I seem to inherit sewing supplies from every branch of the family and recently my stepmother sent me a large box of her mother's supplies. What a treasure of history was there when I opened it. It was like walking back in time.
|The button reflects the lacy look of the
I found a tiny, ivory handled crochet hook, with a note attached writing in delicate handwriting from another era. It said that the hook belonged to her mother, and who knows if it came from even another generation before that.
I love looking at sewing supplies from other eras, but the most fascinating object in the box was a Mason jar full of vintage buttons. Oh, they were intricate, glamorous, bejeweled. All were one-of-a-kind and obviously spares for garments made in days gone by. With each one, I tried to imagine the outfits that had been fashioned around these gems, for these were not the nondescript buttons so common today. These were a consideration in the design of the overall look!
I despaired as looked at these fragments of sewing history because I couldn't imagine how I would be able to use them in my own sewing, having only one of each.
|The waistbutton complements the
pocket button but doesn't match it.
But the fact is that your buttons don't have to match. Once I started thinking out of the sewing box, I began to see the possibilities. And I started with a pair of pants that I was drafting and making for my final pattern making class project.
The pants were casual and I made them from a slinky tie-dyed print rayon. I fished around in my jar of vintage buttons, and while it took a very long time to decided, I settled on two buttons, one for the waistband and one for the side pocket, whose filigree and shapes echoed the lacy medallions of the tie-dyed prints.
If you are trying to incorporated vintage buttons into your garments, may I make the following suggestions?
1) Look at the overall garment and determine the size and shape that would be most suitable. Are there design elements in the fabric or silhouette that you would like to echo in the buttons?
2) Before jumping to a decision, look through your entire collection. A surprising option may surface.
3) Lay the garment flat and place the chosen buttons on it. Take a day to live with your choice before attaching permanently. Switch out buttons. Play!
I am so glad I took the time to choose a button from my vintage collection. It made a run-of-the-mill pair of pants spectacular and really special. And every time I wear those pants I will remember all the sewing history behind it.
If you want to learn even more embellishing techniques, you can pre-order the new Embellish Me book in the Sew Daily Shop.
Have you found ways to incorporate your vintage buttons into your sewing? Let us know below.