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I have just "inherited" ; my mother's button tin

(174 Posts)
SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 14:57:46

[happy sigh]

I say "inherited" but she is alive and well grin

I am rummaging through it looking for the old favourites that were there when I was a child...

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 14:58:16

(5lb Quality Street tin if you like that kind of detail)

VerySmallSqueak Wed 03-Apr-13 15:00:35

You lucky thing .

I love button tins.Proper ones with years of history.

I bet you've got gold ones an' everything in there.

PurplePidjin Wed 03-Apr-13 15:00:46


Oooh, so jealous. Give it a stroke for me.

How full is it? slight buttonaholic, cheerfully passing the skill on to toddler DS who seems to love them as much as I do

NumTumMum Wed 03-Apr-13 15:01:03

Blimey. I thought my mum was the only one with a button tin. And!! hers is also a quality street tin. It's gold with a pretty panel in the centre of the lid. I had many a happy hour rummaging around it and stringing the buttons together. She still has it and now my dd rummages in it whenever we visit. I have a button box but it's small and has boring plastic buttons in it. My mum has fabulous collection of mother of pearl, glass, tin, all sorts. You've just made me smile thinking about it. Welcome relief from the rest of the doom and gloom on here today. I'm going to have to think of a happy thread to start..

BitchyHen Wed 03-Apr-13 15:05:28

So jealous. my mum has her grandmother's button box, it has lovely glass and mother-of-pearl buttons and some Edwardian boot buttons. I used to love putting my hands in and stirring the buttons as a child.

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:06:27

It's probably 3/4 full and I think it also has the contents of my grandmother's sewing basket so it has oddities like little paper packets of needles, a beautiful engraved crochet hook (tiny though! Must be for lace) and a little wooden pot with old fashioned suspender fasteners in grin


Gold buttons: check
Mother of Pearl: Check

VerySmallSqueak Wed 03-Apr-13 15:08:12

I was going to ask if it has other little bits.
All the best ones have.

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:08:12

Numtummum, you must have missed the many threads on MN full of posters reminiscing about their mother's button tins smile

My mum said "Do you want the button tin? You don't have to..."
My dad said "Don't take it if you don't want it"
I clutched it to my body and said "No, no.. that's fine, I"ll take it off your hands..."

NumTumMum Wed 03-Apr-13 15:11:29

I've only just found Arts and Crafts! Relatively new to MN and previously distracted by the bunfights elsewhere but having now found my new spiritual home, I shall immediately commence work on a pouffe and make myself more comfortable.

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:12:42

After the first Button Tin thread, I bought a tin of buttons on Ebay blush

I now have a lovely Emma Bridgewater jubilee tin with my collection in. I don't think this one will fit in the same tin.

Pancakeflipper Wed 03-Apr-13 15:13:44

Ooh you lucky person.

My grandma has just moved into a home due to poor health and dementia and she wants us all to take treasures from her home. The pearls and sapphires have been taken by my siblings whilst I covet the button bag (a handmade little number full of lovely buttons and coat buckles). But we cannot find it......

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:15:27

No! It can't be lost!

Frogman Wed 03-Apr-13 15:15:32

I've got a button tin full of beautiful buttons. I can't sew a button on for anything.

HoobleDooble Wed 03-Apr-13 15:17:02

Ahhh I'd forgotten about the button tin. My mum has my grandmother's tin somewhere, my sister and I used to spend hours playing with it, sorting them into different types and finding our favourites. I can still remember the smell of it.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 03-Apr-13 15:19:27

oh, I inherited my late grandma's button box. I used to play with it (my treasure!) when I was a kid and I always knew I wanted it. It's got so many memories.

And buttons that are 20, 30, 40 - some 50 and 60 years old possibly far more because I think some came from my late great grandma! Every style imaginable. I sometimes take it out and spread them all out and remember the games I used to play. Some of them I can remember the clothes they were from! Some of them look like they haven't been on an item of clothing for 100 years!

Funny, isn't it, the things that mean so much?

peeriebear Wed 03-Apr-13 15:21:26

I LOVE my button tin. I remarked to my nanna a couple of years ago that I had no buttons for sewing projects and she GAVE ME HER TIN! It's a full size round cake tin full and they have clearly been actually collected off actual clothes since the 50s/60s (I think some of them were her mum/my G.Grandma's).
There are plastic, fabric, glass, wood, Bakelite, shell, metal, military, from huge coat buttons to teeny baby buttons. My DDs love getting it out and having a rummage too smile

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:25:11

I've found the embossed military one we always used for making wax seals on fake documents... smile

And the bizarre "token" which says Apostleship of Prayer in league with the Sacred Heart with a picture of a ginger Jesus. No one in my family is at all religious yet it's been in the tin for 40 years.

MumOfTheMoos Wed 03-Apr-13 15:27:23

I created a button jar a few weeks ago - especially for my DS (1 to tomorrow) to rummage through when he gets older. I had great fun taking all my spare buttons from their little envelopes and putting them in the jar - I knew I'd spent bought a lot in Hobbs but I'd no idea just how much over the last twenty years.

I didn't realise it was meant to be a tin; I just don't have enough for a tin hmm

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:28:33

It takes years to grow into a tin smile

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 03-Apr-13 15:29:53

I also want my late grandad's tin. Currently with my mum. It's got all his badges in. His Ovaltineys club badge and stuff like that. It's lovely.

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:31:48

I wonder what memories like this my children will have. DD wasn't interested in the button tin I put together and I didn't think of it with DSs sad

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 03-Apr-13 15:32:58

I agree with that, soupy. maybe even a generation or two! grin

NumTumMum Wed 03-Apr-13 15:38:30

I haven't seen a nice tin for a while. At christmas the sweet tins are now plastic. My mum has all her sewing patterns in a very old Thornton's Easter Egg box which is absolutely beautiful. They just don't make things like that now. I suppose you could buy a decorative tin but somehow that is not the same.

ouryve Wed 03-Apr-13 15:39:24

Wow. envy

(I love button tins!)

SoupDragon Wed 03-Apr-13 15:41:40

I bought the Emma Bridgewater diamond Jubilee tin for my collection because it was, effectively, dated. As it was commemorating a current event I thought it apt smile

Some Christmas biscuits come in tins. I have a lovely Jacob's Crackers one from this Christmas that has a vintagey look to it.

My mum has two button boxes. One is a small fabric covered box with lovely bright embroidery, the other is a plastic ball which we refer to as "the green apple". Whenever she took out her seeing machine the small one sat beside it and if needed we were sent for the green apple.
She still rings me to tell me she is taking out the seeing machine if we need anything done.
My buttons are all in a fridge compartment that fell off the door. I must get something nice to put them in, I'm suitably shamed smile
I love a good button tin.

On a desperate note, I can still remember my grandads first aid box, an old biscuit tin with sticky plaster in the shape of a cross on the top. He had it from his mother. I loved that. She was the local "white witch" and people used to cone to her for various poultices and lotions and potions.

dizzyhoneybee Wed 03-Apr-13 15:55:06

I have got my grandmother's button tin, it's an original tin from a chocolate factory, my Mum is now in her 80s and she can remember playing with it when she was a little girl.

dizzyhoneybee Wed 03-Apr-13 15:58:14

this is my button tin - though I'm not selling it, I just looked on ebay to find one for the picture.

PipkinsPal Wed 03-Apr-13 15:58:35

My Nana had a button box in the shape of a treasure chest. I loved it as a girl. Don't know what happened to it when she passed away when I was 13. I have a button jam jar and any clothes unusable for charity shops I snip off the buttons and put them in the jar. The funny thing is I never use any of the buttons but I do get them out from time to time to put them in order.

WhoKnowsWhereTheChocolateGoes Wed 03-Apr-13 15:59:12

I've got mine in a gingerbread man shaped tin from M&S a couple of Christmas's ago, my mum has donated some of hers and I root round charity shops for them. A local haberdashers has a box of single odd ones for 10p each.

montmartre Wed 03-Apr-13 16:05:22

oh, I still remember playing with the button box!
I remember the smell particularly, very plasticky (well, it was the 70s).

I am amassing a fine collection... but I know dd will be enamoured with it, as she loves that kind of thing.

harbinger Wed 03-Apr-13 17:35:00

I have the contents of my mother's 'overflow' tin. This dates back to the early 60s and onwards. She still has her tin, that, would have all her buttons from the 40s onwards and probably some from her mother. I know that nearly everyone made their own clothes during the war. When she started work, the first thing she saved up for was a sewing machine (which I now have).

WRT buttons, I got bored one day and sorted them into some naice jam jars that I had saved. I've got jars of metallic,pink,red,yellow,green,blue and clear plastic sitting on a shelf. All the suit/trouser buttons went back in the tin.

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 07:53:42

I can't decide if buttons should be loose in a tin or sorted into sets, tied together with cotton, and all neat.

Part of me thinks the thrill of the hunt is part and parcel of looking for the right button.

dothraki Thu 04-Apr-13 08:22:56

What a lovely thread. Ihave my mum's button tin - well actually its 2 small tins, old sweet tins from the 50's and 60's. My gd now loves playing with it smile Soup I have the same dillema grin

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 04-Apr-13 08:23:48

noooooo. You can't have an organised button box. It's really important that it's just a hotchpotch of buttons.

Away with you with your sets and your cotton.


sassytheFIRST Thu 04-Apr-13 08:49:19

I noticed that my sister has my mums while I was staying at hers over the weekend. Am madly jealous.

It's a rather lovely Chocolate tin with beefeaters all over it, and just the right size.

sassytheFIRST Thu 04-Apr-13 08:52:17

Oh and hec is right. Unsorted, please.

KnottyLocks Thu 04-Apr-13 08:56:47

I am beyond jealous, Soupy. envy

My 7 year old ds has just started a button jar smile

SavoyCabbage Thu 04-Apr-13 09:00:55

Button tin horror story....look away if you want. Or get a torch and shine it in your face "Blair Witch' style. For you will have nightmares.

My Mam's friend was having a conservatory built and somehow her button tin was upturned and they swept up her buttons and threw them away.

This was more than ten years ago and it is still regularly discussed.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 04-Apr-13 09:06:23

oh no. The people building the conservatory threw them away?

I assume they are now actually under said conservatory?

SavoyCabbage Thu 04-Apr-13 09:09:13

That would somehow be a comfort. But no. They were swept up and thrown in a skip.

FinnTheHuman Thu 04-Apr-13 09:13:14

Somebody's nan gifted her button tin to my preschool. The children love sorting the buttons, carrying the buttons, touching the buttons.

They love the buttons, as staff we have to force ourselves to put the buttons out as they end up in every nook and cranny.

But, the children love the buttons. I did growl though when a staff member got rid of the tin and put the lovely buttons in a plastic tub grr.

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 09:15:29

That's my dilemma, Hec - some of the buttons in the inherited tin are strung together and always have been. Do I undo them or leave them in their historically correct form?

Obviously buttons on cards have to remain on the card.

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 09:18:04

thrown into a skip shock [faints]

plastic tub shock [faints]

<<needs to get a life>>

I was also wandering round my favourite charity house clearance warehouse yesterday and looked into an old sewing box (big thing on legs). it had a bag of threads, little tins and buttons in it. I took the bag out and bought it, leaving the box behind.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 04-Apr-13 09:22:44

You misunderstood, Savoy.

I meant were the people who threw them away now under the conservatory.


Tricky one, soupy. If they were strung together by the original owner of the button box, then they should stay strung together, but don't try to make the rest match with that.

Do any of you actually use a button from the button box? I don't. It feels wrong grin

And I notice you all say tin and I say box, despite that my button box is actually a very old tin. grin It's just it was always called the button box.

Doingthedo Thu 04-Apr-13 09:24:11

oooh, I love buttons. I have my Grandma's, it's lovely pewter barrel with a handle, full of buttons, recently used two peachy coloured pearly ones to make new eyes for a teddy bear. Spreading the love to my DD too!

rockinhippy Thu 04-Apr-13 09:24:26

envy I covet a hand me down button tin, I've no idea what happened to my Nana's one, I loved playing with it as a kid & she taught me to sew/design/pattern cut & I'm the only GDC who followed her career path, so it should have been mine, I know she would have wanted that sad [bitter] - I did inherit her pin cushion & other bits though & have used them to make family wedding gowns - even my cousins who probably snaffled the button tinehmm

I do have a lovely large treasure chest shaped tin that I started way back when young though & I have all sorts in there, vintage too, so I can't complain - DD has a jar now too, I started her with a handful from my tin smile

I do love a bit of button porn smile

Doingthedo Thu 04-Apr-13 09:25:14

oh you CAN use them.... but sparingly!

SavoyCabbage Thu 04-Apr-13 09:28:02


Pancakeflipper Thu 04-Apr-13 09:29:26

Savoy - read that through my fingers with a fast beating heart. The poor woman - all brushed away?

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Thu 04-Apr-13 09:34:35

Oooh my mum had a button tin, also a quality street tin! I am going to ask her if she still has it!

I keep thinking of starting my own but have been suprised how expensivw buttons can be to buy, even charity shops seems to know they are a 'thing' and mark the price up accordingly.

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 09:40:53

I agree that they can be used sparingly. And must be replaced in the tin if the garment is worn out or out grown grin

I think I use both button box and button tin.... hmm not sure now. Both sound right though. grin

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 09:43:14

I bought a job lot on Ebay once.
Possibly twice.
No more than three times. Definitely.

The house clearance place i go to often has tins in and I rattle them all to see if they are full of buttons. No luck yet but I have found some loot rummaging round in boxes of "old lady stuff"

dothraki Thu 04-Apr-13 09:44:11

Button porn grin
Tin it must be a tin - you can call it a box - but it must be a tin smile

dothraki Thu 04-Apr-13 09:46:19

Ha Soup - I too live near a charity house clearance warehouse - I'd never thought of looking for buttons there. This could get dangerous shock

rockinhippy Thu 04-Apr-13 10:09:33

I agree they are to be used, but always replaced - all buttons from worn out clothes go into my tin smile

I would LOVE some of THESE ancient ones though - sigh ...

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 04-Apr-13 10:18:29

oh no, I can't use any. Some of these are 60 years old! Their place is in the button box! grin

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 10:24:15

Dothraki, you aren't in a South London borough are you <<narrows eyes>>

dothraki Thu 04-Apr-13 10:27:05

What a relief - No Soup I'm in the frozen north grin

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 10:33:59

That's fine then - go rummage in that warehouse! grin

The south is pretty bloody frozen too. It is snowing lightly as I type. [sigh]

SoupDragon Thu 04-Apr-13 10:35:10

I must have looked like a loon the time I was rummaging in a just-brought-in-box pulling out little cards of buttons and lengths of lace trim whilst almost bouncing with excitement grin

dothraki Thu 04-Apr-13 10:49:31

Thanks Soup - but its too cold to leave the house grin but no snow. Might just rumage round the charity shops smile

WhoKnowsWhereTheChocolateGoes Thu 04-Apr-13 11:41:54

Ooh, there's a house clearance stuff shop near me. I do rummage round charity shops but never thought of that.

Snowing here too (Hampshire).

Molehillmountain Thu 04-Apr-13 12:44:11

Ooh-we so need a proper button tin. Haven't done anything with dcs grown out of clothes-would it be really bad to cut off the buttons for a tin starter rather than hand on the clothes? I would keep the fabric for a quilt that I am pretty sure I would never get around to making

dothraki Sat 06-Apr-13 08:57:35

Molehill - you are on the slippery slope grin

LatteLady Sat 06-Apr-13 09:16:44

Some of my buttons are in a Mackintosh toffee tin and an Ovaltine tin from the 50s, embroidery threads are in a smallish robin embossed octagonal biscuit tin which I squealed when I saw it in a Christmas feature in Country Living. Cottons are in various biscuit tins from Peak Freens and Huntley & Palmers, Patchwork forms are in a jubilee shortbread tin and pins are in a variety of little pretty tins but the collection originally started in my father's tobacco tin. Tapestry threads... I think you get the idea!

BTW, keep the buttons on the card, it keeps their history and them together.

Finally, did anyone else's mother snip the buttons off redundant shirts and then string them together?

Molehillmountain Sat 06-Apr-13 10:26:00

Dothraki - I am teetering on the brink grin. Maybe I'm creating a legacy? But I fear making clutter would be more accurate. Is it wrong to have a button box and then always buy buttons anyway? latte lady - my small collection of carded buttons has been wrecked by dd. I am just about over it!

I like to think of it as a legacy. Plus I have always liked collecting, but we have a small house and too much stuff already, buttons to add to a tin are about the most un-invasive (and inexpensive) form of collecting I can think of.

SoupDragon Sat 06-Apr-13 11:17:43

Finally, did anyone else's mother snip the buttons off redundant shirts and then string them together?

Oh yes. I do it too grin

It is most defintitely creating a legacy - imagine rummaging through the, by then, huge tin of buttons with your grand children and pointing out the ones that came from the baby clothes of mummy/daddy. it woud be a disgrace not to save them IMO.


Pancakeflipper Sat 06-Apr-13 12:06:59

Our buttons are only come from our own clothes.
My most treasured button is a ladybird button cut from my dressing gown when I was a little girl.

DollyTwat Sat 06-Apr-13 12:21:27

What a lovely thread

I have my late mum's button tin too, which also has my grandma's buttons. I remember them all from my childhood, I'd never realised how much of a memory they invoke. I also have a massive bag of zips

I used to love watching my mum cutting out a pattern on the floor, with pins in the corner of her mouth. She had 'special' scissors which we were not allowed to use (I wish they had been in her sewing box which I also have). There would always be a few stray pins left on the floor!

Then she'd magically transform it all into an outfit or cuddly you. I have her sewing machine too, just the smell of it reminds me of her

dothraki Sat 06-Apr-13 14:30:13

Soup - Button Hoarder Enabler - yes my mum cut off buttons. Like many of you I am sure - I have some lovely large 50's and 60's buttons. I put one on a primark cardigan attaching it with a ribbon - it looks lovely
<note to self - remove vintage button from cardi before taking it to charity shop>

My mum has a button tin - it is an oblong, cadburys tin, iirc - in fact, I saw a tin just like it on ebay recently, and was sooo tempted to buy it, but resisted, because I hope I will inherit mum's tin some day. Dh will be horrified, but I don't care!

I do have a button tin of my own, but I cheated - I bought it off ebay, and I bought some bags of second hand buttons, and sorted out the ones I liked, to go in my tin. << bows head in shame >>

SoupDragon Sat 06-Apr-13 14:40:43

SDTG, I also bulked out my own tin with an ebay purchase or two

And, as an aside, my parents took me out for lunch on my birthday last month and my mother wore her Wolef jacket. I told her she was a MN Wolef Quiche hero.

JulesJules Sat 06-Apr-13 15:11:24

I quite often browse the button collections on Amazon...

[[http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=buttons Yes, I know it's sad...]

JulesJules Sat 06-Apr-13 15:11:52
Molehillmountain Sat 06-Apr-13 20:24:44

So here's my haberdashery legacy plan! Button tin-tin from the kind of chocolates which were the first thing I ate after each dc born (no toast for me wink. Buttons from all the baby clothes in it. And I thought I'd cut squares as big as poss from the buttonless items for the quilt that I'll never make and start a proper scrap bag with other useful ish bits. Hopefully I won't need an entire room to store it all.

SoupDragon Sat 06-Apr-13 20:27:40

My work here is done

mum47 Sat 06-Apr-13 20:29:18

My mum gave me her button tin, which used to be my granny's and I used to play with when I was little. It is a lovely turquoise colour with birds on it and full of some really vintage buttons. It is awesome!

NorbertDentressangle Sat 06-Apr-13 20:29:20

DD already covets my button tin even though its only about 30 buttons rattling around in a 12" diameter tin.

I'm going to have to put in a lot of effort in building the collection up before she inherits it.

I've only started mine recently, although I have had a few in my sewing box for years. It's really hard to resist the temptation to just buy loads on Ebay, but I feel it is somehow not in the spirit of collecting. I am enjoying going round charity shops in different towns now looking for them.

Molehillmountain Sat 06-Apr-13 20:54:41

Will ordinary plastic buttons be as exciting as you lucky mumsnetters with proper heirlooms? I fear my dc may feel button tin envy in the future.

mungojenny Sat 06-Apr-13 21:05:14

I was given my MIL's sewing box last week, a lovely wooden one that I have coveted for some time. When I opened it I found her button bag and some lovely old scissors that my DH remembers her using. It is nice to have this link to her as she died a number of years ago.
When my DM died last year I did keep the buttons from her favourite cardigans to add to my own button jar, seeing them sort of feel comforting if that makes sense.

ravenAK Sat 06-Apr-13 21:17:25

I have my grandma's button tin too.

Lots of them are strung together, but this is fine, as they are strung together on scraps of wool which I also recognise from the 70s, having had cardigans in most of them.

Soupa Sat 06-Apr-13 21:19:36

That is lovely mungo.

Our family tin is a well stuffed plastic tub with mostly plastic buttons but when it came my way after mum decided her sewing days were done I was delighted. My boys love it too. I do want to know what happened to the huge bobbly fake pearl super button of childhood.

mungojenny Sat 06-Apr-13 21:33:47

My new dilemma is whether I should combine the lovely buttons from MIL's sewing box which relate to DH's childhood with my buttons or should I 'create' a new jar of buttons, I don't think leaving them in a plastic bag is an option it just feels wrong. smile

dothraki Sat 06-Apr-13 22:01:28

mungo - mix them but it must be a tin !smile

Dingle Sat 06-Apr-13 22:14:27

Oh, I wonder what ever happened to my Great Grandmother's button tin. I don't think my mum has it! sad I can remember many a times sitting on her floor and looking through at all the pretty little buttons. My favs where little glass ones that made rainbows when you looked through them!

Happy rummaging Soupy!

SoupDragon Sat 06-Apr-13 22:15:52

All the glass ones I remember are missing!

dothraki Sun 07-Apr-13 14:36:31

Glass hmm that sounds quite posh - I have some clear plastic ones - will they do ?

SoupDragon Sun 07-Apr-13 14:59:32

TBH, they probably were plastic but were faceted like glass. Or diamonds. That's it, they were definitely diamond buttons grin

neverputasockinatoaster Sun 07-Apr-13 15:04:19

I loved my Nana's button tin! I used to spend hours just rootling through the buttons. I was given the buttons when she died but not the tin.

The remains of the collection are in a plastic box. DD was looking through it the other day to find some buttons for a project and found a leather look button from my Grandad's cardigan. Caught my throat to see it as it brought the memories of that lovely bear of a man flooding back. God but I miss him.

Must get a tin! Might have to peruse ebay as well for buttons to add to the collection!

SanctiMOMious Sun 07-Apr-13 15:08:31

oh lovely! can yoyu put up a photo? nobody ever does that on mn i know. put a photo of itin your profile will you? i have similar inheritances.

dothraki Sun 07-Apr-13 15:12:15

Soup - diamonds - really - well - you must have scored very high on the class chart last week grin
I thought the bakerlite ones sounded posh wink

SoupDragon Sun 07-Apr-13 15:26:52

I scored Elite even before the button tin grin

Which, TBH, shows what a load of nonsense it all was!

SoupDragon Sun 07-Apr-13 15:29:54

Button porn:

the tin Classic 1970s Quality Street I think. Once held 5lbs of chocolate.

Time to rummage


I need to get a life

NumTumDeDum Sun 07-Apr-13 17:33:00

Ooo er. I feel the need to rummage in my buttons now Soupdragon. Actually, better still I need to go visit my mum and rummage in hers, the contents look very similar!

SoupDragon Sun 07-Apr-13 17:47:14

Sounds really dodgy lovely smile

Dingle Mon 08-Apr-13 19:06:53

I had a cuppa with my mum today and after a week of decorating, I was rather more relaxed and was sitting stamping images. I told her about my bunting idea and some how the conversation turned to buttons! shock

My mum still has my Great Grandmothers button tin, in fact she said she had looked through it fairly recently. My mum mentioned the fact that little groups of buttons had been threaded together using scraps of wool that we'd all had hand knitted jumpers with when we were younger. I think a trip down memory lane is called for when the DC are back at school. grin

bluebump Mon 08-Apr-13 19:22:38

I need a good tin for my buttons, I have my eye on my DS's M&S gingerbread ones but he's using them. At the moment I have them in these jars as they look quite vintage like when empty (and run through the dishwasher a few times, as to me a vegetarian they smell gross!) grin

Dingle Mon 08-Apr-13 19:48:01

I have some of mine in colour coordinated jars from Douwe Egbert's coffee. LOL

I like mine in the gingerbread man one, especially as it has three buttons on the front.

Went to Hobbycraft today and couldn't resist spending £3 on a bag of mixed buttons. Also, asked a friend who works in a charity shop if her shop kept buttons and she said yes it did and not only that would I like her recently deceased MILs button collection as she didn't want it.

dothraki Mon 08-Apr-13 20:10:33

WhoKnows I have button envy

this is how the correct ettiquette is.

1: say "I need a set of buttons I will look in the button tin"
2: look in the button tin.
3: run your fingers through the buttons in the tin
4: tip the tin out onto the floor/mat/table
5: rummage through, stroking, feeling, touching
6: remember all the buttons you'd forgotten
7: match sets of buttons and put them all together.
8: declare that there isn't a complete set for your project
9: go to the haberdasherer's and buy a set of buttons (ie. you need 5 vuttons but you buy 6 or even 7)
10: complete your project and put the spare buttons in the tin.

Molehillmountain Tue 09-Apr-13 23:34:21

Those are pretty much my rules for any kind of stash! Yarn, fabric, ribbon-insert as applicable with a bit less fondling and rummaging than for buttons grin

rockinhippy Tue 09-Apr-13 23:50:30

grin my rules too - hence why I have a ridiculously big cloth stashblush

dothraki Wed 10-Apr-13 07:54:41

yy Unique - I might even get the button tin out today - just to play with them grin

SoupDragon Wed 10-Apr-13 08:01:09

I had a rummage through mine last night to find eyes for a small felted owl smile

dothraki Wed 10-Apr-13 08:24:05

Soup did that take you right back to the 70's ? grin

MERLYPUSS Wed 10-Apr-13 08:40:54

My mums (still at dads house) is an old blubird toffee tin. I have already said I will have it when he snuffs it smile. That and the tea caddy which I used to pretend was a bird cage as it had a handle that I could swing about.
(I even look out for buttons at bootsales)

SoupDragon Wed 10-Apr-13 09:38:19

No, Dothraki as I had to rummage through the tin I created - I couldn't bring myself to use something from The Tin Of History grin

I chose little grey buttons from one of DDs old school cardigans.

dothraki Wed 10-Apr-13 09:59:14

Soup - Button Hoarder Enabler
So you have The Tin Of History
Soups Original Tin Of Modernity
I must up my game
I have my DM's Tin Of History - with emphasis on 50's and 60's.
Today I will start
21st Century Tin for DD - an excuse to cut buttons off stuff and chuck clothes in the bin shock
Homage To History Tin for GD grin - these are going in a Jubilee shortbread tin (its only a small tin)

SoupDragon Wed 10-Apr-13 10:43:42

I'm sure I will be able to use things form the Tin of History one day. Just the dull buttons that I have no memory of.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Apr-13 10:44:52

To be far to my tin, it does have old buttons in it as well as modern stuff but I bought them on Ebay as a job lot grin

I have DH's mum's tin of buttons.
It was full of all random crap too, so I got a jar to put all the random crap in and then put all the lovely buttons back in the tin.
and then took photos of it in an artistic type way.

MarinaIvy Wed 10-Apr-13 12:07:06

Jealous, even though I have my own! And my grandma's trim boxes,a nd even her old pinking shears!

I've been unhappy with my MN name for a while, am thinking about changing it to "AllTheFabricHereIsMine".

that's a good name smile

nkf Wed 10-Apr-13 12:37:22

I feel quite teary at this thread. My mother was a tailoress and half my childhood memories are haberdashery related. She had a button tin to die for.

nkf Wed 10-Apr-13 12:39:46

Do you think you can start one? To me, it's the way they grew out of make do and mend and all that makes them so special. They weren't art or designed to be nostalgic. And yet, I want a button tin right now.

nkf Wed 10-Apr-13 12:43:42

Some of these links are superb.

nkf Wed 10-Apr-13 12:47:20

You can't use them. They are the leftovers. And it must be a tin. One of those quite hard to open Quality Street tins.

There should be an exhibition of buttons hosted. A MN exhibition.

Lilymaid Wed 10-Apr-13 12:47:39

I have inherited my mother's sewing box but unfortunately my DB must have thrown out the tin when he was clearing the house ... no sense that man!
I can remember spending happy hours sorting and resorting the buttons when I was a child.
The tin wasn't Quality Street but was for some other confectionery (probably going back to the 1950s).

MarinaIvy Wed 10-Apr-13 13:04:50

Yes, it references both fabric and cat-philosophy.

May I share a semi-related story? You all may hate me for it, but in a Good Way, I believe.

I went out fine Saturday one morning to buy some purple cotton. Got distracted by some charity shops, in one of them found one of those wooden boxes (with the levels on louvres) for a fiver, FULL of stuff, old needle cards, trim, tiny crochet hooks, etc.

Oh, and several reels of cotton, including one in the exact purple I wanted.

MarinaIvy Wed 10-Apr-13 13:16:46

Oh, the main button tin story is less happy, though. I'd had a Very Bad Job with a psychopath boss. In less than a month he turned me from a good worker confident in her skills to a quivering mass of self-doubting.

When I went off sick (stress), my partner tells me I spent most of that week sitting on the living room floor sorting through my buttons - I think I felt it was all I was capable of doing. But it was good therapy.

I'm OK with buttons being sorted on threads, but not all - there's got to be something to rummage around. And I do use them, but they tend to go back sometimes, too.

Sorry for all the cross-posts - have only just discovered this thread!

SoupDragon Wed 10-Apr-13 13:19:35

My inherited one is one of those impossible to open Quality Street tins smile [sigh]

Of course you can start one. It is imperative that you do so as soon as you can.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Apr-13 13:21:53

Buttons as therapy - perfect!

I plan on keeping my two tins separately. My own tin can be added to and used as necessary, the Tin of History is to be used only in dire emergencies. The two can not be mixed.

And I am in no way the top bidder on a kilo of vintage buttons on Ebay

ArtemisKelda Wed 10-Apr-13 13:22:46

This is bringing back some lovely memories, I loved my mums button tin when I was little. She still has it and now has her mums tin too.

nkf Wed 10-Apr-13 15:22:57

I have just looked at buttons on Ebay. There are some beauties there.

I only have a small bag of buttons. I hadn't realised until now that I need a tin of buttons. I do love buttons..... Why is that? And fabric. I do love fabric. And ribbon.

I'm relatively new to crafting too, so do you actually use your buttons? Or should I just sit and stroke them?

you do need a tin grin

you love them because you're normal.

you may use your buttons but they must go back in the tin when they're finished with.

SoupDragon Fri 12-Apr-13 19:20:59

And stroking them is encouraged

DeWe Sat 13-Apr-13 22:57:52

I inherited both my grandmother's tins. I love looking through them still (and so do the dcs). They've also got things like shoe buckles and military hat badges fromWWII.

I was particualrly pleased to find my grandad's Raf buttons from the war. I put them on a coat I made for ds from a 1940s pattern. Very appropriate I thought.

Just found this thread! I've started my own button tin, temporarily the 5 buttons I have are in a little pot but when my grandad died, my mum and uncles were clearing out his house and they found a really old biscuit/sweetie tin with photos in. We're hoping to sort through all the photos and catalogue them, after which time I'm going to nab the tin for my burgeoning collection grin

I went to my knitting group yesterday and someone bought a ferrero rocher box, half full of lovely, white and pearly and mother of pearl buttons, for whoever wanted them!! Some people took a few out, for projects they have on the go at the moment, and I snaffled the rest of the boxful.

I am ashamed to say that I watched the box as it went round the table, and other people took buttons out of it, and wanted to snatch them out of their hands and shout. "Mine, mine, they are all mine - leave my buttons alone!!" I managed not to. blushgrin

McKayz Tue 16-Apr-13 11:26:31

After reading this thread I am going to start a button tin. Ebay here I come for a nice old tin!

Oh yes - half the fun is the vintage tin. In fact, I may go off to ebay for a little vintage-tin browse myself, but I won't buy any because I don't need any more tins. I really don't need any more tins. I really, really ....... oh fuck it, one more tin can't hurt!! grin

McKayz Sat 20-Apr-13 12:28:07

I've just won a vintage tin full of buttons on eBay. DH thinks I'm nuts grin

My dh gave me that look when I told him about the buttons I'd got at knitting group last week. If I recall correctly, he referred to it as 'more useless crap brought into the house'. I should leave the bastard, shouldn't I? <<notseriousface>>

I think you should, sorry SDTG sad

sad But he does the ironing - even the sheets. Does that help at all?

SoupDragon Sat 20-Apr-13 14:18:46

It will be a huge sacrifice but send all your buttons to me and I will look after them so that family harmony in your house can be restored.

No no no soupy, you have enough. Share the wealth and have someone else benefit (like me!)

chihiro Sat 20-Apr-13 15:12:53

Ooh a button tin thread what heaven?! I have my nana's - tartan walker's shortbread tin - and my mum still has hers - octagonal with a cutesy 50s photo of a girl and a white dog driving a toy car!

They told us at parents' maths workshop recently that it was good to let kids play with a button tin and count each colour, sort them into piles, etc so I let them have a go and they adored the button tin, but I made them put them all back again afterwards of course!

Buttons or dh? Buttons or dh?? Oh the dilemma!

SoupDragon Sat 20-Apr-13 15:20:13

TBH, if he does the ironing I'd take you DH if you can't part with the buttons wink

You really are all heart, aren't you, SoupDragon. I am in utter awe at your altruism and kindness. << sobs >> But then I would have to do my own ironing. This is a difficult one.

I missed out on inheriting one - one grandmother who didn't have one (that I know of - possibly DM has one hoarded somewhere) and the other GM was my father's stepmother, and the oldest of 3 sisters - so she had their family tin, which went in turn to her sisters/nieces. I did inherit her sewing box though, which I treasure grin (including tin of pins).

However, my DM bought me a tin of chocolates from France, and the tin is actually printed with buttons and says "ma boite a boutons" on it, so I have started my own grin grin. There were a few buttons lurking in the bottom of my inherited box, so they give the collection some history. I also have some gorgeous sets of fabric covered buttons from Japan which are still on their cards and will be for ever until I find a good use for them.

SoupDragon Sat 20-Apr-13 15:44:08

An inherited sewing box is just as good I think smile

I agree - all those little bits of this and that in a sewing box. My mum's sewing box was a boring plastic box that lived on the bottom of a trolley by her chair at the dining room table - so it was readily to hand when she needed to perform a repair.

But her button tin is lovely - a vintage biscuit tin, I think - and I covet that tin and will fight dsis to the death for it if she wants it too.

Sewing box is indeed very cool - not only does it contain a marvellous selection of bits and bobs, but it is, in itself, a gorgeous wooden box with lots of little lidded compartments grin. I cried when I thought one of the lids had been lost in a house move, but it turned up months later.

he does the ironing?

oh wow, that's a tough decision then

I've just been coveting a sewing box on www.fabricland.co.uk/

the big one at the bottom with Hungry caterpillar all over it.

I don't need a sewing box for sewing but for thread reels, as mine is round and my threads are messy (and slightly overflowing now - the lid no longer sits on)

it's not hungry caterpillar blush

it's ice creams.

Arghhh - don't entice me onto the Fabricland site - I have already spent £13.50 on yarn online today. And it isonly the fact that I got rid of a bagful of yarn to the charity shop that made dh ok with the idea of buying more.

And I know that sounds barking (which is fair enough, if you know me grin) but the yarn I got rid of was nasty-feeling cheap acrylic yarn that came free with a magazine (one of those ones with a blanket where you knit a square each fortnight - but I never knitted the squares blush), and I have bought 6x100g balls of yarn in turquoise, sunshine yellow, cerise, purple, orange and navy, to crochet a granny-square scarf - or maybe a blanket (but I would need more yarn).

my mum bought that mag- she crocheted the squares but didn't use them. she donated them to woolly hugs.

MouseThatRoars Sat 20-Apr-13 21:54:57

Oooh, so lovely to find this thread! I inherited my MiL's button tins. The tins themselves are wonderful 1950s designs and the buttons are fabulous. DD (5) loves them. She creates button pictures, photographs them then starts again. Hoping to do something more permanent with some of them, like a button necklace or decorations on a dress. Some of my favourite ones are the leather criss-cross ones that go on Grandads' cardis - do you know what I mean? they must have a name?!

SoupDragon Sun 21-Apr-13 08:44:35

Yes! I think they're called "leather crisscross ones that go on grandad's cardi" grin

MouseThatRoars Sun 21-Apr-13 19:58:03

Yeah, that's the one! grin

NumTumDeDum Sun 21-Apr-13 20:14:55

Oooh. I just found some nice tins of biscuits in M&S. Biscuits and a nice tin. Win win. grin

Someone gave me one of those criss cross Grandad ones this week, the first in my collection smile

ooh yes I love the leather criss cross ones grin

McKayz Fri 26-Apr-13 12:24:13

I've got it!

It's full of buttons, old zips, needles so had to be careful.

There's some lovely metal ones with what looks like a coat of arms.



SoupDragon Fri 26-Apr-13 18:37:08


McKayz Fri 26-Apr-13 18:56:52

Do it! grin

SoupDragon Fri 26-Apr-13 19:37:24

Oh, I have in the past. three times

HellesBelles396 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:35:27

my aunt's button barrel is a wooden barrel and contains thin bootstraps for small children (me thirty years agogrin ) to make button necklaces.

as she has no daughter, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for when she stops knitting.

Guerrillacrochet Fri 03-May-13 08:58:31

What a lovely thread (geddit!).

Another button tin horror story... I was talking to my Nan about crafts and asked about the button tin and she said she'd THROWN IT AWAY. VOLUNTARILY. It was a small 1960's Quality Street tin full of magical things and both my brother and I loved the sorting of the buttons (recall it was pirate booty on several occassions).

The Grandad Cardie buttons were always known as football buttons in our house.....

I had no idea people were flogging tins on Ebay though! Is it weird to buy one and have it sent to my Mum's- we're abroad for the next year... it could be waiting for me when I get back!

SoupDragon Fri 03-May-13 18:42:54

Not weird at all.

Although you are probably not asking the right people...

SoupDragon Mon 06-May-13 12:02:03


I've just bought a 6lb quality street tin full of buttons at the local car boot sale grin £5.

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