Get Creative with Heirloom Buttons
In "Make Your Own Heirloom Buttons", Threads #169, Nancy Nehring explained how to create four heirloom button styles: the Dorset crosswheel, the lace shirtwaist, the cord toggle, and the cord monkey's fist. The article introduced the basic processes for making the traditional versions of these four buttons. The variations shown here add interest to your heirloom buttons. Refer to the article in Threads #169 (or to the diagrams in this post) for the steps, and work in these variations as you go. Don't miss other helpful techniques like this by ordering a subscription of Threads magazine. Print subscriptions come with FREE access to our tablet editions.
Endless variations for Dorset crosswheel buttons:
Combine different threads or change the pattern–
You can use a variety of threads and yarns to weave them and mix several threads together in a single button (see the two-toned-pink and beige button).
Change the pattern as you weave the button's threads; for example, vary the number of spokes, make the spokes asymmetrical, or lengthen or shorten the backstitches to enlarge or decrease the spiraling thread pattern. Leave an open border between the button's wrapped ring and the spiraling backstitches (see the ivory button).
You can sew embroidery stitches, such as stem stitch or chain stitch, over the spokes (see again the two-toned-pink and beige button), or sew a simple under-over weave instead of backstitching.
Embellish with beads–
You can even add beads to the button by stringing the beads onto the spokes as you wrap the button's body and omitting the backstitches (see the copper-thread and clear-beaded button); or add beads to the backstitches as you weave them onto the spokes or onto embroidery stitches (see the tan and green wood-beaded button).
|Dorset Diagram 1||Dorset Diagram 2|
|Dorset two-tone-pink and beige (front)||(back)|
|Dorset Crystal||Dorset Wood Bead|