18th Century Button – Free Download for Subscribers

Remember the 18th century button I’ve been working on? After a bit more tweaking, I’m finally happy with how it is looking.  What do you think?

This 18th century button is embroidered with silk thread on creamy silk satin, then wrapped around a wooden button mould from Burnley and Trowbridge.  The finished button is only 1″ across.  I think it looks even more gorgeous and delicate in person. Bonus, the silk satin is my absolute favorite fabric to embroider. 
18th century button


Can you see the differences compared to the previous versions? For one, the flower buds are a single color now, so the threads have more length to lay smooth and show off the sheen of the silk thread. I lightened up the tension quite a bit and changed some stitch angles, so the stitches would be less tight and modern-looking.

It’s not an exact replica of the original 18th century button, of course. Hand work allows for more delicate stitches and shading than machine embroidery can reproduce.  However, those are exactly the types of decisions that need to be made when trying to translate period hand work into something that can be made by machine.

If not everything is possible, what do you choose to keep?  For me, it’s the long stitches and delicate look that is missing in most machine embroidery I’ve seen. These are my primary focus when creating new designs. A different designer might choose to keep other elements.

Before you ask, I do hope to complete an entire 18th century court suit pattern one day! In the meantime, how would you use this 18th century button?  Would you make an 18th century outfit, or find a way to embellish modern clothing? I think either option would be stunning.

I’ve made this 18th century button available to subscribers of our mailing list. Subscribe below and try it out for yourself. You’ll get a link to the file once your subscription has been confirmed.

3 Responses to “18th Century Button – Free Download for Subscribers

  • Thank you so much for this free digital design. I love it. Just what I was looking for to finish a business suit dress. I was wondering what brand of machine embroidery thread that you used? Also, did you use the covered button method as shown on the Burnley and Trowbridge site? If so, how did you finish the back and how did you sew it onto the jacket? If you release a pdf of instructions to go with the design, I would love to be included in the release. Thank you so much.

    • I’m glad you like it! I’d love to see a picture of the suit when you are finished. For this button I used Tire silk machine embroidery thread. There’s a link in the sidebar for my Products I Love page, that lists all the threads I use on my projects.

      Yes, I finished the button like the B&T tutorial shows. In the 18th c. they weren’t as picky about finishing, so I usually just make sure that the fabric is stitched securely and won’t ravel. If you wanted all the raw edges enclosed, I would baste a 1/8″ hem around the circle before making the button (like you would when making a yo-yo). If you have enough fabric in the middle, it can act as a shank, which is what I often do. If that’s too bulky or you didn’t leave enough excess for that, you can also make a shank with the same stitch you use for a swing tack.

      Thank you for the idea of creating a PDF to go with this. In the meantime, if you have more questions, just let me know.

  • Thank you so much for the prompt reply. I really appreciated you pointing out the “Products I Love” as I did not notice it before and it is a wealth of information. I loved seeing what you used to create authentic pieces. Thank you for reminding me of the Threads link too. Thank you for requesting an update on my dress. I will gladly send you a link/picture.

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