Check out the dude on the left! The one with the teeth? Pretty scary-looking, huh, but once you cover those hooks with fabric and snap the lid on, you end up with a plump cutie that will match the garment you’re making perfectly, and all at a cost of 30p plus some scraps of your fabric and time.
My “button blanks” came from a curtain furnishings store and measure 17mm wide. To cover them, I made 35mm discs of interfaced gingham (the lid of a Berocca tube proved a perfect template!). The interfacing is a good idea if you’re after plumpness and solid colour. Without it, the metallic surface of the button would reflect light through the fabric, if it’s of the thin kind. If you don’t want your button to have the bulk of interfacing, you could paint the button surface in a suitable shade of opaque nail varnish.
Gertie’s tutorial was invaluable in providing the other tip for a creating a professional finish. With your machine, make a gathering stitch (i.e. loose tension, longish stitch) round the edge of the fabric disc, leaving tentacles of thread hanging. Pull on the bobbin tentacles till the disc morphs into a little cap. Now place the toothed button into the cup, pull on the bobbin threads some more and hook all of the fabric onto the teeth as tightly as possible. Snap on the back (press hard with your fingertips rather than your nails) and when you hear a cute, satisfying click, you’re done.
I deliberately made one button without using Gertie’s method, by pressing a flat disc onto the teeth. It didn’t look as good (notice the gathers around the edge) so it’s really worth those extra 3-4 minutes to make the caps!
The dude on the left is the slacker!
Now I’ve discovered these, I’m going to grab some more button blanks and use them in craft projects: to decorate bags, adorn hairclips, or any other suggestion you may care to throw my way. Probably not a good idea to give them to babies and pets though….