I have or rather I should say I HAD a very nice collection of vintage buttons. Now I’ve used them up and I never thought that would happen.
When my parents bought a house in 1982 (the house of the Sir Winslow’s Bed and Breakfast) it was chuck full of “treasures.” Treasures because the former owner of the house had saved everything and I mean everything. Closets were well stocked with toilet paper tubes and cottage cheese containers (the waxed paper kind). The great thing about all these items is that they were neatly stacked and organized.
The best find over all was a large wooden box filled with vintage buttons! Henrietta had saved every button from every piece of clothing she and her husband had ever owned. I’m not even sure that is an exaggeration. Wonderful shell, Bakelite, wooden and paste buttons. Nothing like the cheap plastic imitations that you see today. The vast majority were white shell and were strung on thread to keep the sets together.
It was a little overwhelming at first, all those glorious buttons. But I quickly had it solved. I sorted them by color into glass jars and put them on a shelf in my craft room. Mind you I was about 10 at the time. Over the years I did a few things with them: button brooches mostly but a few were used for clothing. Then I started using them for eyes.
Now in order to get the vintage buttons I actually have to hunt for them. Thankfully I have found a booth at an antique shop a few hours away that has a continual supply for me. Sometimes they do find their way to me too. Since people know that I need them, every now and then I get grandma’s button box!. My 2nd oldest Anna loves to sort them into colors so that comes in handy too.
I have taken a page from Henrietta’s book too. If a shirt or other item of clothing is headed for the rag bag then guess what? Yes, it has been stripped of it’s buttons and any other usable parts. Sometimes it’s ok to follow how they used to do it. Waste not, want not.
Maybe I should wrap this up by saying, if you know of a source for vintage buttons or want to hand over your grandma’s button box, send me message or leave a comment below.