Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My pathetic button collection

Step in to any craft room (or space) in the world, and you're likely to see some kind of button collection. Piled in jars, sorted nicely in tiny drawers, strung along strings in garland-like fashion - they are there. They permeate just about every crafter's supply collection.

Every crafter ... except me.

I have just about the most pathetic button "collection" of any crafter/sewer I know. And I use the word collection lightly. Quite frankly, my "collection" consists of a handful of plain buttons in a snack-sized plastic bag. They are the extras from random clothes I've had. They aren't colorful or vintage or special in any real way.

I actually never really got the whole button thing. I just didn't understand why people go so nuts over them and horde them in giant stashes. I guess they can be inexpensive, easy to store and fun to paw through, but still ... I was always a little too practical for all that.

That was until I saw Leslie's collection. Whoooooboy. It's extensive. It's full of vintage goodies. It's color-sorted into dozens of tiny drawers and mounted on the wall. It's a rainbow of delightful little circles (and other shapes!) of fun. And when I saw it, and started pawing through it, I began to understand the draw of these little decorative closures. I also can't help but fall in love with the random glimpses Diane has given of her collection. Looking in to the collections of two friends whom I admire so much really made me start to see what all the button fuss is all about.

I still haven't gotten the urge to get lost in Ebay searches, and I don't feel like my craft room is incomplete without jars of buttons on the shelves, but I have started exploring the button aisle of the fabric store a little bit. On a recent fabric store excursion, I got a little carried away. Back to the afford-ability factor, I kept saying, "ooooh! Only $1.20! Ooooh! Only $.90!" Before I knew it, I had more than $10 of "oooh, only-s" in my basket. (see the picture above) I don't even sew much with buttons, but I love looking at these little cards - they are fantastic inspiration.

And while I don't see myself turning into a huge button fanatic, I have at least started to understand the appeal.

(the "cool" buttons scattered throughout the post are Leslie's ... not mine ... sigh.)


  1. My button collection is less than yours. I don't even have enough to put in a plastic baggie. I have felt the urge though and have been wanting to explore the antique stores near by to see if I can find any vintage buttons - I guess it's not a strong urge since I've been thinking about doing this for at least a few months.

  2. When we visit the Knittn' Kitten in July, we will acquire a whoooooooooole lot of buttons for you. :-)

  3. Yeah, I think I'm going to buy that place out ... of EVERYTHING. Seriously. I hope I'm not building it up too much, but I honestly think about going there EVERY DAY! Only a few more months! Yipeeeeeeeeee!

  4. I think I get my button obsession from my mom; she collected vintage buttons for years, and I used to love playing with them. Now I'm lucky enough that she is gradually passing them all on to me. I sort them by color and keep them in mason jars on my sewing table. I find them so inspirational.

    Now that you've started to appreciate buttons, I'm inclined to think that you will never go back. Welcome to the world of button love!

  5. I jump started my button collection by buying a 5 lb. bag of assorted buttons!

  6. I never had a collection until 1 garage sale; a man selling his deceased wife's stash of everything sewing. I took the whole box (only $5!) and when I got home realized it was mostly buttons and old patterns with handwritten note. I never buy buttons from fabric stores, but when I'm at a garage sale, I never pass up the button jar!
    I don't really DO anything with them, other than the occasional throw pillow with a button back, but they're great for inspiration!

  7. LOL - the button mania is kind of like a disease, really! Glad to hear you caught the bug! When I was in Thailand one of the things I got as suveniers was, yes, buttons! Scary! Maybe I'll have to post about that . . .

  8. Ok, you actually spell that "souvenirs" - dang, that was bugging me! time to post pictures of buttons on my blog now . . .

  9. Yeah, vintage buttons are definitely where it's at. But I was surprised by the cool ones I was able to find at the fabric store.

    Bridget, souvenir is one word I will NEVER EVER be able to spell on my own. Firefox has spoiled my by spell checking as I type. Sigh. Looking forward to seeing your buttons!

  10. My button collection is very sad, too. I have all those extra buttons, still in there little plastic pouches. My sister sent me some buttons that she made out of Sculpey as a Christmas present. I thought that was genius. Now when I need a special button for something I make it myself. It's really quick and you can add patterns to the clay to match, too.

  11. I think you need to go to a thrift shop and buy it in bulk to "get" it, a jar filled with buttons to poor out on the table and pick through, like little treasures... oh my! then you'll really understans! ;-)

    beautiful finds by the way!

  12. hey! I recently bought a huge button collection, two large jars full of buttons, probably about four liters full of buttons. anyways i havent looked through them but it turns out I need to move and declutter the house so I'm looking to sell them, if anyone is interested send me an email and let me know what your "bid" is. Thanks!


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