I discovered Dorset buttons sometime in the past year or so. The idea that buttons could be made by hand with cloth and thread completely fascinated me, especially if it meant handstitching and using a variety of materials and stitching skills! This post will feature Singleton buttons that are one of four types of Dorset buttons.
Below is a photo of the first one I made. Every time this “scanner” tries a new craft, I get excited when it turns out the way I hope it will. This one did, with its shape defined by the stitching shown in green.
The next photo shows the back of the button attached with handsewing, and the button shank that can be used to sew the button to a garment or something else. I cut the pink back circle from a piece of suede leather. After sewing the back to the button, I then sewed the half-circular shank to the back. That part was fun; you basically sew strands of thread around a form, such as a knitting needle, several times. After that, you create blanket stitches around the lengths of thread rounds, so that you end up with a nice strong shank.
This next photos shows parts from the various stages of button-making. I used one-inch white rings to form the linen fabric circles into buttons. I hope in the blue button you can see that the circles of linen (or whatever fabric scraps you have on hand) are gathered around the white ring, and then the gathering stitches are secured closed. After that, you tuck the gathered fabric to the inside of the newly-formed button; this extra fabric is what gives a rounded shape to the button. It takes practice to push that fabric to the inside without breaking the secured gathering stitches; be sure to use strong thread. I use Gutterman brand.
Looking at the blue button again, you can see that I am using back stitches with orange embroidery thread to define the inside border of the button.
After doing the same process to four buttons, I began adding simple circles of small beads to the tops of the buttons.
After adding the bead circles, I added little flowers made from French knots. Speaking of French knots, I have been embroidering for a long time, and I only recently figured out how to make French knots correctly. I have tried several times in the past, and never could succeed. I don’t know why, but I could not wrap my mind around the concept of how to place the needle for wrapping, without the knot coming undone. It turns out you point the needle UP the length of thread, not DOWN. How simple, and yet I kept missing that. Oh well, now that I know, I probably will use knots a lot, haha!
The thing I find so difficult about learning new making skills is that I end up wanting to incorporate them all into more projects! Oh well, at least I know that I pretty much stick to two areas of maker creativity: anything textiles and stitch related, and anything paper related. I don’t make glass or wood or metal products, and have no interest in doing so.
Have you heard of Dorset buttons? Have you ever tried making them? Do you have any projects you are working on over this coming winter season? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear.