Machine embroidery and buttons

Last week my friend Nancy B. came over and lent her two good hands to my embroidery project. She got my fabric and stabilizer hooped for me and I was able to get busy and stitch out a verse on a quilt square. I wrote about the project in detail yesterday.

I was so pleased that I was successful with that project I decided to try on my own and finally get a couple of tank tops done. Anyone who has spent time in my sewing room has seen them just hanging out on a hook for almost a year, waiting.

Of course the first thing I did was ponder what to stitch. Then the choice of threads has to be considered. I consulted with the hubby on the first shirt. I had a varigated thread in mind and he recommended to wait until after the first part stitched before choosing the second color. It was good advice.

What shows as background in teal is where I chose to use the varigated. The design is called Another swirly shell from

As a 4×4 design it did well. I choose a medium brown for the shell to ensure adequate contrast. Made that $5 tank top look quite beachy. The variety of colors don’t lock me into specific colors to wear with this top.

When I got the next tank off the hangar I decided that the color of the shirt called for something pretty specific.

This design, Floral Anchor with a rope, by Oh My is an applique embroidery project. Again I did a 4×4. And it was just shy of 10,000 stitches.

It was much more work but the results pleased me. Both shirt photos were taken right away. I have washed each shirt and am satisfied with the results. They could each use a touch with the steam iron before I pack them in my suitcase this week. I like working on inexpensive t-shirts and tanks when I am practicing with the embroidery machine.

I used my new thread stand during the stitching of these 2 shirts. My Queen Bee friend Marta gifted me a stand her husband had made. It really worked like a champ . I guess I should take a better photo, but I forget before I started this post.

I spent some time on Friday with buttons. One tin of donated buttons really needed some work. They felt grimey when I handled them. I brought the tin in from the sewing room and got out my salad spinner. A little Dawn dish soap and water and 6 loads of buttons later, they were clean and pretty again. Note.. some buttons escape the confines of the salad spinner and it helps to have a strainer in the drain if the sink.

There were big wooden buttons and some that felt like stone

I set them out on cookie sheets covered with dish towels to dry and pick through. I’m glad I did because there were all kinds of stuff in the button tin besides buttons. I must have thrown away 10 thumb tacks and other weird implements I can’t even describe.

Right away I could see that there were lots of matching buttons.

This was just the beginning of the sorting and I knew I could make up some sets of six or eight matching buttons easily.

Sorting feels like therapy. I like the texture and shapes. It was tons of fun until I got to the boring white brown and black buttons.

Still contemplating how to merchandise these beautiful buttons in the 2nd Time Around booth at the quilt show. I’m considering a few ideas. I’ll let you know!😁

Do you have a collection of buttons on hand? How are they stored? Do you ever use any of them?


11 thoughts on “Machine embroidery and buttons

    • Now that is a smart way to keep them organized in her button box/tin!! My mother in law never discarded a garment with any buttons left on it. They all got cut off, then the shirt was made into dust rags before being thrown out. 🙂 Her button tin was a nightmare trying to cut all the threads loose from the shirt plackets etc. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!


    • Thanks! Those tank tops have been hanging in the sewing room for nearly a year waiting for me to take the time. I’ve learned to “float” instead of hooping garments and that has been successful. Not bad for a little Brother machine. 🙂


    • LOL…you are too funny! I was at physical therapy yesterday and the lady next to me was working her hands on a container of those glass beads like you put in flower vases, then they had her picking up little lego’s. I thought she needed my “button therapy” and we laughed a lot about it while getting our hands iced.


  1. I loved how the shirts turned out and the idea of using your salad spinner. I will have to do that with my buttons. I have a few glass containers filled with buttons. I did organize them by color a few years ago. I have used some of the largest buttons on hanging towels that I have made.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a fast way to wash them. Make certain you have a strainer in the sink drain just in case one floats away during the rinsing. I’ve used a few of my MILs collection. She collected them and had coat buttons. I’ve put them on bags.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Final Prep for the Quilt Show Second Time Around booth | Stitching Grandma

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