Saturday, July 31, 2021

Vintage buttons from the Hospitality Shop

I couldn't help it. I found a gold mine of vintage buttons at a resale shop near the university campus in Sewanee, TN, called the Hospitality Shop. These came home with me.

Buttons from a resale shop.

A button bonanza

Sifting through a shallow box of assorted gems at the resale shop was delicious. Two-hole, 4-hole, shank, metal, and a few mother-of-pearl were mixed within this treasure box. 

Sorting by size and color.

The larger buttons could have come from overcoats. Many of the smaller ones were probably from men's shirts. The more decorative ones, from women's garments.

Large, decorative buttons.

I was primarily interested in collecting the smaller, shirt buttons—1/2" or smaller. Small buttons for shirts and tops are more difficult to find in fabric and quilt shops these days, unless you go to a store that caters specifically to garment sewing. One of the clerks asked if I was working on an art project with buttons. I guess one could call it that.

Cut from clothing, some of the buttons still had thread in the holes.

It was obvious the majority of the buttons came off pieces of clothing as several of them still had the thread attached.

Removing the thread remnants.

Finding a new purpose

I tried to pick out multiple buttons that were alike so I could use them on garments. These two-tone ones were a great match for a new top that I'm making. 

Repurposed buttons for a new top.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed a few of these buttons had red, yellow or white paint on them. Their previous life was probably on a work shirt. Or a casual shirt turned work shirt? Maybe the work shirt of a carpenter or a painter? Or a craftsman? Or a handyman? From the shirt of someone who worked with his hands... to create beautiful things or repair and refresh something that stood the test of time... that's the story I'm imagining for these buttons.

Paint residue in the buttons.

I like to think these buttons have found a new home with me. They will be useful once again on one of my handmade items. 

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