Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Buttoned Down

Who's got the button? Me -- and two of the pillows I recently knit.

I'd been fretting about buttons for these pillows, especially the round Spiral Galaxy Pillow, for some time. I looked for a fancy glass button at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival this year, but couldn't find anything I liked. As I thought about it, I decided I wanted it too look like those old shiny, silky pillows my grandmother had in her living room, with a button out of the same fabric. Something to draw it all together, but that wouldn't steal the show. For the just-completed Smocked Rib Stitch Pillow, I needed buttons to rein in the end caps, which were being pushed out by the pillow form and were decidedly nipple-ish. Not a good look.

Knitted buttons made from the same yarn as the pillows themselves would be the way to go. So while running errands this morning, I stopped by Bolt Fabrics and got some Dritch cover button kits and heavy upholstery twine. The salesperson was so helpful to walk me though the process. It was pretty obvious I was in over my head.

Based on our conversation, I realized that my knitted covers would be too thick to snap on the backs. Kindly, Jeff sacrificed an old brown t-shirt so the buttons would have a base that wouldn't let the metal shine through. Then, I knit some small covers using matching yarn and constructed as follows:

  • Cast on 4 stitches
  • Purl a row
  • Increase one inside each edge stitch every right-side row until 12 ston needle
  • Make two rows plain
  • Decrease one inside each edge stitch every right-side row until 4 st on needle
  • Bind off

I ran the tails through the inside edge of every other selvedge stitch around the edge and drew the cover in tightly. And, voila -- a knit-covered button!



I found some instructions on sewing buttons on pillows and away I went. Drawing the thick twine through the long pillow was a bit of a chore, and upholsterers would probably have a special tool for such purposes, but I can report that a seaming needle, squishing hard and grunting can work in a pinch.

Way easier than I thought it would be and I'm happy with the results. Now, I have one more naked pillow form to get covered...

5 comments:

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing. Have often thought of making covered buttons for my knitting but was always too scared to try! Looks so easy and even I can "squish hard and grunt"!!!! Thanks again - they look fab! x

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  2. These look great! So glad you found this solution.

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  3. Not to take the fun out of squishing hard and grunting but I found a 4-pc set of upholstery needles that includes a 12" needle on fabrics.com. The tutorial for the covered buttons is simple enough that I can actually do it without feeling intimidated. Now I want to make a bunch of tufted pillows!

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    1. Thanks, Robin. I'll look into this. I kind of want to put buttons on everything now, too. And it wasn't really as fun as I made it sound!

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    2. Thanks for the link, Robin; and thank you for the pictures and explication, Steven! It really helps to see how this technique is accomplished. :)

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