Sunday, September 28, 2014

Buttons, Buttons, & more Vintage Buttons

button tin She Knits in Pearls

I've mentioned before in previous posts that my favorite source for finding buttons for my sweaters and sewing projects is my grandmothers button tin.  I love sifting through the little treasures.  There's a comfort in letting them flow and fall through my fingers.  I could spend hours looking at, sorting, and touching them (is that weird?).  After years of sifting, the pickings are starting to get pretty slim. Don't get me wrong, there are still many treasures that I will one day find the perfect use for, but finding multiples (especially enough for sweaters) is getting harder and harder.
vintage buttons
More and more of what I'm seeing are these remnants of the 'make do and mend' era.  Each of these tiny buttons has been salvaged from other garments.  My grandmother was a 'waste not, want not' kind of gal and that effected every area of her life, not just her bottom tin. 

I've done a great job using what buttons I can from the bin for as many sweaters and projects as possible.  The buttons in the center of my flower brooches are a great way to use up those fabulous single bottoms.
novelty brooches
Check out all these sweaters who's finishing touches came from my grandmother.
hand knit cardigans
When I button these sweaters around me, I feel my grandmother keeping me warm and secure.  Hmm, is that weird?  Well, anyways.  I've darn near depleted my resources.  It was finally time to replenish my stash.  Adding brand new buttons to my vintage button tin some how seems wrong.  Yes, I buy new buttons.  I won't deny that, many of my sweaters have wonderful new buttons.  However, I just can't taint the purity of my old button tin with new buttons.  I keep new buttons in another box, which I envision will be somebody else vintage button tin in 50 or more years.  In order to replenish my stash adequately, I headed to one of my favorite antique stores Lady Lee's Bath House Emporium.  With over 20 vendors, there is something for everyone, the inventory is always changing and the prices are usually competitive.  I had to put blinders on my eyes and just focus on buttons for fear of going WAY over my budget.  Here are some of the treasures I found.
vintage buttons

I was completely surprised at some of the prices on these.  I darn near paid the original prices printed on the cards.  I've never used these cover button kits because frankly they are just too darn expensive these days, practically a dollar a button.  But I got all the ones in the bottom, left picture for $1.50, less than the original asking price.  Now that's an awesome deal.  I didn't get quite as good prices on these ones below.  But I just had to have them.  I simply couldn't leave them behind.
vintage buttons
I think these are some of my favorites.  Tiny little tulips, how adorable and uplifting are those.  How can those not make you smile?  And pearls, I mean PEARLS.  Of course I love the pearls, hell my blog has pearls in the title.  I shouldn't have to say any more, but check out those button covers.  How awesome are they.  I love the idea of being able to change the look of a sweater by changing the buttons easily.  Button covers do that.  I only wish that there were more of them.  I'm not complaining though, 4 will do quite nicely. 

So, what's your favorite thing to hunt for when antiquing?  Did your grandmother have a button bin?  In my head, they all did. 

Oh, in case you missed it.  I recently wrote a guest post for Jessica at Chronically Vintage.  She's out of town right now on a holiday.  I mentioned it in a recent post.  The article is Knitting Trends of the 1940's.  I had such a great time researching and writing this article.  I find it fascinating the history of knitting and how this craft is woven (literally) in to history and fashion.  If you haven't checked it out yet, please go take a read.  I hope you enjoy.

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