Making your own buttons is one of the best ways to add a personalized touch to a special project, and heirloom button styles are particularly distinctive: Each one is a small, handmade art piece. They are not often seen outside of antique garments or historical reproductions, but they can create a truly custom closure in just the right size and color for your modern garments.
The first two styles, Dorset and lace shirtwaist, are needle-lace buttons worked in thread on rings. The others, cord toggle and cord monkey's fist, are knotted cord buttons. Each type is markedly different from the others, and learning to make them introduces you to the basic methods necessary for more advanced button-making techniques.
These button styles are softer and more flexible than shell, bone, plastic, or metal buttons, and they can be more comfortable to wear. You can also vary the techniques with multiple thread or cord colors or by adding beads or other objects for decorative effects. Nancy Nehring will teach you how to make four relatively simple heirloom button styles in this article from Threads #169.
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