Monday, 5 October 2015

New Reproduction Buttons at Historika

Since beginning Historika back in late 2009, I have always hoped to make historical dress products that were historically accurate. A major part of that for me has been the small details, such as handmade buttons. They have always totally fascinated me, and I was determined to make these in the hope that reenactors and lovers of historical dress would appreciate them in the same way I did (do).

I have noticed over the last year or two that more and more people have been using reproduction buttons on their historical clothing, which is great to see.

This week I found the time to put 2 more styles of button on the shop; 'Bird's Eye' Dorset buttons and 'Blandford Cartwheel', also known as 'Old Dorsets'.

Reproduction Bird's Eye Dorset Buttons, c.1620s to mid 1800s with Linen Thread

These buttons were made for men's shirts, nightclothes, underthings, children's clothing and household linens. I have a pillowcase from around the 1840s with original antique Bird's Eye buttons:-

Mid Victorian Linen Pillowcase with Birds's Eye Buttons

To make these buttons you firstly have to wind a piece of damp muslin around a stick to create the shape of the button, and then stitch around the button to keep the shape whilst it dries. Then you can blanket stitch the button with linen thread.

I make these in 2 sizes- 10mm and 15mm. I decided to sew a shank onto the back of the button, and to leave a thread attached to each button, for them to be sewn easily onto clothing or household linen.

The other button that I finally managed to make are similar to the Crosswheel Dorset button which are now very popular with many Regency costume fans, but are much finer. These are known as 'Blandford Cartwheels', and also 'Old Dorsets'.

Reproduction 'Blandford Cartwheel' Dorset Buttons

These are made in lace making cotton thread. I am trying to find a linen thread fine enough to stitch them in at present. These buttons measure 1/2" or 12mm in diameter.

These buttons were used on the following items; from the 1790's to 1830s (Regency/Romantic Eras):-
Christening robes
Nightgowns (at the wrists)
Chemisettes and Cuffs
1830s Lady's Bust Bodice (under garment)
1790s-1830s Men's Shirts
1820s/30s Woman's Wrapper/Peignoir
Baby's and Children's clothing

There is a pair of stays from 1798 in the Colchester and Ipswich Museum UK, with 3 of these Dorset buttons down the front. I have also seen them on a 1730s gentleman's waistcoat., which can be viewed in this previous post.

Late 1820s/Early 1830s Wrapper with Blanford Dorset buttons to the wrists

1820s Lace Cuffs with Blandford Dorset Buttons

If you are lucky enough to have the book "Underwear: Fashion in Detail" by Eleri Lynn, then in there you will be able to see images of these buttons on a 1820s/30s man's shirt, and on a bust bodice c.1800-1830. An early 1800s nightgown which I sold recently also had them at the cuffs. My reproduction buttons aren't quite as fine as the originals, but I'm not sure if my eyes could cope with trying to make those back stitches on such fine thread. Incredible work.

These buttons can be viewed alongside my other reproduction buttons in the shop here.

Naomi x