Monday, August 8, 2011

The Joy of Buttons (Vintage)

I have an embarrassingly large button stash: five metal cookie tins and a gallon Ziploc bag -- all stuffed with buttons. Most of them were inherited from my mother-in-law who was quite a seamstress in her day. She used to boast that she could come home from work in the evening and sew an entire outfit in time for her sister to wear it the next morning -- all on her trusty little Featherweight. Her button collection continued to grow even after she left off sewing because she was a bit of a pack rat who could never pass up a bargain.

My mother, who sewed a lot of dresses when we girls were young, also had an ample supply of buttons. She gave them to me during her downsizing frenzy, though she reserves the right to drop by any time she needs some.

Since my mother is 80 and my mother-in-law would have been 100, some of my buttons now qualify as vintage. Those which are still attached to their cards have such charming artwork that I doubt I could bear to use them.

My favorites are the baby buttons.

These are so tiny that I can't imagine making buttonholes for them -- at least not by machine. I suppose one might have made hand worked buttonholes that small.

Or would thread loops have been used? (They used make those by working a hand buttonhole stitch over several strands of thread.)

Here's a sultry beauty.

This must be her clean-cut boy friend.

I love the cut-out leaf design on these.

And how about these glass buttons imported from Western Germany? "Guaranteed to wash and iron." The way the color flows from pink to blue is amazing. The photo doesn't do them justice.

And here are a few loose buttons whose shapes or color I found interesting. I don't know if you can see the emblem very well, but the dark green button on the lower left is an official Girl Scout button. It must have survived my brief membership. (All I remember about the meetings was that the dues were ten cents and that we met in a room with a piano where all the other girls played Chopsticks or some other dreary two-fingered tune that went, "Bomp, bomp, bomp! Da-bomp, da-bah, da-bomp!")

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