Choosing and adding buttons to crochet seems simple enough, right? All you need to do is choose a button, then sew it on.
But if you follow this method, you might find some unexpected surprises along the way. Your button might pull on your crochet project and stretch it out. Maybe your button won’t even fit through the buttonhole. Or maybe you bought a really expensive button and attached it to your crochet, but it got all scratched up when you tried to wash it in the washing machine. Yikes!
Choosing and adding buttons to crochet takes a bit of planning. Before you buy that beautiful button, check out these tips to avoid a button mishap.
1. Buy extra buttons
Buttons are going to fall off. I realized that after showing up to work way too many times with a button missing in some very, um, revealing places. Sometimes those buttons fall off and disappear completely, which means that if we don’t have a matching button, we’ll have to replace all the buttons on the project. Ugh!
Fans of novelty buttons can definitely relate. Sure, plain red or blue buttons are easy enough to come by, but if you’re buying special buttons, get a few extra in case the others decide to run away.
2. Split that yarn
If you’re feeling uneasy about using sewing thread to attach a button, just use yarn instead. Sometimes yarn even helps pull the buttons and the crochet project together, like the decorative buttons in the Ladies Button Clutch Purse pictured above.
If the yarn is too thick to fit through the button hole, you may be able to pull it apart to make the strands thinner. This is harder to do if the yarn is fuzzy or one-ply, but multi-ply yarns will cooperate.
3. Secure that button
My biggest concern, both with store-bought clothing and my own handmade garments, is that the buttons are going to pop off at a really inconvenient time. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing? We have two tips for securing buttons:
- If you can, use the yarn tail from fastening off to sew the buttons. If that means you need to weave that yarn tail through a few inches to get to where the button is sewn on, go for it. Sew that button on, knot it, then weave the yarn up to the next button.
- If you’re not a fan of using the yarn tail, there’s a proper way to knot those buttons. In the video clip below, Linda Permann, instructor of the Bluprint class Beyond Rectangles, demonstrates this technique.
4. Make your own button
There are some cases in which a store-bought button just won’t do. If you want your buttons to match your crochet perfectly, crochet your own button out of the same yarn you used to crochet the project like the buttons in the Three Seasons Cardigan pictured below. Intrigued? Here’s a free crochet buttons tutorial to get you started.
5. Secure that buttonhole
I’ve found that buttonholes, especially crochet ones, seem to stretch over time even after blocking. If you are dealing with a loosey goosey buttonhole, whip stitch (also known as overcast stitch) around it to make it tighter. Get a tutorial for hand sewing the overcast stitch, which works in the same way even if your using yarn and a tapestry needle.
6. You don’t always need a buttonhole
This blew my mind when I first discovered it. I crocheted a cowl using double crochet stitches, and I decided that instead of seaming the ends together, I’d just add some pretty buttons. I started to research how to add a buttonhole when I found that some crochet projects don’t need a buttonhole at all! The crochet stitches serve as the buttonhole.
This is an especially awesome discovery because it means that you can change up the look of your item. For instance, if you have a longer cowl, you can button it near the edge to make the cowl fit loosely, or you can tighten it right up against your neck for a cozy fit.
7. Get inspired
A button can completely change the style of a crochet item, so choose your buttons wisely. The best way to get an idea of what you like is to check out what other crocheters are using. Start here, with our crochet patterns featuring buttons and unique buttonholes.
Do you have any tips for choosing and adding buttons to crochet?
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