I am not a huge Hello Kitty fan. I mean, I probably was when I was 8 or so, and all the little girls in Japan loved everything with Hello Kitty on it. I know the Cat has since become an international icon of cuteness, but I never quite understood why.
So when I first saw Hello Kitty fabrics from Liberty of London (was it a few years ago?) — I didn’t get it. To me, Liberty of London tana lawn meant top-quality, luxury fabric for grownups. These fabrics are super expensive, and frankly, just too good for children who’d smear spaghetti sauce on them. And Hello Kitty meant… well, “childish trinkets” comes to mind when I think of it. Liberty and Hello Kitty just didn’t seem to mix.
Until I saw this fabric.
Wow! So beautiful and cheesy at the same time. The design is so clever in that, while the cats are everywhere, they are well-blended into the overall pattern — you probably wouldn’t even notice the cats when looking from a distance. Instead of being the main thing, Hello Kitty has become dots, flowers, and colors.
When I learned that these fabrics are only available for sale in Japan in limited quantities, I had to order some right away. Never mind the exorbitant price tag.
And these arrived yesterday. I love, love, love them. The silky quality of Liberty Tana Lawn fabric, combined with the detailed and crisp print, and the silly cuteness of colourful cats everywhere, is a winning combination — even for a grownup I might say.
Here’s what the selvedge looks like: Printed in Japan, and for sale only in Japan. It’s not allowed to make products out of this fabric for sale.
Now the dilemma was, on one hand these fabrics were too precious to cut into. On the other hand, I was dying to play with the kitties because they were too darn cute. Hmm… The solution?
Covered buttons of course! Made into girly hair ties! These were so easy and satisfying to make — and require only a tiny amount of fabric. Would you like to give it a try? Here’s what you need:
You can buy covered button sets from a craft shop, or online. They are pretty cheap in bulk and come in different sizes. Each set has a rounded, outer button and the backside panel. Make sure they come with the mould tool, or buy it separately. I bought mine here.
Step 1: Make a template with clear plastic so you can “fussy cut” the fabric. The button kits I had are about 1 1/8″ in diameter. The template should be a circle with about 2 1/8″ diameter. I marked the center of the template, so it’s easier to place a desired object — say, a Kitty face — right in the middle of the button.
Step 2: Place the template onto the right side of the fabric, and trace around it with a pen.
Step 3: Cut the fabric.
Step 4: Sandwich the fabric between the mould and the rounded outer button. Make sure the right side of the fabric is facing the mould side. Press the button into the mould.
If you have a clear mould, you can check from the other side if the pattern is placed where you want it. You also have to be a little careful with very lightweight fabric like Liberty tana lawn, because the fabric can get stretched out of shape — and the pretty face of the cat could be distorted. If you are not happy here, you can take the button out the mould and start again, till you get the result you want.
Here the fabric is pushed all the way in.
Step 5: Press the back of the button into the mould till it clicks in. I just use my fingers here, even though the mould comes with a little tool for pushing the back panel in (it’s the little round blue thing you see in the photo above).
Step 6: Pop the button out of the mould, and that’s it!
Step 7: Thread a narrow, commercial hair tie through the loop hole in the back of the button, and you just made the world’s prettiest hair tie for your little girl — or for yourself.
You can also buy covered button kits with a flat back, without the loop hole. You can glue them onto DIY hair slides, or magnets, or little pegs… the possibilities are endless.