I love this giant yellow button-sign — I think it was above a tailor shop. I took this photo in Brugge, Belgium when Andrew and I were there a few years ago. I wonder if could I make one? I have to think about this. Hopefully I will successfully reverse-engineer it and my next post will be a tutorial for making a giant button to adorn your own house or craft room… or tailor shop.
Speaking of giant button-signs, if you are in New York and want to shop for buttons (or fabric, lace, trims, sewing tools, beads, feathers, or any other crafty stuff) be sure to visit the official Fashion District kiosk for some divine guidance.
I got to go a couple of years ago and described it this way:
There’s a bubblelike official Fashion District information kiosk at the corner of 7th Ave. and 39th St. I’ve walked right past it a million times, but this time, for some heaven-sent reason, I stopped and went in. There’s nothing on the counter but some public safety leaflets warning against pickpockets and a well-thumbed book that’s mostly retail clothing shops, but I asked the woman working if they had any guides to shopping for supplies in the neighborhood. She noted what I was interested in browsing, typed the terms into a search engine, and two minutes later I had 24 pages of customized listings to look through — each shop is described in detail along with the street address, phone number, and website!
And of course I love the motif they chose…
On another note, my friend (and Button It Up contributor!) Diane Gilleland recently made these darling button-embellished fabric squares that she’s turned into jewelry pieces! Check out her full tutorial here — outstanding. I can picture these in every color combination in my button stash.
And speaking of Diane’s button-and-fabric alchemy, don’t miss her wonderful new book, Kanzashi In Bloom. She recently showed me how to make a button-center Kanzashi flower — my first — and I just love it:
Exclusive Buttons is one of the most magical button-places on earth. I was lucky enough to visit for the first time on a trip to San Francisco three years ago, and it just captivated me from the second I walked in.
It’s a tiny shop filled with vintage buttons of all kinds, from floor to ceiling, in cabinets and on hooks, on cards and loose, in the glass case and in dishes. The owner, Mrs. Mary Sortile, is lovely — talking with her about buttons is such a treat.
photo by Amy
Amy visited last month and wrote up a lovely post about her recent trip there, with tons more photos!
Here are some of my finds from my first two visits…
Some of them turned into Button It Up projects, and some are stand-alone treasures. I still don’t know quite what I’ll do with that gorgeous faceted crystal piece near the center, but just looking at it and enjoying its sparkliness is plenty for now!
I love the bright casein rounds on their original cards. I think that’s my own personal favorite button-style.
Be sure to check out Amy’s post for more Exclusive Buttons gorgeousness — she also added all her photos to the Button It Up flickr group! And if you have the book handy, my feature on the shop is on page 11, along with its majestic New York counterpart, Tender Buttons.
I hope to be back for another visit soon! If you go (and oh, you should!), the shop is only open on Fridays and Saturdays from 11-4, and Mrs. Sortile accepts checks and cash only.
10252 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530
I thought I’d write up some of my favorite places to find vintage and new buttons… and the first shop I want to spotlight is The Needle, right here in Portland.
It’s a tiny shop full of fascinating books, antiques, and ephemera, including bowls full of vintage buttons to sift through and choose your favorites!
I met Myrna Goldware through my neighbor Randy — she is a button collector extraordinaire and generously shared her magnificent photographs with me to bring the Vintage Button Primer section of Button It Up to life.
And she curates some of the incredible finds at The Needle, including a fantastic rotating exhibit of buttons, photographs, cards,
and even a charm string from her own collection of treasures.
The shop offers two bowls of vintage buttons to sift through… one near the register has a mix of buttons for 25¢ apiece,
and the other is a “clearance” bowl priced at 10¢ each,
also with plenty of treasures.
Here’s what I found one afternoon — maybe 2/3 of these are from the 25¢ bowl and the rest from the 10¢. I could have happily spent another hour looking!
If you go, The Needle is open most afternoons from about 1-5. You can call ahead to find out the hours and plan a visit, and be sure to say hello to Myrna when you are there!
The Needle Thrift Shop
1420 SE 37th Ave (a half-block north of Hawthorne)
Portland, OR 97214