Monday, 13 November 2017

War-time era buttons

The second world war was a difficult time in Europe. Although Spain was not directly involved in it (apart from some help sent to the Nazi Germany), it was no different there, as there had been a terrible civil war, which had just finished in 1939.

Along with the atrocoities came hunger and scarcity. The former moved people from cities to the countryside, where they could at least access the basic produce, and the latter was caused both by insufficiennt resources, but also by the fact that most commodities were reserved for the military use. This was the fate of the plastic, whose use was restricted for civillians.

This is an example of metal military buttons for the navy.

The alternatives provided by the button manufacturers were metal and wood. However, plastic had already made it to the haberdasheries and now it was difficult to convince people to buy cheaper and more mundane materials, so the buttons were usually covered in a thick layer of paint in vivid colours, just to make them look like plastic.

Monday, 18 September 2017

How to fit a D-buckle, or how I fixed that old belt

I had this belt, you can call it boyfriend style. The trouble was that it had been worn out. The faux leather pieces were crumbling, I replaced them with new ones I cut from a scrap of leather I had in a matching colour.

Now this looks really bad...

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Mother of pearl buttons and their cheap imitations

Mother of pearl buttons, also called nacre buttons, have been used long in any kind of garments In the early 20th century they were the cheap and most popular material, used in all garments, from underwear to winter coats. Nowadays they are popularly used in cardigans, but sometimes also in blouses and dresses.

The light pink buttons are still available in my etsy shop

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Recycle your bubble envelopes!

While it is necessary to use envelopes with plastic bubble wrap to cusion the buttons and other goods, there doesn't seem to be an alternative as yet, like paper filling for these envelopes or something (If you have seen one - do let me know!). However, there is a way to make it a bit more environment-friendly.

If you cut the sides of the envelope, you will sii that the bubble wrap and the paper are separate layers.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Sewing with vintage buttons

As you probably know, I am a sewist myself and the original purpose was to make garments using the my vintage button findings. I am still into it, though I must admit there is less and less time left for sewing. Today I would like to show you a few items I made using buttons from my collection.

The first one is a retro-inspired blouse with button closure. I used two small black buttons in ball shape. 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Etsy Studio - a revolution?

When etsy announced they were going to open a new platform for selling craft supplies, I tought: great! now my buttons will be visible in two places! Then, this whole process began with adding attributes and so on. It is a bit complicated if you have over 1000 listings overall (I can't image having  over 10 000 listings and facing this change...). Anyway, I decided to do it little by little, and starting with the listings which were most affected, as their category changed so much that it no longer represented what they were. I am sure some listings are still not updated.

Now that Etsy Studio has been launched, I must say I am a bit disappointed.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

How to make a soft belt with a buckle

I love buckles without prongs, which make perfect belt sliders. They are easy to sew, easy to fasten, and turn out to be discreet if you have to loosen your belt after a meal. ;)

I made this belt for my retro-inspired dress. It is in a very light yellow colour and I had a plastic buckle in exactly same tone.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Black glass or jet?

There is a popular misconception that 'jet' is simply black glass. However, it refers to a completely different material, which was extremely popular in Victorian times, during the queen's mourning. The fact that black glass buttons became extremely fashionable is just because they were a cheaper substitute for the genuine jet buttons worn by the queen Victoria herself after the death of her husband. Polished jet looks so similar to black glass that it is difficult to tell the difference at first. However, there are a few details that can help us tell them apart.

Tiny jet buttons

Jet is a mineral, a stone, which means, these buttons are not cast, like glass buttons, but cut and then shaped, ground, polished etc. using some milling machinery. If they have a self shank, it is made from the same piece and is always seamless...

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

How to mend broken vintage pattern pieces

Everyone who has at least once attempted to sew a vintage style using old patterns probably found themselves in a situation, where they had to repair a damaged piece. Today I will tell you how I mend my sewing patterns. The main problem with repairing these patterns is that they have to remain fit for ironing.

This is a fabulous style with open back but the previous owner decided to make
an alteration and cut the main dress pattern piece.

This is the pattern before mending.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Etsy shop attributes

While frequent changes to the rules on Etsy may cause you a headache, the most recent one is particularly useful. Etsy has introduced attributes, which have to be selected for each item. They announced this some time ago, and that they will be introducing them gradually, without notifying about trials and tests. And one of these days I found out I could select a colour for my etsy products.

click on the image to enlarge

Well, I embraced this change as I had always thought it necessary, as previously the colour selection was based on the item pictures. This led to confusion if an item was photographed not on white, but against a different colour background. White balance errors could also make your white or other colour item accidentally appear while searching for blue or red. Finally, Etsy decided that the sellers can decide on the colour of the item - hooray!

So I set out to update over one thousand listings that I have in both shops combined. First I did it to Agnes'SewingSupplies, simply because I use Google Chrome to manage it and it turned out faster than Mozilla Firefox. Well, believe it or not, once I updated half of the stock, they started selling faster. And curiously, only the updated items. So I got back to updating as soon as I could. Once I finished, I had the double of the orders I usually have, and no single order from the other shop, in which I had managed to update about ten listings.

Maybe it is just a coincidence, but something is telling me that it does affect the search result. After all, the attributes are added along material and other info in the right hand side column, and constitute strong keywords. So I updated the other 500 listings in the other shop immediately.

Another point: the information listed in 'Overview' will appear on the Etsy app

And I do recommend doing so, even if you have not 1000 but six or ten times more items. While Etsy may decide to modify this feature or add other attributes in the near future, which will require updating all the listings again, it still pays to work on them now. If you decide to start adding attributes once this process has finished, you may lose many customers who will be looking for items in the meantime.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

How to identify Bakelite

Bakelite is probably the most exciting plastic for every collector. Those who are not familiar with this early plastic will see it as simple modern and plain plastic. But if you look closer, well, better stick your nose to it, you will see (and yes, smell) the difference.

Cut and carved Bakelite buckle

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Making a retro style handbag - tutorial

Recently I started selling retro handbag handles, made of plastic. Some of them imitate wood to the point that you may have serious doubts as to what they are actually made of. But let's stick to the plan, this post was to be a help to those who are not sure how to make a DIY purse using the retro handles.

Apart from the handles we will need some fabric. It may be matching or contrast, I am going to use black handles and some black-and-white fabric for my handbag.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Henri Hamm - A great button designer

Have you heard of Henri Hamm? I hadn't, until I discovered his buttons at that fantastic button exhibition in Paris. I took a picture of his name to learn more about this fascinating figure. To my surprise, there was not much about this great man on the Internet, not even a mention on Wikipedia!

When I saw this, I immediately decided to join and published a small article about him, as surely he was a great figure, worthy of an article.

Henri Hamm was a French art deco button and accessory designer. His works include things like perfume flasks, haircombs and decoration. But to me, the most important work he ever did was creating amazing buttons and buckles. He used all kinds of early plastics to make them, and his favourite technique involved carving - no wonder: he was a sculptor.

Just look at some the amount of buttons at the Louvre exhibition! All these fantastic buttons were designed by Henri Hamm:

There were about 900 buttons designed by Hamm at this exhibition.
These are only some of the buttons in white by Henri Hamm.

A great man in the button world!