I needed one button; a simple white 1/2" shirt button with 4 holes.
Friday afternoon seemed the ideal time to catch up with a small stack of ironing and a few garments which needed the hems taken up--items which had accumulated while so many hours have been spent in the garden or putting up produce.
My sewing machine and fabrics are in the large cool family room in the basement--at least 10 degrees cooler than the main level of the house on these sweltering July days.
The vintage-style blouse, one which I snatched from the rack at Goodwill, had sleeves which flowed past my fingertips. meant to be gathered--one supposes at the wrist---with a fine fabric tie.
Gina, the fashion expert, agreed that I could shorten the sleeves to my favorite elbow length.
It was only when I spread the shirtwaist on the ironing board that I noticed a button missing.
Several decades ago I made many similar "blouses"--for myself, for G. and for her cousins.
[It was the era of Jessica McClintock's "Gunne Sax" vintage style frocks and blouses--rather pricey off the rack, but something of a pleasure for a skilled seamstress to produce.]
I have buttons from that time still on their tidy cards, but a rummage through two of my button boxes didn't turn up an exact match.
I stitched on a similar button so that I could wear the shirt this weekend--
but the slight mis-match troubles me.
Today I pulled out several button boxes--taking inventory of my stash.
I have many novelty buttons; some beautiful metal buttons were given to me by a friend who worked for many years at the Geiger of Austria plant in Middlebury, Vermont.
At the end of each fashion season cones of thread matched to the woolens, linens and silks of a particular "line" were discarded, as well as the distinctive buttons.
Knowing that I was doing some tailoring at the time, C. asked if I could use buttons.
To my astonishment she appeared the next day with two zip lock bags bulging with buttons.
My grand daughter--4 or 5 years old at the time--loved to separate the buttons into matching piles.
Eventually we strung them like beads on red string to keep them sorted.
I bought the cat buttons--just because they are catty.
The impractical but intriguing owl buttons were removed from a pricey sweater that came my way.
I have buttons in baskets, buttons in tins.
I brought this tin of old buttons from my parents house after their deaths.
My mother, like all frugal homemakers, clipped and saved the buttons from clothing that was too worn to be refurbished.
J.'s mother also had a box of saved buttons and I have carried on this time-honored thrifty practice.
[I suspect my generation is the last to patch, mend or replace bottons!]
These are some of the more startling examples from my mother's box
Those three domed buttons in the center are actually clear and almost cone-shaped.
The green marbled one is huge. My Mom was quite conservative in her clothing choices--hard to imagine that she flaunted something like that green one--or even the red disks with the lop-sided white centers.
Buttons with Beatrix Potter images--I must have used some of these for a dress for one of the grand daughters.
Middlebury, Vermont [30 minutes from my home for many years]
had many lovely shops--catering to the well-to-do people associated with prestigious Middlebury College.
Danforth Pewter made all sorts of serving pieces, elaborate candlesticks, vases, pitchers.
They also produced specialty buttons, charms for bracelets, hair clasps, key chains.
The buttons were displayed in cunning wooden bins.
I was making vests [waistcoats] at the time--pieced of beautiful woolens, velveteens and such.
If the vest was a gift I sometimes bought buttons which I knew the recipient would enjoy.
I believe I meant these pansy buttons for a vest to keep--I may yet create it!
Cowboy boots and hat--buttons which I used to decorate the collar of a denim jacket which J. wore for years.
A favorite vest which I still wear---can you see the cat face buttons?
Teasel took an interest in my button rummage.
Even one button dropped on the floor would be a choice tidbit for a bored cat to roll about.
Cats and buttons on the loose aren't a good combination: rather like handing over the button box to amuse a child who would put them in mouth, nose or ears!
I did finish the alterations and ironing, in spite of the elusive button.
I seem to be acquiring a collection of simply elegant white shirts.
If you recall Meryl Streep's wardrobe for the role of Karen Blixen in Out of Africa
you'll have an idea of the "shirtwaists" accumulating in my closet.