Do you ever just want to stitch a little piece of embroidery, but then you don’t know what to do with it? Maybe you have little embroidery samples that you want to make into something, but you don’t know what. Perhaps you have some old vintage embroidered linens that are worn out, but still have usable and pretty bits of embroidery on them?
Well, that are lots of things you can do with little bits of embroidery. Two finishing approaches that come to mind and are pretty wildly popular are jewelry and covered buttons (which can be used in so many ways). Both are a terrific medium for showcasing small bits of hand embroidery, and covered buttons? Well, they’re one of my favorite ways to finish little embroidered bits.
The question is, though, what do you do with a bunch of covered buttons, once you’ve taken the time to make heaps of them? And, trust me, if you get into making embroidered covered buttons, there’s a good chance you will make heaps of them, because they’re awfully fun!
So here are some little finishing ideas for small pieces of embroidery, whether you’re using designs you’ve stitched specifically to cover a button make a piece of jewelry, or whether you’re recycling older pieces of embroidery, like vintage embroidered flour sack towels that are past normal use, but still have some decent bits of embroidery on them.
Let’s talk covered buttons first, because they’re so versatile!
By covered buttons, I mean buttons created using pre-bought forms or button-making kits. The button forms come in various sizes, from small to large, and depending on what you want to do with your covered button, any of the mid-range to large sizes (say, 3/4″ – 1 7/8″) can work great for little embroidery projects.
Once you’ve done the embroidery and covered the button, there are heaps of ways you can use your finished little masterpiece.
The picture above, and those following, are from covered buttons made by Caroline Clarke. She shared photos of her beautiful buttons over in the Needle ‘n Thread Community on Facebook, so I asked her if I could share some of them with you, to inspire you.
I love the variety of her designs! Each one is a little embroidered gem!
So, what can you do with an embroidered covered button, once you’ve created it?
Well, well, the ideas are pretty endless!
I’ve seen large covered buttons fixed onto the tops of metal tins, to make decorative lids…
…and I’ve seen smaller embroidered covered buttons fixed onto jumbo paperclips, to use as bookmarks.
I’ve seen tiny ones – 5/8″ embroidered covered buttons – made into earrings, even!
I’ve used embroidered covered buttons to decorate retractable lanyards – like the one in the photo above.
These make terrific scissor pulls. You can loop the end of the lanyard through one of the finger holes on your scissors, and clip the lanyard to your shirt, or on the edge of excess fabric on your embroidery frame, or to a chart holder near your needlework or something similar.
I like to clip a retractable lanyard with scissors onto my shirt collar while I stitch – it keeps my scissors within really easy reach, without having to fumble about for them. That said, be careful of the tips!
Since lanyards are often used for name badges at hospitals, schools, and places of business, you can make terrific unique and personalized gifts for friends who use them. You can stitch a favorite animal, flower, short saying, decorative initial – whatever you want to personalize the lanyard for the user.
And, hey! What about those name tags you wear during needlework tours and workshops and the like? This is a fun way to personalize yours to wear on a lanyard!
Some stitchers use larger embroidered covered buttons to make necklaces, by attaching jump rings to the top of the back of the button and running a chain, ribbon, or leather strip through the jump ring.
And, for those who like to knit or crochet, a larger embroidered covered button makes a great accent on knitted hats (on the front side of a beret, for example, or a baggy beanie) or for the practical use of buttoning a knitted or crocheted cowl.
So, lots and lots of uses for small embroidery, when made into covered buttons!
One of the best things about making embroidered covered buttons – besides the variety of ways you can use them – is the fact that the embroidery projects are always small, so they don’t take a lot of time, from start to finish!
If you’re curious about embroidering your own covered buttons, or you’re looking for little designs that you can stitch up, you’ll find a whole section on embroidering covered buttons in my e-book, Lavender Honey & Other Little Things. Many of the photos above come from projects in that book. They’re all fun to stitch! And I show you step-by-step how to stitch them and then how to easily finish them into covered buttons.
But, truthfully, you don’t need Lavender Honey to venture into embroidered covered buttons. You can find the button forms for covered buttons at practically any sewing store, in the notions section. Let your imagination dictate the design!
For those who happen to live near Castleford, England, Caroline Clarke will be teaching a workshop on embroidered covered buttons at Sew Susie Bloom, a haberdashery shop there. You can find out more, or contact them, through their Facebook page.
Other Little Finishings for Little Pieces of Embroidery
Covered buttons aren’t the only use for little bits of embroidery. If you’re into making wearable art – notably jewelry – out of little pieces of embroidery, you should check out Nunn Design.
Becky Nunn has a magnificent collection of jewelry findings, perfect for making your stitched stuff into wearable art.
I’ve been dabbling with ideas for jewelry-sized embroidery ever since discovering her collection. She’s got some magnificent stuff, and her findings come with instructions on how to finish and mount embroidery (or other textiles) into them. You can find her different bezels for making embroidery into jewelry here, but it’s definitely worth browsing through her site for other settings as well.
No affiliation – I just really like her collection, compared to other jewelry findings for embroidery that I’ve seen on the market.
If you want some really fun inspiration for small pieces of embroidery worked into jewelry, covered buttons and the like, check out Marg Dier on Instagram. She always has fantastic little pieces of stitching mounted as jewelry or covered buttons and more. Fun stuff!
Over to You!
So, there are some ideas for using up little bits of embroidery or small embroidery projects!
What about you? Do you have any further ideas for using embroidered covered buttons? Any tips for using up little bits of embroidery? Feel free to chat about them below, or to ask questions or suggest resources.