Caveat

Standard

ca·ve·at

noun

1. a warning or caution; admonition.
(Thanks, dictionary.com.)
Remember this post about adding little details to enhance your clothing (also known as “flair”)?  Well, I have discovered something very important that other lovers of vintage buttons may already know about if the problem is widespread.  Sometimes washing and drying vintage buttons can change them.
Here are my pants just after I put a new button on:
Once broken jeans, RENEWED!

Once broken jeans, RENEWED!

Here is what happened to that lovely, lovely button after it was washed and dried:

The blue wore off this vintage button in the washer and dryer!

The blue wore off this vintage button in the washer and dryer!

There’s just a tiny bit of blue left on the right side.  I’m sure there is some product you could use to recover it–Rustoleum or a Martha Stewart product or something like that.  Realistically, I’ll probably just leave it, because I like the form of the button.  Still, if you have “fix-it” suggestions, maybe I’ll attempt it in the future.

The other item I want to show you are these vintage buttons.  Now, I’ll admit, this pair of pants did say “Dry Clean Only”.  (I often ignore “Dry Clean Only”…)  It’s a great vintage pair of wool pants that had some stains, so I decided to soak them and then air dry them to get the stains out.  Thanks to OxyClean, that worked, but the buttons, which used to be a lovely turquoise like the pants, are sort of…whitish, I guess you could say.  Here they are:

More vintage buttons lightened by the washer

More vintage buttons lightened by the washer

This picture makes the pants appear duller than they are.  They are sort of a light and dark turquoise check.  The buttons were along those color lines, too.  I wish I had a before picture, but I’m sure you can get the idea.

So, the long and short of it is, be careful!  Test your buttons first in water, or plan to dry clean, or just be prepared either way for what might happen.  I still plan to use the buttons above, but I’ll have more of an idea of what may happen in the future.  Any vintage button lovers out there?  Are there some principles we should know about concerning vintage buttons?  I would love to have people comment with any knowledge they have in this area as it is fairly new to me.

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4 responses »

  1. I’m certainly no expert on vintage buttons, but I’m wondering if you spray them with a clear coat of non-water soluble sealer or a good old coat of clear nail polish…would that work?

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  2. Hi! Enjoying your blog since seeing your comment at Alabama Chanin. Here and there, an elderly friend who used to craft has been giving me bags of random things – three so far – fine crochet yarn, costume jewelry, beads, trims, etc. Each one is like a treasure chest which takes me a few hours to sort and put away. In one were a few buttons like these, except they are square with rounded corners, still covered in those little nubs, and mine are peachy pink. Well, they were. They were losing their color so I painted them in a similar color nail polish. Don’t know how that would hold up in the wash. I make jewelry mostly (see http://www.chameleoncraftstudio.com ), but do a little sewing, too, and have dreams of fashioning my own entire wardrobe.:) Might ought to do a test before working them into a garment design. Maybe sew them onto a cloth and put them through to see. One thing to watch for is to be careful to do an even coat so you don’t obscure any of those cool little nubs. And maybe a clear coat or sealer afterward, too. Let us know what happens. Love the idea of the cool button on jeans!

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