Top Tips for Selecting Buttons for Finished Makes
Hey There Friends!
It might have all been a little quiet in these parts of late – its been a manic few weeks of working on the final deadline of my new crochet book, so every hour of the day have been packed with crocheting like a tiny machine!
Working on these final stages of this huge project has got me thinking about the finishing stages of a project. When it comes to yarn crafts the importance of blocking both knits and crochet makes should never be overlooked. But, how about the finishing touches? Buttons and fastenings are often the final thing that we think about, all the ends are woven in, everything is blocked to its full glory and now its time to add the buttons.
Like many creative folks I am the proud owner of a huge stash of buttons and have realised that these small little fastenings can add a true wow factor to a finished make. In fact, your choice of buttons can completely change the finished appearance of the entire project, so when you think of it in those terms it can add a little bit of pressure to the process of selecting the fastenings. That being said, don’t let that overwhelm you, here are a few tips to help you on your way for selecting buttons for your finished makes.
If you’ve been following a knitting or crochet pattern that includes buttons you will have a set sizing for the buttons as dictated in the buttonhole band on the pattern. The button you choose should be small enough to be able to pass though the buttonhole with ease – no stretching or straining on the fibres around the buttonhole – yet be large enough to sit neatly on the surface, for the most part obscuring the hole and holding the sections neatly in place.
Pro Tip! Unsure if the button you have selected is the right size – thread a length of yarn through the holes or shank on the buttons and hold on to these while passing the button through the hole, this will allow you to test whether the button is a good fit for your project.
Complementary or Contrast
Colour is everything when it comes to projects and the finishing touches that you select. You have no doubt spent a long time selecting the exact fibre and colour of the yarn for your project and you will want to ensure that your buttons make the most of this selection. The style that you want to achieve with the finished make will often dictate the shade of button you would like to pick – do you want to make a feature of the buttons? Do you want the buttons to have a more subtle appearance? By selecting a button that is in a complementary colour or shade to match the yarn you will be playing down the fastenings, often creating a refined finish – this is great if you have worked a heavily detailed design and don’t want to detract from the work of the stitches. A bright contrasting colour is a great way to a a vibrant pop of colour – this is a great way to accessorise simple, classic designs, highlight the fastening or add a fun area of interest to the make. Try placing buttons of different shades and colours to the surface of your make to see the different effects and the different finished styles that they will create.
Novelty or Natural
Similarly to selecting a colour, deciding on whether you want to select a fun novelty button or a more natural design is something that will dictate the finished style of the piece. These choices are again down to personal taste and the finished results that you want to achieve, but it is worth considering the weight of the button. Buttons can be made from a wide range of materials from resin and plastic, to shell, wood, and metal, all of which will have different weights and this will have an effect on the garment that you are adding them to. Projects made in light weight yarns will require a lighter-weight buttons, as the more weighty varieties will weight down and stretch the lighter material of the stitches, while light weight buttons might not have enough substance to secure chunkier projects.
Flat or Shank
While there are millions of different styles of buttons to choose from for your projects the majority of these are either flat buttons – which have small holes through the surface through which to stitch onto the fabric – or shank buttons – which are recognised by a small shank of metal or plastic on the back of the button with a whole through which to secure. As a general rule, shank buttons are commonly selected for makes created with chunky yarns as they allow the buttons to stand proud of the button band and sit securely onto the surface of the garment when fastened. That being said, a flat button can be converted by simply creating a thread shank at the back of the button when you secure it. You might even like to consider pearl shaped rounded buttons, where the hole to secure the fastening is drilled through the circle of the buttons, these are great for light weight knits and often adda sweet feminine finish to the appearance of garments.
Mix & Match
There is no reason why you have to select identical buttons for your makes. Adding a collection of buttons in a range of finishes, colours and styles is a great way to create a truly unique and eclectic finish. However, it is wise to select buttons that are a similar size and weight to ensure that they all sit on the finished piece in the same manner and keep to either all flat buttons or shank buttons to keep the finish consistent.
Just as there are days when we base our entire outfit selection on a single accessory or pair of shoes there are times when you might have found the most dreamy buttons and want to create something something simply to incorporate them – and that my friends is all good too! These principles for selecting the buttons for a finished garment can also be used in reverse, to help you select the yarns or pattern for your make, or inspire your own designs. If you are selecting a pattern to feature these showstopper buttons be sure to pay attention to the pattern instructions for the button bands, as you may want to increase or decrease the size of the buttonholes to accommodate the buttons.
Pro Tip! If you are altering a pattern to accommodate larger or smaller buttons you will need too increase or decrease the size of the buttons holes, remember to scale the button band section in proportion to the changes made for the buttonholes to achieve a neat finish on the completed garment.
Choosing the buttons for your finished makes is the most satisfying element of the finishing stages of making a project – how do you decide what buttons to add to your projects?
♥ – ♥ – ♥
Looking for buttons and fastening for your latest make? Or, simply want to add some stunning pieces to your button stash? Be sure to check out the wide range of fastenings over at Minerva Crafts!