Did you know you can save some money and a trip to the store by learning how to make fabric buttons? This fast and easy tutorial will show you how to create designer buttons of any size, to match any outfit in just a few minutes. There are 2 ways to make a fabric button and that is with or without a kit.
How to Make Fabric Buttons - Options
Like most sewing, whether you want to use a kit comes down to personal preference. The no kit method is much cheaper as all you need is an old button, and is better when you just need a few buttons on items that will not be washed repeatedly. Kits and button machines cost more, of course, but result in strong, consistently sized buttons.
How to Make Fabric Buttons Without a Machine
The first part of this tutorial will show you how to make fabric buttons without a kit.
No Kit - Supplies
- OLD BUTTONS - Buttons in your desired size. This method will work with flat, domed and even shank buttons.
- FILL - A small amount of polyester fill. This can be used to give flat buttons a nice domed look.
- SEWING SUPPLIES - Hand needle and strong thread. I like to use an upholstery thread.
- FABRIC - Small scraps of fabric. Try to find pieces with small prints.
Buttons with No Kit - Video
Watch this really short video on how to make fabric buttons without any kit or machines. You can see just how easy and quick they really are.
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How to Make Buttons with No Kit - Instructions
Here are the instructions for how to make fabric buttons when you don't have a kit.
- Step 1: Measure your button across the center (the diameter)
- Step 2: Cut a circle with double the diameter of your button. My button was 1 inch (2.5cm) in diameter so I cut a 2 inch (5cm) diameter circle. I just roughly drew the circle. The edges will be hidden so there is no need to worry about it being perfect.
- Step 3: Thread your needle double and knot the end. Stitch around the outside of the circle with a small running stitch. Get as close to the edge as you can and use quite small stitches to make nice, even gathers.
- Step 4: Place your fabric wrong side facing up. For flat buttons, place a very small piece of polyester fill in the center of the fabric. Domed buttons may not need the stuffing, or you can just put a smaller amount to suit your taste.
- Step 5: Put the button in the center of the fabric on top of the fill. For flat buttons, it doesn't matter which way up the button is placed. Domed buttons should be placed with the dome facing down. Shank buttons should be placed with the shank facing up.
- Step 6: Gently pull the thread so the fabric gathers around the button.
- Step 7: Once it is gathered, pull a little tighter and put a few stitches through the back, and knot off the thread. If your button has a shank, make sure the shank is still exposed.
And you are all done and ready to attach your fabric covered button to something wonderful.
How to Make Fabric Buttons - With a Kit
If you are struggling to find the perfect button for your project, why not learn how to make buttons with a kit? Covered buttons are fun to make and look great on clothing, purses, hair accessories, and even jewelry.
Covered button kits can be purchased from most haberdashery and fabric stores or even Amazon and eBay. Popular brands of button kits include Dritz, Birch and Hemline.
Make Buttons With a Kit - Video
Here is a video I made just for you showing you how to make fabric buttons with a kit. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly sewing and craft videos.
How to Make Buttons With a Kit - Instructions
Step 1: Identify the Parts
When you look at your covered button pieces you will notice there is a top and a disk (sometimes called a washer) that will be fitted to the back of the button. Most brands include a cutting guide for your fabric.
Step 1: Cut the Fabric into Circles
Cut out fabric circles in the sizes indicated on the kit packaging. If by some accident you have thrown the packet away, then cut the fabric 1 ¾ times (button x 1.75) the diameter of the button. This should give you enough overlap at the sides without being too large.
PRO TIPS -
- Thin fabric - Double up your fabric or line it with some white cotton
- Stretch fabric - cut it a fraction smaller to account for the stretch
- Thick fabric - thicker fabric can sometimes show wrinkles on the edges of the completed button, so moisten the fabric slightly with water to help it stretch into shape.
Step 3: Sew the Edge
Use a basic running stitch to sew around your fabric circle. Stitch close to the edge and leave a 3 inch (7.5cm) tail at each end without knotting them.
Step 4: Insert the Top
Place the top of your button face down on the wrong side of the fabric circle.
Pull your threads tight to gather the fabric and secure the ends with a knot. Cut the long threads off.
Step 5: Set the Backing
Now push the back washer over the button loop until it clicks into place. Depending on the brand, there may be one side of the washer which is required to be facing down.
These Hemline brand buttons just required a firm push. Some other brands will include a tool for pushing the back into place. Many years ago, when I first started sewing, most brands required you to push down the back with a cotton reel.
How to Make Fabric Buttons - In Conclusion
And there you are, lovely fabric covered buttons you made yourself. Learning how to make fabric buttons opens up a world of possibilities in your sewing projects. Stay tuned for the next tutorial - how to use your buttons to DIY hair accessories.
What are you planning to do with your buttons? Please share your ideas below.
More Button Tutorials
- Types of Buttons
- How to Sew a Button – 4 holes, 2 holes and shank
- How to Sew a Buttonhole - Automatic & Manual
- Hand Sewn Buttonhole
- How to Sew a Button on a Shirt
- Alternatives to Buttonholes
- Button Sizes
How to Make Fabric Buttons
- Button Kit
- Cut out fabric circles 1 ¾ times the diameter of the button (button x 1.75) . Use a basic running stitch to sew around your fabric circle. Stitch close to the edge and leave a 3 inch (7.5cm) tail at each end without knotting them.
- Place the top of your button face down on the wrong side of the fabric circle. Pull your threads tight to gather the fabric and secure the ends with a knot. Cut the long threads off.
- Now push the back washer over the button loop until it clicks into place.
- Repeat for more buttons
Thank you so much for this tutorial!
They are 2.5cm (1 inch). Wood buttons can come much larger though.
You show how to cover a 2.5 inch covered button. My problem is where can you purchase 2.5 inch buttons?
Thank you for this wonderful project. Needed some buttons for a skirt and with the shops being shut thought it would become another UFO in the back of the wardrobe,not anymore. Many thanks.
Fantastic, doing a project with thick Scottish tweed, can't cover metal ones, never thought of this. Thanks a million.
Absolutely fantastic, doing. Project with thick Scottish tweed, can't cover metal button ones, never thought of this method. Thanks Kathy england