6 ways to make fabric covered buttons & cloth buttons

How to make fabric covered buttons & cloth buttons

Some important things to consider when making fabric buttons

  • If you are using fabric other than the one in your dress, ensure that it is washable. If it is not you are in big trouble. Atleast match it to the washing instruction of your garment.
  • Dampen the fabric for covering button, before covering. This will make the fabric slightly more flexible and better adapt to the shape of the button.

Different types of cloth buttons

1. Polystyrene ball buttons

If you want to make very small buttons as in the picture below you can make them easily by wrapping little polystyrene balls ( the kind you get to fill bean bags) with small pieces of fabric. simply tie them with a matching thread and you have small buttons. Stitch them to the edge of the fabric with a facing.

fabric buttons


2. Fabric covered buttons with rings 

You can make them with buttons or anything flat  like round thick cardboard piece, coin  or rings (plastic or thin metal) in the size you want. If the fabric is too thin consider lining it or use double layers.

If you are using buttons, segregate your button stash. Choose those ones you dislike. Get the fabric with which you mean to cover the buttons. You can choose the fabric you have made the top or dress or select an embroidered fabric ( you can embroider letters and center them) .

Cut the fabric with overhang enough to cover the back of the button and plus 1/6 inch to fold in.

cloth covered button

Fold in the edges some 1/6 inch to the inside. Finger press.

With a hand sewing needle threaded with a double strand of a strong thread, make basting stitches / running stitches all around over the fold. Donot cut the thread, leave it hanging

fabric covered button
Keep the button or ring centered on the fabric

fabric button
Pull the thread until the circle is closed

how to make fabric covered buttons
Tighten the thread and stitch the opening closed

If you are using rings, you will need to stitch the front of this button along the inside of the edge . You can use a contrasting thread to make these stitches or embellish with beads or sequins

fabric covered buttons

To attach the covered buttons

There are two options of attaching the buttons. First option is to attach them directly to the edge of the fabric . This is fine as long as the button is very small. The second option is to make a thread shank on the back.

You will have to make a shank on the back of these buttons to attach them to your clothes. A thread shank is made on the back of the button for this.You will have to make a thread shank which looks like the thread bar we make to attach hooks on the clothes behind the buttons. Checkout the tutorial to make thread bar here.

buttons covered with fabric

To make the buttons look good on the back as well you can cover the back with a piece of felt and attach the felt with ship stitches to the back of the buttons before making the thread bar.

  • Cut a piece of felt smaller than the back . 
  • Attach it to the back using whip stitches
  • Make two loops of thread in the center of the felt or the button if you are not attaching felt. 
  • Make buttonhole stitches around the thread loops fully covering it up.

how to make fabric covered buttons

3. Make a flat cloth button

You should use wool felt / fleece to make these buttons and a very strong thread preferably buttonhole thread to sew it up. Use a 3 inch diameter circle of the fabric . Cut another circle 1.5 diameter and place it in the center.

Make the gathering stitches around the perimeter. Gather. Donot pull too tightly. You will get a flattened front. To maintain the shape you will have to make a line of stitching just inside the edge. Donot pull too tight . You will just get an indentation which will maintain the flat shape

Another option is to use fabric loops / thin fabric tubes to make the buttons like this picture below. The fabric loop is flattened by beating it with a rubber mallet to look like buttons. It is decorative cloth button rather than a funtional one.


To attach a cloth button 

These buttons are usually attached to the edges of the garment. Here also you will need to make a shank. Attach the button to the garment edge with several long stitches

Now wrap the thread around the long thread which is below the button. Stitch through the button also once or twice to anchor the shank. Make several back stitches and hide the ends in the fold.

4. Make a macrame knot button

Check out the tutorial to make turk’s head knot which can be used as a button . These can be made using cord or thin fabric tubes.

5. Make a  thread wrapped bead button

Any medium sized bead can be made into a button by threading a yarn through the hole. either knot the end or thread through the hole and then hold the tails together and tie at one end. Repeatedly pass colored thread through the holes and wrap over the beads in a pattern to make beautiful buttons. 

6. Fabric button covering kits


These are convenient kits with buttons, mold, and pusher. These kits are very easy to use. Most of the kits come with very clear instructions. The impressive looking buttons made with the help of these kits are washable . The buttons look very professional without any of the home made look you may get if you are making the buttons yourself. Checkout this tutorial for how to use these kits.

Related posts: 10 different types of Buttons

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