Hello dearies! Today I am going to share with you a tutorial for making couture covered buttons, like the ones I made for my peplum blouse. I have to credit Casey of Casey Maura for inspiring me to do this tutorial, for it was from reading her previous blog, Elegant Musings, that I came across this technique. Unfortunately Casey’s tutorial is no longer on the web, so I decided to put out my own couture covered buttons tutorial, so everyone can make their own lovely covered buttons!
Measure & Cut
Before we get started, you will need a bone or plastic ring (this will determine the finished diameter of your button, so make sure you get the right size), and a button that sits perfectly just above the edge of the ring when you place it in the middle. It’s okay if the button perfectly fits inside the ring, it just won’t sit up and have as 3D of an effect as the one in this tutorial. Also, the button can either have a shank or not, it doesn’t really matter.
Measure your button’s diameter. Multiply this number by two. If your button is super thick, you may want to add 1/8-1/4″ to this number.
Using the number you got in that calculation, cut out a square using that measurement. My button was 7/8″ in diameter. I multiplied that number by two (1-3/4″) and added 1/4″ seam allowance (which turned out to be un-necessary in the end).
Now do the same thing for your ring. Measure, multiply by two, but do not add any extra seam allowance!
Cut out your second square according to the dimensions you just figured from the ring’s diameter.
Last step before we get to sewing, is to trim the corners of your squares so you get two reasonably accurate circles. The top circle is the fabric for covering the ring, and the bottom one is for covering the button.
Taking needle and thread, form a running stitch about 3/16″ away from from the circle’s edge. Make sure that your thread comes out on the right side when you’ve finished. Don’t knot off your thread quite yet though.
Place your button in the middle and…
Pull up the gathering thread as tight as you possibly can.
The right side of your button should be smooth, and the outer circumference free of wrinkles. If your fabric is horribly bunchy around the button’s edge, undo the gathering stitch, and trim down your circle just a tiny bit. Run the gathering thread again, and pull it up tight. You may have to adjust the size of your circle a few times before you get it quite right, as every fabric is going to have a different character to it, and therefore will require slightly different treatment.
Once you have your button smooth, pull the gathering thread to make sure it is as tight as you can make it (without snapping it). Now take your needle and push it through one of the folds of the gathers, straight through to a fold on the opposite side of the fabric “shank”. Pull up tight, and repeat, going at a different angle, to a different fold. Repeat again until you have stitched all the way around the fabric “shank”. The goal is to tack down the folds nice and secure so you don’t get any funny wrinkles at the edge.
Knot off your thread.
For the ring, you will want to make a running gathering stitch same as we did for the button. Place your ring in the center and pull your thread up tight, but do not knot it off. As with the button, you may have to adjust the size of your circle slightly in order to get it wrinkle free. Since I was working with a quilting cotton, the wrinkles were a bit more persistent then with your average apparel fabric, so I decided not to argue with the fabric and just let it do what it was going to do. But this next step will help you to calm down those wrinkles a little bit.
Taking your gathering thread, making sure the thread is still tight, punch your needle down through a fold/wrinkle near the inner edge of the ring, out to the under side of the fabric.
Pull tight to smooth out the wrinkle on the right side.
Now take a tiny stitch at an angle to catch another wrinkle on the right side.
Repeat this process of catching a fold/wrinkle on the right side, taking a tiny stitch on the wrong side, and coming back up to catch another wrinkle until you have worked your way around the button, and everything is smoothly tacked down. Knot off, see note below next two pictures.
Again, my quilting cotton wasn’t quite cooperating, so there are a tiny bit of wrinkles, but we still have a chance to shift those out of place if we didn’t quite take care of them in the previous steps.
Now, if you have enough of your gathering thread left from your ring, do not clip your thread that you just knotted off. Instead, bring it out to the inner edge of your ring to begin sewing your ring and your button together. If you don’t have enough thread, you can go ahead and clip the thread and start a new line of thread. Simply knot the end, take a small stab through the upper layer of fabric on the ring, and bring it out at the inner edge.
Putting Them Together
Now, taking both your upper button and your ring, put them together, making sure they are centered and the raw fabric edges are sandwiched between the two pieces. Slip stitch the outer edge of the button and the inner edge of the ring together all the way around. You can slightly smooth out any leftover wrinkles as you complete this step. Knot off your thread, pass it through to the back of the button and clip.
Making the Thread Button Shank
Taking a new thread, doubled up, make a knot at the end, and slide your needle through to the back in between the button and the ring, trying not to catch any fabric.
Come out at the back a little to one side of the very center back. Take a small stitch to the opposite side of the center, but don’t pull it completely tight. This loop will form our button shank.
Now we are going to do a buttonhole stitch around our thread loop. Put your needle underneath the thread loop.
Take your thread just below the eye of the needle, pull it up to the left side and around underneath the needle to the right side.
Pull your needle through, and as you tighten the stitch, scoot it towards the end of the loop where you started.
Keep forming buttonhole stitches, working your way down the thread loop until you’ve come up to the other end. Knot off your thread, pass it through to the right side in between the ring and the button, and clip the thread end close to the button and ring.
And voila! You are done! Now these buttons may take a long time, but the end result is totally worth it. Not only are they sturdier then most covered button kits, but they can be made to any size and fabric specification that you want!
Have you ever made “couture” covered buttons before?
Brigid, the Middle Sister and Singer