Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The button countdown begins....

It is official - I will be appearing live on the Create & Craft channel on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 8am, during one of the sewing shows. I will be demonstrating some of the techniques in my Making Buttons DVD, and hopefully not making a fool of myself with shaking hands - or even worse, freezing! (I can see it now, Mad Button Lady Comes Loose).

So, you can watch it on the following channels - Sky 671 | Freeview 36 | Freesat 813 or watch live online -

Seriously though, I am looking forward to it. I have been really busy working on various samples showing the thread wrapped buttons being used for other purposes than just historical costuming. Now, I am one who already changes coat buttons to passementerie ones and actually uses passementerie generally more than most - I guess I am bound to! But it can be a little bit of a challenge to try to ensure that I am showing examples suitable for all levels of ability.

I wanted to share this lovely picture sent to me by a client. It is so nice to see a finished garment with the trimmings (in this case the buttons) that I have supplied - it looks so much better than a picture of just some buttons! (And I do love the shape of that cuff - always have)

Recently I was asked if I knew anything about a Yorkshire button industry. There is a passementerie worked button which is being called a Yorkshire Button. This button is worked with back stitch in the same way as a Dorset button, only this is worked on a 'loom' or form and then used to cover a button mould. It seems that the info relating to this only states that Yorkshire had a button industry like Dorset or Leek - but with no further information, and it does seem as though all of this info is coming from the same source (but I can't pinpoint what that source is).

I certainly cannot find anything in any of my books, although it does seem that Sheffield Plate was first used for buttons. I wonder if this is the industry actually being referred to - not this thread type. (And the vast amount of different types of buttons which are not cloth, thread or passementerie is a subject I have only touched the surface of). I have also never seen any tools which I would say were actually these 'looms' - though certain thread winders might work. I have emailed a few places, but haven't had any replies.

Perhaps this is simply being called a Yorkshire button because the person who originally worked out how to make it used a button on a garment in a museum in Yorkshire as a guide. This is what happens with the chevron buttons I made for Ninya Mikhaila / Perth Museum & Art Gallery -

Most of my costumier friends and people in re-enactment tend to refer to these as 'Perth Buttons', simply because the original suit is in Parth Museum. If someone else was teaching how to make these, would they also refer to them as Perth Buttons? It's possible.

It is a real mystery, but if anyone has any information on a passementerie-specific button industry inYorkshire I'd love to know.


  1. Daftart9:44 pm

    Hi I may have been the person who asked about Yorkshire buttons. The ones I make are self supporting because of the ribs formed, they can be stuffed with wool I never use any button moulds. I have been showing and asking about them and a "mature" gentleman remembered girls in Hull making them at playtime Another lady learnt them from an elderly lady in Jersey where she made very small ones to button baby booties and called them French Pom poms! So more questions. Pretty sure there was no industry as the Dorset but still hunting.

    1. Thank you for that info to add to the pile! That method could so easily be used to make little embellishments, and so the 'French pompom' could be the key. But I agree, I have been unable to find anything linking a proper industry still, and a year on, haven't had anyone else bring up the possibility (though I too am still looking!)


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