One Fabulous Button

Found: one fabulous button for the ‘O’ Dress! From Button Button, where else?

It’s vintage glass. (So of course I’m paranoid I’ll drop it!) The textured surface reflects the blue colour, and little gold lines fill in the button texture. It looks beautiful and expensive!

Which of course, it was. $5 for one button! Some of you are going to think that’s just crazy. Why spend that much on one button? Of course I can find a cheaper option. There are lots of great options for less, that would suit the style of the dress and save me a bunch of cash.

And then, some of you will understand. This is the best part of sewing, the fact that we can spend $5 on a button if we want to.

You’ll never get a $5 button on your ready-to-wear dress. I know, I used to work at a clothing company. Buttons are cheap, cheap, cheap. You can buy buttons for a couple cents each. You can buy buttons for less than a cent per button. In fact, you can buy larger quantities of buttons to get the price down, so even if you throw away half of the buttons, it’s still cheaper than paying more per button. Crazy, no?

It’s worth it to be to love the button on my dress. Every time I see it in my closet, I’ll smile. Probably reach out and touch the shiny, pretty button, and think about how it’s over fifty years old, and how much fun it was to go pick out just one fabulous button.

Besides, like they say, $5 is the cost of a fancy coffee these days. What’s a better use of five dollars? $5 for a mocha frappucino? Or $5 for a gorgeous piece of shiny glass? (Or do you think both are a waste?)

What do you think? Do you scrimp on trims, or do you splurge? Do you think I’m crazy for spending $5 on a button, or do my reasons make sense to you? I’d love to hear what you think!

, , , , ,

44 Responses to One Fabulous Button

  1. Ashley March 15, 2011 at 6:07 am #

    I think the right notions can really ‘make’ a garment. Make it just that extra bit special :) So I definitely like to splurge on notions!
    That button is gorgeous!! So pretty.
    Ashley x

  2. karen March 15, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    You’re totally right to buy that button! The devil is in the detail and it will give you so much pleasure with every wear. I’m a firm believer in spending moderate amounts on shirts, skirts etc and then spending extra on the accessories. They really do make an outfit. For this blog post, I’ll count buttons as accessories!

  3. Leah March 15, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    I think it’s these kinds of hand picked details that make sewing so enjoyable. You are literally creating a dress for your particular body and form and tastes, and that’s invaluable. So what’s a 5 dollar button? You could pay 5 dollars for a button or 500 dollars for a dress with the same kind of craftsmanship but here is the thing, it wouldn’t have been created for your body to your specifications in the color you want. 5 dollars is nothing. My lunch costs more then that.

  4. Karin March 15, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    It’s only one button. So $5 seems perfectly reasonable!

  5. Ashley March 15, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    I agree Tasia, $5 is a worthy splurge for a statement piece like that! With those sort of special details, you’ll feel stunning every time you wear the “O” dress. :)

  6. Roisin March 15, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    I think you’re just right. For one thing, it’s your $5 so if you’re choosing to spend it on a button, then that’s just fine! For another, surely the whole joy of home sewing is making it just right for you – and if a $5 button is just right for you, then go for it!

    The button is a beaut. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished garment :)

  7. Lisette March 15, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    I do scrimp on trims! But mostly because I can never visualize them on the garment until the garment is done and then I don’t want to just apply them on top…I like when they are done into the seams. But anyways, I do splurge on buttons from time to time. I have never bought a glass button! Do you have to take it off the dress every time you put it in the washing machine?

  8. Erika March 15, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    It seems like a perfectly reasonable prize to me, but then sewing notions, buttons, trims etc are very expensive in Sweden. For 5 $ I’d get a button that was a great deal plainer than your fabulous one!

    As long as one has the means to do it, I believe strongly in not cheaping out when sewing. Quality fabric, thread, notions, tracing paper, zippers, it actually does make a difference. These things makes a difference to the durability and look of the garment, but also to the experience of sewing it (and I’m sewing ’cause I like doing it). So unless it’s a costume I’ll wear for one night only, I try to never skimp out when sewing (to the limits of my budget, of course).

    I would encourage you to enjoy this wonderful button, don’t worry about 5 $, and just be happy that you’ve found the last piece for what I’m sure will be a stunning dress!

  9. TanitIsis March 15, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    I love the luxurious feeling of these little touches. Saving money is all well and good, but paying for quality, unique materials is always worth it. :)

  10. Eilane March 15, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    Hello Tasia, the Beles to make a tailored garment that is ultimately what it would cost you to buy a dress and handmade exclusively for you? With fabric trim and perfect? With certesa we save ourselves and for tailoring so you can spend more on accessories and details that will value even more clothes.


    Eilane – Brasil
    Olá Tásia, a belesa de se fazer uma peça de roupa sob medida é esta, afinal quanto custaria para você adquirir um vestido feito a mão e exclusivamente para você? com caimento e tecido perfeito? Com certesa a gente economiza costurando para nós mesmos e assim dá para gastar mais em acessórios e detalhes que valorizarão ainda mais a roupa.


    Eilane – Brasil

  11. Eilane March 15, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    By the way, your button is a dream.

    Eilane – Brazil

  12. Claire (aka Seemane) March 15, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    That button is fabulous!
    One little Q: will you have to snip it off every time you get the dress cleaned? If the dress is dry-clean only (which think it probably will be IIRC?) then I’d be so worried about the dry-cleaners hitting it & breaking it accidentally.

    Is there a trick / method for attaching buttons so they can be quickly taken on/off easily maybe? :)


  13. fangaroni March 15, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    I love this post! The button is beautiful and well worth the happiness it brings you every time you see that detail. Super expensive dresses you buy won’t give you this fabulous of a detail. It was also interesting to learn that even throwing away half the buttons of a large quantity would be cost effective – says something about the disposability of products today, and makes me value vintage craftmanship more!

  14. Angela March 15, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    I was wondering what kind of button you would choose for this dress! Great choice. I don’t think $5 is too much for such a prominent piece of the dress. Because it is a single button, it will be a focal point and should be special and interesting. Great work, as always, Tasia.

  15. Portia March 15, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    Totally with you on this one Tasia! It’s a thing of beauty to behold!

  16. mbb. March 15, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    i bought two (!) ¬£3 buttons the other day to finish a pair of felted slippers i am knitting…i’m finishing tonight – but i’m pretty sure it was worth it – if only because every time i slip on the slippers i’ll like the buttons too! so yay – spend the little extras…you save money on perfectly tailored clothes right?

  17. Lauren March 15, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    i spent $5 on the one visible button for my lady grey – but it was worth it! ( the button in question). so sparkly and pretty! i wouldn’t suggest buying $5 buttons if you need a bunch (i’ve got a western shirt in the works at some point this summer and the local western wear store wants to charge me $5 per pearl snap to put them in… and i need 16! yikes!! i will probably go with fake pearl snaps because i can’t even), but sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the sake of a focal point! of course, i don’t sew to save money – quite the opposite, really – so take that as you will :)

  18. Eileen March 15, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    LOVE the button. I used to scrimp on trims and buttons, but really, life is too short for that. A big bundle of vintage ribbons, laces, and buttons I found at a junk shop converted me–after sewing with some of those, I had to have nice trims again for future projects.

    (And for Lauren or anyone else who wants pearl snaps–they’re pretty easy, once you get the hang of them, but make sure to practice on scraps first! I shattered the pearl on a very prominently placed one, and they’re hard to get out of the fabric. But a packet of 20 runs 4USD at my local fabric store)

  19. alice March 15, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    i’m with everyone else – it’s $5 (although having recently been several months without a contract, i understand that every dollar counts).
    i’ve been spending a lot of time in holt’s lately (on my walk home from dressew, natch!), and really noticing that what sets the high end garments apart are these kinds of splurges, which are really not that $. And, of course, the higher end fabrics. and construction (imagine my horror at stripes on a marc by marc jacobs dress that didn’t *perfectly match*!).

    i was getting into bargain basement mode for a while (i’m saving up for another prospective few months without contracts), but now, i’m returning back to my ‘it’s okay to spend $40 on dress fabric’ roots. Because i’d never ever buy a fine dress for $40. (that being said, my current most loved fabric is a $6 poly print from dressew. I love it so much i want to go back to buy the bolt!)

    (for those who aren’t from canada/vancouver, holt’s = super posh canadian clothing retailer; dressew = vancouver fabric emporium).

  20. Sallie March 15, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I think for some of us – one of the joys of sewing is knowing that you are making a better quality garment than you could EVER buy in a RTW store – and if not cheaper – than for a comparable price. Your whole cost of fabric – and even time – and that beautiful little $5 button will still probably be less than if you were to buy something of this quality. Plus – just to echo everyone else – these little luxurious touches are soooo worth it!!

  21. Tasha March 15, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    That’s a great button! I am a firm believer in using buttons you love. Most of my button experiences has been on knitted cardigans. I spend an obscene amount of time fretting over the perfect buttons. Sometimes they are a little spendy, but it’s always worth it. Because I love putting on a sweater and thinking “Hot damn! Those really ARE the perfect buttons” every time I wear it. :)

  22. Amanda March 15, 2011 at 10:27 am #

    If I found a fantastic button like this one to use on a dress I was excited about (and the dress only required one button) I’d definitely pay $5 for it! I wouldn’t pay $5 a button for something like the Beignet skirt where you need 11 or 12 buttons just because that would bust my budget (~$60 worth of buttons alone!). I’m so excited to see what you do with this dress!

  23. Catherine March 15, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    I think if you’re going to put all that work into a garment, you can jolly well spend as much as you like on a button – and honestly from what I can tell in all my button hunting, $5 for the perfect, vintage, makes-you-want-to-stroke-it button is a GREAT bargain!

    (Although I will echo Amanda – $5/button for say a Beignet skirt might push most home sewing budgets over the edge ;) )

  24. alice March 15, 2011 at 11:05 am #

    good point on the beignet buttons, Amanda! I’d think that style-wise, ‘statement’ $5 buttons on a beignet would be aesthetic overkill! I’d happily pay $1/button for that skirt though.

  25. Kris March 15, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    I have some vintage bakelite buttons from button button. They were $5 each, and I got 6 for a shirt dress that I ended up scrapping, because I couldn’t get the fit right. I don’t know what to do with them now! The buttons are so pretty.

  26. Gail D. March 15, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Certainly spending $5 for a coffee is outrageous; I can skip that any day of the year. But the appearance you show the world is priceless. I will always try to find cheaper buttons, but sometimes there is just one that will do the job, and I strongly advocate spending the money. Your self-esteem is worth it.

  27. The Cupcake Goddess March 15, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    I personally am all for sewing supplies, notions and fabrics that cost lots of money. Ha. Actually, I do like finding good deals, but with a treasure like that button, I would have paid $10 maybe even $15. It’s one button, strategically placed that will make the dress completely over the top. It’s completely worth it.

    I have only a few pieces like that in my stash. Two vintage belt closures that cost me a bit and that I still haven’t used but one day, they will completely define that one dress or blouse. I just know it. At least you bought your button with the intention of using it right away. How exciting. I can see your hands trembling as you give your dress that final touch by sewing it on!


  28. Venus de Hilo March 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Some mornings I’d go for the mocha frappuccino, but truth is I have a little box in my sewing room filling up with lovely buttons, many unique and hand-made. I don’t even buy them for specific projects, just can’t help myself. Many were in the $5- range, a few were even more. I don’t regret a penny spent, and look forward to using them someday. That one perfect button is the perfect finishing touch.

  29. sapotesews March 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    … Okay, but how will you wash it? :D

  30. Ryan March 15, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    @Claire (aka Seemane): My mom’s nursing uniform for school had a fully buttoned front with these big 1/2″ pearl shank buttons. None of them were sewn on but the shank slipped through a small buttonhole and a small metal pin secured it to the dress.

    I imagine though that this dress will only be cleaned once or twice a year so it might not be so bad to sew it on each time.

  31. daiyami March 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Anything that makes you smile every time you look at it is worth paying for. Almost no matter what it costs.

  32. Brumby March 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I must admit I had expected to see you do a self covered button for this dress; that is my practical nature coming out because if it were me making it I would do that because I need it to be completely neutral so I could wear it whichever colour accessories I wanted on a particular day.
    But – seeing this lovely button there is no doubt it will look amazing, and yes totally worth the investment if it will make you smile each time you open then wardrobe, I mean really, how can you put a dollar value on that right?

  33. Tasia March 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I love it – no one thinks I’m out of my mind for spending $5 on a button! :)

    Those are really good questions about how I will wash the garment once the fancy button is attached. Well, I’ll definitely dry-clean it since it’s wool.. but will the drycleaners wreck it? I know they protect buttons when they dry-clean garments, because I have a coat with wood buttons. When I took it in to the drycleaners, and said something about protecting the buttons, they looked at me like it was obvious, of course they would protect them. But something like this is super precious!

    I could probably snip it off every time it’s dry-cleaned, which honestly ends up being once a year. At most, since it’s a cold-weather dress and doesn’t get quite as sweaty. (Too much info? Ah well!) And, the button is sewn to the front of the dress, not to one of the tabs, so sewing it on again would be easy.

    I’ve seen coats and dresses that have a mini-buttonhole where the button goes, and a little bobby-pin-esque hook that goes through the shank to hold the button on. I think that’s how they were attached on some of my cadet uniforms! that way, the buttons can be easily changed or removed. Since this one’s sewn to the zipper area, that might not be possible.

    I agree, I’d never spend that much on buttons for Beignet. But then again, maybe I would, if they were totally perfect!

  34. Tasia March 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    @Brumby: If I couldn’t find a great-looking button, I was going to do self-covered buttons! Just so it matched perfectly and didn’t look cheap.

  35. Tasia March 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    @Lauren: So pretty! That’s another great pattern to splurge on the button for – when there’s just one, why not get one awesome button?

  36. Sherry March 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Gorgeous button! The button will be the focal point of the design so it’s really important not to skimp here – I think you are totally justified spending a fiver!

  37. Caro March 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    One is always justified when you buy a button from Button Button! I adore that shop and I adore that you constantly mention it in your blog. Local businesses that are amazing deserve having so much free press.

    And like others have mentioned, it’s a focal point/main feature. $5 isn’t too much to make a dress extra special. If you had bought a $20 button, maybe that’d be a little too much. :P

  38. quietandsmalladventures March 15, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    that button definitely needs to be on that dress!!

  39. kaitui-kiwi March 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    I think that is THE most beautiful $5 I have ever seen and on that dress it will be perfect. I think when it matters, splurging is the only option :)

  40. Reana March 16, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    I agree with everyone else! $5 for beautiful button that is happiness inducing and stroke-able? Quite frankly I think it’s a bargain!

  41. Saffi March 16, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    That won’t be a simple button on a dress; it’s jewellery! If you’d spend $5 on a brooch, you can certainly spend it on a single button for a dress like that.

  42. Jess March 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    That button is exquisite! I’d totally spend $5 on a button like that. It’s little details like this that can make a garment a collectors item. If haute couture houses can spend a $1000 on one metre of fabric then a $5 button is a small price to pay in comparison.

  43. Sue March 16, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    I would definitely pay $5 for one button for my dress if I felt it was the ‘perfect’ button!

  44. J. J. B. Bravo August 28, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    Maybe you could attach a thick foam cover all around it before you send it to the dry cleaner, to protect it from mismanipulation and, therefore, from any possible unrepairable damage. Or simply sew it off everytime before send it to the pro-cleaners, so you can keep your treasure with you 24/7