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An Elizabethan-Style Button

By Jane of Stockton, Mordenvale

The following article is based on instructions found at:

I've been wanting to try making wrapped buttons for quite a while after seeing the end results on a couple of pages. While reading a costuming email list, the above URL was posted. After reading it, I felt confident enough to give it a go. Here are the materials needed:


1 x small wooden bead (I got a bag of a 100 for $2 from Go Lo or similar discount shop)
1 x skein six stranded silk embroidery thread (DMC or other cotton would be fine)
1 x tapestry needle (I thought a blunt needle would catch less) 1 x scissors Instructions


1. Goto and read all the instructions.
2. Cut a long piece of the silk embroidery thread. It worked out to be about 1.5m. Use all six strands of thread.
3. While holding onto the non-needle end of the thread, put the needle through the hole of the bead. Pull the thread all the way through. 4. Tie a knot with the two threads so that the end you were holding originally forms a small tail (at least 3 inches long). This will form part of the shank of the button.
5. Going in and out of the hole of the bead with the needle to form six vertical ribs spaced equally around the bead.
6. Bring the needle to the top of the hole and begin the weaving process.
7. To weave, go under a rib and then back over and under it to wrap it. Continue to the next rib, going under it to wrap. Repeat around to cover the button.
8. NOTE: I did the last step slightly differently. I'm not sure I can explain it in words, but I will give it a go: To weave, go under a rib and then back over the rib, bringing the needle out ABOVE the horizontal band you just created. Then bring the needle down over the band and under the rib. Continue to the next rib, going under it to wrap. Repeat around to cover the button. This technique creates a sort of half knot that adds texture to the finished button but also helps to lock the weaving in place. Be warned though, that this technique also has a tendency to make the bead underneath show. Next time, I am going to dye or colour in the beads before working them.
9. To finish, tie the two threads (the tail and the thread remaining on the needle) in a knot, then trim. This should give you two tails at the bottom which can be used to secure the button to the garment.

Jane of Stockton - Barony of Mordenvale, Kingdom of Lochac 
The Needles Excellency -  
Jane's Brodery Gallery -


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