Saturday, February 25, 2012

Late Wednesday Night, I Fell into...

a bag of vintage buttons, and I am just coming up for air. 

I bought a huge bag of buttons because I saw some pretty colors, and I thought I could dig our a few that I would want to keep. As I began looking through them, I got a weird feeling...these weren't like the buttons I usually come across. With sorting and examining, it became obvious that this was someone's very special button collection that an unknowing child had probably donated to the thrift store after the parent died or went on to assisted living. I can't see any other reason why someone would spend so much time collecting bakelite, celluloid, dyed wood, lucite, casein, and all sorts of other early plastics and such, and then just give them away. Well, they fell in some admiring hands, and I have spent the last few days sorting, polishing, and carding them.

This is just the absolute tip of the iceberg. I haven't even begun to get anything done, but as most of these buttons appeared to be from the 40s give or take a few years, I am thrilled to have inherited the job of spiffing them up, matching them up, and sending them back out into the world to become part of lovely new garments, or even to replace missing buttons on vintage garments, perhaps. I will be listing many of these in my Etsy shop, as I already had a too big button stash.

If any of you are into vintage buttons and know of websites or books where good information can be found, I'm all ears. So far, I've read
 "Prick it with a hot pin."
 "No! Don't prick it with a hot pin!"
 "Rub them with 409."
 "Don't put chemicals on vintage buttons."
 "Dip them in hot water and smell them."
 "Whatever you do, DO NOT dip them in water. It will ruin them."

Arrrgghh! I opted to wipe these with mink oil and then polish it off. It seems to have cleaned them nicely, and I don't have to worry about those admonitions..."Don't polish them with olive oil- it will go rancid!"

This has all definitely piqued my interest. Okay, that's putting it mildly. My philosophy on life is to move swiftly from one mania to the next, and then maniacally back to the former, if I so desire. On that note, I'm off to sew some panties....


  1. great buttons, everywhere you look there's a 1000 ways to get to the same place. You have clean buttons that is what counts. They are beautiful. I hope you use them and enjoy them over the years. Just lovely!

  2. Last year I bought a shoebox full of vintage buttons and have been using them steadily on garments. I have made the mistake of throwing some of them in the dryer and they were ruined so be careful not to machine dry them.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Justine. Do you know what the buttons that came apart were made of?

  3. Is there anything more fun than a bag of vintage buttons? I really do not think so!

    1. Just a few dollars can provide hours of enjoyment. :) Even the baby got in on the sorting with me. When she gets a little bigger, I'll have her sew them to the cards!


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