Your most exciting and distinctive creations begin with the world's most beautiful buttons.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Storage of Buttons and Beads

Proper Storage of Buttons and Beads
Nothing is prettier than a decorative jar filled with beautiful buttons or beads sitting on a side table or grouped with some family mementos on the mantle.  But, it's really not good for the buttons.  Everytime the jar is moved, the buttons will clink against the glass sides and against each other, causing tiny nicks and cracks. It can cause metal, mother-of-pearl or painted buttons to become badly scratched and glass ones may even break. Large cookie tins or deep canisters used to hold a big collection that have to be poured out or dug through is just as harmful.
Better solutions:
The plastic storage bins with slide-out drawers marketed for nuts, bolts, and small tools.  You can find them in all sizes at hardware stores.  I've also seen beautiful wooden "apothecary cabinets" with very small drawers that would be perfect.
A felt-lined jewelry box with individual compartments for rings and small items.
Clear plastic bead boxes with individual compartments.
Individual "gem jars" -little storage jars with a clear lid and a foam cushion will protect your favorites from just about any kind of damage.
Contact lens cases or plastic pill organizers.
The little metal candy tins available in supermarkets.  Paint and embellish the outsides and line them with a few layers of pretty tissue paper for a nice work of altered art that doubles as personalized storage.  Some fancier chocoates come in nice boxes with partitions that would work nicely, too.
A three-ring binder filled with business card sleeves. Most pages will hold ten or twelve buttons, and several pages can be put into a single binder and still allow it to close.
Give each button or bead an individual plastic zipper bag, and pin them to a corkboard.
Stitch them to a piece of fabric, and wrap the fabric around the cardboard insert in a cute frame.
Stitch them all to a wide piece of ribbon, and tack or staple the ribbon along a wall of your sewing room or creative space.
If you really can't give up the spice rack or the old Mason jars, fill them with inexpensive plastic craft buttons. They are just as colorful and decorative as Grandma's bohemian collection, but without the potential for damage.

Caring for Buttons

Help! the garment is washable but the button isn't.

If a button isn't washable, but you want to use it on an item that is,
there are several ways to do so.

Buttons come with all kinds of care instructions, from "machine
washable" to "dry clean only" to "don't even think about cleaning it".
I can't advise you much on the last one, other than to say that usually
a little bit of rubbing with a dry tissue is probably good enough to
remove most grime.

The question is how to use an untreated wooden, horn, or very delicate glass button on a garment you want to be able to toss in the machine or have dry cleaned.

So, here's a few suggestions:

Wash by hand. Most buttons can withstand a bit of water. It's the rough
action of the washing machine (or worse, the dryer) that causes the
problem. Glass buttons that get thrown against the agitator or the
metal dryer walls will get nicked or broken. So, washing the garment by
hand in the sink, then line drying it will solve the problem. Face it,
most of us don't get our clothes filthy enough to require scrubbing,
and if we did, we wouldn't want to put beautiful, handmade buttons on
them anyway.

Cover them. A little bit of aluminum foil to cover the buttons may help
protect them from water damage, and dry cleaning fluids. A layer of
paper toweling, bubble wrap, foam, quilt batting or similiar under the
foil may also help by serving as padding in case of none-too-gentle
treatment. Afterward, just remove the materials and polish the button a
bit with a tissue.

Glass buttons can usually be dry cleaned with no ill effects, however
if they're painted the paint might come off with some solvents. Talk to
your dry cleaner beforehand, and consider covering them with aluminum
foil for protection.

Don't sew them on. A tiny safety pin instead of stitching will hold on
most buttons. It's invisible with most shanked buttons, but won't be
too noticible on drilled ones. After wearing, simply remove the buttons
and have the garment cleaned. For a more permanent fix, sew the button
onto the back of the safety pin, making a thread shank. Then, attach to
the garment before wearing. The extra few minutes spent getting dressed
will be well worth it when you start getting compliments on your
gorgeous outfit.

--As a side note, this method has an advantage, especially for home
sewists. One set of nice buttons can be used on several garments. If
you reuse the same tried-n-true patterns, you can make up two or three
of the same garment, then buy one set of gorgeous buttons that will
work for all of them.--

In the case of unfinished / untreated wooden buttons that can't be
soaked, dampen a cloth in a bit of water with a drop or two of wood
soap like Murphy's, then just wipe them clean. Cover (completely seal)
them with aluminum foil and hand-wash the garment

Most horn buttons can be washed, but shouldn't be immersed for very
long. Use a short, gentle washing cycle, and they should be fine.

Buttons come with all kinds of care instructions, from "machine
washable" to "dry clean only" to "don't even think about cleaning it".
I can't advise you much on the last one, other than to say that usually
a little bit of rubbing with a dry tissue is probably good enough to
remove most grime.

If I think of or hear of any other good methods, I'll post them. And if
you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them -just drop me a
message. In the meantime, don't let finiky care instructions stop you
from using and enjoying beautiful buttons, even on washable items. :)


PS: Please note that these instructions are intended for buttons that
will be used and enjoyed, NOT for antiques, one-of-a-kind heirlooms or
collectible buttons. If you have or suspect you have an irreplaceable
item, please contact a restoration service or someone who can identify
what your button is made of and can give you professional advice. The
National Button Society is a good place to find someone knowledgeable
about your particular specimen.

Choosing Buttons and Making Buttonholes

Choosing Buttons & Making Buttonholes

A ligne is the international standard for measuring a button’s diameter. Domed, thicker, or handmade buttons may require a larger buttonhole. Variations in measurement often occur, so all button sizes should be considerate approximate.

Ligne Millimeters Inches
14 9.2 .362
16 10.5 .413
18 11.6 .457
20 12.5 .492
21 13.5 .531
22 14.2 .559
23 14.8 .583
24 15.0 .590
27 16.8 .661
28 17.8 .701
30 19.0 .748
32 20.5 .807
34 21.5 .846
36 22.9 .902
40 25.5 1.00

If the button has a shank, the width of the shank also varies, and needs to be considered when determining the placement of the buttonhole on a garment.


The buttonhole needs to be large enough to comfortably accomodate the button. If it's too small, the buttonhole will eventually rip or the button itself will become detached (and maybe lost), and need to be replaced. If you've used one-of-a-kind buttons, you may have to replace them all. So err on the side of making the buttonhole a tiny bit larger if neccesary.

Generally, the length of a buttonhole is determined by the diameter of the button, plus 1/8". For ball, jeweled, or oddly-shaped buttons, it may be neccesary to allow a bit more. Always make a test buttonhole or two on a scrap of the garment fabric before hand, so you can set your thread tension, test the stitching, and make certain the button will go through the hole and stay in place once the garment is fastened.

If you're using a sewing machine that holds the button while making the buttonholes, I suggest that when using handmade buttons you make each buttonhole to a specific button, then make a little note of which goes where.

Garment Design and Construction:

When the center of a button is placed on the center line of a garment pattern block, half of it will extend to the right, and half to the left of the center. This makes it neccesary to extend the center edge. The width of the extension should equal the diameter of the button.

The buttonhole extends at least 1/16" to the left of the garment to allow for a shank button. If a button has a very wide shank, measure the shank and extend the buttonhole to the left of the center by half the measurement of the shank. The length of the shank does not change the size of the buttonhole.

On a neckline, with or without a set-in collar, the buttonhole is placed one-half the diameter of the button plus 1/4" away from the neckline.

A garment without a belt should have a button placed exactly on the waistline to maintain close fit. For coats or suits, the button may be placed up to 1/2" above or below the waistline if the overall appearance is improved.
For a garment with a belt, plan and mark the buttonholes above and below the waistline so that the belt or buckle will be at least 1 1/2" away from the buttons.

After determining the position of the neckline and the waistline, divide the remaining space by the number of buttonholes you want. On a woman's garment, try to place a button right at bust level to prevent the garment from gapping open.

Women's garments always button right over left.

A few more notes for better buttonholes:
~Don't skip or skimp on interfacing in this area. Use the same pattern piece for interfacing as for the fashion fabric where buttons and buttonholes will be placed, so the interfacing extends all the way to the edge of the fabric.

~To mark the buttonholes for stitching, trace them onto a piece of onion skin tracing paper, pin the paper to the fabric, and stitch through it. This is usually more accurate then trying to mark on the fabrics, and eliminates worry about whether the marks will be competely removable.

~Just before stitching the buttonhole, give the lines and the area around them a few small whacks with a hammer. Not too hard, just a quick smack-smack-smack will flatten and smooth that area so your sewing machine will run a little better.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Site Stats: I'm listening!

I've been reading my site stats since the day I started this little biz.  I read the stats provided by my server, and then I read the information available at Google Analytics, and finally, I spend a half hour or more everyday poring over my Etsy statistics.

And I promise I'm paying attention.

My stats make it very clear that a huge number of people are always looking for unusual buttons and buttons that are not readily available at the big box stores.  In the coming months, I will try to start adding more items that are further away from the beaten path.

More buttons with  fantasy, mythical, or magical themes.  Mermaids, dragons, fairy castles, and fairy tale icons seem to be popular.  I'll be trying to add some of those next. 

More novelty buttons in more shapes and sizes, and more in themes that are appropriate for boy's clothing, crafts, and activities.  I see the terms 'race cars', 'dinosaurs' and bugs are high on the list.  So I will see what I can do.

More horn and bone buttons.  For those, I will probably have to import directly from Asia.  I'll see what I can do.  One of the biggest drawbacks is the enormous shipping costs and the duty taxes.  I hope these will also be what is meant by the terms "primitive" and "tribal" which I see occasionally.  The buttons from Asia are usually less finished and more 'rough' in appearance, which I like.  A row of less-than-perfect horn buttons one a leather jacket or even a tailored coat is a nice juxtaposition, I think.

Of course, the fancy glass buttons and larger buttons for handbags and scrapbooks are always popular, so I'll keep my eye out for more of them.  

I also do take special orders, so if you are looking for something and just cannot find it, let me know and I'll try to help. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vintage La Mode Buttons

I took the plunge and ordered a few of these. :D

Okay, so let's face it: most buttons exist in our lives to fasten our clothes.  If we make our own clothes, and carefully choose fabrics, linings, trims, threads, and whatever else our new favorite garment requires, we usually choose buttons as fasteners first.  We might agonize over a choice like 'blue or gray?' or 'do I want leather or wood?'.  But sometimes, we really want a button that stands out, a button that makes the garment. 

Under those circumstances, I usually think of Czech glass or rhinestones.  But...sometimes those are just too formal or too fussy.  To me, these fit the bill very nicely.  Most of them are metal, so they can be washed and dry cleaned. They're fancy and memorable, but not over-the-top.  They're vintage styles, but they don't look outdated. 

My personal favorites: 

How about ten or more of these running down the back of a dress?

One of these at the collar of a plain white shirt?


I expect them to arrive on Monday, August 27th; but they are available for preorder now.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A lot has happened since April!

Wow!  To be honest, I hadn't realized that much time had passed.  I often get busy and distracted, and just don't realize months are flying by.  

Let's see: first, I have lots of new Jesse James buttons in stock, and plan to carry more of them in the coming months.  They're cute, they're well made, the theme sets are well thought out, and one can find something for almost any occasion.  I also appreciate they are relevantly inexpensive, so buying a bunch of them to satisfy my need to "have it all" doesn't put a significant crimp in the budget.

For those of you who love luxury items, there are new Czech glass buttons and new rhinestone buttons in stock.  Whether you're tailoring formal wear, making costumes or just need some bling, there's quite a few new (and old) lovelies to choose from.  I do hope to carry a larger selection in the future, and I also hope to be able to carry a larger number of each style.  The shipping from the Czech Republic is still prohibitive, but not impossible, and I do believe they are worth it.  Many are so gorgeous they take my breath away, so I'll continue to make every effort to keep new choices on the virtual shelves. :D

I've also begun adding a few digital files for those of you who enjoy scrap booking and paper crafts.  A while back I went looking for some nice Photoshop textures for a personal project and was very disappointed.  There are a few sites giving away freebies, and that is nice.  But then I was a bit shocked -and annoyed, tbh- at the number of people who are repackaging and selling those same freebies.  So I realized that if I wanted something really unique that every graphic designer in the land wouldn't point to and say: "oh, look, it's freebie paper #88 from again" I was going to have to make it myself.  So I did.  Then I thought maybe a few other people would like it, so I zipped up a couple of batches, and made them available.  They can be used for business, too.  So if you need a background for a business card or a texture for a brochure, that is fine.

Next up: I hope to carry more items from Bluementhal-Lansing.  They manufacture the ever fashonable La Petite and La Mode lines, as well as a huge selection of craft and novelty buttons.  I really love their "vintage style" line and hope to add at least half of it in the coming month or so.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I'm in! It works!

Okay, so I'm not the best blogger under the best circumstances. I'm just not real good at talking to "everybody" vs talking to "somebody".

But my blog completely quit working.  I could read the blog itself, but I couldn't sign in and couldn't make a post.

I finally gave my DH the green light to see if he could fix it, and he (of course) put it on his  list of things to do before he dies, and there it sat.

Well, it's finally fixed!  The only problem now is that I don't know how he did it, and he claims he doesn't either, so if it happens again, I'll just be back to square one, waiting for him to do it again.

But, I'm here now.

I don't have much to say at the moment, so I'll have to try to come up with some interesting and juicy gossip or maybe some awesome news of world import, but for now I'll content myself with just being happy I'm here. :D

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just in time for Earth Day

Show off your love of 70's hippy styles and remind others of environmental concerns with Blumenthal Lansing's large wooden graffiti buttons. Mix 'em and match 'em to embellish mod denims, patchwork or embroidery.  While you're at it, why not try making up a macrame handbag

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Do you read this blog?

If so, please take a 15% discount for the month of April with coupon code "Ireadyourblog" at either venue: or


Coupon expires April 30, so act now. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Speaking of Special Orders

In my last blog post I said:

"Special orders welcome.  If I don't have what you're wanting, I'm willing to order it in for you if possible.  Just send me an message with as much information as you can: what is it, what size, how many, etc."

What I didn't say is: that's not just limited to buttons, beads or the other items you see listed in the store.  I've ordered other things that customers have asked for, too.  Paint brushes, knitting needles, glitter, and embroidery threads are a few of the items I've recently ordered for someone who asked.

If you need something special:

I need to know what it is.  Even though I order and sell a variety of items, I may not be familiar with the product you're looking for. So please give me as much information as you can.  If you know who manufactured or distributed it, that's a real plus.  If not, tell me what it is made of, what size it is, and how many you'll be needing.  If it's a button that comes carded, tell me both how many cards, and how many individual buttons.  Sometimes I can only buy them one way or the other.

A good example is: "I'm looking for 12 metal dome buttons with a squirrel paw engraved on the front.  They are about 3/4" and have shanks."

Please be patient after asking -give me time to find it.  It can be very difficult searching through a dozen catalogs looking for something that matches a blurry picture, or with only a few keywords to look for.  

Please don't wait until you're in a dire hurry.  While I'm happy to order things, most of the time it will have to wait until I'm ordering from the company that supplies it anyway.  I simply cannot place a $300.00 order and pay the shipping just to get you 2 little buttons.  Doing that would put me out of business. 

Please do let me know if you find it somewhere else, so I don't waste my time looking anymore.
Sometimes people ask for something, I go looking, then when I find it I never hear from them again, or they say 'Oh, I found those elsewhere a week ago'.  I would appreciate the heads-up so I don't waste hours looking for something that is no longer wanted or needed. 

Finally, please do be prepared to pay for the items when they arrive.  I promise to let you know what the items will cost before I actually place the order.  If that is more than you want to pay or can comfortably afford, please just say so.  I do understand completely, and it won't hurt my feelings.  But being stuck with 24 Tasmanian Kazoos that I can't resell and can't send back (most wholesaler don't take returns, others charge re-stocking fees) does hurt.  I will work with you, but please be prepared to work with me on the subject of payment. 

So...if you're unhappily hunting, and just can't find what you need, please don't hesitate to ask.  

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Why Buy From Your Button Shop?

1) Real, living human providing customer service.  If you have questions or concerns, just send me a message.  I check my email about once every two hours throughout the day, and sometimes more often.  I do not employ a call center, or forward my emails to someone else.

2) Satisfaction guaranteed.  If you're not happy with your purchase, I will give you a full refund. 

3) Physical inventory.  While mistakes do happen, 99% of the time if something as listed as being in stock, it is. It's here, and it's ready to leap into a mailer and be on its way to you.

4) Fast shipping.  I do my absolute best to get packages out the same or next business day.  

5) No minimum.  You may buy one little button or all of them.  If you do, in fact, buy all of them, I'll include some really awesome freebies. :D

6) Privacy.  I do not sell or share your information with anyone.  

7) Fully secured e-commerce site.  Secure socket layers protect your data. 

8) Special orders welcome.  If I don't have what you're wanting, I'm willing to order it in for you if possible.  Just send me an message with as much information as you can: what is it, what size, how many, etc.

9) Items from around the world. I'm always looking for new, unique, gorgeous items from all over the globe.

10) US based business, complying with US laws and regulations, owned by a US citizen.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mirage Mood Beads

My first encounter with these cute little beads was in a pair of earrings on Etsy.  I was immediately enamored, as I like anything that changes hue.  But I also thought the style would work nicely in conjunction with many of the buttons I carry for hemp jewelry, wire-wrapping, or even crazy quilting.

I didn't buy every style; as I just wanted to test the waters a bit and see how they sell.  I expect them to be in by Friday, so I can get them photographed over the weekend.

These aren't my photos, but they are good representatives:

If they prove to be popular, I'll try to carry more items like them.

Edited to say most of the new beads are available here.  

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm easy! Really!

I get emails sometimes from customers who don't want to use my shopping cart or who have trouble navigating through it.   Most people only need fill up their cart, go to checkout, then hit the big orange button that will take them directly to PayPal.  But...sometimes it just doesn't work that way.

A few people still don't feel secure shopping online.  Some don't have PayPal accounts.  A few are just convinced that a check in the mail is the only "right way" to buy something that will arrive via the post office.

Whatever.  I'm easy.

It's perfectly okay to simply log in to your PayPal account, and send me the money directly with a list of the items you want.  Or email me the list and I'll send you a PayPal invoice.  

If you really don't like online transactions, that's okay, too I can't take phone orders at this time, but I do take money orders.  If you feel more comfortable sending me a letter with details of your order and a money order, that is fine. One caveat: I can't promise the items you want will still be available by the time your letter arrives.  I might be sold completely out, and may or may not be able to order more in a reasonable time frame.

The point is, the order can be taken and processed whichever way makes you most comfortable.  The shopping cart is probably fastest and easiest for most (and it is completely secured) but if you don't like it, just send me a message and we'll work something else out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I think I might be hungry....

And if I wasn't when I started this post, I certainly will be soon!

I just discovered edible buttons!  I was talking to my DH about making molds of various items a while back, and I mentioned that sometimes people use buttons for that purpose (always happy to bring buttons into any conversation, and DH has learned to ignore it).  He brought up "food safe molds" and the idea popped into my head -could buttons be used as molds for candy?

That led to a quick search...and look what I found: 

We have chocolate buttons!  Once upon a time, many years ago, my sister and I had a seal point siamese cat named "chocolate buttons" so one day I may just have to order a box of these. 

How about vintage buttons -made of sugar?  What a wedding favor those could be!

If you're craving something more colorful, maybe fondant buttons are more your taste? I think these might be a hit for a sewing retreat or quilting bee.

Now I just need to find the perfect blend of coffee to enjoy with them. :D

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sometimes I spin yarns in my head about the buttons I'm working with.   

 I dearly loved Alice in Wonderland and always suspected the Queen of Hearts was so grumpy because her guests didn't bring very nice hostess gifts to her unbirthday party.  Maybe a nice set of gloves to match her outfit would've mollified her a bit. Although...when the guests are the March Hare, the Mad Hatter and a dormouse, maybe all bets are off (with their heads, of course). 

While I'm remembering old stories, how about this button to represent the Red Brick Road to Glenda the Good's home in the land of the Quadlings?  

I've always wanted a pair of ruby mary janes, and I'm certain someone in Oz could stitch up another pair, if asked very nicely (and maybe bribed a bit), and I'm sure these would be perfect for them. 

These buttons are available for purchase here and here, and in my Etsy shop. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sometimes, things go wrong. Very, very wrong. :(

Today, something went wrong with one of my orders. FML.

No, it's true.  Someone had me special order some buttons I had discontinued, so I did...and when they arrived, I took them from the shipper, transferred them to a mailer for her, and enthusiastically let her know they were here and ready to go home.

Fast forward to this afternoon, when I received an email from her saying the buttons were only 1/2 the size they were supposed to be!  Wow!  I had not even noticed they were not the same...ouch.

I want my customers to rip open their packages and feel immensely satisfied and happy with their purchases, not disappointed and irate because all is not as it should be or as they had hoped. 

Bottom line is: sometimes things go wrong.  If you order from me, and something goes wrong, please don't hesitate to let me know right away. I promise I will do everything I can to make it right.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brand new buttons have arrived!

I just received a whole box of new glass buttons from the Czech Republic.  Over the next few days I'll be photographing them and making them available on both shopping sites.  I can already say they are lovely!

In the meantime, I'd like to share a couple of my favorite items that my customers have made with the buttons they purchased.  

Timberstone Turnings always does fantastic work, IMO, but I'm partial to the ones that use my buttons. ;)  This particular beauty is reserved for someone, but I'm sure they would be happy to make another. 

Quite a few of her creations are made with buttons, or by using buttons as molds to model clay into small cabochons for her jewelry. 

I could go on and on, as I dearly love seeing the items my customers make, but...the new buttons and my camera are waiting, so I'd better go. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Life is short: Buy the Buttons!

I'm continually getting emails that say something like: "DL...last (week, month, year) you had some buttons in your shop.  They were (round, square, purple, orange) and I loved them.  But now I can't find them.  Do you have any more?"

Sadly, many of the buttons I carry are not available in large quantities, and are not around for long.  A simple fact of retail is that slower-moving items stop being offered.  Other times the resources (like 14k gold or sterling silver) used to make a particular button drive the prices up too high to be readily affordable, or the artisan simply moves on and decides to focus on a new direction.  Either way, the quantities are limited, and once they're gone, they're gone.

I see having a button stash much the same way as having a fabric stash or a collection of art supplies on hand.  You may not have a particular use for them when you see them, but if you like them, buy them up -you never know when inspiration will strike, when a particular project will just cry for an item seen somewhere last month or when you'll simply decide the time is right to use them up.  And if you are working on a project that calls for three or four, buy an extra, because you may never be able to find another that is a perfect match later.

OTOH, when replacing the buttons on a garment, if the old ones are unique or handmade, keep them!  You just may decide you need them later for another garment or they may prove the perfect finishing touch for a scrapbook page, handbag, or custom jewelry item.... Buttons have so many uses and purposes that I firmly believe you -or a friend -  will most likely find something, somewhere they will be perfect for. 

Life is the buttons, the incredible fabric, the art supplies, the shoes or other items you love.  You may not have another chance, and even if you can't picture a project or use right away, you'll know that when the right idea hatches, you'll have the most beautiful supplies to make it with right at hand.