Hello and welcome back to my blog! In today’s post, I have a new tutorial for you – we’re going to make embroidered fabric-covered buttons. 😊 They’re soooo much fun and very easy to make.
One of the things I love the most about embroidery is how easily you can weave it anywhere you want, especially on clothing. The endless possibilities for embellishing your clothes with embroidery are mind-blowing. What better way to create something absolutely uniquely yours. In my last year of Costume Studies, I tried to incorporate embroidered touches as much as I could in the projects we got to make for ourselves.
Buttons on a Dress
I designed and sewed this cute lilac dress for an assignment in Draping, and couldn’t resist the opportunity to add a bit of embroidery.
I had previously discovered (and became enamoured with) fabric-covered buttons while working on an assignment for another class. They were so fun and easy to work that I knew I had to get my own kit for making them.
They don’t have to be embroidered of course, you can definitely just cover them with any fabric you like. But everything is better with embroidery, so I just had to give it a go. I love how they look on this dress. They’re so cute and dainty and exactly what I had in mind.
Embroidered Fabric-Covered Buttons Tutorial
Without further ado, let me show you how to make your own! It’s very easy and adds such a detailed personal touch. The embroidery is very small though, so it might be a bit challenging in that respect, but it also means the design isn’t very detailed.
The tiny flower cluster I went with is very easy to stitch. Here we go!
First, you will want to gather the following supplies:
You will need fabric, either to match an existing project, or something different entirely. The lilac fabric I used for my dress was 100 % cotton, and the pale turquoise I’m using for the tutorial is a cotton as well. I recommend using a medium weight fabric, or a thinner fabric with interfacing. You will also need fabric shears to cut the fabric.
Next, you will need basic embroidery supplies:
- Needle (I used DMC #9 embroidery needle)
- 3 1/4″ inch embroidery hoop (you can use a bigger one too if you’re making many buttons on the same piece of fabric)
- Floss: for the tutorial, I used DMC #3347, #744, #402
- Marking tools: A water-soluble pen (or any other “erasable” pen) is useful for this project and/or a pencil.
You will also need a button-covering kit. These can be found in fabric stores such as Fabricville (Canada) or Jo-Ann’s.
Inside the kit you should have:
- Buttons to cover
They have two parts. The top is shaped like a dome and has a smooth surface, and the back is a little disk with the shank on top.
- A plastic holder
- A “pusher”
- Instructions and template
Don’t throw out the packaging! Likely, the kit’s instructions will be written on it. You will need the templates that are printed on the back of the package.
The kit you buy will tell you what button size is included. The one I got was for #24 buttons, so that means I will cut out #24 circular template on the back.
And lastly, you will need paper scissors to cut out the template, and an optional piece of wood (or other smooth and slightly heavy object) to help with making the buttons.
- Cut a piece of fabric to fit inside your embroidery hoop. Consider how many buttons you want to make. If you’re making the #24 size, you will need approx. 5/8” in between each.
2. Mark the size of the button on your fabric to determine where to embroider. Normally markings are made on the wrong side of the fabric, but in this case that wouldn’t be very helpful. This is why an erasable pen works well, because you will be able to get rid of the mark easily. You can also use chalk or a heat-erasable pen if that works for you.
3. Make any markings you might need for your embroidery design. Because it’s so small you might prefer not to mark anything. I used a 0.5 mechanical pencil to lightly mark the stem and leaf placement of my flower. If you want to make the same design I did, simply draw a vertical line for the main stem. Add two little lines at an upward angle about the middle of the stem, one on each side for the leaves. I also added two slightly longer lines angled upwards at the top of the stem for more “leaves”. You can definitely do all this with your thread though, and skip the markings entirely. I work more steadily with markings so I prefer to do it.
4. Embroider the design. Place the fabric inside your hoop and tighten the screw until the fabric is nicely taut. Thread your needle with 2 strands of DMC #3347 or the colour of your choice. I’m using a knot to secure my thread because it makes the most sense for such a tiny area. See this post on how to start & end your threads for other methods.
a) Stitch the main stem and upper “leaves” with a splitstitch or other outline stitch of your choice. The leaves are so tiny that they’re just a small straight stitch.
b) Work French knots above the stem using two strands of DMC #402 and #744 to create the flower cluster. There is no real order to this, just scatter the knots as you wish to create a flower head or cluster form.
Embroidery is done! Secure your threads at the back and un-hoop your fabric.
5. Cut out the appropriate template at the back of your button kit packaging (I’m using size 24) and place it evenly over your embroidery. You can do this at the back too, but I find it’s more accurate to do it on the good side. Trace the template with a pencil or erasable pen. This creates the seam allowance necessary to cover the button successfully.
6. Cut out your fabric along the template line you just marked.
7. Take the plastic holder, and center your embroidered fabric over its hole. The original marking you made of the button top should fit right along the edge of the white thing. You can also center the white thing on your fabric right side up first if that’s easier, then slowly turn it around so that the fabric is closest to you, good side facing the hole.
8. Place the button top smooth face down on the fabric. Make sure it’s well centered over the embroidery.
9. Push down with your thumb, or the pusher provided in the kit (I like to use a piece of wood to push down on the pusher to make it even easier). The button top will end up at the bottom of the holder and the seam allowance will fold on itself around the dome. If you see that the button isn’t straight, that there is too much fabric on one side and not enough on another, you can pop the button out and start again, re-centering your fabric better.
10. If you’re satisfied with the eveness of the seam allowance, push down gently on it even more to make sure none of it sticks out. Add the button back, shank facing up atop the folded seam allowance.
11. Here is where the pusher is definitely useful! Place it over the shank (the hole covering the shank) and push down until you feel it sink in to the button top. I like to use the piece of wood again to push down, but you can do it with your palm or another object.
12. Pop the button out of the holder.
13. Pray and hope the embroidery is well-centered.
14. CONGRATS, YOU DID IT!!!!! Look at that cute little button!
And that’s it! Now you’re ready to cover everything with embroidered buttons. 😉
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it will give you some inspiration for adding subtle and delicate touches of embroidery to your work. The good news with this sort of embroidery, too, is that it doesn’t take long at all, but really pulls an outfit together.
The lilac dress would be very different without the embroidered buttons.
I added embroidery to the back as well, but not because I wanted to add more delicate touches. No, I added embroidery there BECAUSE I CUT A HOLE WITH THE SERGER. A big, super noticeable gash right in the middle of the mid-riff section, just before my project was due. If you know me, this is EXACTLY the kind of stupid mistake I often make and there is zero surprise in this happening, BUT IT WAS A SAD MOMENT.
Thankfully, embroidery is here to solve all your problems, so I just mended it with matching thread first, then covered up the ugly scar with a little branch of some nondescript purple flower.
HA! TAKE THAT, SERGER.
Thank you for coming to “Part 75 Why Anne Will Never Buy a Serger”.
Have a lovely week and happy button-covering!
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