How to Make a Custom-Knitted Button and Win the Style Game

comments (6) August 28th, 2008     

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Tina_Hilton Tina Hilton, contributor
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Sometimes a commercially made button just wont do the trick.
Dritz button kits are readily available and easy to use.
Increase to 12 sts for the large button.
Sometimes a commercially made button just wont do the trick.

Sometimes a commercially made button just won't do the trick.

Photo: Sophie Saller
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Finding the perfect button to put the finishing touch on your latest masterpiece can sometimes seem like an impossible task. You combed your stash but nothing worked. The LYS did not have the right one, the fabric store was a waste, and searching for the ideal button on the Internet was overwhelming. Sometimes you have to take the matter into your own hands and create your own buttons! Knitted buttons allow you to have a closure that complements the garment without overwhelming it. You can knit your button in a pattern that blends in seamlessly or that enhances the design.

Yarn to match or complement your project (I used a DK weight.)
Knitting needles one or two sizes smaller than the needles you knit your finished project with (I used a size 3 needle.)
Button cover kits—Dritz Aluminum Button Cover Kit in size 7/8 inch and 1-1/8 inch

Dritz button kits are readily available and easy to use.

Step By Step
These directions are for the 7/8-inch size (the 1-1/8-inch size are in parentheses).
Begin knitting the button cover by casting on 2 (4) stitches.
With stockinette stitch, increase one stitch at the beginning and end of each row until you have 10 (12) stitches.

Increase to 12 sts for the large button.

Work 6 rows even.

After you have knit 6 rows even, decrease.

Decrease one stitch at the beginning and end of each row until 2 (4) stitches remain.
Bind off.

This little guy is ready for button greatness.

Cover the button by centering the knitted button cover wrong side up over the button maker foundation, and center and place the metal button blank in the center of the button cover.

Make sure your knitted button cover is right side down if you want the knit side up. If you like the purl side better, go for it!

The button is tucked in, ready for the back to be snapped in place.

Tuck in the ends of the cover and cover with the back of the button, making sure all the material is tucked in.

Be careful so you have all the ends under the back before the back goes on.

Using the kit's pusher tool, snap the button back in place. Depending on the thickness of your button cover, it may take a little finesse or brute force to snap the cover in place.

The finished stockinette stitch button is smooth with none of the metal base peeking through.

The garter stitch sample was pulled too tight around the button form and the metal shows through.

Plan B: You can also use a plain button with a shank of a simular size. Make the knitted cover in the same way and leave a tail a few inches long when binding off. Thread a tapestry needle and make a running stitch around the edge of the cover. Place the button on the cover, and pull the thread to gather around the shank.

Pull the tail tightly to secure to the button.

Weave in the ends neatly and you have a spiffy custom button to grace your finished project.


Joann Fabric and Craft Store

Hancock Fabric Store


Thanks to Sophie Saller for the permission to use her awesome button photograph.

Check out the free online game Button Hunt. It’s a wonderful waste of time.

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posted in: buttons, button covers, Knitted buttons

Comments (6)

adamjack writes: Buttons can be custom-made to match the color and type of our garments.Most fabrics sold by sunbrella fabrics are sold by the yard and can be used for outdoors because of their great quality that can withstand harsh elements present on outdoor environment.
Posted: 4:26 am on August 21st
HungPhiAn writes: Many thanks to Tina , you made my bolero look great :))
Posted: 8:39 am on November 8th
KnittingBirdy writes: Why can't I print this out?

It's a great tutorial, but I'm not able to make this right now, so want to print it out and save it.

Posted: 11:25 pm on November 2nd
Jen1964 writes: We used those button kits on our tailoring projects in home ec - they look better than anything you can buy! I never thought of using them for knitted projects. Can't wait to try! Thanks.
Posted: 10:49 am on September 16th
kmd811 writes: Could you crochet a cover over a button?
Posted: 6:46 pm on September 15th
SMVG writes: Tina,

This solved my latest knitting crisis. The custom knitted button was the perfect compliment to a sweater I made for my husband. Your tips on how to keep the metal from peeking through was a very helpful timesaver. Tina, you're the greatest! I love to read your articles. Keep it coming.
Posted: 10:42 am on September 3rd
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