We spent some time in Hascombe before Christmas trying our hand at making a Dorset button - but a small one, about 1cm across, and stitched in coloured silk. We found that apart from making a button, we also had a lovely embellishment for decorating other stitched items. These wonderful 17th century buttons are just as easy to make - with a bit of patience - all you need are some wooden beads, silk thread and a needle. If you can find any hemispherical beads, so much the better. First, you will need to cover the bead by taking a thread through the hole, round over the outside and back through the hole, working all round the bead. Then the sky is your limit. You can use these foundation threads to form the basis for a woven pattern, or to secure further stitched embellishments. There are some drawings at the end of the post to give you a clearer picture. In this button, pairs of contrasting threads have been woven together.
Here you can see fairly clearly the foundation thread and the decoration which is a series of further rounds going through the cetral hole, but this time worked with picots.
Here, I think a fine braid has been made and applied.
And if you look at the same button side-ways on, you can see it is a full sphere which has been applied to the garment by making a shank. This shank has been replaced over time - it would have been smart and black like the rest of the button. But you know how people can be in such a rush to stitch buttons back on and never use the same thread!