It is a truth universally acknowledged . . . that the right button can elevate your handmade clothing to a higher level of elegance and professionalism. Sometimes, covered buttons offer a subtle, tailored look without distracting from the rest of the garment -- they even show up frequently in historical clothing. But covered button kits can get expensive, and may be fiddly to use with certain fabrics.
I recently realized that instead of spending $10 on covered button kits and then battling molds and fabric into submission, I could repurpose the dozens of old buttons that have made their way to me through the years. In this case, I had a dozen of these plastic, pale salmon dome shank buttons -- they were scratched and kind of faded, and I couldn't see myself ever using them in their current state. But they were just the right size and shape I needed for a project, and when covered with fabric, no one would see their faded plastic shanks anyway!
Note: this technique works best with shank buttons.
To repurpose/upcycle buttons into covered buttons:
- Cut a circle of fabric slightly larger than the button you will cover. Make sure that there is enough fabric to fold to the back of the button and cover all of the button except the shank.
- Baste around the edge of your fabric circle. These stitches don't have to be neat!
- Draw up the gathering stitches slightly so that your circle looks like a little muffin cap, and tuck the button inside.
- Tightly pull on the gathering stitches until the fabric is snug around the button. If there is excess fabric covered the button shank, carefully snip away the fabric until the shank is visible.
- Make back stitches in the fabric around the shank -- these will help secure your gathering stitches. Back stitch around the shank as many times as you need to until the fabric is secure.
And that's it! Easy, cheap, upcycled covered buttons! I found it took me about 3 minutes to make each covered button. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!