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

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Module 3 Chapter 7 Dorset Buttons

I didn't expect to like this part of the chapter.  I thought it would be too difficult and fiddly, but to my surprise I really loved it and found Dorset buttons totally addictive!

First of all, here's my collection of rings which I chose to use.

3.7.12 a variety of rings including bangles and an old embroidery inner hoop which somehow had lost its outside.

I obtained the small brass rings on the internet from Henry's Buttons in Dorset, along with an interesting and informative booklet for £6 which told a little of the history of the craft along with very clear instructions.

3.7.13 Instruction booklet

3.7.14  My Dorset buttons details below
a.  My first attempt.  On reflection, a larger ring might have made it easier for a first try.  It's not very even, but reasonably close to how it should look.

b.  Second attempt.  I tried changing the colour for the rounding and I like the effect.

c.  I used the bigger (32mm) ring and made 10 spokes.  I then tried needleweaving on pairs of spokes.

d.  A repeat of b.

e.  I used a variegated thread for the casting and laying and used it and a plain yellow for the rounding.

f.  I used a traditional technique on a 32mm ring, but used paper thread.  I like the roughness of this.

g.  This is the honeycomb crosswheel variation from Marion Howitt's booklet detailed above.  It gives a spiral in the centre - an unexpected and happy result.

h. This uses the same technique as f, but with a thicker variegated knitting yarn.

i.  This is my second attempt at a bird's eye button.  These were made without metal rings, making them soft enough for babies' garments.  The yarn is wound 14 times around a knitting needle and then blanket stitch is used all the way round.  I used a shiny rayon thread.

j.  This was my first attempt at a bird's eye button.  The wool was too fuzzy to be able to see the hole and the stitches clearly, and I used too thin a knitting needle.  The second attempt worked much better.

I then had a bit of fun changing the scale and materials used and trying a related technique of using crochet to cover a ring.

3.7.15  Having fun - details below

k.  A 50mm plastic ring covered with three rounds of crochet using a variegated knitting yarn.  The first found used double crochet to cover the ring, the second round consisted of one double crochet stitch worked into each stitch of the previous round and the third round produced a narrow frill by working two double crochet stitches into each stitch of the previous round.  I filled the hole in the middle with e. from the previous illustration.

l.  Simply double crochet worked all around a 32mm ring using a mohair thread.  I filled the hole in the middle with a 20mm ring that I had covered with strips of Tyvek and then wrapped with metallic thread before ironing between two sheets of baking parchment.

m.  A thin bangle from a charity shop cast and laid with dishcloth cotton.  The honeycomb pattern rounding is done with strips of dyed interfacing (it happened to be iron-on interfacing and I like the subtle pattern of dots from the adhesive.

3.7.16 A detail of the Tyvek button as described in l. above

3.7.17  My biggest button, made from an embroidery hoop

I had fun with this last button.  I wrapped the hoop with strips of dyed felt and made the spokes from garden string.  I then used the traditional method of roundingusing (from the centre outwards) strips of dyed muslin, metallic polyester chiffon, a wipe-clean disposable tablecloth (charity shop find - I hoped it was Tyvek, but it isn't) and strips of old navy blue opaque tights.  In view of my experiences today at Accident and Emergency I couldn't resist adding assorted items from my first aid kit so there is also some crepe bandage, strips of Elastoplast and little roses formed from tubular finger bandages(!)


  1. These are gorgeous Catherine.especially your last 'contemporary' one.

  2. These are lovely Catherine. I've just finished mine (not blogged yet) and I agree they are compulsive.

  3. These buttons are great, so imaginative.

  4. My favourite is the L one in 3.7.15. Very grand. I'm so glad you're better and making lovely things again.

  5. Love your samples, Catherine. What a great idea to make a large version using an embroidery hoop and to crochet others. I too enjoyed this chapter and visited the Golden Hill Museum in Shaftesbury which I believe was curated by the lady who runs Henry's Buttons.

  6. Forgot to say, hope your finger is better! Bet it hurt!

  7. What a lovely selection,I especially like your twist using crochet.

  8. Love making Dorset buttons. You are never stuck for embellishing clothes with your own unique designs and that can make even the most crafty of friends envious.Catherine,you have a talent and as I often say to each of us a different talent but sometimes it takes someone to wake it up .I have now got a challenge

  9. These are stunning Catherine and so imaginative

  10. Hi Catherine, came over to see your Blog. Thank you for visiting mine and I appreciate your kind comments about my art. Wowzy! Studying embroidery seems like a huge job to me. I am intrigued by it but have only done some basic work and that was years ago. I love the buttons-especially that honeycomb design. So, I'll see you you around..over at Traci's etc. Remember you can post work you've done previously for her 31 day challenge. Cheers-Darlene