Fabric Button How-To Series: Making Fabric-Covered Buttons With Your Own Professional Button Machine

One of the growing trends in monogramming and embroidery is the use of fabric-covered buttons as an accessory for a number of items, from clothing to purses to shoes. Many small embroidery shops have begun to offer a selection of fabric buttons, including custom monogrammed buttons. With a professional grade button machine, a small embroidery shop can quickly expand its product offering with a fun and versatile fabric button that has a number of uses. This post is the third in our week-long series on fabric buttons.

Tuesday, we discussed important pointers for choosing the right fabric when you begin your fabric button making project. Then yesterday, we told you about the myriad uses for fabric-covered buttons. Today, we will provide an overview of why many embroidery shops are investing in their own professional button machine to produce custom fabric buttons.

Monogram Fabric ButtonsWhile monogrammed fabric buttons are growing in popularity, it can be hard for a small embroidery business to capitalize on the opportunity. Additionally, many production methods are not efficient enough for a small business trying to establish themselves as a provider of fabric buttons. Fabric-covered buttons can be extremely versatile, but most manufacturers do not offer any options for their customers.

Most embroidery shops start slow, perhaps using a Dritz Button Cover Kit or similar type of “hand pressed” button. While Dritz Buttons are good for making a fabric-covered button, the results at times can look a little homemade as they usually do not produce the same quality as a fabric-covered button made on a professional button making machine. Dritz Buttons are good, but were never intended for the high-end production method the monogram industry demands.

While relatively inexpensive to make (with accessories basically non-existent) these fabric “press together” button styles can be challenging to assemble. They rely on an individual’s strength to press the parts together by hand or with a hammer. Once all the materials are gathered, they are placed into the press, which is then squeezed together to make a button. There are several limitations to this method. Hand pressing fabric buttons can be difficult to make and uncomfortable for the user. The person making the button must proceed extremely slowly to ensure a quality product. A rushed job can, and often does, result in a button that is not centered and looks bad. Additionally, a press together button is not an efficient button maker, as it takes longer to make a button as compared to using a professional button making machine.

Many production methods are not efficient enough for a small business trying to establish themselves as a provider of fabric buttons. For a business looking to make a large number of fabric buttons, or a variety of covered button types, the old hand-press-together buttons are simply not up to the task of producing a large number of quality buttons quickly. These press together button styles are good for a family or art class making craft buttons but an embroidery shop needing a large number of fabric buttons in a short amount of time would be better suited by using a professional fabric button making machine.”

Many gift shops and resellers simply order fabric-covered buttons from a manufacturer such as Morgan and Company With professional grade equipment, a manufacturer can quickly turn out a large number of buttons; however there are some drawbacks. The price of these fabric buttons can be quite high, as the manufacturer has to mark-up the price of the button to the reseller, who in turn marks it up afabric button making machinegain to the end customer. Additionally, if a customer wants to personalize a button with an initial monogram, a manufacturer may not be able produce a custom monogram or will charge a high price for the personalized embroidery. To reduce costs and still produce personalized embroidered gifts, many embroidery shops are beginning to purchase their own button making machine.

Making a fabric button is extremely easy using professional equipment. After selecting a particular fabric and completing any embroidery or monogramming, a Circle Cutter or Fabric Cutting Press is used to cut out each piece of fabric that will be used in the buttons. Once the other necessary supplies are gathered, a professional button maker can quickly produce a large number of buttons.

Follow the link to see American Button Machines’ line of fabric button supplies.

Brighid Brown – Director of Blogging and All Things Cool at ABM