Fabric, Thread-covered, & Knob period buttons do not have holes or shanks. In most cases, you simply stitch up from the garment and through the gathered threads or fabric at the back of the button. Several wraps around the threads running from garment to button before knotting off is recommended.
If you are using a fabric button on a heavy weight garment, you can create a thread shank by stitching up and back four times from the garment to points about halfway from the center to the edge of the button, and then wrapping around these threads as mentioned above.
The tan threads in the above photo illustrate how the button is attached using this method.
Dorset Wheel buttons often have a length of thread coming from the button's rear center. Use this to apply the button to the garment, stitching through the center of the button several times. If you wish to made the attachment sturdier, you can also bring a stitch up through the garment, along the back of the button, stitch around the outside ring, and return along the underside of the button and back through the garment. Repeat this anchoring stitch from the garment to the opposite edge of the outside ring before knotting off.
If you are adding buttons to an existing garment with buttonholes that are too large for the buttons, a few stitches can be used to close the end of the buttonhole opposite the edge of the fabric to improve the fit.
Conversely, if you are constructing a garment that will have death head or other thread covered buttons, make sure that the buttonholes are generously sized, as a tight fit which rubs hard against the buttons will cause premature wear at the point where the threads wrap around the edge of the interior form.