20th August 2020

The manufacture of button moulds may not seem interesting, but they were vital for tailors and dress makers to make matching, fabric covered buttons. They were also used by ladies for embroidering and embellishing their own buttons, and for making gifts. They were very popular in the first two decades of the 20th century, then again in the 1930s.

Here are some of the examples and designs printed in newspapers over the years. Some were repeated in multiple papers around the country.

1904: Crocheted button covers.

1904-5: 1 & 2: cross stitches in green silk on canvas. 3: rich brown conching stitch forming squares, caught with gold thread at the intersections. 4: green four leaf clover on white silk.

1906: The small buttons are worked on nun’s veiling in fileselle, made up on linen buttons padded with a little wadding. The peacock is done in vivid blues and greens with gold beading on satin.

1907: Tooled and embroidered leather collars, cuffs and buttons.

1907: A roster in floss silk and two designs embroidered with beads.


1908: 1. Ivory taffeta painted with a tiny pink wreath. 2. Ivory silk with a lace medallion in the centre and an edging of gold cord. 3. Silk with medallions embroidered in tiloselle, the spaces in between filled with Chinese gold.

Suggested two tones of mauve Filoselle silk and gold thread on linen.

Suggested pale green linen, satin or thin cloth worked with darker green and gold thread.

Suggested ivory satin. Two shades of green for the leaves and two shades of pink or blue for the flowers and gold beads in the centres. Gold thread for the trellis.









1909: Crochet buttons.

1910: Crocheted buttons.

1914: Crocheted buttons.








1930: Leather buttons. 1: Cover mould with leather, cut out shamrock leaves and attach with thread and small nails, with a bead on a thong through the centre. 2: Darn leather thongs over mould. 3&4: Cover wooden moulds with enamel paint, paint on design then lacquer.

1916: Tatted buttons.

1931: Craft idea for children.

1933: Cover buttons in similar or contrasting material to dress. Embroider in bright wool.

1934: Designs to be traced onto wooden buttons for painting. before vanishing.


1936: Buttons decorated in crocheted wool.

1936: crocheted silken thread over curtain rings.