A couple of years ago, I found an Etsy site with Button Monograms that were absolutely stunning. I’ve thought about them so many times and while I wouldn’t and couldn’t compete with the works of art the designer creates, I was thrilled to find a DIY version on the Changing My Marbles blog. These are rather time intensive and I thoroughly admire the artist for the care, commitment and quality she puts into each piece. So while we won’t be going into business making these, one or two for our personal use should be just about right!
At first glance I thought the buttons had been hot glued to the pre-stretched canvas that you’ll need. But, on closer inspection, I realized that what makes these Button Monograms ultra luscious is that each individual button is hand stitched. If you’re not fond of sewing buttons on, no worries, these buttons will have no stress in their charming lives of wall decor, so secure stitching is not a concern. If you have no idea at all how to start, click here for a YouTube video that will teach you how to sew a button onto fabric.
Along with your pre-stretched canvas, you’ll also need to choose fabric for the backing of your Button Monogram. This will be attached to the canvas when you’re done with your button sewing, so choose something that you love, then coordinate or contrast your buttons with this fabric.
Changing My Marbles used embroidery thread for her Button Monogram, but I think I would like the more refined look of Dual Duty Plus Button and Craft Thread and plan to use that on my version. It’s a fabulous thread with a glace finish that prevents tangling while you’re stitching and I love that. I’d hate to see anyone go over the edge while sewing buttons and tangling can definitely head you toward the edge! As part of their Hand Sewing collection, Coats has quite a few colors to choose from – click here and check out the Shade Card at the bottom of the page.
Changing My Marbles found a letter she liked online, and printed it, to use as a template. Think about how thick you want the lines of your letter to be – this will dictate how many buttons you will need. The lines in the sample are quite thin, so just one row of buttons was used for most of the Button Monogram. If you’d like to use more buttons, keep looking until you find the type (font) style that appeals to you.
Changing My Marbles suggests stitching through the paper template, then picking the paper out after your buttons are stitched. This sounds tedious and awkward to me, so I have a couple of alternatives for you.
- Back your fabric with fusible interfacing and trace the letter onto the front of the fabric. Be sure to cover the tracing lines by extending your buttons a smidge beyond each line OR . . .
- Trace your letter onto the paper side of fusible web, cut it out and fuse it to a fabric that will coordinate with your buttons – a solid is probably best. Fuse the fabric letter to your background fabric and begin your button stitching.
- Both of these methods will stabilize the area where you will be stitching your buttons. This will ensure that the fabric does not stretch while you are stitching and your finished letter will lay nice and flat.
Once you’ve printed your chosen letter, measure the length and width and add an inch or two to each measurement. You’ll need an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric while you’re stitching buttons and these measurements will help you determine what hoop diameter to use. Susan Bates embroidery hoops have a great tension screw that easily doubles as a hanger. You may want to just tuck your fabric behind and hang your Button Monogram in the hoop!
This is an easy project but, since it will take some time, it makes a good take along for road trips, kid’s sports practices or watching TV. A lovely way to keep your hands busy and your heart happy! Click here for the Button Monogram Plaque tutorial on the Changing My Marbles blog. Print the tutorial, pack your supplies and you’ll have your take along project all buttoned up and ready to go!
About the Author
Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community.