New pretty pearly buttons on the left and the original old faded ones on the right
I spent a huge part of Tuesday making minor repairs to a pile of vintage and secondhand pieces that I've amassed and couldn't wear because of a few tiny defects. As I was sewing and darning away, I thought of my grandma who taught me my first chain stitch when I was six and the many sewing and crocheting projects that followed when I was sent to spend time with her on the farm during the school holidays.
I hated doing them then. I wanted to be outside teasing the farmyard animals and climbing trees. Looking back now, I'm glad my grandma tried making some semblance-of-a-girl out of a goose-chasing tomboy for my cheap secondhand store-shopping habit could have turned out to be an expensive one if I didn't have basic sewing know-how - the lovely Shanghainese gentleman that I take major alterations to (my grandma's old sewing machine gnawed my fingers once and I've never been near one since) is a superb tailor and his fees sure reflect his skill level.
Anyway, thought I'd share some of grandma's tips...
Floppy buttons (see old button in first photo) are ugly unless they are on clothes of a thicker fabric and need the extra room to fasten properly.
To help your buttons stay as pert as bits of the female anatomy on a cold cold day, always finish with a few tight loops of the thread at the base after the few "attaching" stitches.
After replacing the buttons, I noticed that the stitches around two out of the five buttonholes on this flouncy 1970s prairie dress were not there and the holes were starting to fray a little.
I used a blanket stitch here (lower buttonhole). It's not as fine as the original machine-stitched one (top hole)...hmmm, might go unpick all of them now, both old and new, and do them in threads of contrasting colours.