Making Dorset buttons is addictive!!! With endless possibilities for both design and use, these sweet creations keep my mind spinning, my hands busy, and my heart pulsating!
Made with a few simple materials - thread or yarn, a metal or plastic ring, and a needle - Dorset buttons can be plain, like this one on a replica of a Victorian chemise.
an online tutorial. After that, it was just a matter of searching images for "Dorset buttons" online, experimenting until I figured out how to make different patterns, and then starting to create some designs of my own.
The hardest part was, and still is, finding suitable rings. Most of mine are made on plastic cafe curtain rings, available at Jo-Ann's or hardware stores. The rings must not have a gap, so if they are metal, they need to be soldered. Metal rings made with 16ga. wire would be perfect, but to get them custom made and soldered neatly, would probably be expensive. They would have to be made with a metal that would not tarnish or rust, if the buttons were to last and stay nice looking. Recommendations, anyone?
I use tapestry needles, because the blunt point is perfect for "weaving" the button center (or "rounding" as it is more properly called). So far, I've experimented only with pearl cotton thread, size 12 and 8. Next I'm going to try Danish Flower Thread, which has a matte finish. I can think of many possibilities for using beads too. Some of the designs I've seen on the web are so heavily beaded, that the thread is not even visible, which doesn't quite "work" for me. I like the idea of making the buttons with finger-weight yarn (or any yarn) as closures for knitted sweaters, or as decorations for knitted caps and mittens.
the history here. Some of these buttons, such as the ones above, now over 200 years old, are cherished (and occasionally sold) by button collectors.
If I don't post again for a while, I'm either making Dorset buttons or stitching hexies... you know how it is when obsessions take over!