Sunday, March 20, 2011

Buttons Can Be Expensive

I have not been in the mood to sew at all lately. At least, things that I NEED to sew and finish up. I have many different projects in my head that I want to start now, (tunics, regency dress, 1860's corset, 1930's dresses for spring wardrobe, Easter outfits for the boys) but I know that I would feel overwhelmed and worse if I had half a dozen projects at various stages of completion littering my sewing table. First things first.

So, I have been trying to get David's breeches done. They are SO close to being done. Buttons and buttonholes and that's it. Last Saturday we went to Jo Anns to look for appropriate buttons. I was going to cheat and use the modern covered button kits to make the 15 buttons I need for David's breeches. But when we realized that it would cost nearly $15 for the flimsy metal bits to  put the buttons together, I balked. The fabric used cost less than $4. I was not going to spend $15 for non-historically-correct buttons. So we went to Menards and I got a packet of 18 metal washers for less than $2. I've been working on covering the washers with fabric discs and sewing around the middle to hold the fabric in position around the washer. So far I've made 9 of these, and they are attached to the breeches by a thread shank. I don't know how long they will hold up but they are quite similar (sans washers) to the buttons I've made for our medieval clothing, which are holding up beautifully. . .I guess time will tell!



  1. Looking good so far! Clever to use washers as a base.

    I told hubby that I had an evil plan concerning him, and when he asked me what it was (sometime in future making him a regency outfit) he asked what was so evil about it. He didn't mind very much at all. Of course, he'd prefer a redcoat uniform, but he thought having a civilian outfit as well might not be bad. Hihi.

    So, I'll be following your progress in making Davids outfit closely ;)

  2. How very clever! I never would of thought of that! Such a great idea tho. :)

  3. They look great! Hope they wear well. I did something similar for a sweater.

  4. Buttons really are expensive! I do not believe there is any shame in being frugal. If we all had thousands of dollars, I'm sure we'd love to be %100 perfect.

    These look great. They look (and probably function) the same as expensive buttons.

  5. If I was any good at sewing clothes for people, I would help you out. You are doing an amazing job with all of your creations.

  6. What a neat idea, Sarah! Good thinking.

    By the way, I saw your comment to Jenni on Living with Jane about your concerns with your dress for the Jane Austen Festival. Please don't worry a bit about it! You are accomplished and do a lovely job on your clothes! Further, we are by no means more accomplished than you are...we are all in this together, learning from each other.

    As Jenni said, you will see all kinds of dress at the festival, from the makeshift to the extraordinary. Yes, there may be one or two cliquish folks: such people will turn up at any gathering, but the most of the people I've met the past two years have been very nice. Meanwhile, I find those people who are open, light-hearted, and kind, whatever their dress, for it's the attitude and the fellowship, in the end, that makes the event special.

    Very best, and I cannot wait to meet you and yours! You are always an inspiration to me, on so many levels.

    Very best,


  7. I don't think you can call it frugal to spend money and time making up costumes that are not technically necessary for anything. Fun, maybe, but not frugal. It's a hobby.

  8. Well, "frugal" is a word that means - anything - to a lot of people. So, if your idea of frugal is, say, rationing toilet paper squares and spending hours each week going clipping coupons, it is true that making "costumes" is not frugal.

    But I do think it is common sense to save where you can. I know I am much happier knowing that the buttons for these breeches did not end up costing more than the fabric itself. We use these clothign items to go to historic events and reenactments, and that is our recreation. We don't go out to movies very often, or have dinner out, or go golfing, or take vacations, or go to concerts, etc. We DO need these, technically, to particpate in a historic event. And I know I'd rather spend $6 on materials for an item I can make at home during odd moments snatched here and there than pay $70+ for someone else to make them. We would not be able to afford to reenacting if I were not able to make our clothing at home. So, I'm happy I can do it.

  9. Natalie, thank you for your reassuring words! I tend to get obsessed over the details of my outfit and worry that I won't "measure up" to the standards of others, due to some unpleasant experiences at CW events...I am absolutely in awe of the research you have done on the 1790's and the detail you went into in making the various outfits for the members of your group last year. Jenni is amazing too. . .my hat is off to you ladies!

    The regency period is *so* new to me. I have liked it for years, but never have seriously looked into it. Up until last year, I would not have been able to tell you how a dress from 1790 was different from a dress from, say, 1815. Now I'm learning the differences and the different construction techniuqes and it is a little overwhelming to me! There is just SO MUCH to learn! Hair, jewelry, accessories, etc.

    So, I'm glad to have someone to (virtually) set me down and tell me not to worry so much! Thank you! I CAN'T WAIT to meet you and Jenni and the other ladies who will be there. :)

  10. Those trowsers look fantastic! I like your thinking on the buttons. They look great!

  11. As always I am impressed by your creativity! I admire your enthusiasm and ability to conjure up inexpensive ways to equip your family for your hobby!

  12. Hello,

    Was wondering if you have found any good information about childrens regency clothing? I have 2 little boys ages 2 and 4. The 2 yr old is in frocks but the 4 yr old is breeched. I've been looking online without much success.


  13. I would have never thought of using washers! They look great! And SO cheap!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!