Button Embroidery

~Think Outside the Button Hole~

When you think of sewing on a button, naturally the inclination is to utilize the holes, in a minimal way, to connect the item to fabric. This of course is what makes the button into a ‘fastener’.

If you have ever thought of using buttons as a decoration or embellishment, an array of sewing variations will enhance them as adornments in a unique way.

By no means a new idea, I have found examples of this type of "button embroidery" on vintage items and clothing. The idea is to sew "over" the rim of the button, instead of just on the inside, between the button holes. If you use colored thread or embroidery floss it gives added dimension and texture. There are no specific designs and the sewing method is no more difficult than ‘sewing on a button’. For variety, use the examples shown, but have fun ‘inventing’ your own, as you proceed, as well.

For this embroidery project, I have used a plain, black, short sleeved, pullover, cotton shirt. Dressing up the neckline will give it a fun look. You can certainly choose any number of other items you might like to embellish. A vest, a denim jacket or a button up shirt are only a few examples. You can buy something new or even revitalize an article from your closet that you’ve grown bored with.


Gather the supplies needed: Colored embroidery floss, some two and four hole buttons, embroidery needles with the larger eye, scissors and pins.


select and lay out your design.


Mark the beginning and end of the design on the item with some straight pins.


Select the floss colors you wish to use. I personally like to use the whole thread, for added texture, rather than separating the floss.


Experiment with different patterns as you go, change the color and number of times you go through every button hole with each added button.


Your finished wearable will definitely invite comments whenever you go with your button embroidery attire.


Some variations on the theme include using other materials of buttons. ie: bone, coconut shell or wood.


Layering Large buttons with smaller can produce another interesting design.


Be creative and adventurous with your embroidery designs. These four hole glass buttons made pretty flowers.

I hope you enjoy the button Embroidery. Please write if you have any questions.

©Clare Bazley ~ abuttonlady Back To Top

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