Disclaimer: I am not a collector of buttons
But I am a clothing and accessories collector. Buttons come with the territory mainly as a reference in researching, authenticating, mending and displays. Back to the lady who calls me after a clean out of yet another craft room ( I am guessing here because how does one person have that kind of volume of yarn, notions, patterns and fabric in one tiny house - is a mystery to me).
“Are you interested in buttons?” she asks. “I could be”, I said, thinking there will be a ‘button jar’ and how nice it would be to have a button jar to put amongst a display. During my sewing years, I just put loose buttons in the bottom of my sewing basket along with those single buttons attached to store bought garments. But those are later 80s and 90s buttons so they didn’t qualify to be part of my collection. It has never occurred to me to start my own button jar, and if I did, I would use a big pickle jar!
To my surprise her buttons were in a box. Mainly from the 1960s and later.
The loose buttons were in small tins, baggies and plastic grocery bulk containers. Yes there are that many.
And many still on cards! Mainly from the 1960s and later. And very small buttons perfect for my crafty friends at the Doll of Club of Edmonton and doll artists who sew clothes and mend for their dolls.
Oh well, I am not a button collector so I will sort by type and color and if there are any that look and feel remotely older than 1940, I will keep in a separate container for future further research.
Handling the buttons reminded me of playing with Mom’s buttons from her button jar. We counted, we sorted, Mom gave us a color or type to find…just to keep us out of her hair for awhile.
Okay…where is her button jar and how come I haven’t seen it in her sewing room?!
A button jar is a very personal thing, it holds memories of the mending, making do, keepsakes of babies, special occasions, working clothes of loved ones and is one of the last items a person gives up when ‘cleaning out’. That and her wedding dress!
Two Christmas’s ago, Mom surprised all of us with one of the most personal gifts I have ever received from her. She made ‘button jars’ for each of her daughters (6). The jars had bits and pieces of everything Mom ever saved – jewellery, coins, pins, buttons, small trims, dolls, flowers, all layered in the jars and personalized for each of us.
Oh yah - the jars she used – those old wonderful jars from the shelf above the fridge.