Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!

Thrift-Shop Thursday Debuts Today!

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Thrift-Shop Thursday is here! Beginning today, I’ll be posting a new project on Thursdays, each based on a garment found at a thrift shop. (I define thrift shop fairly loosely, to include consignment and vintage shops, the occasional yard sale, and even hand-me-downs.)

I’m starting with a series of ideas for dealing with common issues with thrift-shop finds; today’s project will focus on replacing buttons. Enter my latest thrift-shop coup: a Christian Dior (!) jacket that fits my daughter perfectly. (You’ll see it on her later on.)

Christian Dior jacket

Christian Dior wool jacket, in perfect condition except for the loose front button. Thrift-shop price: $25.00!

Even though $25.00 is a certified steal for a Dior jacket, it’s still a hefty price tag in a thrift shop, so I inspected it minutely before I even suggested to my daughter that she try it on; as far as I could tell, the only issue was that the front button was coming loose. The jacket fits her amazingly well, so we bore it home in triumph. Frankly, the original button wasn’t that thrilling, so we decided to go a step beyond resewing it, and picked a new button from my stash that we thought would work. Here’s the button, along with other necessary supplies:

Button-replacement supplies

Button-replacement supplies: ordinary sewing thread, sharp needle, scissors, and, of course, a fabulous button! It’s a simple shank button covered in a wool & metallic fabric.

It was interesting choosing a button for this jacket. On one hand, since there’s only the one button, it seemed to me that I should pick something that would stand out; on the other hand, the original button is only 5/8″ in diameter (and the buttonhole is sized for that), and it’s not so easy to find a statement button in that size. Also, my daughter doesn’t tend to like the bejeweled buttons I would normally go for. Happily, because I’m a chronic saver of those extra buttons that come with garments, I found this wonderful button covered in dark gray wool and silver metallic fabric, in the perfect size!

Tip: If you have a large button stash like mine, try out different buttons to see how easily you can change the entire look of a garment. The ones I tried ranged from a dome-shaped antiqued-brass button (almost the exact color of the jacket lining) to a large 3-dimensional red poppy with black seed beads in its center. Experimenting with lots of different colors and styles made me wonder if I could change buttons on some of my clothes for different seasons, for example. It’s not a lot of work, but can result in a completely new look!

First, I prepared the jacket for its fabulous new button:

Preparing for the new button

Preparing for the new button. Pin-marking the spot with the old threads before removing them makes the placement of your new button easier. (Note: for Step 3, use a second pin.)

Now that the jacket is prepared, here’s how to sew on the new button:

Sewing on the new button

Sewing on the new button. (Note that this is the process for a shank-style button; sewing on a button with holes is slightly different. I’ll cover that in another post.)

Once your button is safely in place, here’s how to finish it off so it’s really secure:

Finishing

Finishing. Here’s how to finish your thread ends to keep your new button secure.

And here’s the freshly buttoned Christian Dior jacket, modeled beautifully by its proud new owner:

Jacket with its new button

The jacket with its new button. The fabric-covered button has just enough sparkle to catch the light, but it’s also close enough to the jacket color to blend beautifully. And may I just say my daughter looks amazing in Christian Dior? I’m especially crazy about the shape of the sleeve caps!

Tip: If your garment has more than one button, like a shirt, but it’s missing one or more, rather than trying to match the existing buttons, consider replacing all the buttons. This is not only much easier, but it also gives you the opportunity to give that garment a completely new look! And doing this often elevates the overall quality of the garment, since so many clothes that are otherwise well-made seem to have cheap-quality buttons (one of my pet peeves). Just remember to check the size (diameter) of the existing buttons, and buy same-size replacements.

And that’s it, folks, my Thrift-Shop Thursday debut is complete! I hope this has been helpful, and of course, I welcome your feedback, questions, topic requests, etc. I’ll have a new project for you next week, so join me then, and remember, if it’s Thursday, it must be Thrift-Shop Thursday at CYC!

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Author: colormusing

I'm a writer, color palette creator, and designer of fashion, costumes, graphics, knitwear patterns, and yarn.

11 thoughts on “Thrift-Shop Thursday Debuts Today!

  1. Bravo – what a great find and it looks lovely!

  2. I need to go this thrift shop! You found a Christian Dior jacket for $25?? Also, this is a good idea for a monthly feature. I love seeing how people re-purpose clothing. Great post!

  3. Love the new series and thanks for the detail in this post! I always try to sew on buttons and they just snap right off! Good thing I’ve been saving up so many jackets with missing buttons…sigh.

    Alice
    http://borderlinefab.wordpress.com

    • I’m glad you like it! I know what you mean about saving things– I’m amazed at how often I pull something out to wear, only to find there’s a button missing or a hem falling out or a seam that needs to be restitched. Hmm, that’s also true of most things I get from thrift stores– hence my new series!

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