Ellen W. Miller taught at Boston's School of Fashion Design, including classes in couture details, construction and pattern drafting, for ten years. She has also worked in the theatre as costumer, wardrobe mistress and stage hand in the United States and Europe.
The finishing touches applied to a garment can take it from the realms of the ordinary to the heights of luxury. Here Creating Couture Embellishment author Ellen W. Miller shares the secret of creating a beautiful Singleton Button.
Fabric covered Singleton buttons, a variation of Dorset buttons, were invented by the Singleton family in the seventeenth century. The fabric choice and the method of hand sewing inside the ring will alter the character of the button.
Interface a piece of fashion fabric. Draw a circle on the fabric twice the diameter of the ring and baste just inside each circle. Cut out the circle.
Place a small amount of batting under the ring, making sure it extends to the outside edge of the ring. Here a piece of a cotton ball was used, but quilt batting works well too.
Gather the basting thread, making sure the batting and ring are centered in the circle.
Knot the gathering thread
A traditional Singleton button has 12 stitches around the inside of the ring. While picturing a clock, make a stitch at each hour of the clock. Any other stitch combination can be worked too; the button on the right has 24 stitches.
To complete the button, sew a yoyo to the back of the button, making the back of the button smooth and thread free (see page 389 -90 for yoyos/suffolk puffs). Add a thread shank to the yoyo using a Buttonhole stitch (See French Tack in Finishing Details).
Discover more of Ellen W. Miller’s easy-to-follow couture techniques in her beautiful new book, and keep up to date by visiting her Creating Embellishment blog.