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How To Make
fabric-covered buttons

Create the Mood

using old buttons as a base

gallery contents
  1. covered buttons

I wore a lovely purple hat with rather boring dull green polyester suit.

This gallery shows how I added detail to the suit. This is the method that I used and I hope that you will find it useful when making your own outfits.

Velvet binding added around the jacket. I also added slits up the sides.

Then I modified old buttons and added them below the pockets


before - suit purchased from a charity shop.
Dog rescued from an animal sanctury
after - binding and pocket buttons
more modifications to come
Old plastic buttons with the same diameter as the original front buttons were chosen.

Paisley patterns are perennially fashionable. This remnant is made from polyester, as is this suit.

I used the smallest flower motif for all the buttons since it occured in many places in the pattern

I always wash and iron fabric first to check for colour fastness and shrinkage

Using a circle template I checked the button size against the fabric flower


filigree centre

Old, pre-used, metal motifs were renovated before being used as the button centre.

(I did not spray them with metal paint to look like new as I wanted this slightly worn-out look.)

One of these metal motifs was sewn into the centre of each fabric flower button.

I worked in a hoop as this polyester is very slippery, like silk. Hooping therefore makes the sewing and marking circles much easier.

Positioning each flower to be worked near the edge of the hoop makes it easier to handle when quantities of fabric are involved.

Bearing in mind that these buttons will have to withstand a lot of wear each metal motif was sewn on through every hole in the metal filigree using polyester thread.

(As these metal motifs are slightly curved I did not glue first, as I normally do.)

Waxing the thread first helps it to slide through the fabric and makes it less prone to knot as it goes.  
Individual flower circles were cut out only after all the sewing had been completed.
pad base
Pad the size of the button can be made of any wadding; I used foam. The thicker the wadding the higher curve the finished button top.

A little glue was smeared on the padding (using a chop-stick) just to hold it in place whilst being manipulted into place under the fabric.


Six buttons for the pockets
fabric covers

1. check sizes

As there was a limited amount of fabric I did not want to make a mistake. So I did a check run on the back of the fabric before marking and cutting out fabric circles at the front.

The button radius was checked

and the same amount added again to the radius
Using the circle template, a circle was drawn in tailors chalk.

2. working from the front

a pin was placed in the centre of the chosen circle template and over the centre of each metal motif in turn so that a circle can be marked on the fabric.

The circles were cut out with scissors leaving a small margin to the outside of the chalk circle

Working from the outside of the fabric a knot was made in waxed thread and loose running stiches made to tack down the cut edges using the chalk marks as guielines. The beginning and the ends of the thread are left dangling.

The fabric circle is turned inside-out both and thread ends pulled up a little to make a cup-shape.

One wadding-covered button is placed inside each cup, wadding side downwards. The thread ends are then pulled up a little more and the gathers evenly distributed..

Check the button front and redistribute any gathers still occuring around the edge.

Tie both ends of the thread together so that the gathers stay tight. To tighten the front fabric, sew stitches across the centre, pulling up the thread tightly after each stitch.

Then sew around the gathers and pull up the thread.

If the fabric on the front is still loose add more sewing across the gathers on the back, pulling the thread tight as you go.


This is also the method I use to make a shank on the back, which I will use when I get round to covering the front buttons.  
finished buttons
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last updated 9 July, 2012