Dorset Buttons

The Dorset button industry began during the 1600’s in Dorset, UK. The first buttons were known as “High Tops” and were made from a disc of horn from the Dorset Horn Sheep. It was covered by a small piece of material and worked with a needle and thread to make a conical shaped button. Buttons based around a wire ring were introduced in 1750 and quickly developed into many different styles. These wire-based buttons are the ones that are now commonly known as Dorset buttons.

In 1850 a button making machine shown at the Great Exhibition in London bought a tragic end to the Button industry – almost overnight the industry was ruined for no hand-made button could compete.
The W.I., the Arts and Crafts movement and others have kept this fabulous traditional craft alive and now you can learn how to make them too. It is now popular to make these buttons to add interest to knitted/crocheted/sewn garments, jewellery or as wall art. Dorset Buttons definitely add that special touch to your garment or project. Everything you can do with a button; you can do with a Dorset Button.

I have found Dorset button making to be enjoyable, easy to master and quite addictive. It is quite a relaxing and rewarding hobby and relatively inexpensive. I have often taught Dorset Button workshops in the past to groups and thought it would be lovely to compile these ‘workshops’ into kit form so you can learn the ancient art of button making at home. I have spent time to draw out easy to follow, step by step coloured diagrams on the process of making the Dorset button to make the technique easier to understand. I am sure these instructions will quickly guide you through to becoming your own Dorset Button master maker. Once you have the instructions for a Dorset button design, all you need is some more rings and yarn/Perle cotton to make more …… I have also compiled the useful notions that you will need in creating more Dorset buttons, such as the rings (in various sizes) and some yarn/Perle cotton if you require any.

This section of various Dorset Button designs will be increasing as I get round to writing (& drawing) up the required instructions and diagrams for creating more designs and variations in the Dorset buttons.

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