Friday, 18 January 2013

Refashion Friday: Replace Boring Buttons!


Ok, so I'm not reinventing the wheel with the idea covered in this post, but I wanted to talk about the simplest way to reinvigorate a cardigan (or shirt or blouse). If you have such a garment that has fallen out of favour and wardrobe rotation, or you picked up something in a charity shop (just as I did recently, see garment below) and it feels a bit 'meh', changing the buttons for nicer ones can make it look and feel almost like a totally new item of clothing.


The tomato red cardigan that I scored in a charity shop last month was in many ways perfect: a lovely '50's shape, soft texture, warm and the perfect size for me. However the buttons were a strange off-orange tone that made the whole garment look really 'granny-ish' (close up below). 


I am lucky enough to have a sizeable stash of buttons, many of which I've harvested from garments that were heading to the recycling bank, and I sifted through to find a set that were appropriate in size, quantity and look. It may not surprise you to learn that I have quite a few sets of anchor buttons, but unfortunately they were all sets of six, and this cardi requires seven. In the end I decided on this cute red and white plastic set (pictured below) that have already had a former incarnation on at least one of my garments before this. I really like these buttons, probably because they remind me of sweets!  


Two great things about changing the buttons on a garment is that, A) it doesn't take very long, and B) you can do it again and again if you get bored quickly or find cuter sets of buttons later on than the set you originally plumbed for. One point to mention about sizing: if you find new buttons that are a little smaller than the ones you wish to replace, it's not a problem if you are prepared to spend a little extra time stitching the buttonholes together a little, thus reducing their capacity so the cardigan (or shirt or blouse) doesn't pop open with annoying frequency. However, if you find some fabulous new buttons you want to use that are bigger than the initial buttons, creating bigger holes may prove to be quite a headache and you risk fraying the buttonholes. That said, you could stitch the buttonholes closed completely, stitch the new bigger buttons on top of the former buttonholes, and apply poppers/press studs behind for a functional closure.  



Because I'm basically a button junky, and simply looking a pretty buttons can provide some sort of fix, I checked out the current stock at vintage button purveyor The Polished Button's Etsy shop, to see what kind of cardigan appropriate items they may have. My favourites right now are, the gold stud buttons pictured at the top of this post, the black and gold mod style buttons pictured above and the white oval buttons pictured below.


One final idea for replacing buttons even if you don't have an appropriate set in your stash and don't want to buy any especially is to create a cute mixed look like the cardigan pictured below. (Yes this is the third time I've used this Pinterest pin to illustrate a blog post in recent months. That is how enamoured I am by it.)

12 comments:

Rebecca Wagner said...

That looks so much cuter, and I love the green too:) good work

www.becstitches.blogspot.com.au

Masustak eguzkitan said...

I love buttons!! They are my perdition... a few years ago I use to make bracelets with them. It a simple but pretty way to refashion a cardi.

Shelly said...

Good button choice. They look very cute. I like the randomness of the buttons on the green cardi too. Definitely food for thought when you don't have enough buttons the same.

Judith said...

I love what you have done - it's surprising just have visual a button can be. And the green cardi is a super idea...J

bagqueen said...

I was just about to say I often use mixtures when you said it too! Great minds huh!

thepolishedbutton said...

Another marvellous post Zo! Thank you for the mention too! Check out my blog for more buttony inspiration and a giveaway this week too!

http://thepolishedbutton.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/gorgeous-grey-giveaway/

rosyragpatch said...

Good choice! Your red cardigan looks much nicer now.
I like mixed buttons on clothes. I had several sets of buttons but not enough for my refashioned coat so I mixed them up & I'm very pleased with the result.

The Reckless Needle said...

You're so right Zoe, buttons rock (oh god you know you are a sewing nerd when you find yourself writing things like 'buttons rock' on the Internet). I also really love covered buttons, so easy to do with the kits you can buy and I think they can look really special.

johanna said...

Your cardi looks way better now, such cute buttons. And those mod style buttons, OMG, so pretty!

M. Eva-Marie said...

Just found your blog and loving it. Maybe we can follow each other on GFC or bloglovin? Please feel free to stop by my blog and let me know. XO

http://mevamarie.blogspot.com/

Tasha @ Stale Bread into French Toast said...

I once bought secondhand a little top which I loved, except for the clashing gold buttons down the back. While I was changing them I found two original replacement buttons sewed inside, almost identical to the ones I'd picked for the top! I guess it all goes to show that buttons can be a good way to express your personal tastes.

Amanda said...

Buttons are like the fancy upholstery on Pimp My Ride- you know that fancy finishing touch that takes eergh to awesome. So on team button to sass up an upcycle. Love it!

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