Bust My Buttons

May 23rd, 2011

Tonight I finished putting together the bodice of my Empire dress fairly early. I didn’t quite have the energy to cut out the skirt and waistband though, so I decided to cover a set of five buttons for the center back closure.

From what I can discover online, there were three main types of buttons used on clothing at the turn of the 18th century: metal, fabric-covered, and thread (metal rings wrapped in thread to create intricate designs). Somehow metal seems incongruous on a delicate white frock, and I’ve gotten the impression that the thread buttons (of which Dorset seems to be a classification) are mostly used on undergarments, or things that need to be washed vigorously. So I opted for fabric-covered.

The question then arose as to what I should use for my button forms, and how to attach the covers. Since my time is limited, I decided to use modern buttons from my button box and cover them by gathering tiny circles of fabric around them and sewing it closed. I’ve made a mental note to dig deeper into this topic at a later date.


I made five buttons, which seems like more than sufficient to close the center back of my emerging dress. They’re rather thickish though, so I think I shall make thread loops instead of buttonholes. Even with three layers in the buttonstand, my dress fabric is far too fragile to withstand much strain.

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