Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Buttons from the Brain Watkins Collection

 I am not sure what this wooden box held when it was first purchased, chocolates in a wooden box seems a little unusual, the design on the front of the box has an Art Nouveau feel, and if so would date the box to late 1800's to early 1900's.  When I first saw it, there were 442 buttons in it.  

Would you like to see some my curious darlings?

Keeping in the theme of the wooden box, lets start with these, not buttons, but wooden moulds for buttons.  I wish you could get these today, cos I hate the covered button kits that are are available now, plastic and junky.  Imagine the buttons you could make with these wonderful wooden moulds.  The wonderful thing about the wooden chocolate box, is that its contents reveal the whole construction process of how these moulds were used, to make beautiful hand crafted buttons.

On the left is a mould with a round of padding over the top, and a layer of cream fabric over this, (ignore the 3 stitches you see on the mould as these were sewn by me to hold the mould onto the display panel it has been mounted on).

The covering fabric was placed over the padding, gathered at the back and sewn in place. 

This button looks like an early attempt.

This one by someone with a little more experience, and is a technique I have not seen before. 

This one is quite beautiful don't you think?

What would these buttons have been sewn onto, can you imagine the dress?  

And these little pink balls, which are not based on wooden moulds, but filled with a soft textile inner balls, are also made from a similar technique, aren't they the cutest things?  If anyone can help me with any information about this technique, it has got me stumped, and I would love to know what it was called and how it was done.


  1. Ooooh...they are so cute! I wish my grandmother had had some of these in her collection. It's so amazing how close the idea is to 18th century deaths-head buttons. I think there are a few tutorials on those online.

    The last buttons look crocheted. Maybe someone who is really good at crocheting would know how to do them?

  2. They're so pretty. So much love put into such a tiny thing. It's rather decadent isn't it? Lol

  3. You can buy the button moulds at Burnley and Trowbridge and Wm. Booth, Draper. They both have websites.