Work done for City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery with Distant Stitch.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Certificate Module 3 Chapter 7 Simple Button Making

Another enjoyable chapter.  My resolution to post once a week didn't quite come off, thanks to a throat virus and just a very busy time.  However, I am working more regularly, little and often rather than a great huge amount of work then nothing for a month or two.  I think this method of working is much better and keeps me in touch with the work.

I started with making some covered buttons.

3.7.1 covered buttons

For my first button, I covered a small  pebble with wadding and then a piece of navy nylon opaque tights.  I cut the fabric in a circle and gathered it at the bottom, securing it with stitches.  I then embroidered two spirals on the smooth top.

For my second button, I covered a bottle top with wadding and then the same navy blue nylon, but this time, gathered it at the top, binding the excess fabric with a contrasting thread and snipping the excess to make a little fringe at the top.  I then stitched a running stitch spiral around the button with a contrasting metallic thread.


3.7.4 was another bottle top, covered as before, pulled up at the top with excess material folded in and secured by stitches, giving a gathered effect.  I stitched a spiral in chain stitch on top of the gathers, adding French knots in some of the chains.

For 3.7.5, I covered a rawplug in with wadding and nylon tights, folding and stitching as neatly as I could.  I then wrapped some metallic mesh fabric around the middle and secured it by wrapping with orange metallic thread.

I then tried covering some card with wadding and dyed cotton.  Before covering it, I marked in vanishing marker the boundaries of the card rectangle and embroidered another spiral using chain stitch and couching.  I didn't think of putting a ruler beside it when photographing it, but the orange rectangle is 5 cm by 3 cm and you can judge the size of the others in illustration 3.7.1.

At this point I ran out of ideas and motivation and couldn't  think of anything interesting I could do with covering buttons.  Perhaps some inspiration will strike at a later time!

I went on to making the toggle buttons.  This is seriously addictive.  Every one was a surprise as it is impossible to predict exactly how the material will behave when heated.  As soon as I saw one result I had to start on another.  I wrapped some beads around a metal skewer, and then went out to the patio to do the heat gun and soldering iron bit.  After the recent damage done to my liver by antibiotics, I am now very aware of toxins around me, so preferred to work outside so as to avoid inhaling fumes.  I had to wait for dry weather to do this and had to work in short bursts, with frequent breaks to thaw out indoors with some hot tea!

3.7.7 My collection of toggles (so far)

3.7.8 Simply layers of fabric wrapped and heated with a heat gun, some wrapped with thread or a contrasting strip of acrylic felt.

3.7.9 different shapes of acrylic felt, some wrapped with thread which partly melted

3.7.10 layered fabrics wrapped, bound with thread, heated with a heat gun and then incised with a soldering iron

3.7.10 These are my favourites.  I  coloured Tyvek and Lutradur, layered them together and machine stitched  in small spirals before wrapping and heat-treating.  I love the fuzziness of them.  The thread I used was cotton which wasn't affected by the heat and sometimes retained the shape of the stitching.

After the fun and excitement of this, I thought the Dorset buttons would be a bit boring.  I had trouble finding any suitable rings and could only find two small curtain rings lurking at the bottom of the tool box, so had a go.  It was surprisingly enjoyable and I'd like to experiment more with some less conventional ideas.   I have found an online source of the necessary rings and have sent away for some, so will put some more on my next posting.  Here are my two early samples:

3.7.11 two small Dorset buttons 


  1. I just love these beads Catherine, especially the Tyvec and Lutradur ones. You look so concentrated on your new picture.

  2. Good to see your beady works, the toggles are great. I got a bit carried away with the bead chapter and made jewellery from the excess! Enjoy, take care ...cheers judith

  3. Oooh, Catherine. These are beautiful! I love the tyvek & lutrador toggles.

  4. These are delicious,you could probably list them on Etsy and make some money!
    Thanks for your encouraging comments on my blog.

  5. These are gorgeous, Catherine! I'm going to experiment with Tyvek soon to use in my own artwork. Thank you so much for showing me your samples of it today.

  6. What a lovely collection of toggles and buttons, Catherine. You must be very pleased with the Tyvek samples, they are great!

  7. You and Pascale are obviously working on the same chapter! Some lovely Dorset buttons - my favourite.

  8. me too re: the toggles. I want to touch and hold them - carry them in my purse as amulets. xx

  9. Those heat treated ones are awesome and I can see them dangling from a handmade journal.