DIY Wedding

DIY Wedding

How to Make Singleton Buttons

comments (35) March 13th, 2009     

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Sister_Diane Diane Gilleland, contributor
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Singleton buttons are similar to covered buttons, but their construction gives them a nicer heft and finish.
These buttons are made on plastic bone rings, which come in lots of sizes.
You can use any solid or printed woven cotton to make a Singleton. You can even place the fabric design precisely where you want it on the finished button.
Singleton buttons are similar to covered buttons, but their construction gives them a nicer heft and finish.

Singleton buttons are similar to covered buttons, but their construction gives them a nicer "heft" and finish.

Photo: Diane Gilleland
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A Singleton button is a kind of Dorset button, and it gets its name not from Bridget Jones, but from the Singleton family, who first made them in the 1600s. The fun thing about Singleton buttons is that you can make them from so many pretty fabrics. I love the idea of a row of coordinating Singleton buttons decorating a tote bag, or bright floral Singletons gracing the front of a simple white shirt.

What you'll need:

  • Woven cotton fabric
  • Plastic bone ring (I'm using a 1-inch ring)
  • Cardstock (for a template)
  • Washable fabric marking pen
  • Scissors
  • Needle and strong thread (see notes below)
  • Embroidery floss (optional)
  • Wool felt

Like a Dorset button, the Singleton is made on a ring—and we're using plastic bone rings here. You can find them in fabric and craft stores, with drapery-making supplies or with crochet supplies. They come in lots of sizes, so you can make these buttons in many sizes.

A note on thread: This is one project where the strength of the thread you use makes a big difference. I recommend using a thread with some polyester or nylon content—you'll be pulling this thread around a bit, so it needs to resist breaking.

If you're planning to use these buttons on a garment that will be machine washed, then be sure to prewash your fabric and felt beforehand.

Cut a fabric circle that's 2-1/2 times larger than the diameter of the ring.

You'll need a fabric circle that's about 2-1/2 times larger in diameter than your plastic ring. I made myself a template using the page layout program on my computer and printed it out on cardstock. You could also use a compass.

If you want to make sure a specific part of the fabric design appears on the front of your finished button, then cut a circle out of the center that's the same size as the ring.

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posted in: embroidery, buttons

Comments (35)

elliotnash writes: These buttons are marvellous. My daughter has two old teddy bears which need some sewing up. I suppose I'll fix them and add some buttons like these. That will definitely give them a fresher look.
Posted: 2:45 am on August 20th
Katzpawz writes: Would it be ok to use this pattern for Holiday craft fair sales? They are adorable!!!
Posted: 6:20 pm on April 16th
Babie writes: I am going to make either the Dorset or Singleton buttons to put on a weskit (historical vest) I am making for my husband. Great instructions, thanks.

Posted: 9:37 am on March 27th
KCBabblesOfBaubles writes: Thank you so much, Diane! I am so excited that now I have two new ways (including your Dorset tutorial) to embellish my Kanzashi!!! :D
Posted: 11:11 pm on January 21st
CrochetCait writes: So great! I've been looking for a perfect button for a blazer I'm making but have had no such luck finding a match. Now I can make buttons galore for EVERYTHING! Thanks so much!
Posted: 9:16 pm on January 9th
Bettsi writes: What a fun idea! I cherish every scrap of fabric, so this is terrific. Thanks, Diane!
Posted: 11:09 pm on August 13th
envol47 writes: fantastic idea ! I will try to do it today ! thank You very much
read You soon as possible !
Posted: 3:08 am on August 11th
limonene writes: Very cute!
Posted: 1:57 pm on July 6th
LindyLu writes: Thanks for suggesting something that will take the little bit of embroidery that this beginning stitcher makes and turns it into an eye-catching and interesting accent.

And they're buttons! Who doesn't love buttons?

By the way, I am stubbornly sticking with the association of Singleton buttons with Bridget Jones. It just makes them even better!
Posted: 3:20 pm on June 9th
LunarFaith writes: omg this is actually sumthing real !! i m learning and thank you ~ (^0^)
Posted: 4:34 am on June 4th
VictoriaNorth writes: NancyWard,

Linking to our posts is not a problem at all and it is much appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed the project.
Posted: 10:26 am on May 19th
NancyWard writes: Hi!

Today I posted an entry on my blog with a link to this tutorial.

Would you let me know if that's OK?


Nancy Ward
Posted: 2:46 pm on May 18th
whimsy_chidori writes: This is an awesome tutorial, thanks so much.
Posted: 8:59 pm on May 7th
KDora writes: It's a fantastic idea! You are on my blog. :)
Posted: 2:57 am on April 21st
lorrwill writes: BRAVO! Your buttons looks awesome and your instructions are totally clear. I think I can do this. Thanks for taking the time to do this!
Posted: 1:54 am on April 20th
myn writes: This is great! Where can the plastic bone rings be purchased? Thanks for a great tutorial!!
Posted: 7:23 pm on April 7th
Supercool writes: I am just in2 buttons at the mo, and cannot make..or buy on ebay enough of them!
I am gonna make some of these...I will cut up some old ties I got for 20p each!And just left in the drawer (like we crafters do)
Posted: 11:43 am on April 7th
KimberlyJDC writes: I'm running to my scrap fabric right now! Thanks for another invaluable tutorial.
Posted: 11:01 am on March 31st
beaderonboard writes: I Love It!!
What a great idea, I can't wait to try it.
Thank You for sharing.
Posted: 2:54 pm on March 22nd
JohnWLennon writes: Ingenious!
Posted: 2:00 pm on March 22nd
PamHarris writes: These remind me so much of buttons my great grandmother (your great, great) made for many of the garments I remember her wearing. She taught me something similar except there was some kind of middle section the ring was placed over once both were covered with fabric. Very complicated - I never learned!

These are simply beautiful, and allow a seamstress to create buttons from the same fabric they are making a garment from. I so totally prefer this method over those button kits you can buy in the findings section.

Love this!
Posted: 1:20 pm on March 21st
SewDanish writes: I love them! They are really lovely. I'll have to try them out, sort of like now :-)They would be a great little project for one of my textile groups. Thanks.
Scandinavian Textile Art, Unique Handmade Supplies
Posted: 3:24 am on March 21st
paperrain writes: This makes me happy. I wonder if it can work as well if I don't use wool felt? I have lots of felt scraps, but I wonder if they are not opaque enough. This is groovy.
Posted: 1:54 pm on March 17th
sewfunky writes: I'm really loving making these buttons - thanks so much for the detailed tutorial...

mine are on my blog;
Posted: 4:34 am on March 17th
JennieC writes: Aaack - I think I've thrown out rings like that because I didn't know what to do with them. I'm always grabbing those grab bags of wonder at the thrift stores, the contents of somebody's Grandma's sewing closet. Anyhow - this is a FABULOUSLY detailed and DELIGHTFUL post.
Posted: 10:12 pm on March 16th
artsycraftybabe writes: These are great! I can't wait to give them a try.
Posted: 9:51 am on March 16th
Hausmaus writes: Thank you so much for this tutorial! "Coverable" buttons are very expensive where I live, and this is going to be a great use for all my pretty scraps.

Posted: 3:09 pm on March 15th
sllvncookie writes: You did it again,great things,,,""Cookie'''
Posted: 10:50 pm on March 14th
walkinthewoodsllc writes: These are super-charming!
Posted: 4:08 pm on March 14th
gracie_girl writes: Great idea, so pretty and fun! Very well presented...What a novel idea!
Posted: 12:42 pm on March 14th
garnetnm writes: Thanks for the info and tutorial. I have been wondering what to do with some special small fabrics I've been saving. So I'm going to make some of these buttons today.
Posted: 9:13 am on March 14th
imnotyrbabe writes: super cute ^^.. cant wait to try this ^^
Posted: 7:29 am on March 14th
brookebethany writes: You made such beautiful buttons, I'm sure many of us will be tempted to try this. Thanks for a wonderful tutorial - it is nicely photographed and the explanations are very clear and well worded.
Posted: 9:51 pm on March 13th
rabid_designs writes: Now THIS is an utterly wonderful idea. I have tons of those rings and didn't know what to do with them. Thank you so much, they're beautiful!
Posted: 9:22 pm on March 13th
susanstars writes: Diane, you are a button genius. I love this idea! Your singletons are beautiful :)
Posted: 5:42 pm on March 13th
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