The origin of buttons is difficult to establish, but the word itself probably stems from either the French bouton for bud or bouter to push. The French were passionate about the potential of the button and by 1250 had established the Button Makers Guild. The Guild produced beautiful buttons with great artistry, much to the delight of the aristocracy. The peasants, however, weren’t allowed to join this button fest, even if they could afford it. The aristocracy passed laws to limit buttons permitted for common usage to thread- or cloth-covered buttons.
Jump seven centuries to the twentieth century, and fabric covered buttons hit great heights in popularity, particularly self-covered buttons. In the garment industry, the term ‘self-covered buttons’ refers to buttons that have been covered in the same fabric as the main body of the garment, whereas in haberdashery terms, it generally alludes to the kits you can purchase in order to make fabric covered buttons at home yourself. I believe self-covered buttons reached their zenith of popularity in the 1960’s, particularly on women’s outerwear (jackets and coats) and dresses. However, over the last four or five years (in the UK high street at least) self-covered buttons have regained popularity and presence. I find it interesting that what once begun as a lowly fastening for peasants, became used to create a polished, sleek and subtly elegant finish to a garment. In fact, from my experience working in clothing companies, including fabric covered buttons to a garment design adds a fair amount to the total costing of its manufacture, as standard plastic buttons are way cheaper.
Today I wanted to try a new way to use small embroidery projects so I decided to make fabric covered buttons. There are a number of cute ways to use these once you make them. You need a couple of simple supplies.
- SMALL EMBROIDERED DESIGNS: Make sure the size of the button you buy can accommodate the size of your embroidery design. For this project I used my designs which are 1-3 inches.
- A BUTTON MAKING KIT – This will include the button shell, button backing, mold, and pusher.
Here is an example of the button making kit I used.
Start by placing your embroidery design in the mold.
The instructions on the button maker has a pattern on the back to trace the perfect sized circle to fit around your button with just enough overlap but for some reason it wasn’t enough overlap for me. I was wondering if it had something to do with the embroidery. I decided to trim the fabric after I fitted it into the mold and around the button.
Pop it out of the mold and TA-DA! Fabric covered button.
There are a lot of fun little things you can do with these.
Put a hair band in the loop on the back to make a bracelet or decorative hair tie.
Just another fun thing to do with your small embroidery projects!
Hope you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by!