HAND-CRAFTED LEATHER GOODS
How to make braided buttons
As we have so very recently been probing the secrets of mystery braiding it seems somewhat appropriate at this point to turn to the making of leather buttons. Once you have made your first one, of whatever size, the method is the same for all others.
The length of the thong required for making buttons depends upon the diameter and thickness of the button and the substance of the leather you are using. If you are using a light-coloured leather it is preferable to stain the edges of the strip before you begin braiding. For darker leathers the entire button may be stained after moulding. If the button you are to make is a 1" button then the length of the strip required is some 21" long and approximately ³/8" wide.
Fold a strip over the forefinger of your left hand keeping the grain side uppermost. Call the front half A and the back half B (see illustration below, Fig 1). Next, twist B into a loop and place it over the top of A with the grain facing to the front (see illustration below, Fig 2). Using the principles of braiding of over-under-over-under the point of A is then passed under the end of B, over the right side of the loop, under A on your finger and over the left side of the loop as shown in the illustration in the direction of the arrow.
That part over the finger is called the shank and should not be lost in the knot, for a long shank is necessary for attaching the button in its intended position of use. The knot is then pulled up tightly into shape to form a round button (see illustration below, Fig 3). Tuck away the ends passing up under the two loops which hold the shank (as in illustration, Fig 4).
After pulling the button up very tightly you wet it and leave it to mellow. Cut the surplus ends off. The button can be moulded into shape using dies or by hand. It can be pressed into shape using a block of wood with an appropriately sized hole drilled into it. To get a good surface and shape considerable pressure is required. When it is completely dry finish it off with a coat of clear lacquer. That prevents the button from absorbing moisture.
The shanks which are for attaching the button into its intended position are pared to a long bevel on both sides. The final method of attachment is your own choice depending on the material on which the button is to be used.
Covering a belt buckle with leather lace
A leather covered buckle can set off a solid leather or braided belt. Although the method may look somewhat complicated it is fairly straightforward once you have begun. The amount of lace required will depend on the buckle size, but is usually, approximately, ten times the distance round it.
As shown in Fig 1, the buckle is turned over, because the braiding is done from the back. Bend the lace as shown, then bring the end through the loop as
indicated by the
unbroken arrowheaded line.
As illustrated in Figs 2 - 5, as the braiding continues, the end is hidden from view and locked in place. There is a technique, see Fig. 6, to getting a good firm
job with a regular edge. The loop is held open as in Fig. 5 and the end passed through it. The loop is then pulled tight as in Fig. 6.
In Fig. 7 the end is then also pulled tight and the knot is complete.
You don't need the use of a needle for doing this covering of the buckle.
When finishing up, Figs 8 - 9, leave the last two or three stitches quite loose. Pass the end of the lace through the very first strand that began the job and feed it under the loose stitches.
Pull the loose stitches tight before you then pull the end firmly and trim it off flush. The finished buckle, showing what it looks like from the front, is depicted in Fig 10.