05 March 2012

Buttoning Up, Part III: Buttonfinger (Sort of like Goldfinger, but with 99.9% less atomic peril.)

As I mentioned last week, I'm in  the middle of making a lot of garb very quickly, both because I need new attire for my new character and to test drive my new patterns and instructions for drafting jerkin/petticoat and Venetians.

The patterns are turning out well, certainly easier to learn than the way I did it.

My wife is also creating a new wardrobe from scratch, but whether or not she blogs it is up to her.

To add an element of adventure, we have challenged one another to use only materials already at hand for this. We are allowed to purchase thread and lining fabric if necessary, but everything else must come from our existing stash.

And that means making buttons instead of buying them.

Now, my memory of the Jetsons is faulty at best, but at some point I seem to recall George Jetson complaining to Mr Spacely about the crippling occupational disorder of his time 'Button Finger'. His distress was from pushing buttons; my pains are caused by making them. Pinching the beads between your fingers as you cover them in thread starts to hurt after awhile.

So here's the caveat I didn't think to make last time: Button maker beware. Fashion can truly be a pain.

In my tutorials "Buttoning Up Part II" I mentioned some of the options for thread-covered buttons and demonstrated them with yarn on a large bead. A great deal of variation can be achieved by using different colors of thread or by adding a bead to the end instead of a knot.

Here are some pictures.

The fly of these brown wool Venetians are set off by a two-color checkerboard button 
achieved using a basket weave pattern. Tan and chocolate brown.

Ribbed in a tan thread, these have a loop worked in buttonhole stitch for attaching them to the jerkin.  They are also adorned at the tip with a bit of coiled copper called 'purl'. Both the attachment and the purl echo the buttons on the extent green velvet jerkin that I posted pictures of last week.

These gold-toned buttons are made using a basketwoven pattern, though the weave is less obvious because I alternated every row and used a single color of thread for a more uniform look. Each is adorned with a small glass bead instead of a knot. I made these specifically to catch the light just a little on a doublet that will otherwise be a bit plain.  Subtlety is important to me. 

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