Henry's Buttons is based near Shaftesbury in Dorset, the birth-place of the Dorset Button industry in the 1600s.
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Website designed by Anna McDowell for Henry’s Buttons
Dorset buttons are handmade from fabric, embroidery floss or yarn, wrapped around a round-shaped base.
The Dorset Button industry was started in Shaftesbury in the 1620s and became a major cottage industry in Dorset, creating employment and income for many families. By the 1780s, around 4,000 women and children were employed making buttons. The industry came to an end after the introduction of a button-making machine in the 1800s.
Henry’s Buttons was formed to help save this heritage skill and create better understanding of the Dorset Button industry by acting as a focus.
Dorset Button threads and rings
I am constantly asked which thread to use with which rings. I am always reluctant to give a definitive answer as this is up to the individual buttoner and their preferences. However, my individual preferences are to use a #20 weight thread when using a 19mm ring. If using one of the much finer hand-made 0.8mm thickness rings I find anything from a #40 or #50 weight gives a lovely finish.
The original linen thread was around #70 to #80 weight and I'm currently trying to find a fine linen thread to try my hand at emulating the original buttons.
I have worked buttons using a two ply Alpaca wool on a 32mm hollow brass ring which was delicious!
Over the next few month I will be compiling an information sheet with images of buttons worked in different threads and will be uploading it to this website when completed.
If you would like to share your preferences please contact me with your comments.
Dorset Button E-Newsletter
Henry's Buttons Dorset Button e-Newsletter includes many diverse uses of Dorset Buttons and demonstrates how these buttons can be used other than as a fastening. I am always looking for information, stories and photographs of Dorset Buttony to include in my E-Newsletter and your help would be much appreciated. If you would like to share your stories, images and any anecdotes, please email them to Henry’s Buttons E-Newsletter. If you would like to receive a copy of this E-Newsletter, just send your information to Add me to your E-Newsletter list.
New Dorset Button Workshop for High Top
High Tops and Dorset Knobs were among the first of a number of different types of Dorset Buttons dating back to the 1600s. It is said that High Tops were used on men's hunting coats. Like many cottage industry crafts and skills, the exact method of making these buttons has been lost in time. Dedicated researchers have discovered, from dismantling an original button, how they were assembled and the materials used. Using this information and the results of my own research and experiments, I have designed a workshop on these intricate thread buttons to show how they were made and used. It will also have the opportunity for you to try your hand at making these buttons using contemporary materials.
Keeping the art of making Dorset Buttons alive
Dorset Buttons made to your own specifications contact
Henry's Buttons for details.
Buy Dorset Buttons
at Gold Hill Museum, Shaftesbury
The Cygnet - Art and Crafts Centre
Swans Yard, Shaftesbury
Dorset Button workshops and talks
To book a trainer for your Dorset Buttons Workshop or talk contact Henry's Buttons