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Making Cloth Buttons. “To make a cloth button, cut a 1 ½” diameter circle, then sew a gathering stitch around it.

Making Cloth Buttons

Gather the stitch to make a kind of purse; flatten the purse into a bulging disk, with the opening in the center of the top; then sew opposite points on the edge of the disk to each other to make the button.” -- From Daily Life in Chaucer’s England, by Jeffrey L. Singman and Will McLean. Westport, CT; Greenwood Press, 1995.

Singman’s method works, but I do it a little differently. The following button was cut from skirt-weight, tabby-woven wool, slightly fulled. Double your thread and pass both cut ends through the eye of your needle. Draw up the gathers to form a small pouch and flatten it out with the gathers in the center. Sew a second row of gathering stitches as close to the edge as possible, passing through both layers. Carefully draw up the gathers, pushing the raw edges inside as the disc pulls up into a ball. If your button looks a little lopsided, don’t worry.

Fabric Buttons. Emmelyne's Cloth Buttons I love making dozens and dozens of little buttons for 14th century clothing.

Fabric Buttons

I've met a lot of people who find making buttons frustrating, so over the years I've shared these pictures and instructions on mailing lists and in person. It seemed time to put them up in a more accessible place. I won't claim that this is how all medieval people always made their buttons, but it gets the job done. The trick is to do the gathering in two passes, rather than trying to gather and stuff in the raw edges all at one time. Cut out a circle of fabric. Draw up the thread into a little pouch and flatten it out with your thumb so the opening is centered.

Holding the disk flat between your thumb and first fingers, take the thread between the two layers of fabric, straight across to the opposite side of the disk, and out the folded edge. Using a finger to keep the raw edges inside, draw up the thread again, making another little pouch. Knotted Fabric Buttons and Beads. Learn how to make a basic overhand knot.

Knotted Fabric Buttons and Beads

Learn how to make a basic ball knot. Learn how to make a braided knot. by Diane Ericsonan Online Extra to Threads #117 Have a few fabric scraps lying around? I mean those little scraps that you've been saving for years. Making little fabric gems is quick and easy, and you'll find everything you need around your home: a sturdy needle, scissors, knitting needles or nails, and some white glue. Fabrics Different fabrics will work with varying results, so the main thing you need to know about your fabric is whether you like the way it looks when it's knotted.

To make beads in graduating sizes, the strip you make your knot from and/or the filling material you use to pad it with has to increase or decrease in thickness to step the beads up or down. Folding, knotting, and finishing Below you'll find directions for a variety of basic knots, folds, and rolls that you can apply to your fabrics. Basic overhand knot.