Tag Archives: buttons

Favorite sweater re-do, third time around

My favorite old cardigan was due for another round of repairs.

cardigan full

The elbow patch I put on a couple years ago was no longer covering all of the worn areas on one arm, and the other finally gave out.

New England-elbow

So I returned the sweater to a more somber state with matching charcoal elbow patches from a thrifted felted sweater.

oldsweater-elbows

(And our “cloakroom” doorway ended up being the perfect place for a vintage curtain I’ve had for years.)

I sewed up a few holes in the cuffs and weak spots in the arms – thankfully the nubby fabric is entirely forgiving and I didn’t need to worry about making perfect mends.

But the beige thread in the buttons seemed to stand out too much, so I sewed some black over it.

oldsweater-thread

And now the cardigan is stable once more, albeit a little less quirky, but still one of my favorites…

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Doin’ the but… tin…

I had to save my biggest and best tin for a post of its own.

But-tin closedI first saw this tin in a photographic negative I was cataloging in my old job.  The tin was on the counter in someone’s kitchen in the 1940s.  I read the writing through a tiny loupe and was aghast at the boasts of “scientifically processed” and claims of healthy hydrogenated vegetable shortening!  And what is that graphic?  A woman on a scale inferring that potato chips were diet food?  Hells yeah!  I love potato chips, though they’ve done nothing for my figure, unless of course I eat enough to cause severe anal leakage, but I’m a snob for the olive oil chips anyway.  I started seeing this tin in antique/junk stores but they were often rusty, or the lid didn’t easily come off, or were just too damn overpriced.  Generally, if I want something that isn’t really needed, I wait for serendipity to take over or to lose interest in it.  However, after a year of looking for this in the right condition for the right price, I broke down and found one on Ebay, so it all worked out.  Maybe serendipity is just an online market.

But in my quest for simplicity and curing former impulses and diseases of the hoarding of neat sh*t variety, I have a general rule for visiting antique/junk shops – buy nothing bigger than what would fit into my hand.*  In theory I like some kinds old jewelry so that could be allowable, but I’ve never actually bought any old jewelry and it is usually more than I want to spend.  I have more tchotzkies than years left in my statistical lifespan, so I generally resist the cute/weird but useless item.  And I have nearly a zero interest level in military, presidential, I-am-man-and-hear-me-roar (or just destroy your lives and countries) artifacts, so old bullets, campaign buttons, coins, pins for distinctions, etc. don’t get the slightest glance from me.

But what else is little and can be extremely practical, and thus 100% approved?

Let’s open that giant tin, shall we?

But-tin openOh yeah, hells yeah, buttons!

I buy buttons that I think will look good on knits I’ve never knitted (nor will).

I buy buttons that I think I can re-sell for decent money (though I haven’t yet).

I buy buttons to replace those already on my clothes (which I’ve done once).

I buy buttons to use in my “crafts” (I do this occasionally with singles, but would never break up a set).

I buy buttons to repurpose them as jewelry (though not to make country button necklace shittery).

I buy buttons to one day feed my burning desire to amass them in a giant heap and then catalog them one by one.

But-tin cardAnd I buy buttons because some are nearly art and quite frame-able or worthy of display on their own.

(I didn’t tear off that one button in the upper left, it came that way)

But-tin jarI’ve had to start a new jar nearly the same size as the tin for the buttons I remove and save from clothing I cut up and turn into other things.

(And yes, I do have another boxful of buttons that you don’t get to see).

*I’ve got some big paws, so my fingers can really wrap a decent-sized find, and I do break this rule constantly if I find things that are fiber-oriented and thus can be considered a business, art, or research expense (but really, I can only kid myself so far…)

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An improved jacket

Lately I’ve been re-working woolen clothes – both my own old ones and new thrift shop scores.  Or rather, I have an overflowing box of items I intend to re-work, but have only managed to completely finish a few lately.  I found this jacket or blazer  in early January and it perfectly matches a scarf* I made a few years ago.  And yes, I previously raged against pink a little when it falls under a raspberry or pepto influence, but I love this dirty old lavender-ish rose.

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The jacket had some issues though – the plastic buttons looked wrong and cheap and were probably a replacement, there was a large hole in the bottom hem, the sleeves were hack-hemmed way too short, and at first I liked the little brown triangles at the pockets because I thought they were suede and I like mixing browns and greys thank you very much, but on closer inspection they turned out to be Ultrasuede or other sort of microfiber… ick.   And then the label puzzled me as well:

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It looks like an older style, but the little content tag underneath it looks more recent, but the sizing is oldschool too – says it’s a 14, but fits more like a 4 or 6 – or is it foreign?  I can’t find anything online about Ms. Alice Carol except a few other pieces [mis-dated in my opinion] on Etsy, so my best guess is that it’s from the late 1970s…?  I also feel that it was sufficiently altered from its original state so I could continue to monkey around with it.  It doesn’t look like I did much now, but I:

let out the cuffs to the bitter end removed the sleeve buttons stitched up the side wrist gap re-hemmed the cuffs re-attached the sleeve lining repaired the hole on the bottom took off the Ultrasuede triangles cut new grey wool triangles but then didn’t like they way they looked and didn’t feel like sewing them on then made and attached my own covered buttons** out of a pair of my brother’s old grey wool pants of about the same age that match the grey stripe that you really don’t see in the pictures [did you get that in one breath?]

Much better.

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* For those who are savvy or nebbie, you could find this scarf pattern for free on ravelry, but I’m in the middle of re-writing and charting it and hope to re-post it soon as a buy-it pattern (never mind that only very few have made it for free so far) but one can hope [or have the right to have delusions] right?

** Oh how I love you, DIY button blanks – why were you waiting so long to come into my life?  Will I ever tire of you?  But have you been in my life long enough to know that you’ll hold up through many unbuttonings and buttonings and banging into things?

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