Gransnet forums


Grandma's button box

(23 Posts)
whenim64 Tue 12-Jun-12 09:39:36

I saw an antiques programme in which the 'expert' said that so many people keep button boxes with items in there that might go back a couple of hundred years, but he said they are usually 'worthless.' I gather he meant in monetary terms. I have my grandmother's button box, which is an old, round shortbread tin containing her school badges and medals, beautiful victorian costume buttons, brooches, hat pins, thimbles, sets of babies' buttons just in case, ATS and Mothers' Union badges, brownies badges, multiple fancy or unusual buttons, and so on.......

Anyone else?

glassortwo Tue 12-Jun-12 09:51:45

When my DH Aunt died almost 2yrs ago, she was a second Mum to my DH and as she didnt have any DD I inherited her sewing machine and her button box it was like opening a treasure chest. smile There were also approx 8 other tins with lace, zips, bobbins and all kinds. She had been a seamstress and old suitcases of bit and bobs of materials and her pride and joy her scissors. I felt honoured to receive these items as they depict the person she was. smile

kittylester Tue 12-Jun-12 09:55:54

My Mum inherited my Nan's button box and now I have it! It is a source of fascination to the grandchildren and when they play with it I see reminders of all sorts of clothes etc. I love it! [smile}

Ella46 Tue 12-Jun-12 09:57:18

Since my dad died I've taken possession of my mum's sewing kit. She was always sewing, and I can't bear to get rid of all the stuff in there! I've always cut buttons off old clothes, and saved them. It just seems wrong to throw them away.
However they are taking up space and need to go somewhere.
Any suggestions, or shall I take them to the charity shop?

whenim64 Tue 12-Jun-12 10:26:27

Ella it seems these things aren't welcome at charity shops, according to that same 'expert.' There's such a treasure trove in these things passed down our families. Items like sewing accessories might be ok, but odd buttons and little mementoes we would find fascinating are apparently of no interest or use to others. I suppose if buttons were divided into matching sets and stitched on cards someone might want them.

absentgrana Tue 12-Jun-12 10:29:12

Would they be of interest to people who make theatrical costumes for television, stage and screen?

whenim64 Tue 12-Jun-12 10:32:06

I don't know. You would think so if there were sets of antique or fancy buttons.

glassortwo Tue 12-Jun-12 11:00:45

You could always put them on Freecycle, bet someone will want them.

Ariadne Tue 12-Jun-12 11:13:09

I have an old Turkish cigarette tin full of beautiful buttons. A lot of them are real mother of pedal, and are tiny. I couldn't get rid of it. But Theseus had a phobia about buttons! He can hardly bear to pick one up from the floor. It's OK if they're attached to something, but loose buttons, no. Very odd?

harrigran Tue 12-Jun-12 15:19:26

My father made a sewing cabinet for my mother, it had a drawer with spikes for cotton reels and lots of little compartments for the buttons. The lid lifted to reveal a cavity deep enough to keep knitting needles, crotchet hooks and all sorts of embroidery things. I loved to play with it when I was a child but when my mother died we sold eveything at a car boot sale.

crimson Tue 12-Jun-12 15:37:02

I've got a tin next to me with my mums' button collection. Looking a them now, I can't remember any of the garments that they came off, but I'm sure some were buttons off my baby clothes. Nothing of any value, but[ and I've never thought of it before] a little link to my past.

numberplease Tue 12-Jun-12 15:42:06

I remember the pleasure I got as a child, rummaging through my grandma`s button tin, I don`t know what happened to it after she died.

Stansgran Tue 12-Jun-12 16:14:48

Isn't there a saying You will never be poor if you have a button box. I am guilty of buying buttons I don't need just because they are beautiful. I sew and sometimes (grudgingly) use them to embellish quilts. Oxfam make jewellry out of buttons and seem to be happy with my surplus.

Stansgran Tue 12-Jun-12 18:39:58

You could also buy a hessian bag from Duttons in York and decorate it with your old buttons and they might feature it on their website (I'm not advertising them Gransnet-they are an institution in York like Betty's)

Sewsilver Wed 13-Jun-12 08:24:27

I love button boxes. A couple of years ago I did a photographic project and exhibition on the contents of button boxes. All the above posts have inspired me to do another! I love all the shapes and colours of the tiny little objects inside. Now that I have little books of photographs of my mother's , grandmothers and godmothers button boxes I don't need to keep the objects. Wonder if I could post the photos on here? Never yet managed it.

whenim64 Wed 13-Jun-12 08:48:33

Stansgran that's great to know about Oxfam. The antiques 'expert' who was pontificating about their value (I think it was Tim Wonacott, who irritates me) said don't take button boxed to charity shops, yet you know that Oxfam do accept old buttons. Shows how much he knows! grin

trishs Sun 04-Nov-12 17:01:57

Collections of old buttons sell on eBay. I still use a felt needlecase I made at primary school. As a teacher of textiles for many years I often wonder if any of the ones my pupils made are still in use.

crimson Sun 04-Nov-12 17:17:51

I've now put the contents of my button tin into a Kilner jar. It looks lovely smile.

dorsetpennt Sun 04-Nov-12 17:17:52

I have a 'button box' - it's fun every now and then to look through all the buttons, brings back memories of clothes long gone.

baubles Sun 04-Nov-12 18:55:47

Ariadne my son has a 'thing' about buttons! He can hardly even say the word.

As a child his clothes had to be comfortable and loose in soft fabrics. On the odd occasion where he has to wear a shirt he feels really uneasy and can't wait to get out of it. I had never heard of such a phobia before or since. Glad to know he isn't alone grin

I had a button box for years, I think it must now be in the loft. I no longer remove buttons from clothes which are past their best. To be honest I can't remember the last time I had to sew on a button.

Lilygran Mon 05-Nov-12 17:44:25

I inherited collections of buttons from several members of the family and now have a button cake tin- I haven't got a box big enough. They fascinate the DGS and I never have to buy an odd button. Though I do sometimes buy sets!

AlieOxon Mon 05-Nov-12 17:52:40

When I was a kid I sewed a bag for my mum to put all her buttons in, it was eggshaped and we used the eggbag for years!
I still have a collection in a sewing drawer.

trishs Mon 05-Nov-12 19:20:45

Lilygran I too have inherited button collections plus donated buttons from when they were one of my teaching resources. I have them in various old sweet and cake tins. I also have a set of 8 transparent plastic sweetie jars which house all my scrappy wool oddments in different colour groups.