Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidered Buttons: Dorset Button Tutorial!


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Dorset Buttons are buttons embroidered around a ring and filled with simple stitches. They are colorful, relatively easy to make, can decorate anything from clothing to accessories, and present an endless variety for embellishment, texture, and color.

Dorset Buttons have been around for a long time! It was a cottage industry in England (specifically in Dorset, hence the name). Read the history of button making in Dorset – it’s pretty interesting! These buttons are a neat little chapter in the history of textiles. Sadly enough, when button-making machines came along, this vital cottage industry died, leaving many families poverty-stricken, since they were no longer able to rely on their craft of button-making for survival.

CraftStylish has an excellent tutorial available for making Dorset Buttons.

Dorset Button Making Tutorial

(Update: The tutorial on “The Sampler” no longer exists, but the one at CraftStylish is excellent, so try that one!)

Take a look at the tutorial, and you’ll see that the options of embellishing these buttons are really endless! A little knowledge of embroidery stitches will help – buttonhole stitch and the ribbed spider web will come in handy.

Once the outside of the button is done and a foundation is laid inside, you can dress the thing up to your heart’s content!

I think these buttons would look great on chunky sweaters, on totes, on knitted winter caps —- and on and on and on!

I also think (though I haven’t tried it yet) that they would be a good project for younger embroiderers on winter days! I may test that latter theory – if winter ever gets here!

Enjoy the tutorial!


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(8) Comments

  1. Thanks for this tip, Mary. I’ve tagged the tutorial for future reference. I could see these buttons as embellishment in encrusted embroidery and crazy quilts.

  2. Hello Mary. I enjoyed the story of the Dorset Embroidered Button. I found four each on ebay and purchased this AM, Thanks for tip, I enjoy reading your emails every day and learn much from them. Pat/Texas

  3. Hi, the following link seems not work any more. Thank you.

    On a website called “The Sampler,” there’s a wonderful step-by-step tutorial for making Dorset buttons.

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