Tight and tidy rows of buttons seems to have been at the hight of fashion during the later part of the 14th century. Sometimes the buttons were so tightly placed that each button touched the next one. (Read more about the placing of buttons at Cotte Simple!)
The buttons could be gilted, silver, tin or bras. They could be decorated with precious stones or imitating gems with coloured glass beads. Or, the could be made of cloth.
It is not at all hard to make your own cloth buttons. They are super easy to mass-produce. When you’ve got the hang of it you’ll be able to effortlessly make a cloth button in less than 2 minutes. There are many ways to make buttons. This how I do it, based partly on how I perceive some of the buttons from Herjolfsnes, the instructions in Medieval Tailors Assistant and my own experience. (A guide to making make buttonholes are found in this post)
When you have your buttons ready you should attach them straight on to the folded edge of your 14th century garment – not an inch or so from the edge as on clothes of later times. This saves fabric since no overlap of the edges is needed. Save the thread, you don’t have to cut it of. You can use the same thread when attaching the button to your garment.
To give my buttons a bit of a “neck”, I put two wooden matches between the fabric edge and the button. Then I sew up and down between the button and the fabric around the matches a few times. I finish my work with a few “buttonhole-stitches” around the cord/neck of the button and attatch the thread down in the garment edge. If you have enough buttons placed tightly together and a pattern well made, there will be no gap.