Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Mother of Pearl Buttons and others

Mother of pearl buttons are my favourites -the French used a great many on their linen and clothes after the bone toggles and buttons of the early 19c. There are special double-thick with tiny holes for men's shirts that look almost like pearl studs and there are delicate pastel shades, all attractively packaged to catch the eye of the seamstress. I bought a huge lot of them from the attics of an old lady who had retired to Burgundy to bring up a handicapped child and she told me that she had sold her buttons from a factory at Sees to C.Dior, Schiaparelli and all the couturiers in Paris of the 30s and 40s.
   The factory, the biggest in France, made every kind of button, m.o.p., tortoiseshell, turtle,leather, papier mache boot buttons (I still have lots for Steiff teddy bear eyes - NOW SOLD OUT) casein, black metal , etc. etc. Almost all are gone but I have a couple of hundred left, all from 1926 or earlier. Picture of the factory, closed late twenties. Boot buttons, bottom right.
  I recently sold the last of my teddy bear eyes to a French lady, Nicolette Pede who has set up a new business in Tremolat, Dordogne, hand -making teddies and their wardrobes in trad. old French fabrics. They are very lovable! THESE PAPIER MACHE BOOT BUTTONS WERE IDEAL AS THEY HAD A METAL LOOP AT THE BACK WHICH COULD BE JOINED TO ANOTHER BUTTON EYE WITH WIRE AND THEY WERE THEN UNAVAILABLE TO HUNGRY CHILDREN!


  1. Oh my, I have just discovered your blog through a, "The French General", blogger. I must say "this is such a delight for me". The Mother of Pearl buttons made my heart go pitter pat. My mother, who is now deceased, went to a high school in NYC called Needle Trades during the late 1930's. She was a pleothera of information just as you are. I LOVE your blog and I wish I knew you. Thank you for all of the great information and photographs on your blog.


    Juanita Brown in Columbus, Ohio, USA.

  2. I'm exactly the same about mother of pearl buttons, till I see beautiful glass ones, then I come across fantastic art deco buttons... I love them all!