craft project: fabric button brooches

June 1, 2011  in diy craft projects, homemade

fabric button brooches

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.

brooches on cushions

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.

button badgesCovered-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

• Scissors

• Scraps of fabric

• Ribbon

• Safety pins

the steps:

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

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  1. These are beautiful. Nice idea on the pillows.

  2. Lilibet says:

    What a lovely idea. They look wonderful. I don’t think mine would turn out quite so polished!!

  3. elisa says:

    i love them! i used to love wearing my mother’s vintage suit jackets with fabric covered buttons, and those are the ones the girls make off with out of our button box. i adore a tiny button with even tinier fabric prints, pure nostalgia! i’m planning a trip to the haberdashers and will add these to the list. sweet. x

  4. […] Medalhas de botões forrados de tecido {via Sania Pell At Home} […]

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  7. Jamie B says:

    These button brooches are adorable. They look really nice on the pillows, too! I hope it is okay, I just couldn’t help but feature your clever button brooches on my button crafts round-up hub here:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!


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  9. Tina Smith says:


    Collecting buttons has been one of the most popular hobbies of all times. Buttons can be used for a variety of purposes, right from holding a coat secure, to card-making and appliqué-work. But most importantly buttons add a touch of beauty and colour to life. Buttons are one of those little joys that create life delightful.

    Some museums and art galleries hold culturally, historically, politically, and/or artistically significant buttons in their collections.
    The Victoria & Albert Museum has many buttons, particularly
    in its jewellery collection, as does the Smithsonian Institution.

    Hammond Turner & Sons, a button-making company in Birmingham, hosts an online museum with an image gallery and historical button-related articles, including an 1852 article on button-making by Charles Dickens. In the USA, large button collect are on public display at The Waterbury Button Museum of Waterbury, Connecticut, and the Keep Homestead Museum of Monson, Massachusetts, which also hosts an extensive online button archive.

    Early button history

    Buttons and button-like objects used as ornaments or seals rather than fasteners have been discovered in the Indus Valley Civilization during its Kot Diji phase (circa 2800-2600 BCE) as well as Bronze Age sites in China (circa 2000-1500 BCE), and Ancient Rome.
    Buttons made from seashell were used in the Indus Valley Civilization for ornamental purposes by 2000 BCE. Some buttons were carved into geometric shapes and had holes pierced into them so that they could be attached to clothing with thread. Ian McNeil (1990) holds that: “The button, in fact, was originally used more as an ornament than as a fastening, the earliest known being found at Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley. It is made of a curved shell and about 5000 years old.”
    Functional buttons with buttonholes for fastening or closing clothes appeared first in Germany in the 13th century. They soon became widespread with the rise of snug-fitting garments in 13th- and 14th-century Europe.

    Clothing Buttons.

  10. Carole Smale says:

    My very talented daughter Kim has made wonderful covered button necklaces using ethnic patterned material. So unusual. This is one of things that I wake up to as I have all my collection of jewelry hanging up on the wall in my bedroom.

  11. […] 8. Fabric button brooches such a fun idea! […]

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Sania Pell freelance interior stylist London.

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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