I started off with this set of plastic self cover buttons from the haberdasher
This particular brand seems to be widely available, in the the UK at least, and comes in metal and plastic in a variety of sizes from 11mm to 38mm. Each button consists of 2 parts - a dome with a stem and a round washer. One side of the washer is ribbed, to grip the fabric.
Using the guideline of the relevant size from the back of the packet, cut a circle in the size you require, pin to your fabric and cut
Put a running stitch (or gathering stitch) around the outer edge of the fabric
Place the dome of the button on top and pull the thread to draw the fabric around the stem of the button. Turn the button over to check if there are any wrinkles, and smooth away, adjusting the thread. Tie the ends in a double knot.
Place the circular washer over the back of the button, with the ridged side facing down.
Use a spool of thread to push the washer into place
I thought I would also show the (somewhat bulging!) make up bag that my lovely friend Jen made for me last year, with an effective use of covered buttons for decoration. She has embellished them with embroidery and beads, and used netting over fabric, with diamante trapped between.
Looking around at some other blogs, I found quite a few other covered button tutorials out there which were similar to mine (well, there's nothing new under the sun!). I thought that this one from Casey's Elegant Musings produced a really nice effect. This one from Burdastyle shows how you can cover an ordinary button.
If you've never made covered buttons before, I hope this post will inspire you to give it a go. If you have made them, I'd love to know what you did, and if you have any wisdom to share!