Buttons Buttons Buttons

button yes2

Button; noun: plural, buttons: a small disk or knob sewn onto a garment, either to fasten it by being pushed through a slit made for the purpose, or for decoration.

By all means, let’s not stop there! There’s so much more to be be said about the button!

I believe my love of buttons has grown from years of sewing my own clothes and no outfit being considered complete until the acquisition of the perfect size, shape and colour of button. While every outfit has a life span of several years buttons can among other things live on to be repurposed, bring back memories and tell many stories.

For as long as I can remember all pre-used, loose buttons were saved in an empty glass pickle jar and after marrying and leaving home I took the jar with me perhaps because I did a lot of sewing but more likely wanting to take a little bit of the past with me in a button jar.

I’ve dipped my hand into that jar countless times over the years, many times spilling them onto a table to match a lost button, find just the right buttons for a ragdoll’s eyes and sometimes removing the lid just to add in a few more.

It’s been a couple of years since the buttons have been transferred into a more presentable jar and sit on a shelf in my sewing room. I feel a certain comfort when I see that jar. Through the glass I can see buttons reminding me of a dress made for a special occasion, places visited while wearing a particular outfit and even buttons sewn on my children’s clothing.button1

A favourite button once found its home in the glass jar for a very long time. It was the biggest button that has ever been in the jar and because of its size I had never considered the possibility of repurposing it.

Sewn many years ago on a coat belonging to my mother, this is the button with a story to tell!

The story goes that at a very young age she and my father eloped. This did not sit well with her mother and this action resulted in her not receiving the usual dowry given to a daughter at the time of marriage. My grandmother however agreed to have a seamstress make her a coat. When they went to purchase the one button required for the coat my mother choose a large expensive one to which my grandmother reluctantly agreed.

This coat and button travelled with my mother from Italy to Belgium then immigrated to Canada sixty two years ago.  At some point it was removed from the well- worn coat eventually ending up in the button jar.

A couple of years ago I decided to sew a cape…that large, expensive button is no longer in the button jar! Love the cape but the repurposed button is certainly the “piece de resistance!”



I have a feeling the adventures of this seventy year old button are far from over!

Memories in a jar…

Summer trip to Italy when I was 15, my first grown up dress and jacket made for me by my seamstress cousin.  I attended a wedding wearing this lovely pale yellow linen outfit.


A breath of summer, beautiful white dress made with crisp cotton pique, one of my favourites.


These were sewn on a lovely light blue suit with a white collar.  I wore this the first time going out with my future husband, an afternoon walk through Beautiful Edwards Gardens.  The heel of my shoe got stuck between the planks on a wooden bridge. He saved the day!


These adorned my pink going away wedding suit, my father and mother took me to the mall to buy a matching pink and white hat.


Sewn on the outfit of my three month old first born son.  He wore this to his first Sunday School picnic to Center Island almost 40 years ago. Yellow and white pin stripes and a cute little sailor collar with red trim. Proud mommy!


How I love my Button Jar!


4 thoughts on “Buttons Buttons Buttons

  1. Shirley says:

    I agree with Elizabeth, what a lovely story. I hope this button jar will be passed on to your children. I remember my mother’s button collection and looking through for the perfect button to thread onto a string to make a spinning toy.


    • domenicamanafo says:

      What a beautiful memory Shirley. If buttons could talk they would have wonderful stories to tell as well! Everyone should have a button jar!


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