Buttoning up

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In earlier times, before a worn out article of clothing was consigned to the ragbag, the buttons were removed. These were saved, most often in a jar or tin, for future use. Today, few of us remove buttons before discarding clothing.

As a result, a generation of children likely will miss the fun most every adult recalls of sorting through grandma’s button tin.

If you happen to have a collection of buttons, you can use them to make these two projects. If you don’t, these simple objects are readily available. Find vintage buttons at antique stores and yard sales, or buy small bags of buttons in nearly any color from craft stores.

Make an eyeglass leash (or necklace-just increase the length to 36 inches and omit the plastic glasses holders) made entirely of basic shirt buttons. Make a bracelet, use shirt buttons in a variety of sizes or shapes.


Button bracelet

You will need: 9 inches of 1 1/2” wide black elastic, 60-75 buttons, assorted shapes, colors and sizes, spool of black carpet or heavy-duty thread, needle.


1. Make a 1/2-inch seam in elastic by hand using a double-threaded needle. Tuck raw edges of elastic under and sew down.

2. Using double-threaded needle, sew buttons all over elastic, overlapping shank buttons over shirt buttons. Let some buttons overlap the edge of the elastic.

3. Continue sewing buttons until the elastic is completely covered.


Button eyeglass leash

You will need: one pair plastic glass holder loops, 3 yards heavy-duty thread any color, 40 shirt buttons for a 24-inch long leash, nail polish any color.


1. Divide piece of thread in half. Do not cut.

2. Run the loop that forms the center of the thread through one end of the plastic glass holder loop.

3. Pull the long tails of the thread through the loop of thread, attaching thread to plastic loop.

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 twice more to make attachment secure.

5. Apply nail polish to ends of thread to stiffen it. Let dry.

6. The necklace or leash is formed by threading both “tails” of thread through each button, and knotting the thread between each.

7. Continue until leash is desired length. Knot ends of thread around plastic loop as before to attach. Work thread back through first button, knot. Cut threads close to knot.


Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is an advanced Master Gardener.

By |July 26th, 2013|

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