Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Button Button - my first book about buttons!

When I started my button adventure, I had little idea of the immense variety of buttons, designs and materials there might be. I could date my original collection very easily, as the buttons were from an old haberdashery shop, opened circa 1958 and closed sometime between 1962 and 1963. So there is little doubt left about it. However, as I got interested in the early plastics and vegetable ivory, I decided to look for more precise information. That's how I encountered "Button Button" book.

It is not a new publication, as it was issued in 1993. As you can see, the pictures look really old, and what was new then, is already vintage today. ;) For example, 1970s buttons are referred to as modern.

It promises to answer some very important questions: What's it made from? Is it old? and What's is worth? Well, I would be wary of saying that the book address properly these issues. It does provide help when it comes to identifying the material. However, little is said about early plastics! You can admire incredible button in the pictures, but the explanation is scarce.

Bakelite buttons - really nice pieces, showing the variety of colours and style. However, no guide to Bakelite identification.

Glass buttons shanks - there is a guide to the terms and shapes, but very little information as to when each type of shank was used. So little help  with my antique buttons...
The best part of the purchase was acquiring new vocabulary about the buttons, which soon became useful as I started buying buttons and needed to be able to describe them precisely (like, silver buttons made of glass are called silver lustre). So in the end it was a fairly good introduction, though I had to dig the Internet for more specific information.

So, in other words, I'm still looking for the Button Bible...
Title: Button Button · · Identification and Price Guide
Author: Peggy Ann Osbourne
Published: 1993
ISBN: 0-88740-464-2

Monday, 2 May 2016

How to machine sew a button

Although it may not seem this way, machine-sewing buttons to your garment is not only easier, faster, but also stronger. One day I had virtually five minutes to go, and just discovered that a button was missing from a coat. I found the spare one attached to the label on the lining, but I had no time to look for the needle and sew it. I decided to use the machine. It took me less than a minute (OK, I admit that I had the right thread on the machine).

I will show you how to sew a button using your sewing machine it in a few steps.

1. First you will need a special presser foot, like the one in the picture above. Make sure the holes are right underneath and lower the presser foot.

2. Set the stitch length to 0.

3. The most important part is to adjust the width ofyoour stitching to the distance between the holes in the button. You should check manually if the needle lands in the holes, otherwise, you will surely break the needle and perhaps damage the button  as well.

4. Start sewing. If there are 4 holes, you will need two rounds.

5. Leave the thread a bit longer, than usual. You will need it to secure the button by pulling the thread to the wrong side, so that it drags the other end. When both are on the same side, tie them together and snip the excess.

OK, these were just decorative buttons. If you need buttons to actually fastene, and your fabric is thick, you will need to place a needle between the holes, just like when you hand-sew a button.

Pity you can't do the same with shank buttons...