Forgive me, bit I'm just a little fixated on buttons at the moment, don't be concerned - I'm sure I won't come to any harm but I do absolutely have to share.
It is completly possible to create beautiful unique buttons by isolating just a part of a pattern motif of the fabric - but you knew that didn't you?
When I'm covering larger buttons I often use a piece of wadding cut to the same size as the button top under the fabric. I think it softens the look of the button slightly and it just feels nice. If you're usng a metal button kit it also stops the metal shining through particularly if your fabric has a more open weave. Really though it's purely a matter of personal choice.
- self-cover buttons - front and back (there are many different sorts of self cover button kits, but I use this sort. Link)
- fabric (enough to cover your button)
- small piece of wadding (optional)
- matching sewing thread
- sewing needle
- tape measure
- a few pins
- greaseproof paper, tracing paper or tissue paper (something you can see the fabric pattern through)
- a pencil to make a pattern with or fabric marker (if you're going to mark directly onto the fabric)
- glue stick (optional) (Tip: raid the children's pencil cases. They're bound to have one)
Step 1 - Make your button pattern
a) Place the button front face down onto the tissue paper (or whatever you're using) and draw around the outside of the button top. Not the smoothest circle but it'll work just fine.
b) Measure the distance between the button shank and the outside rim of the button, like so. In this case it's just a little more than a 1cm - a centimetre will work just fine.
c) Use this amount to mark a seam allowance (1cm) around the circle you have just drawn.
(To draw this outer circle I place the tape measure against the circle I drew by marking around the button top and mark the 1cm distance with dots. Then I can just join up the dots to make my outer circle.)
You should now have something like this which you can cut out and use as a pattern piece. Alternatively, you can draw directly onto your fabric with a non-permanent or other fabric marker.
Step 2 - Selecting the part of the fabric pattern you wish to use
a) Decide which part of the fabric pattern you wish to use.
Your 'see-through' pattern piece should help you isolate the area you're interested in and judge what it would look like on the finished button.
Move it round until you're happy with your decision.
b) Pin your pattern piece to the fabric and cut it out. If you've marked the 'button pattern' directly onto the fabric then cut that out.
The 'see-through' tracing paper allows me to see the pattern quite clearly so I can accurately select the pattern motif I want to cut from the fabric for my button.
I love this fabric it's from Anna Maria Horner's chocolate range
Step 3 - The wadding
For this button I wanted to include a piece of wadding just because .....I like my buttons that way!?
a) If you don't intend to keep the pattern piece you just used to cut out the fabric circle with forever .... and you might do. Then cut off the seam allowance marked on you pattern piece and use this as a pattern to cut out a circle of wadding for the top of your button.
Step 4 - Lots of bits and pieces
a) Get out the glue stick
This just helps to hold the wadding in place whilst you concentrate on the fabric, so it's an entirely optional step. (I do it 'cos I get impatient with trying to hold lots of things still.)
b) Rub a little glue onto the button top and press the wadding onto it
c) Using a doubled sewing thread which matches the fabric colour, sew a row of running stitches around the edge of the fabric circle.
Be careful not to sew too close to the edge or when you gather up the fabric the stitches may pull out. (I'm admitting nothing!)
d) Slip the button front onto the fabric circle, and gently pull up the stitches.
Whilst you're doing this ensure that the pattern motif that you so carefully selected is positioned exactly as you want it.
e) Pull the gathers up tightly so that the button top if completely enclosed and tie the thread ends off securely in a knot. Snug as a bug in a rug!
Step 5 - Assembling your button pieces
a) Place the 'washer' over the button shank with the 'spotty' side facing what will be the underside of the button. The serrated edge and these spots help to hold everything nice and tightly in place.
b) Use a little brute force and push the washer down onto the other button piece. The washer should click into place.
Stand back, admire your lovely new button and Smile!
I hope you find this little tutorial useful and that I haven't make it look too complicated. Let me know what you think, I'd hate to think that I was talking to myself as well as everthing else.
I'd love to see any buttons you cover, 'cos I'm nosy interested.