Monday, August 24, 2009

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

I spent time yesterday studying my button box. I was looking for some buttons for my current UFO project and became captivated by the variety of buttons I possess. I could easily become a pat rack. I fight the urge to save every little scrap of fabric no matter how small. I have spools of half used thread dating back to my high school days. (I don't use it in my sewing machine, but I do baste with it.) So it's no surprise I have buttons 30+ years old. I also received my DMIL's button tin when she died. Most of my buttons are singles. I save every "extra" button from clothes I purchase. But yesterday I discovered a lot of matching buttons.
  • Most of the matches were in 3's or 4's.
  • Most of the matches were large buttons, 1" or more in diameter.
  • Several of the matches had lots of buttons, 10 or more.

I found 3 really large buttons, 2" dia., with squirrels on them. (These were in my DMIL's collection. Hmm, I wonder what she put those on?) And several groups from her tin had sparkly stones on them. I am really curious about these since DMIL was very much a down-to-earth, utilitarian kind of person.

Pictured here are 2 groups of buttons that really caught my attention. The first is the pink group. There are 50 of these little pink buttons. I would love to hear their story. I can't imagine any garment needing 50 buttons. Why so many? Did she use the same button on multiple garments? And the color is out of character for DMIL. Neither her (nor DSIL's) coloring was good with this shade of pink. But I feel there must be a story here.

The 2nd picture is a sampling of all the white buttons I identified that were made from some kind of heavy "glass" or "stone" material. All the buttons (even the dirty ones) have a distinctive sheen. It reminds me a little of mother of pearl. But I don't think that is what the material is. I love the square button and really wish there was more than just this one. Also, the group strung together is especially nice. My immediate thought was a coat. I am also considering some kind of blouse or shirt using an assortment of similar, mismatched buttons. I've seen this done a couple of times and it was very striking. I hope I can pull it off.

I had a wonderful time yesterday with my button box. The buttons called up old memories and provided inspiration for several garments. What's in your button box?


West Coast Boomer said...

Hey there. Regarding the "white: older buttons...Look up TAGUA on the internet. I bet some of your buttons are made of that material. It was widely available thru the late 1950's. The buttons are generally not a White White - but a more mellow ivory.

Just thought you'd find it interesting. I have 4 generations of buttons - nothing official...just marvelous odds and ends. They make me wonder as yours do you - about their history.

Pinkscissors said...

Thanks West Coast Boomer. I'll check it out.