Button, Button: Part 1

Before you read this post please be advised that I apologize for the  poorly lit pictures and the fact that I need a manicure.

Well, here it is folks! The post none of you have been waiting for!


While making my submission for the 2012 International Quilt Festival in Houston, I needed to find buttons that would really make the jacket pop. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any and the time to sew them on was quickly approaching. At the last minute, I decided to make my own. Since they would be decorative only (the jacket actually snaps closed) I decided to make them from beaded embroidery. I suppose you could make beaded embroidery buttons that are functional, but the button holes would have to be enormous.

I wanted to do a massive, marathon post on this little project, but with so many steps, I figured people would get bored and flee for the hills; so I’ve broken it up into a few mini posts. I’m kind of proud of myself because I actually photographed each step as I did it!


Here are the materials I used.

This is a circle drafting template. They are available at most craft supplies. I got mine at Texas Art Supply. I’ll be using the 1 1/4″ circle for my buttons. I just happen to have this template. You are more than welcome to draw any size circle you want using any method you want. I won’t judge you. Well, not to your face anyway…

This is Peltex (Its more expensive cousin Timtex can also be used). This stuff is a very dense interfacing that has a fusible glue on one side. This makes up the shape of the button. You’ll need two circles cut from this. I used a sharpie marker on the Peltex so it would show up better.

This is heavy weight buckram. Sometimes Joanns stocks it. It is a heavy cotton thread woven together then sized with glue. Since it is so stiff you can use paper punches on it. I had a 1″ punch (HA! Bruce Lee reference!) so I just punched a circle out. The buckram is only for reinforcement, so I didn’t want it to go all the way to the edge of the button, hence the slightly smaller size.

Now, we make a sandwich. Layer a piece of buckram between two Peltex disks. Make sure the edges of the Peltex circles line up evenly. Now, baste through all layers. The basting just holds it together when we press.

Now, the basted sandwich gets pressed.  I place a press cloth under and over the stack and use a cotton setting, press for a few seconds. The buckram reacts to the steam and the Peltex reacts to the heat.  Let it cool slightly on the ironing board before moving it. (Note: The peltex will want to stick to the press cloths.) The result is a very sturdy, fused button!

I an covering the button in fabric, so the basting thread being left in doesn’t really matter to me. If you were covering it in a lightweight fabric, you might want to use matching basting thread just in case.

That completes the foundation for the buttons. The next post will focus on covering them.




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