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educo | Posted in Fabric and Trim on


I’m looking for a book or a website that shows various ways of making handmade buttons. Like Chinese knots, or anything elaborate like that. I’m looking for old world techniques that I can adapt for modern times. Any source of vintage trime books would be greatly appreciated!


  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    Chinese knot buttons are listed in almost every knot book, macrame book, or Chinese decorative knotting book. In public libraries, you can usually find "fishermen's knots" or "knots for practical and decorative purposes" books, too.

    I'm fairly sure that Threads had an article on Chinese knots and frogs, and there is a discussion of this kind of knotwork on this forum, too. The monkey's fist or paw knot is the simplest button style, and an internet search turned up some really well-illustrated instructions for making it. Have fun!

    1. educo | | #3

      Thank you everyone for your responses! I'm looking forward to checking these out!

    2. Stillsewing | | #4

      That is a fantastic list of web sites. How do you keep track - or even find - all of them.

      1. rodezzy | | #5

        just keep typing in different ways of asking for something on the search engines until I find what I want.  Copy and paste it to my reply box.

        1. Stillsewing | | #7

          Thanks, you must be much more computer literate than I am - and have more patience.Good sewing and crafting!

  2. User avater
    purduemom | | #6

    Hi Educo,

    I have a nice little book from Tauton Press - 50 Heirloom Buttons, by Nancy Nehring.  Great photos, diagrams and directions.  


    1. educo | | #8

      I just reserved this at the library, I have to wait for it to be available. I'm really excited to see this book!

  3. User avater
    CostumerVal | | #9

    I have a book for reinactments titled Rural Pennsylvania Clothing.  It focuses on German immigrants in the early 18th century.

    The button directions are to wrap a size 6-7 knitting needle with linen thread 40 X's.  (something to do with the 40 days in the bible)  Then procede around this ring with a buttonhole stitch until it's stiff.  Overlap this with another row of buttonhole stitch and then make a thread shaft.  The medieval sites use the same technique, but they put a bead in it.

    Otherwise, buttons were anything flat and round and wrapped in the same fabric as the shirt, or bone/antler.  If there was money to purchase buttons, they bought molded pewter.

    I think the thread button would be really cool in the newer fancy threads with a crystal sewn in the middle.  You could use a plastic knitting ring to start.  You might also check out the threads index for the wire crocheted buttons in issue 130 page 69.  They look really cool.


    Edited 3/2/2008 11:05 am ET by CostumerVal

    Edited 3/2/2008 11:06 am ET by CostumerVal

  4. stitchagain | | #10

    There is another discussion similar to this one

    check out FROGS (esp 8120.4)

    1. Beavette | | #11

      This months new Treads magazine(April/May 2008, page 47) covers the knot in one of their articles. Check it out.

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