Beautiful buttons down the back are one of the most popular accents for wedding gowns. After all, it's the back of the dress the audience is looking at throughout the ceremony! By adding crystals to a simple covered button, you create instant dramatic flair. We show you ours as a feature strip on a sheer over-the-shoulder capelet, but they'd be also be beautiful as a featured top and/or bottom button on the gown itself. And they'd be striking as matching accents on the groom's and groomsmen's vests. Or, go beyond the world of weddings; these bejeweled buttons would fly off the virtual shelf as all-occasion fashion accessories.
Our base capelet is made from McCalls pattern 3033. We followed the basic pattern instructions to create the View B option in a pale ivory organza with accents of taupe silk dupioni. Chiffon would also be a lovely choice as an alternative to the organza and would increase the drape and swing of the capelet.
All of our DIY Wedding Sparkle projects are structured to provide inspiration rather than act as full sewing and software tutorials. We include the basics of how to make the base project(s), but not in the step-by-step detail you may be used to if you're a regular S4H visitor.
Once you're hooked on the idea and have your very own Artistic System, you'll be able to visit the Artistic website, where detailed step-by-step crystal design and application tutorials will be available as free downloads for our project ideas, including today's capelet with its bejeweled buttons. These free .PDF files will be begin to be posted to the Artistic website at the conclusion of our S4H series.
We've also included a few handy links at the end of the article to project tutorials within our own S4H archives that will help with project construction.
Construction notes for the capelet
The McCalls 3033 pattern was a nice shape for the capelet, but (in true S4H fashion) we did make a few alterations. We lowered the neckline by 1" then finished the raw edge with a thin strip of silk dupioni as a banded facing. This facing application is shown in the pattern instructions.
We changed the capelet opening from the front to the back. To do this, we simply placed the center front pattern piece on the fold of the fabric. Then, we placed the center back pattern piece parallel to the selvage edge and cut along the center back.
We also added an accent band along along either side of the back opening to form the button and buttonhole plackets for our DIY Wedding Sparkle: the bejeweled buttons.
The band was cut 3" x the length of the center back edge plus 1" for seams.
Sew the band to the center back, using a ½" seam. Turn under the opposite long raw edge ½" and press in place. Fold the band in half with right sides together. Sew the upper and lower ends with a ½" seam. For each side of the opening, turn the band right side out and press, making sure the folded edge covers the stitching line. Top stitch in place, catching all the layers.
Crystal application notes for the buttons
We played with a number of different sizes of crystals, different spacing and simplified shapes when refining our button designs. In the end, we focused on two successful styles. The first was a software generated circle with a center stone added using the software's crystal tool. Then, we hand drew a heart shape and brought this art into the Artistic Crystal's software. Again, there are tools within the software to allow you to adjust the line to get a smooth curve to which to apply the line of crystals. At this very small size, we found a shape filled with crystals wasn't as successful a design. It was too hard to get a recognizable sharp in such a small size, even with the smallest crystals. The design outlines were much better.
For the majority of our DIY Wedding Sparkle projects, we used the Artistic Press to heat set the crystals. But, for these little buttons, we used a standard home iron. The key to remember is to press straight down on the crystals without moving the iron (as with all the projects, you are using a pressing cloth). Hold for 20 seconds, then lift. If necessary, repeat for another area of the design. Moving the iron (as if ironing clothes) can result in the crystals shifting out of position.
If you haven't already, take a look at the first article in this series, The Business of Bling, for an interesting step-by-step overview of the crystal design and application.
One more thing about covered buttons and crystals (or embroidered button accents for that matter). Your design must be a bit smaller than the finished size of button; you need a little extra room around the design in order to wrap the fabric to the back.
Hints and Tips
If you are new to working with sheer fabric, like the organza we used on the capelet, check out our tutorial for some tips and tricks. Our Hostess Apron Series also has additional step-by-step instructions for many techniques, such as narrow hemming with sheers.