Friday, 27 August 2010

Button Embroidery

Following up on an article from Threads magazine, I dressed up this simple top with buttons from my enormous stash.  

You begin my machine basting a boundary for the area you want to define.  I used washable marking pencil and some jar lids to draw a scallop on the reverse side of my top.  


Then I set the stitch width to its widest and sewed along that line.


The thread is a pearl cotton, which proved a real challenge to locate.  After visiting the flea market, a specialist needlework shop and the two main department stores in town with a 'haberdashery' -- I couldn't make these quaint olde words up -- department (John Lewis and Fenwick), with no luck at all, I was sent to a hardware store in Whitley Bay, of all things.  They have a little crafts corner and there was the white pearl cotton embroidery thread I wanted.

You can only use flat buttons for this, not ones with a shank.  The object is to create a sort of spiders web over the buttons.  My object was to cover a small stain I couldn't wash out, but also to try this embellishment.  

I learned a few things I would do differently:  

  • Not go twice between two buttons - parallel lines aren't spider webby enough
  • Unlike in the magazine pictures, space the buttons further apart.  Getting the tension of the threads right is tricky and spacing doesn't hurt the look.
  • I got everyone on more or less the way I wanted, but then I went back and make more 'web' to enhance the look beyond the need to secure the buttons

I expect I'll do this again on something else, perhaps a jacket lapel or the wrist of a sleeve.  I've got loads more buttons...


Struggler said...

Fun project! And I love that it covers up a small problem on the top.
Now you mention it, Haberdashery is a bit of a strange term...

Jo said...

This turned out really neat. Great idea.

Rick Stone said...

Haberdashery. That is what President Truman called the store he ran prior to going into politics. Actually, he is known for being a failure as a haberdasher.

Shelley said...

Rick - Yes, in the internet definition of haberdashery it is associated with men's clothing as well as notions like ribbon and buttons. I've always explained to people here that the reason US presidents are all so rich is that, in the land of opportunity, if you aren't rich you probably aren't smart enough to run the country. Truman seems to have been the exception to that rule, being rich, I mean. And he held off (I started to say 'ruled' - I've been in England too long, he?) in 'interesting' times.