Make Your Own Buttons!

Checkerboard Buttons on the Flashback
Coat Dress by I-Hwa Ho

Have you ever thought you'd NEVER find the right buttons for a project? I have, and it's frustrating!

Your project is done and ready to wear, but you don't have buttons yet, and you can't find them anywhere. You know the right buttons are out there somewhere, but where exactly is a mystery.

I've looked for buttons on my travels and in every fabric store in my zip code, and I have quite a stash, but sometimes the right buttons still elude me.

We just released the 2003 issues of Interweave Knits on a compilation CD, and as I was paging through the CD, I came upon a little sidebar about making your own buttons (called Checkerboard Buttons), and I just had to share it with you.

The project that uses these buttons is called the Flashback Coat Dress by I-Hwa Ho, and it's definitely worth a look—it's called the Flashback because it's a flashback to the 60s—a thigh-length coat dress that you can wear with your go-go boots! (Or tights and your current cool boots…)

The Checkerboard Buttons are placed down the front and on the cuffs of the Flashback Coat Dress. Any of us can use this method and end up with the most perfect buttons for whatever project needs them!


Checkerboard Buttons
Adapted from 50 Heirloom Buttons to Make by Nancy Nehring (Taunton Press 1995, now out of print)

Cut four 1 1/2" (3.8-cm) and six 1⁄2" (1.3-cm) circles out of cardboard (or thin plastic, such as a yogurt cup lid). Cut a 6-yard (5.5-m) length of yarn and thread it on a tapestry needle. Beginning at center of wrong side of form, wrap yarn around cardboard circle from top to bottom two times, then again from side to side two times (Step 1).

Turn form over and rotate it 45 degrees so that previous wraps form an X. Working from top to bottom, wrap yarn around form from side to side 10 times for large buttons (Step 2) and 8 times for small buttons, covering the cardboard between diagonal lines of X.

Working right to left, wrap yarn 10 times for large buttons and 8 times for small buttons around form from top to bottom, using needle to weave yarn over upper half of horizontal threads and under remaining threads a total of 5 times for large buttons and 4 times for small buttons, then under top group of threads and over bottom group an equal number of times (Step 3).

End by fastening off yarn on back of button.

Isn't it amazing how many applications our favorite fibers can have? I hope you'll try making these buttons, and that you'll enjoy the latest Interweave Knits CD Compilation!


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