How to Embroider Your Own Buttons

comments (25) March 18th, 2009     

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erika_kern Erika Kern, contributor
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A bit of embroidery turns simple fabric-covered buttons into mini works of art.
Three different techniques make three beautiful buttons. Top: Bunny, following the pattern from a bunny-printed fabric. Middle: Poppy, a freehand drawing of your own pattern. Bottom: Lazy daisies and French knots.
All the tools and material youll need for this project.
A bit of embroidery turns simple fabric-covered buttons into mini works of art.

A bit of embroidery turns simple fabric-covered buttons into mini works of art.

Photo: Erika Kern
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Yea! I'm embroidering again! It feels like ages since I've had the chance to post an embroidery project, but as soon as I heard we were doing buttons, I knew I could work my crafty love into the theme. Here are three ways to add embroidery to fabric-covered buttons, turning them from simple button to art piece in less than an hour.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Scrap fabric (solids or patterns, whatever you like)
  • Circle template or compass and paper
  • Pencil
  • Embroidery floss (I used six-strand floss for the bunny and flower and pearl cotton floss for the lazy daisies)
  • Needles
  • Covered-button kit (I used a 1-1/2-inch button kit)

Three different techniques make three beautiful buttons. Top: Bunny, following the pattern from a bunny-printed fabric. Middle: Poppy, a freehand drawing. Bottom: Lazy Daisies and French knots.

I used 1-1/2-inch covered-button forms. For a button this size, you will need a circle that's 2-1/2 inches in diameter. If you use a different size button, use the pattern on the back of the package as the guide for the circle you need to draw.

1. Use the printed pattern on your fabric for your embroidery.

This works best with small, defined patterns like the bunny-printed fabric I had in my scrap box. Make sure the featured part of your pattern is centered and will fit on the front of your button.


Draw a circle around the part of the pattern you want to feature on your button. Make sure that that area is in or near the center of your circle so that it doesn't get tucked into your button when you add the back.

In the spirit of spring, I decided to fill in one of the bunnies from the fabric's print. I used three strands of white floss and used a split stitch for the fill.

I outlined my bunny using a split stitch and a single strand of dark brown floss.

Use contrasting colors to make your embroidery pop!


The finished bunny button.

2. Draw your own pattern onto the fabric.

This works best on a solid-color fabric or a fabric with a muted pattern.


Draw your circle and sketch out a pattern inside it. Flowers are good because they're a nice and easy shape that most anyone can draw. I picked a poppy.

I used an altered long/short stitch to fill in the bloom of the poppy and a stacked fly stitch for the leaf.

To do the stacked fly stitch, begin with a detatched chain stitch, then start your next stitch on the side of your chain, bringing it over to the other side of the chain. Bring your floss up through the fabric at the locking stitch of your chain.


Finish the stitch by bringing your floss down on the outside of your stitch. Repeat until your leaf is full.

I filled the center of my poppy with French knots and outlined the whole thing with a split stitch using three strands of dark brown floss.

The finished poppy button.

3. Doodle-stitch your button cover.

This one is great for a nice quick stitch-up. I used lazy daisies and French knots.


The simplest of the buttons, lazy daisies and French knots. I used pearl cotton floss for this because it doesn't separate like its six-strand sibling. I also stitched most of the circle so that the stitches wrap around to the back of the button.

Couldn't you just see a bunch of these daisy buttons scattered all over a sweater like the one from Kayte's post last week! Beautiful!


In no time, you'll have beautiful embroidered buttons just waiting to adorn your wanting jacket or sweater. How wonderful!

 

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posted in: embroidery, buttons, covered buttons

Comments (25)

Criativa writes: Sempre lindo o trabalho em bordado! :)
Posted: 10:34 am on July 3rd
JoybyRobin writes: Erika, Love the buttons! Another way to embroider buttons is to use a sewing/embroidery machine. I use my BERNINA with BERNINA's DesignerPlus 6 software. I have designed smaller designs and embroidered multiple buttons at the same time. They really add to a project whether a garment or a crafty project.
Posted: 6:40 am on September 23rd
MomaDeb writes: New at fabric covered button, but have found using 505 spray helps to keep the fabric from sliding. I wish I could hand embroidery that beautiful. Better stick to machine embroidery instead.
Posted: 8:09 pm on April 11th
erika_kern writes: Ha! I wish I could embroider on wood. That would be awesome!!!

Thank you all for all the kind words, you rock.
Posted: 10:37 pm on March 23rd
Maureclaire writes:
Fabulous ! Love it ! but, OMG, when I first looked at the picture of the poppy being embroidered, it looked like you were doing it on wood; and, I was like... HOW in the WORLD..... LOL
Posted: 11:14 pm on March 22nd
beaderonboard writes: What a clever idea.
I haven't embroidered in a long time, now I have a good excuse to do it again.
They would also make great pins.
Thank You for sharing.
Posted: 3:07 pm on March 22nd
pinkroses writes: Those are so pretty
love to embroidery
yours is so pretty. pinkroses
Posted: 1:33 pm on March 22nd
lorrwill writes: Yep, agree with everyone else, this is just awesome and brilliant. I am also going to have to try this with my button maker thingy. And to snazzy up otherwise plain jane shirts and what not!

Oh Sister Diane: glue stick. I have been using just a little bit to hold the fabric just where I want it on the button form.
Posted: 2:56 pm on March 21st
Tina_Hilton writes: Simply delightful! This would be a great way to use the embroidered sections of hand towels that were retired due to holes and stains. I hate to part with Nana’s linens and this would put them to good use.
Posted: 2:07 pm on March 21st
PamHarris writes: Bravo! These are seriously cool buttons. Caught my eye immediately.
Posted: 12:59 pm on March 21st
Average_Jane_Crafter writes: These are so fantastic! And I love the wee French knots for the bunny's tail - so sweet! :)
Posted: 11:26 am on March 21st
dksadler writes: This is such a cute idea, I can't wait to use it!
Posted: 10:26 am on March 21st
lasshouse writes: Can't wait to try this project!
Posted: 10:09 am on March 21st
JennlovesSteve writes: wow! this is so cute! thanks for the great directions!
Posted: 7:31 am on March 21st
SewDanish writes: Oh, thanks for reminding me. I haven't made covered buttons in a long while. I must revisit that. Buttons covered with hand embroidered velvet looks stunning. And it is a great way of using scraps of hand dyed fabric.
Birgitte
http://www.SewDanish.etsy.com
Scandinavina Textile Art, Unique Handmade Supplies
Posted: 3:17 am on March 21st
erika_kern writes: Hi all! Sorry I've been away. . . moving this week. Argh! Anyway . . .

Mscraftypants: I'll thrift with you any day!

Sister Diane: Making sure it's centered when you put your fabric in the button press is key. Once you put your button over the fabric, just keep an eye on the front through the press (it's white and thin, so your pattern will show through). If you're using the buttons with the teeth instead of the press, just keep an eye out while you pull your fabric taut, starting at the middle of your fabric. That should work but if it's a bit off center, that's okay! It adds to the charm.

Sparkletree: I've never tried it with my Badge-a-minit. . . it might work. Hum. . . Ideas!

Thanks all for your kind words! You've made my crazy week better!


Posted: 1:55 pm on March 19th
Sparkletree writes: I'm in love with this.
I'd like to figure out a way to do this on pin-back buttons!
Posted: 12:41 pm on March 19th
MGgallery writes: I can't wait to try this and perhaps use the embroidered buttons to make rings. Thanks for sharing!

Posted: 12:18 am on March 19th
samsstuff writes: Very cute buttons! I recently started making embroidered buttons too! So much fun! I like the idea of using thrift store fabrics, giving them new life. Thanks for sharing your project!
Posted: 11:00 pm on March 18th
sewfunky writes: You can of course use thrifted embroidered cloths to make buttons stand out! :)

I now go into opportunity shops with an eye to looking for things that can be re-crafted into something else.

I'm loving this months button theme!!!
Posted: 9:10 pm on March 18th
LindaPermann writes: lovely and amazing! the idea of using the design on the fabric is brilliant, and that flower---WOW! you have such excellent craftsmanship, go erika!
Posted: 9:00 pm on March 18th
Sister_Diane writes: These are so beautiful, Erika! I envy your mad embroidery skillz.

Do you have any tips for keeping your embroidery centered on the button as you're pushing the front and back together? Mine always seem to go wonky.
Posted: 7:43 pm on March 18th
kaytet writes: so lovely!!! the detail is just awesome!
and mscraftypants, that's a great idea!
Posted: 7:24 pm on March 18th
baybelletrist writes: Erika, these are wonderful, like tiny gems. I'm very impressed! Thank you for sharing your project.
Posted: 6:52 pm on March 18th
mscraftypants writes: You are insane - again! How tiny you can embroider amazes me! I'm going to need bifocals before trying this project. Of course I think I'm going to put together your idea with Kayte's - two great ideas that will go great together!!! Now if only I had a thrift store shopping buddy...
Posted: 1:53 pm on March 18th
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