Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Button Collections

Buttons for a Red Spring Coat

There are intentional collections and unintentional collections. 

When one sets out to collect something, it is specific. There is a hunt, an obsession around it. An item that would seem to complete a set or a group of something of value to the collector. 

Then there is the unintentional collections. As the previous post mentioned, magazines tend to fall into this catagory. Another, unintentional collection is Buttons. 

The button box has been a staple item for the sewer throughout history. Fancy buttons, plain buttons, utilitarian buttons and decorative buttons. Buttons are fashionable, they speak to an era, the color, the shape, the detail, the materials, all make for an interesting story about a button. 

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to sift through Fran’s buttons. I didn’t know Fran to be a sewer, I knew she did craft projects, she loved doing Christmas decorations. I think Christmas was her favorite holiday. She baked, decorated, sent Christmas cards and worked on her projects. 

When my friend told me her mother had 18 quarts of buttons, I have to admit, I was a bit surprised. I mentioned that I would love to have some of Fran’s buttons, as she was very supportive and interested what I was sewing over the years. 

When I was in high school, I made a fur teddy bear, dressed him in a tuxedo, his little white shirt had pintucks and I embroidered his face, I think he had plastic eyes. I showed him to Fran when I completed him. I thought he looked a little wierd. She loved him! She said he had a personality and was one of the cutest things she had ever seen. 

So, I gave him to her. Recently, my mom told me that Fran had said she still had the teddy bear, he had a place of honor in her bedroom. I am not sure if he sat on the bed or had his own little rocking chair, but she said she would never get rid of him. That really touched my heart, that she felt that strong of a connection to my wierd little bear’s personality. 

On Sunday morning, my friend and I set to work about going through the buttons. There are about a quart that I have taken home with me. I strung like buttons together during the Super Bowl. (I am NOT into sports at all and was quite happy to have something else to do, while housemate and his son watched the game). 

Below are some photos of the fabulous buttons that I found in the stash of buttons that Fran and her mother and possibly her grandmother collected. Truly inspiring and I have some great ideas of fabric and pattern pairings for them to be revealed when I get to that stage of the process. 
I call this the honey bee button. I may design fabric for a dress to go with this one and make a jacket using the button to go with it.  This button is, I think, my favorite! 
Dragons on wood, lovely! I have teal/green wool, Perfect! There is a matching plaid, too!  Maybe a skirt & jacket. The buttons below could show up on the skirt, I also have a plain weave cotton shirting that is woven with the same colors yarns as buttons below... 
Love the iridescent faille covered buttons, remember these type with the band? They don't make this type of  button  to cover anymore... I must pull the shirting to verify the match. 

A classic leopard covered coat button.. the wheels are turning.... maybe a fall coat... I have some ultra suede of the carmel color.. trimmed in leopard.. lots of scrappy pieces for that... 

There is a large weave blue cotton on the summer sewing page.. or there are two pieces of wool, one a solid and the other with a silk thread running through it in vibrant colors as a small windowpane plaid.

1 comment:

  1. Wow--that "honeybee" button is a winner. What fun to design something to use it to best effect. The covered buttons are evocative of the beautiful finishing touches of the 1950s. All are lovely mementos of your friendship that will enhance your own designs. I'm finding more and more that buttons are the starting point for my garments rather than the last thing I think about. Hope you'll show us what you do with these treasures.


Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment, critique or a question. I love questions... Come back soon.