sew on a button? And what does that have to do with getting a job anyway? 

While skills for independent living are important in finding and keeping a great job, learning to sew on a button might, in fact, have more to do with becoming employed than you'd think. 

When Bankstown NOVA Transition trainee Talia lost a button on her jacket, the group used the opportunity to do a sewing class. Together they bought a sewing kit from Lincraft, and Job coach Paul brought fabric from home to practise with.

Job coaches Paul and Kara gave the trainees step-by-step instructions, showing them how to:

  • thread a needle
  • tie a knot at the end of the thread to prevent it pulling out of the fabric
  • poke the threaded needle through the fabric
  • place the button on top of the threaded needle
  • poke the needle back through the button into the fabric to secure the button to the fabric (and repeat several times)
  • wind the thread around the base and make some small stitches to finish the button
  • cut the thread.

The trainees found it hard, at first, to start and finish the button without overlapping the thread around the material, and to push the needle through from top to bottom. But they persevered and, after a couple of months, became quite skilled.

During the sewing lesson, Mark also learned to tie his shoe laces – something he had been unable to do. After learning at the table with a spare pair, Mark moved onto his own shoes. He practised a lot, and can now tie his shoe laces.

The Bankstown group regularly practises other practical tasks, such as making bread in the bread maker each week, and having pizza days.

Learning a practical skill that is relevant to the trainees’ immediate needs is empowering. It gives trainees confidence that they can:

  • persevere with difficult tasks
  • master new skills in a workplace
  • deal with situations without having to ask for help.

Sewing on buttons may not be a pre-requisite for most workplaces; but most employers are keen to find staff who will persevere to master new skills – not to mention people with a can-do attitude. 

Bankstown NOVA Transition

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