Dorset buttons first became popular in 18th-century England, according to Craft Stylish. Originally, button makers used discs from the horns of Dorset sheep as their button bases, giving these colourful buttons their name.
Today, the button bases are often plastic craft rings, though you may also use metal. Yarn or embroidery floss woven around and inside the rings makes up the buttons themselves. You can dress up a boring jacket or create original embellishments with these colourful buttons.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 1-inch plastic bone rings
- Worsted yarn
- Large embroidery needle
Cut a piece of yarn about 6½ feet long. This may seem like a lot of yarn, but weaving each button takes a lot of closely-spaced loops. Thread one end of the yarn through the eye of your needle so you have a 1-inch tail sticking out of the eye. Fold this tail down and hold it between your fingers
Press the last inch of your yarn against the front of the ring, near the top. Pass your needle around the top of the ring and up through the inside of the ring, pulling the yarn tight around the ring.
Press another one-fourth inch of yarn against the back of the ring to the right of your first loop. Bring your needle up through the centre of the ring and pass it under the loop created by the one-fourth inch of yarn to the right of your first loop. Pull tight. This is called a blanket stitch.
Cover the rest of your ring in blanket stitches. Be patient; this can take a while. Note that your blanket stitches create a seam along the ring's outer edge. When finished covering the ring, twist the stitching so the seam is on the inside of the ring.
Wrap your yarn across the ring, bisecting it. Turn your ring one-quarter turn to the right and repeat five more times. This should create six yarn "spokes" in the centre of your ring. Wrap two loops of yarn through the centre of the spokes to pull them tight and keep them even.
Wrap your spokes by sliding the needle down the left side of the top-centre spoke and bringing it back up on the right side of the spoke. This should create a yarn loop that tightens around the first spoke. Repeat on all of the spokes, moving to the left. Wrap this way until you reach the inside of your ring.
Flip the woven button over. Pass the needle under a few of the woven stitches on the back of your button. The weaving should be tight enough that it holds the loose yarn securely. Snip away the excess yarn as close to the button as you can get.
Tips and warnings
- Embroidery floss, ribbon or even coloured wire work well for making Dorset buttons.
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