Buttons, My Goofy Collections Part 5, and Catching up with the Weekly Photo Challenge: “Ooh – Shiny!”

I must have been desperate for distraction…  Sorting out my closet a while back, something caught my eye — a little pile of buttons. Ooh — shiny! Tucked underneath were even more, all in little envelopes, the kind that come attached to shirts and blouses with replacement buttons inside. Over time (20 years at least), I’d tossed them in to keep them handy in case I needed to replace lost ones.

A jar full of extra buttons

Buttons – all together now

Here they are on the day of distraction – and see, I’d even kept the little cards of extra yarn that came with sweaters.

Sorting extra buttons

Sorting extra buttons…

I don’t think I ever used any of the buttons OR the yarn. Later, sorting yet another drawer, I found Bob’s cache of extra shirt buttons.  Apparently still desperate to procrastinate, I took out all the buttons and put the paper envelopes in the recycle bin. All but one or two sweaters were long gone so there was nothing I could do with the yarn.

It’s been a while since I added to the button stash, so I’d almost forgotten I had them (must have something to do with living in T-shirts now that I’m retired).

What to do with the buttons? This afternoon I took them to the lady at the Alterations shop to see if she could use them, along with a bag full of assorted spools of thread, seam binding, and other sewing supplies I sorted out. She seemed happy to get them, and, she’s fixing one of my old favorite shirts that was missing a few buttons.

Are you a fellow button-hoarder?

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20 thoughts on “Buttons, My Goofy Collections Part 5, and Catching up with the Weekly Photo Challenge: “Ooh – Shiny!”

  1. I have exactly the same stash, and most of the clothes are long gone. Yet, somehow, I can’t seem to throw them away. I like your idea of giving them to a seamstress and will do the same — when I get around to it! Procrastination is my middle name.

    • Now I’m thinking I have a collection of vintage buttons “somewhere” – that is vintage as in mid-20th-century, that I found in thrift stores. It’s hard to believe there is still stuff to be found after all this time downsizing.

  2. Your buttons look great in that jar. My grandmother kept buttons and so do we. She found a lot at charity shops. Some of her art deco and early 20th century buttons are in an old sewing box that we have. The mother of pearl ones, some colourful vintage ones and metallic buttons are in separate old jars in my studio. I think that they are very decorative and remind me of our grandmother. I also have several small baskets full of more buttons that can be reused. I sometimes replace ordinary buttons on clothes with more attractive ones. If there are nice buttons on my worn out clothes I cut them off to reuse. I even used some old mother of pearl buttons to make a necklace. It’s on my blog: https://theartistschild.com/2016/12/13/making-and-remaking-necklaces/

    • Your re-made necklaces are beautiful! Now I may end up keeping more of my vintage jewelry than I had planned… I could pay you the sincerest form of flattery (imitation) and restring some of the beads. I remember seeing elegant mother-of-pearl button necklaces that some of my friends made in the past, and that reminds me that I saved some of those buttons too, so will be finding more button stashes besides the plastic and bakelite ones I know are still “somewhere” here to be found. That’s a good tip to cut buttons off worn out clothes too. Thanks so much for posting your link — Sandy

  3. Yes, guilty. I imagine there are people in the world who sew the spare button onto the care instructions label so it stays with the garment and they don’t end up with a pile of tags. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them…

    • I’m way too lazy (thrifty with my time?) to sew the buttons on the tags, but I do appreciate when shirts come with extra buttons sewn into a bottom seam instead of in the little envelopes. We could all be pearly kings and queens with our extra buttons.

  4. Like you, any button that I have that I come across like the extra one you get when you buy a buttoned shirt, I put it aside. And I never actually use the buttons at all and can’t remember the last time I actually sewed a button on a shirt. Those are quite a few button envelopes and I spot a tag or two there too.

    • Yes, buttons and extra thread and tags, oh my. I do sew my own buttons on (or back on, when they’re about to come off) from time to time. It’s always tricky to get the little shaft of thread under the button to be just the right height so that it doesn’t go on either too loosely or too tightly. And that’s why I like T-shirts!

      • I agree, it can be hard to sew a button on just right. Most of the time I get it too tight. I wear T-shirts all the time, but there are some occasions such as at work I need to be more formal, and that’s where button-up shirts come in handy.

      • I started to say I’m surprised we don’t have some shirt choices with velcro — then realized, there could be embarrassing accidents there. Now I remember a blouse I made once (yes, I used to sew, hard to imagine). It was delicate fabric and I didn’t want to do button holes so I put pretty buttons on it but underneath them I put snap-fasteners.

      • Ah, snap fasteners. I have a jacket with them and it can hard to pull them apart! I just realised it can be hard to match buttons if you need to dew a button on a shirt – you have to match the shape, size and colour and maybe pattern too.

      • Yes, sometimes I’ve got all new ones because I didn’t want to discard a shirt just because I lost a button and didn’t have the spare. Even then it can be hard to find the right size. (It’s a plot to make us buy new clothes)

      • It’s very determined of you to get the buttons on a shirt looking just right – and it must take quite some time. You have a lot of patience. Buttons are so much easier to replace than zippers, though.

  5. Big button hoarder here! I did throw out all the yarn and the paper packets when I moved, but I love my tin full of buttons. Even if I never use one, I like keeping them. For some reason, they remind me of my grandmother who kept a similar tin and who played a game with buttons that I still remember fondly,

    • Now the mention of the game reminds me of Tiddley Winks. I think that involved using one button to make jump another across a board…? Now that’s one more thing to google. I wonder if buttons remind us a little of coins. They’re cleaner though, and pretty colors, so more fun to play with or just look at, and as you say, a jar full of them is quite satisfying. I know I’ll find more, so was happy to let my button jar go to the Alterations lady and be useful. I think I’ll be more sticky fingered with the vintage ones (when I find them).

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