Creating realistic objects in Illustrator it is easy as 1, 2, 3. The only thing we need to create is a flat shape and Illustrator will take care of the rest. In this tutorial we are going to learn how to create realistic buttons, and then we are going to “sew” them to our background. Don’t worry we don’t need a needle, you just need to follow the steps below and you will see how easy is to sew those lost buttons.

STEP ONE:

Open a New Document in Illustrator (Mac: Command + N, PC: Control + N). In the New Document dialog box name the document “Stitched Buttons”, enter 500px for its width and 200px for its height.
At the LAYERS palette (Window > Layers) rename “Layer 1” as, “Buttons”.

STEP TWO:

Double-click the  Ellipse Tool (L), enter 68 pixels for its width and height, and click OK.
You should have a perfect circle on your art-board.
Step Two

STEP THREE:

Select the circle, remove the stroke and fill it with any color of you choice.
Step Three

STEP FOUR:

Double-click the Ellipse Tool (L), enter 10 pixels for its width and height. Do this three more times to create four small circles.
Select the four circles, remove their stroke, and fill them with white.
Place the four small circles inside our orange circle like shown below:
Step Four A
In order to center our four small circles inside our orange circle, select the four small circles go to Object > Group. Now select the five circles, open the ALIGN palette and click Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.
Step Four B

STEP FIVE:

Let’s transform these five different objects into a single object. With all the circles selected open the PATHFINDER palette (Window > Pathfinder) and click Minus Front.
Step Five

STEP SIX:

Select the object, go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel, and change the following settings:
Step Six A

Click OK.
Great! We have a realistic button.
Step Six B

STEP SEVEN:

Copy and paste the button several times.
You can change its color by simply applying a different fill color in the COLOR palette.

STEP EIGHT:

Select all the buttons, go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and change the following settings:
Step Eight

STEP NINE:

Create a New Layer under the “Button” layer and name it, “Background”.
Add any background pattern you like; I added a fabric texture background to make the buttons look more real.
Step Nine

STEP TEN:

Create a New Layer before the “Buttons” layer and name it, “Thread”.
We are going to start stitching the buttons. First, we need a brush that resembles a cover-stitch. At www.vecteezy.com I found a set of free fashion design brushes that has the cover-stitch brush that we need. (The brush is included inside the downloadable file at the end of this tutorial).
When you download the file open the Brushes folder, there you will find an Illustrator file with the brushes (FASHION_BRUSHES). Open it and save the brush library.
Go back to our “Stitched Buttons” Illustrator file, open the BRUSHES palette (Window > Brushes), at its menu go to Open Brush Library > User Defined > FASHION_BRUSHES to open our new set of brushes.
Step Ten
Select the COVERSTITCHED brush.

STEP ELEVEN:

Select the Paintbrush Tool (B), choose a dark stroke color for the COVERSTITCHED brush with a stroke point of 0.08 points.
Step Eleven A
Think about sewing a button and start drawing curved lines with the brush between the holes of the button.
Step Eleven B

Here is my final result:
Final Result
There we have it, stitched buttons in Illustrator.

Download Source Files