I made these little fabric brooches last year for the launch party of my book. They were little gifts for my guests to wear at the party and to take away with them as keepsakes. Each one was unique and my guests could take their pick and choose the one they liked most. You could use this idea for weddings too (make a batch as wedding favours for your guests) and they are a great conversation starter or ice breaker when people don’t know each other. They also work well as decorative additions to liven up plain cushions and other furnishings.
These were all made from scraps of fabric and ribbons that I already had in my haberdashery stash and are an adaptation of the ‘covered buttons’ project on page 176 of my book The Homemade Home.
You can use either a metal badge making kit (I use my children’s Bandai badge maker) which come with pins for attaching, or you can buy diy button kits from a haberdashery which have a front part and a back part that simply snap together, sandwiching the fabric and holding it firm. I have explained the haberdashery button covering method below, as it is more accessible.
Covering buttons in an unexpected fabric adds quirkiness and individuality to an outfit or cushion, and they work well grouped together. Each button requires only a scrap of fabric, so you can go to town with your combinations of colours and patterns, or opt for a more coordinated theme. Here I have used different types and colours of fabric – Liberty prints, plain linen, geometric patterns and vintage fabric too, along with various ribbons in different widths and materials in neutral colours, spots and of course my regulars – neon pinks and oranges.
Covered-button kits are available from most haberdashers, they have little hooks to grip the fabric and a snap-on back to finish it off and keep it neat. They have a loop (shank) on the back for attaching.
materials and equipment:
• Button covering kit (buttons can be bought in various sizes and are not too expensive)
• Needle and thread
• Scraps of fabric
• Safety pins
1. Cut out a circle of fabric with a diameter slightly less than twice the diameter of the button.
2. Using a needle and thread, sew running stitch around the edge of the circle and place the button upside down in the center of the circle and pull the threads together to gather the fabric around the button and knot.
3. Place your ribbon on top of the gathered fabric (still on the back), in the position you are happy with. Check the position of the shank if you want your ribbon to hang straight down. Snap the back on so it clamps the ribbon in place as well as finishing the button. If your fabric is thick it can be quite difficult to push the back on. A cotton or fine linen works well.
4. If the shank sticks out too far you can push it in so it is flatter to the back.
5. Attach a small safety pin so you can fix it to clothes or furnishings or you could sew it on to be more permanent.
Have fun making!
If you try this I’d love to see how you get on and you can post your photos on my Facebook page here.
This project of mine was originally featured on makeitandmendit.com
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, art/creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 20 years, and is well known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for architects and property developers. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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