Covered buttons are cool; there's just no two ways about it. They add the special touch that says, "Stand back ... I'm a home decor professional." Making them with a Cover Button Kit is easy and inexpensive.
Kits are available from a variety of online sources (I've listed a few options below) and you can usually find a selection of standard sizes at your local fabric store.
Speaking of size, that's one of the few reasons to not use a kit. If you can't find the exact size you want in a kit, you can make your own covered buttons. Read our tutorial: DIY Covered Buttons (No Kit Required).
The majority of kits give you easy step-by-step instructions on the back of the package and even include a circle template to use as a pattern when cutting out your circle of fabric. Your kit will come with a "mold" that you use to press and form the fabric around the button's front shell, then a button back with a shank is snapped into place. It really is easy as 1-2-3.
A few quick tips:
- You don't want the metal or plastic button top to show through. So, if you're using a sheer or lightweight fabric, you should use a double thickness or include an inside layer in a heavier or more opaque fabric.
- Expanding on the above recommendation, many folks like to use a thin piece of batting as this 'inside layer.' Not only does this eliminate the see-through problem, it gives the button a bit more dimension and softens it. We did this with our Citrus Holiday: Perky Pom Pom Pillows.
- If the fabric you're using is especially thick or if after doing the 'layering' described above you have a fairly thick sandwich, you may run into a bit of a challenge with a button kit. These kits are standardized, so there will be a limit to the thickness of fabric they can accommodate and still firmly snap together. If you have a thick fabric, you likely don't need to "layer." If even one thickness of your fabric is still troublesome, consider using a different fabric in a lighter weight. Covered buttons often look even better when the button fabric and the pillow fabric are contrasting or coordinating colors and/or textures.
- Once you have your covered button finished, you need to sew it on. Again, the shank on the kit's button back is standard and may seem small when you're trying to stitch it onto your pillow front. Don't despair! A good trick is to get your needle and thread going first, i.e. make a few stitches right where you want the button to go to get your knot situated and your stitching secure, then continue stitching through the shank.
- Covered buttons are often used on pillows with a 'tufted' appearance. This means there's a button on the front and a button on the back and the pillow is compressed between the two giving that tufted appearance. We also did this with our Citrus Holiday: Perky Pom Pom Pillows.
- If you are trying this 'tufted' option, to make sewing all the way through the pillow easier, BEFORE you try to sew on your covered buttons, use a heavy-duty button or carpet thread and a long upholstery sewing needle, and stitch back and forth through the exact center of your pillow. This compresses the pillow filler and makes a nice little dent in the middle of your pillow where you can then stitch your buttons. Stitch on one button and then the other; don't try to stitch them both on at once. If you're still having challenges, try a curved sewing needle.
I think that buttons things up.