Using buttons instead of applique for a small quilt!

Yesterday I showed you how to use some blue buttons from a bottle o’ buttons to mount a small modern quilt on artist’s canvas.

Today I’ll show you how to make this little quilt using some purple buttons for flowers. In this case, the buttons take the place of applique.

Use buttons to create flower designs.

Purple buttons – one of the many “Bottle o’ Buttons” collections

materials for a small quilt measuring 12″ x 16″


  • 9″ x 16″ piece of purple fabric for top of quilt
  • 4″ x 16″ piece of gray fabric for bottom of quilt
  • binding: Enough fabric for 58″ of binding. I like to cut my binding strips 3″ wide for a ½” finished size binding.
  • 8″ x 12″ piece of green for stems and leaves
  • 14″ x 18″ piece of fabric for backing

HeatnBond fusible web in 2 weights for fusible applique

Let’s get started!

  • Following the directions on the package, fuse the HeatnBond Lite or Featherlite to the wrong side of the green fabric.
  • You can draw stem and leave shapes on the fusible web or just cut them free-hand. My stems were about ¼” – ⅜” wide and 3″ – 5″ long.
  • Arrange the stems and leaves as desired on the purple background. When you’re satisfied with the arrangement, remove the backing paper and fuse the shapes to the purple fabric.
  • Make sure to follow the fusing directions on the package.

Arrange fusible stem and leaf shapes as desired.

Sew the 4″ gray bottom strip to the stems/leaves piece.

You can place the buttons on the stems to get an idea of how they’ll look, but don’t sew them on yet.

Ready for quilting.

You can “audition” the buttons, but don’t sew them on yet. Take a picture for future reference if you create a design you want to keep.

  • Layer backing, batting and top.
  • Quilt as desired, using a walking or even-feed foot. I straight-stitched around the stems and leaves and then filled in the background with some curvy lines, following the design lines on the fabric.

Use a walking foot to stitch down the applique shapes.

Now comes the fun button part – using my purple bottle o’ buttons! I placed the buttons on the stems, making several different arrangements before choosing the final one. When I found a button design I liked, I took a picture of it to use for reference as I was sewing on the buttons.

Although I sewed the buttons on the last project earlier this week by machine, I found it easier to sew these buttons by hand.

After all the buttons are sewn on, sew on the binding using your favorite method. I like to have a ½” finished size binding cut from 3″ strips. You can read about my quilt binding method from a previous QUILTsocial post.

Finished button quilt using buttons to make flower shapes

bottle o’ buttons

Come back tomorrow and see how to make another little button quilt using bottle o’ buttons blue buttons.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: How to mount a quilted piece on an artist canvas

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Kathy B. December 16, 2018 - 4:57 pm
This is a cute idea. It adds depth and texture to the piece. I have always had a love of buttons and try to cut them off of items of clothing that I am discarding or making into rags.
Jean Boyd December 16, 2018 - 8:32 pm
Thanks Kathy. Many of us have button collections, but the bottle o' buttons collections that I used just make it so easy to create a color-co-ordinated quilt.
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