Thursday, September 30, 2010

October offerings


- Tea Party
- 'Tis the season
- Concrete trucks
- Three little pigs
- Mini Bs
- Scrappys

- Colour cards and loyalty club

Email to order

It's time for a Tea Party and you're invited.  With a pot of tea, two teacups, a cupcake and teddy for company this little set of buttons is perfect for a tea party outfit.


$8 (set of 5)  ~16mm

Tea party with Isabella


Tea Party with Lucy 

Tea Party with Elizabeth

'Tis (almost) the season, so time to add these festive buttons to your creations in colours of your choice.  

$8 (set of 5) ~16mm

'Tis the season - brights

'Tis the season - traditional

'Tis the season - plum pud' purple

Oink - No need for a big bad wolf around here, so here's three cute lil' pigs instead.  Don't be constrained by pink, there's a whole world of colourful pigs waiting to be created.

Three little pigs

 $4 (set of 3).  
~17 x 15mm
Candy floss (pearly)


Miss P Pink

Mini Bs

These limited designs are available while stock is showing.  At ~12mm they are perfect for lil' button holes and with only a few sets in each design you're unlikely to bump into another set at playgroup.  I will be loading new sets of these periodically, so check the Mini B section regularly if you're looking for dinky one-of-a-few lil' buttons.

All Mini Bs $ 4 (set of 3)
(handshaped, so slightly irregular sizes and shapes)

~12 - 13mm

Hanalei Bay - bouquet
~12 - 13mm

Hanalei Bay - flower

Moody blues

 Whakatipu daisy chain
~11 - 12mm
Good match with BWM 'Lake'


If you received my buttons in a recycled envelope you may realise I dislike wasting stuff.  So these Scrappy buttons use up my odds and ends.  Priced accordingly, they are also small buttons (12mm) which will not be repeated, so they are great for one of a kind garments.  Like Mini Bs these will be updated regularly.


$3 (6)

Colour Cards

Pink is pink is pink - right?  You yarn gurus know this simply isn't so.  Buttons by Benji colour cards will allow you to match your yarn as closely as possible to standard colour ranges that I am developing.  I plan to make a colour card for each of the main colour groups (pink, reds and oranges, yellows, blues, greens, neutrals etc.) and each card will have six different colour buttons on it.

Top to bottom: Miss P Pink, baby pink, candy floss (pearl); bubblegum; princess (pearl); fuchsia 

 Top to bottom: Olive, Luck of the Irish, Lime, Basil (pearl), Robin Hood (pearl), Sage

Of course you can use the buttons on your garments if you choose, as they are standard hand-shaped ~16mm buttons; or keep them for future reference.  This may save you custom colour charges as you can match the colour yourself and tell me what colour you need (either from a card, or from the photos on here).

How do you get colour cards*?  You can buy them for $4 each, or read on...

Loyal customers - thank you

It has been a real pleasure to have repeat business, and I get a wee thrill whenever I receive an email from someone who has ordered before.  From 1st October*, for each $30 you spend on Buttons by Benji, you can choose either a colour card in your colour choice (subject to availability) or two sets of Scrappys with your order (you choose from available sets). 

There is no need to spend $30 in one order, as I will keep a running total.  For example, if you spend $10 three times you will be eligible to chose your free Scrappy buttons, or colour card, when you place your third order. 

*Boring stuff:  I cannot promise this offer will run indefinitely, so I will put a finish date of end of June 2011, and will review it nearer the time and may extend it for longer.  Colours are mixed at my dining table with as much accuracy as my scales and skill allow, and they will be ideal for matching to yarn.  However I'm not running a CSI lab, so I cannot guarantee the colours will be exactly the same each time.  If you want to use a number of colour card buttons on the same garment I would recommend you ensure they are from the same batch (each batch available for limited time).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Simply Perfect Sunhat - Photo Tutorial

Simply Perfect Sunhats

I've been making sunhats for my girls for years, mostly due to frustration at the expensive, unsuitable offerings in the stores.  We're a pale-skinned bunch and a one inch brim just doesn't cut the mustard, plus I'm a sucker for a matching hat and sundress.  Along the way we've had a few disasters, some 'nearly there' models and finally I've come up with what I consider to be the perfect, reversible, full-brimmed, wire-edged, non-droopy sunhat.

This is a photo tutorial for adapting your favourite pattern, it is not a pattern itself.  There are free patterns available online, plus many childrens' patterns for summer clothes include a sunhat.  The method will work with a six piece crown (as shown above) or a bucket style hat, as long as the brim edge is basically round.  You do not need a pattern for a reversible hat, just a lined hat (which they typically are).

See notes at the bottom for:

- Choosing your pattern and size.
- Fabric.
- Choosing wire for brim edge.

 1.  Follow your pattern for making up crown and brim and sew each layer together.

 It is very important to snip the seam allowance where the crown joins to the brim (particularly if the hat is a bit tight), so I continue sewing a second seam very close to the first then snip at 1-2 inch intervals to the first seam, all the way around, as shown below.

 2. With right sides together, matching seam/s sew the two layers together right around.  Note: there is no hole for pulling hat to right side, don't worry, see next step.

 3.  Iron back the seam for about 10cm on either side of your rear seam; first one layer, then the other.

 4.  Unpick the stitching in the ironed section and pull hat through unpicked section so it is right side out.  The ironing now forms a nice neat edge for top-stitching the hat closed again.  Iron the remainder of the brim seam so you have a neat, flat edge.


5.  Stitch ~1cm from edge around entire brim.  This forms the channel for your wire.  Top stitch near edge, taking care to close unpicked section neatly, leaving small section open to insert wire*; feed in wire (may take a bit of jiggling) and stitch the section closed (alternatively insert wire once you have stitched the inner channel seam, and before the edge top stitching - you will need to guide the wire close to the channel seam if you choose this option, but I prefer it because it is easier to insert wire, and your edge topstitch is completed in one seam).

*Wire length should be long enough to overlap by a few inches within the channel. There is no need to join it, but make sure your ends are not sharp, or they make poke through.

6.  Adding an underchin strap.  Choose two buttons and make buttonhole in the middle of each side just above the seam where the brim joins the crown.  Attach your buttons to a soft elastic (FOE is good) of suitable length.  Button strap onto hat on either side.

VIOLA! Your finished hat.  

Choosing your pattern and size:  This is the tricky bit.  Having made a few hats I have discovered that one of my daughters has a fairly standard head shape and size, and the other one has a 'funny-shaped', large head (not that you would know to look at her - funny head and all she is absolutely perfect).  My older daughter could try on all the hats in the store in her size and take her pick based on colour and pattern, the other daughter could try them all on, and if she is really lucky one might fit.  So, unless you are really sure that the head you're sewing for is pretty average in size and shape, I strongly recommend cutting some scrap fabric (of a similar weight/material to your chosen fabric) and making a mock-up one-layer version before cutting your chosen fabric.  It doesn't take long to make a one layer thick mock-up, but remember that the final version will be slightly smaller due to it being two layers, so allow for that when you're fitting. I typically have to add circumference for my younger daughter which means adding width to the base of some of the six pieces of the brim, and increasing the brim size accordingly.  I cannot just enlarge the whole pattern on a photocopier because then the depth is too great for her 'flattish on the top' head.  Once you have a great fit you are ready to sew.

I usually add at least an inch to the outside of the brim of most bought patterns, and the pictures shown above have a brim at least an inch or so bigger than the original pattern.

Fabric:  my preference is a craft cotton or printed cotton on one side and a light-medium weight drill on the reverse.  With a wired edge, and this fabric combination I have found that there is no need for interfacing.  It is really important to pre-wash your fabric, particularly drill, as it is prone to shrinking in the wash, and if you finish your perfect hat and it's a snug finish, you don't want it to shrink the first time you wash it.  Wash it using whatever method you intend to wash the hat once finished.  Once the hat is finished I recommend hand washing it, or gentle washing (by itself) because the wire is likely to keep its shape better than way rather than being pulled this way and that in a machine full of clothes.

Materials:  Fabric, cotton and 'wire' for edge.  Choice of wire is important.  It must be kink and rust resistant.  I have used stainless steel bicycle brake cable (stolen from my husband's bike kit - clean and unused); nylon-coated, stainless steel leader wire (for catching sharks), and I have friends who have used 2.4mm trimmer/weedeater line with great success (and I think this is the best value).  So whether you have a bike shop, a fishing tackle shop or a gardening shop nearby there are plenty of choices.  With a good 'memory-less' wire in the brim you can fold the hat up, stuff into a bag and it will spring right out when you unpack it, and never have the 'dreaded droop' that annoyed me with many of my previous attempts.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Spring has Sprung Downunder - new buttons for September

Anything new on the horizon at Buttons by Benji?


Oh, and if you're planning any Christmas crafting, check back 1st October.

The September Collection - Email me on to order.


All sales of Aroha will be donated to support people with kidney cancer and those researching it.  See here for details. 

Planning your summer crafting? 
Summer by the sea buttons feature a starfish, jandal, shell, sandcastle, and ice-cream, and can made in colours to suit your project*.
 $8 (set of 5)

Brights, neutrals, boys, girls - the possibilities are  unlimited. 

~16-17mm diameter

Just want sandcastles or starfish?  No problem. 


Zoom zoom into summer with VW Beetle buttons.
 $8 (set of 4)
~25 x 14mm

Always wanted a funky dubby?  Go wild!

Icecreams anyone? 

Neopolitan, boysenberry or something else?  Name your flavour.

$7 (set of 5) ~16-17mm

Neeeee nawwww neeeeee nawwwww

Fire trucks - 'nuff said.
$9 (set of 4) ~19 x 18mm

Be still my beating heart...

Dotty love
$7 (set of 4)
Colours like these, or something else to please?

And while we're feeling dotty...

Spotty circles
$7 (set of 5)

You know the drill - colours of your choice.
~19mm with textured surface 


$9 (set of 4)

Two sizes: 
smooth base ~21.5mm (see left)
textured base ~18.5mm (see below)

* Custom colours may incur a small extra charge ($2-4) particularly if matching specific yarns or if several colours are required.  Email me on fuzzimama@hotmail to check.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Meet Aroha

This is Aroha.

I created Aroha with my lovely mother in my mind.  Aroha is a Māori term for 'love'.  There is more to Aroha than simple love though, as it encompasses tenderness, compassion and sustaining love as well.  These terms are perfect for Mum, thus Aroha was born.

 Why an elephant?  Mum has had a sustaining love of elephants for decades.  She effortlessly combines strength and toughness with love and tenderness.  Mum also has kidney cancer, and those attributes are standing her in good stead as she journeys with cancer, continuing to protect her young and enrich those around her with her love, quick wit and compassion.  

Kia Kaha Mum.

About Aroha buttons:  ~15 x 18mm; can be made in any colour* you choose; all money from the sale of Aroha buttons will be donated to support kidney cancer research and those affected.

$5 (set of 3), $6 (set of 4), $7 (set of 5)

* custom colours may incur small extra charge, contact me for details

Colour examples.