Summer of Inspiration | Just Another Button Company

rachel and cecile

Today we’ve got a mother-daughter duo with an adorable company that I’m so excited to share about! Cecile and her daughter Rachel are the creative and savvy businesswomen behind Just Another Button Company. You’re going to be utterly inspired by their amazing offerings of hand made and hand dyed buttons, pincushions and patterns. I dare you to read this post without picking up some of their adorable creations!

How Did You Get Started with Button Making?

Cecile began her story by telling me that when her children were small, they used polymer clay to make refrigerator magnets and dollhouse food. She explained, “We found the media through a Klutz book for kids. I was intrigued by a page in the book that introduced caning—building a design in three dimensions. The cane is then stretched and sliced. The cane slices were perfect for buttons!”



Not long after, Cecile was teaching some wearable-art classes at a local quilt shop when some of the students asked for buttons to match the fabrics they were using for vests and jackets. A cane produces many MANY slices. So Cecile had hundreds of buttons each time she created a cane—there were plenty to go around. Buttons sold locally on consignment led to a connection with a popular cross stitch designer. From there, it was just one more step to sell the buttons wholesale to the same shops that carried the cross stitch charts. Cecile reports, “Selling to quilt shops was a natural progression. Trade shows were perfect for connecting to those first wholesale customers. Now we have a small full-time staff running our office and a crew of crafts-women hand making clay buttons at home—some of them for more than 20 years!”

august clay button

What is the difference between your hand made buttons and the hand-dyed buttons?

Just Another Button Company‘s history began with the decorative buttons made from polymer clay. She goes into more detail saying, “We’ve built the inventory to offer over 1500 different buttons—every one of them made by our hands right here in Illinois. The buttons include flowers and bees, Christmas ornaments and wreaths, jack-o-lanterns and candy corn, beach balls and scallop shells. We even have a bed pan button—yes, that was requested by a designer, and yes, we sold a bunch of them.”

Bed Pan Button

The clay buttons from Just Another Button Company have a whimsical feel because they are handmade, and a smooth matte finish that makes them look nice on fabric.

“We met Theresa Stelter from Hillcreek Designs at a Quilt Market because several designers were using her beautiful hand-dyed polyester round buttons with our clay buttons. The colors and the matte finish on her buttons and ours were a perfect fit. Theresa became a friend and we spent years marketing our two types of buttons side-by-side (literally) to be sure shops carried both types of buttons. Sadly, Theresa passed away in 2015. But her buttons found a permanent home with us when we purchased Hillcreek Designs. Now you can find both the handmade clay buttons and the lovely hand-dyed round buttons all in the same place.”

What’s it like creating custom buttons for big companies like PatchAbilities?

Cecile exclaims, “We love working with designers!” Sometimes they are asked to create a new button and sometimes they dream up a new design that uses buttons from their stock. Cecile continues, “Either way, they let stitchers know where to find the button pack for their design, and we reciprocate by letting shops know about the new design that is available. The best part about working with the designers is that we get to know them. We talk about our families and our lives as well as about business. We are all motivated to make each other sparkle because we are friends—not just members of the same industry.”

white heart button

Where do you find your inspiration?

We’ve interviewed many pattern creators this summer but not too many end-product creators, so I was curious about the difference in those first steps of inspiration.

“Holiday buttons are the most fun to make—and have the biggest audience. We also have lots of flowers and bugs—my personal favorites. I started making those for embellishing my silk ribbon embroidery. Over the last 22 years, I can guess that we’ve made hundreds of thousands of bees! Interesting though, that there’s no longer time for silk ribbon embroidery.”

christmas candle button

We often add new buttons for a designer who’s publishing a book, pattern or chart. To date, there are more than 5000 button packs available to embellish those designs—all created at the request of the designers. That list of publications has been accumulating since 1996, but all those packs are still available. That means when you pull an old favorite Art to Heart or PatchAbilities pattern from your stash, you can still find the buttons!

Cecile goes on, “My daughter, Rachel, who used to make the dollhouse food, is now our full-time designer. Rachel chooses our colors and hand-dyes button collections to complement the clay buttons. Then she dreams up clever ways to use the buttons on sewn and stitched projects. These days, I guess you could say we are inspired to create the next color of dyed button and the next style of clay button to coordinate with the fabric Rachel is using for our Button Lover’s Club—Words with Buttons.”

words with buttons box


Words with Buttons is a really neat subscription offered by Just Another Button Company. Each month the box is delivered to your door and includes a different collection of hand-dyed and handmade buttons, each inspired by a Moda fabric collection. You even get a card with suggested projects inside for your buttons. These include material and supply lists with links to instructions…perfect!

Cecile is one lucky lady, working with your daughter is a dream scenario for anyone! She tells me that, “Rachel and I work together on concepts. She likes me to draw the applique shapes, but all the color and fabric choices are hers. It’s really a very good partnership!”

Talk to me about the moment that you realized your buttons could be turned into pins!

I love hearing about those “ah-ha” moments, so I was curious about how Cecile and Rachel’s buttons turned into pins.


“When a designer friend glued bee buttons to plain plastic flower pins, it was just one step further to imagine cutting our button slices just a little thicker and drilling a hole on the edge to glue in a pin. We called these Just Pins and sold them as embellishments for fun pincushions. The more tricky part of this new product was figuring out how to package to protect the stainless steel pins from bending. Just Pins have become a big part of our product line and are now available as Pin-Mini’s—sets of three pins that are oh-so-collectible!”

Tell me more about the Pin Lovers Club!

The Pin Lover’s Club is perfect for pincushion enthusiasts (like me)! One can never have too many pincushions. A member of our newest club receives an exclusive Pin-Mini each month—and it comes with a link to a free pattern for making a pincushion!

 Pin Lover's Club

And the pincushions! Tell me more!

I love hearing the stories behind patterns and products. These pincushions are a beautiful fusion of both! These sweeties make perfect themed gifts for quilters, garment makers, and other crafty friends. Cecile explains how this all began, “I mentioned before that I love pincushions. In 2010, Rachel suggested celebrating a milestone with 15 and Fabulous! It was our anniversary year and we would create patterns and kits for 15 pincushions to celebrate—all the designs featuring our buttons and Just Pins of course. It was a tremendously successful program, and as a result both Rachel and Josh, her new husband, learned to hand sew to create the pincushion models. Rachel also designed her first patterns for the series—the first step on her path to the accomplished quilter, designer and pattern-maker she is today.”

pincushion pattern set

Most of the original 15 Fabulous Pincushions—and many more—available as patterns. Make sure to check them out!

Your Blog is bursting with fun! Tell me all about it…

“Thanks! We are so lucky that our local crafty friend Tammy Tutterow mentioned that she has experience in social media after a conversation about our long-neglected blog. Tammy now does a lot of the writing and her enthusiasm for our products really comes through. Rachel writes many of the blog tutorials and I help with video tutorials. There is a lot going on here, so its easy to find content.”

lemon pincushion pattern

I thought I’d wrap up our time together with the question that we’re all surely wondering. I went for it and asked, “We’ve all got that one button that we love so much, it’ll probably never get used… What is your favorite button?”

robins egg button

I’m sure Cecile understands this tendency more than any of us ever could! She said that, “Many years ago, I became fascinated with some new transparent clay. It looked white until baked, and then it became almost waxy. I made moth buttons—just with white, brown and transparent clay. The moths were sliced and baked, and I dyed some in several colors just to see what would happen. The dyed moths were gorgeous, but not really marketable, so they went in a cabinet. Fast forward to 2018…Rachel is making some soon-to-be-revealed projects with a lovely Moda fabric called Twilight. She asked for buttons to coordinate. The moths came out of the cabinet. Perfect shape, perfect size, even those long ago colors are perfect. And to top it off, we now have a dye room in our building. That’s why moths are my favorite button this month. Next month, who knows?”

What an exciting tease! We’ll have to keep checking back with Cecile to see these gorgeous buttons! Thanks so much for joining us today and we’ll see you next week with another inspiring interview.


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All photos used with permission of Just Another Button Company.



  1. Thanks, Rachel, for sharing our story. It’s fun to hear your enthusiasm for our products!

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