21 October 2011


The orange cardigan is finally finished! The making-up really dragged - I hate sewing button bands on - but I finally did it last weekend, and then sewed on four bright, shiny orange buttons. They are out of my mum's button bag, of buttons she collected before I was born, so they're proper, vintage 70s:
When my mum died last year, I inherited her box of spare buttons from the clothes she's bought over the last ten or fifteen years, but also her bag of buttons from she was sewing and knitting in the 70s and early 80s. And, since I was having a button round-up, my grandma decided it was time I had her button box. Many of these buttons are ones my grandma inherited from her mother, who was a tailor, meaning that some of them must be from the 30s and 20s or earlier. Very few of them are expensive or smart: there are a couple of beautiful big discs of mother-of-pearl, but the vast majority are made of cheap, old, brittle plastic. They have been snipped off coats and jackets and shirts and pyjamas and cardigans which have gone to holes: there is a purple cord-covered one that I recognise as being from the dressing gown my grandma had when I was tiny. We also used to be allowed to play with these buttons when we were little, and used them as play-money. Some of them still have stickers on saying, "50p" and "£9" and "£7" in my brother's round and elaborately careful writing. There are also lots of huge brown ones, and you only have to glance at to imagine the 1950s and 60s wool coats they came off. You'd need a wonderfully textured chunky tweed to offset thhose smooth brown semi-spherical buttons with the 4cm diameter.

So, I am trying to find uses for as many of these buttons as possible, rather than buying more. Those bright shiny orange plastic ones suit my 1950s orange cardigan wonderfully, and I'm ever so pleased with it. Still not quite finished blocking, however, so no pics of me wearing it yet!

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I've used some of my grandma's buttons for my pink 50s cardigan. These are little pale pink plastic pearl buttons, which fit this cardigan beautifully:
I am so, so pleased with this cardigan. It hasn't turned out how I expected - it's much smaller and more fitted in the pattern - although that may of course be the model's corset. However, my colours are much nicer, and the slightly larger and looser shape has coincided with ... slightly oversized Fair-Isle cardigans having a major moment. Who saw that coming? So this cardigan - not really oversized, but just slightly relaxed - has suddenly rocketed to the top of my wardrobe crushes.

I LOVE the Fair-Isle. And have I mentioned how lovely the Rowan 4-ply wool is? It's practically silken, and yet so warm. Blooming premium-brand yarns, being all worth-the-money and shit.

More photos of the lovely pink cardigan:

1 comment:

Flâneur Gardener said...

Speaking of buttons...

I gave my mother This bracelet for Christmas, and if you have some spectacular buttons that might not easily be used in garments, perhaps you might use them for jewellery? The example was made by a Swedish designer, but you might be able to find other ways to make pretty buttons wearable.