Sunday, 8 March 2015

dorset buttons tutorial

I had a wonderful time at Knitting & Stitching in Olympia yesterday - a little (and VERY busy) workshop making dorset buttons on the day my first book was published! I ran out of worksheets, so as promised here is a tutorial for the little buttons which feature in my first two books - if you play around with colours you can create a myriad of unique designs - use them on linen & cotton clothes, to secure little purses, as little badges or simply to decorate projects...

you will need (for each button):
1 x 2cm brass curtain ring
1 x skein of 6-strand cotton embroidery thread
1 x blunt ended tapestry needle
sharp scissors
& the courage to un-do your work if it goes wrong!

Step 1 

Cut a 1m - 1.5m length of embroidery cotton* and thread onto a blunt ended embroidery needle. Tie the end of your cotton onto your curtain ring - the first half of a knot or doing up your shoelaces. Start working with the short tail to the right of the knot - turn your ring here if necessary. Working clockwise around the ring, make five or six tight blanket stitches, making sure they cover the thread tail end.

*if your thread gets twisted whilst you work it will knot very easily, so just hold your work by the needle now and again so that it hangs freely and can spin to untwist the thread.

Step 2

You can now snip the tail end flush to the brass ring and continue wrapping it in blanket stitch until it is completely covered. Now run your needle and thread through the top of the first stitch to complete the round. Twist the stitches on the ring so that the outer blanket stitch ridge is positioned on the inside.

Step 3

Wrap the thread around the ring top to bottom, and then twice more as evenly distanced apart as you can, to create 6 ‘spokes’ - at this point the threads will appear quite uneven and random.

Step 4

Make two or three tight stitches at the central crossing-over of the thread spokes to even them out. Finish with your thread at the front of your button (just choose which side looks neater), and between two spokes. 

Step 5

Start filling your button. Insert your needle through to the back of the needle over the adjacent spoke on its right. Push the needle back through to the front of your button two spokes to the left (this includes the one on the right you have just stitched over, so that it emerges between the 1st & 2nd spokes to the left of its starting position.

Step 6

Continue repeating this ‘backstitch’, in effect you will be stitching anti-clockwise around the ring in a spiral until you run out of space on your spokes. You will have small gaps between the top of the spokes*.

Step 7

Turn your button over and work clockwise around the spokes with a small backstitch at the top of each spoke, in effect filling the gaps. Finish your work off with two or three small, tight stitches.

...and finally...

Step 8

Still working on the back of your work, feed your needle back through to the centre point of the button and use it to attach the button to a garment, bag, brooch clip or piece of card!

Well done, n e x t . . . 

*These gaps are less evident, almost non-existent, the more 'spokes' you wrap around your ring at step 3, making step 7 unnecessary.

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