Buckle Up!

It has been all about buckles this week here at Buttons @ Paddington. That hardly ever thought about, clever little device that is used for fastening two loose ends. Before the invent of the zipper, the buckle was indispensable in securing two ends together. One loose end was attached to the buckle, the other end was held by a catch in a secure but adjustable manner. What an ingenious idea!

Assorted Vintage Plastic Buckles from $5

Assorted Vintage Plastic Buckles from $5

Spring sewing ideas are continuously popping into my head at the moment, and this week when my attention was drawn to the huge collection of buckles we have in the shop, I couldn’t help but start thinking of ways to use the clever little clasps. The basic buckle frame comes in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the intended use and fashion of the era. I spent the morning at the shop selecting just some of the many buckles we have to put into a new display. We have designs ranging from the oversized and elaborate Bakelite style thermoset plastic buckle from the 1900’s, to the simple, funky, retro plastic ones from the 1950s.

Circa 1900s. Bakelite

Circa 1900s Bakelite style thermoset plastic $165

Buckles are as much in use today as they have been in the past. And now, they can be used for much more than just securing one’s belt, they can also be the perfect accessory to an outfit. What better accessory is there to wear with those Summer frocks I am making! The dresses, mind you, are coming together slowly, what with the distraction of all the “new” vintage patterns and fasteners and finishings that keep arriving in the shop. I’m thinking of making some belts that I can change the buckles on. Perhaps using favourite fabrics, our stunning American ribbons and even some vintage lace.

Do you collect buckles or make belts? We would love to see your work! 

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Top – circa 1920s $45
Centre – Metal $25
Bottom – Celluloid circa 1920-30s $35

Buckles 4

Fabulous Vintage Horse Buckle. $35

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Stunning Edwardian Buckle Set $495

Circa 1920s Galalith

Circa 1920s Galalith Alligator Buckle $195

Just some of the buckles on display in the shop.

Just some of the buckles on display in the shop.

Experimenting with Ribbon & buckles in the shop. Ribbon $6.95/m & Vintage Plastic Buckle from $5

Experimenting with Ribbon & buckles in the shop.
Ribbon $6.50/m & Vintage Plastic Buckle from $5


A Brisbane Pattern

It is Ekka week here in Brisbane and with the Royal Queensland Show comes a particular weather pattern. The dry westerly winds always seem to arrive on Day One of the Brisbane Show. Each year, I wait for the “Week of Winds” as I call it, because usually by the time the Gravitron and the strawberry sundaes have been packed up, by the time the ferris wheel stands motionless and Side Show Alley falls silent, the Ekka leaves Brisbane and so do the winds and then, it is time to say a very happy hi and hello to Spring!

I love the anticipation that comes with Spring. A new season means a ‘new’ wardrobe. It is time to put away the boots and woolies and put on a frock and strappy sandals. It is the time of bbq dinners and long lazy evenings where the air is fragranced with the perfume of the blooming jasmine. There is the buzz of anticipation as we approach our Christmas party season, where we take a break, visit friends, the beach and enjoy crisp wines and delicious seafood.

I have decided that this year, I am going to ride the anticipation of the season and try and sew some dresses for summer. I say ‘try’ because, while I can sew, these days it is mostly hems, side seams, cushion covers and curtains that I pull the sewing box out for. It has been a while since I have put my high school home economics dressmaking skills to the test by making complete ensemble.
But working at Buttons @ Paddington, I have no excuses! We have a huge collection of vintage patterns starting at just $5 and dating back to the 1940s. With womens and menswear, children’s clothing and sleepwear there are plenty of designs that will take you on a trip down memory lane. We have patterns for dolls clothes, swimwear and home decorating patterns for bedspreads and pillows.  The old haberdashery shelves in the shop are overflowing and stock includes some patterns sent out from The Sun pattern services back in 1951 and a number of Vogue Couturier Designs from London and Paris.
Patterns4 Patterns3 Patterns2Patterns1
With such a selection of designs along with our latest stocks of vintage and antique laces, Sylko threads, buckles and of course, buttons, there is no doubt I should be able to make something completely original. And for someone like me, who doesn’t enjoy clothes shopping because I always want something a little different, something that flatters me just a little more, something that won’t break the bank; this is may just be the answer to my very own Summer 2013/14 collection.
Wish me luck!
Have you made anything gorgeous lately?

Clowning About

How many people can get home from work of an evening and be asked by their partner, “Honey how was your day?” and be able to answer, “Fabulous! A clown came into the shop today.”

I can, because that is what happened.

Every day at Buttons @ Paddington is fabulous. It is fabulous because of the people I meet. It seems that everyone has a unique and intriguing story to tell and I count myself lucky to be able to hear some of them. So as customers look at buttons and I ask the innocent question of,  “What are you making?” it is with the most genuine glee that I hear responses like, “Actually, I’m a clown…”

What was she looking for? Big, bright, clown buttons of course! No doubt for her clown shirt to go with her big clown bow tie, that would match her oversized clown shoes. Selecting the biggest, brightest of our stock, my new clown friend left, leaving me with her business card and making my delightful. Like only a clown can.

Big Clown-like Buttons

Clown-like Buttons

What are you working on at the moment? What are YOU making?

Novelty Buttons - Little People

Novelty Buttons – Little People