Making buttons was not top of my list of things I’d like to have a go at, but after a good few weeks of making hearts, pin cushions and hoops, the box for scrap fabric was starting to overflow. And I like to include a button on the hanging hearts but just cannot always find the right one.
So the logical thing was to take a look at this idea of putting together buttons – making buttons, indeed.
First was to find a useful tutorial online – that’s generally my initial thought. And of course there are many, including videos. So armed with the consensus that a tool was not really necessary, and that it was pretty straightforward, I bought the base buttons, several sizes, and within a few minutes had my first button! So simple.
This is how I do them:
1. Choose the size of button you need/want then find a circle to use as a template – this needs to be at least a third wider than your button (and allow wiggle room – don’t be stingy) – for instance, with the 22mm button we’re making here, the template is something I found in my bowl of shiny things – that is 34mm and I generally cut a few mm outside of that circle.
2. Then choose your fabric, perhaps a particular flower, leaf, star or some aspect that takes your fancy. With your template, draw a circle on the fabric – now this is where having a template with nothing in the middle works best, and indeed I’ll be creating some for this purpose – it makes it simple to have just the part of your pattern that you want in the position you want, on your button, but actually it can often be that a randomness of the design can look better. To draw the circle I use one of these magical pens with ink that disappears after a few days, but your marking is unlikely to show, so don’t worry about that. Cut out your circle.
3. Now you want to do a running stitch around the edge – I find this sufficient (some like to machine sew but I can’t see the point, really).
4. Then you start to draw the thread together, making your circle bowl a bit before you place the top part of your button inside.
5. Now you pull the thread tighter, drawing it tight over the button – knotting the thread once will help and then when the fabric is snug, double knot it in place and snip the excess thread.
6. Lastly you want to snap the back in place. I think there are tools to help with this, but for the sizes of buttons I’ve been making, either a firm squeeze or a gentle click with pliers does the job just fine.
And there you are – one unique, covered button!
And once you get going, you’ll spot potential button sections everywhere – my 9 year-old daughter is at it too, bringing down outgrown cotton dresses now perfect for buttons – we could make dozens of Hello Kitty alone! Here, this will be a regular evening past-time while chatting or in front of the TV.
Have a go, if you fancy – it is a lot less fiddly than I certainly thought (I cannot be doing with faffing about). The best prices I’ve found on eBay for 100 x 22mm metal buttons are here. But you might want to find a smaller quantity to test out first.
Let us know how you get on, or if you already “button”, what tips do you have?