These large tasselled buttons were commissioned to go on large cylinder bolster cushions on either end of a day bed. As you will see there is quite a lot of work in covering and decorating the buttons before making and attaching the tassels.
The fabric is a mix of shades of blue and grey with gold. I mixed 5 different colours together to get the best match. In consultation with the customer I decided to use the 4 blue/grey colours on the centre of the buttons and to add in the gold to the outer ruff and the tassel, with plain gold stripes, suspension cord and to whip the tassel.
The wooden moulds for the buttons are very thin, but slightly domed on the outside surface. It can be tricky to cover big buttons as it takes a lot of thread to cover the wood around the edges – which all has to be “managed” in the middle. I find what works best is quite a thick “warp” so that I don’t have too many changes of direction in the middle. After tying the warp onto a length of linen yarn I attach the other end to a large needle which I thread back and forth through the button.
I carefully position and smooth the threads as I work around the buttons.
Next I made the 2 cords for the stripes, twisting them in different directions to give an “ears of wheat” effect once they are placed side by side. Note that the cords are positioned so that the “chevron” effect always points in the same direction, in this case towards the centre.
The next stage is the ruff that goes around the outside of the button. With a diameter of 11cm it takes approx 70cm of ruff to go twice around the button.
The ruffs are attached by using glue. I use Copydex which I apply to both the ruff and the button and then allow it to dry until it is just tacky. That makes it easier to join the 2 pieces without the danger of getting wet glue in places where you don’t want it.
Finally I make the actual tassel. Given that the diameter of the cylinder cushions is approx 25cm I needed to be sure that the tassels would be just the right length to hang nicely. I gave them about 1cm of cord from the centre of the button and cut them to approx 10.5cm long.
The completed sofa