i was looking through some old projects and i noticed a trend: i tend to use buttons as embellishments.

for example, i put some on tara’s pillows…

buttons on pillows

and most recently, on these knit leg warmers…

buttons on leg warmers

they were absolutely superfluous in nature. not necessary to hold anything together, and definitely lacking in their other half, the button hole.

but sometimes, a project just needs a little something. a bit of interest. a fiddly bit to catch the eye or a different texture to break up the monotony. at least i think so, sometimes. i say sometimes because there is value in simplicity too.

i’ve acquired buttons over the years here and there, though i wouldn’t say i collect them actively. i buy a new outfit and the extra buttons that come in the little package go into my jar of odds and ends buttons. i’ve found buttons at the craft store and the dollar store. i’ve also made my own buttons out of polymer clay.

i’ve taken buttons from other outfits too, and put them on projects that needed them more. it’s true.  i triage buttons depending where they are needed the most ;-)

most recently, the little retro tunic dress i sewed was in need of type-v (for vintage) buttons. to the thrift store, stat!

i found the perfect buttons on a bright orange 100% polyester shirt. this shirt was far too rash-inducing small for any of us to wear, but the buttons were too cute to pass up.

orange shirt with vintage flower buttons

snip-snip, sewed a few loops and they were just right on the patch pockets for the dress…

buttons on patch pockets of dress

after the transplant, i didn’t feel right tossing out a perfectly good albeit scarily synthetic — and now buttonless — shirt. i sewed a few plain buttons where the old buttons were. it took only a few minutes and hardly a scar was left behind. back to the thrift store it went.

buttons sewed back onto thrifted shirt

not as nice as the previous ones, but at least the shirt is usable again, and my conscience can rest.

i’m not sharing this because i want a hero cookie, though i’d love the recipe if you have one. i’m just sharing an alternative source for buttons…

ok fine. i did it so the vintage pyrex gods of thrift would look down kindly upon me. (a small fridgie or two would be most welcome, if they’re taking notes.)

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23 Responses to buttons

  1. Shara says:

    Great use of buttons & as always…beautiful pictures!

  2. I love using buttons on my scrapbook pages and other craft projects. Love your use of buttons.

  3. Tara Benwell says:

    I love your buttons, and especially the ones on my pillows! You would have loved this store in Gastown (in downtown Vancouver). I don’t know if it’s still there, but it was all buttons and they seemed to be randomly collected by the shop owner! I loved going in there.

  4. ~*~Patty says:

    I share your button fascination and find myself a button magnet at times.
    I have tins and jars sorted by color…they remind me of candy sometimes…
    I DO Love your buttons off/buttons on story Ana…all around perfect…precious tunic too!

  5. Corey says:

    Fun subject! I buy used clothing sometimes just for the buttons. My sister taught me that a long time ago.

    p.s. imissyouxoxoxo

  6. Sheri says:

    You really believe in that expression “Cute as a button”, don’t you?

    • imadeitso says:

      i do! i remember thinking about that saying a few years ago and not really getting it. the buttons themselves aren’t always cute, but in the right place, they sure do cute things up :)

  7. Alyssa says:

    Clever you! Every once in a while I do see an outfit or shirt with super cute buttons at the thrift shop, usually on a child’s outfit. {Someone please tell me —and my 18 yr old daughter— why toddlers and kids get such cute outfits and adults don’t?} Next time maybe I’ll get it for a little surgery myself. I love buttons.

  8. Alyssa says:

    Ana, do you read Laurie’s blog, Indulge Your Shelf {http://indulgeyourshelf.blogspot.com/}? She’s writing about buttons right now, too. ;)

  9. Jacqueline says:

    I’ve always been drawn to outfits with decorative buttons, too! Even odd zippers that serve no purpose draw me in. Cute creations! I especially love those flower buttons, they match perfectly!

  10. e l l a says:

    Go buttons!
    Love the tree cushions with their little buttons
    and the flower ones are too cute ;)

  11. thursday says:

    Don’t you dare take all the good fridgie whodoo Ana! I’ve been waiting to find one for months. I actually have a really pretty blue one, but it’s missing its lid. I could probably find one on eBay, but I’m really looking forward to the day I find a complete fridgie at a yard sale.

  12. Cessie says:

    I have an affinity for buttons, too! I love those beautiful orange flower buttons- they are amazing! That’s a pretty funny story too. :)

  13. imadeitso says:

    thank you all for sharing in my enthusiasm about.. buttons. truth is, i almost didn’t write this post because i was thinking, “buttons? who will care about buttons as much as i do?” but here ya go! i could write a book about buttons, such understated little things.

  14. Laurie says:

    OMG, ana — this is the first time I ever thought about how buttons as embellishments are missing their other half (buttonholes.) You have blown my mind. I’m not being facetious! Thank you for coming by my blog on the day we both had buttons on the brain! I hope you will be back!

  15. I too use buttons as a decoration on EVERYTHING. if you fancy going over to my Art blog..you can see my Wall Hanging Quilts, where l use buttons A LOT!x Lynda

  16. googiemomma says:

    hey ana…what kind of lens/setup do you use for your closeup/macro shots? they’re so beautifully crystal clear.
    oh yeah, nice buttons too. :)

  17. i’m a bit nuts about buttons myself, so i totally know where you’re coming from. i’m glad to find more fellow button lovers, as my friends tease me about my “odd” love of them.

  18. I am so behind on blog reading & commenting!
    But yes!! I often use buttons to embellish as well. It’s a great idea & I love what you have done with yours!

  19. Pingback: answering your questions: my camera & photos | i made it so.

  20. catherine says:

    I collect buttons like this! Well I have not bought a thrift store shirt just for the buttons yet but I would if they were as pretty of these.

    I found your blog after you followed me on Twitter, your photographs are inspirational.

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