Fastening with Buttons

a hidden fixing or an intricate part of the design

Buttons have been used since the late fourteenth century. Today in day to day life they are part of fastening clothes, footwear, soft furnishings, as closures for duvets and other items that want or need a traditional type of fastenings.

About two thousand years ago they were mainly used in decorative ways. Today they are used as decorations like deep indents on a bedroom headboard, an upholstered chair, on clothing and soft furnishings. In earlier years they were made out of horn, seashell, pottery, coconut or gold. The really fancy ones have always been used as a sort of status symbol with some designs becoming the logo of fashion houses.

Decorative Buttons

Those made from pearl have been used in decorating the clothes of the pearly kings and queens of London, England. This began in the nineteenth century with an orphaned street cleaner called Henry Croft. He used to collect money for London based charities and formed a pearly society in 1911. The organisations are still going strong today.

Nowadays these type of fastenings are mainly made out of plastic or metal. These can be ready bought in lots of colours, shapes and sizes to suit any sewing project.



Cushion covers can be enhanced by these being both functional or decorative. Both ways can be achieved on a cover if the opening is at the front and the buttons are contrasting to the material.

These decorative fastening provide a colourful alternative to zip fasteners but making the holes can be a little tricky.  They can be used to give a fancy topping when sewing in press studs or poppers. If you are using Velcro to fasten your cushion then why not sew some on to enhance a theme or a shape.

When using these to close the back or front of a cushion the two halves of the fabric should be overlapped approximately 2 inches (5cms). There is no hard and fast rule with this and if you would like a wider or narrower overlap then that is also fine. A band of interfacing fixed to each side would also strengthen the edge of the fabric and hopefully stop gaping.



Kits can be bought to make them out of pieces of fabric to either tone in or compliment the look with a contrasting fabric. These can be made especially for the individual by designing your own design with cross stitch, embroidery or different needlecraft ideas.

For washable covers it is best to have plastic kits but metal ones can be used if the fabric will only be dry cleaned.

These versatile fastenings can be used in such a lot of different ways. Enjoy finding yours.

Return from Buttons to Fastenings

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