Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Buttons : Definitions

I decided to make this blog a bit more interesting. So, this is what I am planning to do. Every week I will feature something interesting about "BUTTONS", yep the ones you have on your clothes to close it....; little stories, information, great pictures, unusual uses of buttons, featuring button artist, etc.

I am starting by giving some information about different types of buttons and how the size is measured.

(wooden shank button; left is front and right is back of the button; photographed in a mirror)

A button is a small disc- or ball-shaped, usually round, object typically attached to an article of clothing in order to secure an opening, or for ornamentation. Functional buttons work by slipping the button through a fabric or thread loop, or by sliding the button through a slit called a buttonhole.

Buttons may be manufactured from an extremely wide range of materials, including natural materials such as antler, bone, horn, ivory, shell, vegetable ivory, and wood; or synthetics such as celluloid, glass, china, metal, bakelite and plastic. Hard plastic is by far the most common material for newly manufactured buttons. Here you can read more about materials.

Shank buttons

(upper button is mother of pearl with metal shank, lower button is mother of pearl with inbuilt shank; left is front and right is back of the buttons; photographed in a mirror)

have a small ring or a bar with a hole called the shank protruding from the back of the button, through which thread is sewn to attach the button to the fabric.

Covered buttons

(fabric-covered button photographed in a mirror)

are fabric-covered forms with a separate back piece that secures the fabric over the knob.

Flat or Sew-through buttons

(two left buttons have 2 holes, right button has 4 holes; left button is plastic, middle button is mother of pearl, right button is metal; photographed in a mirror)

have two or four holes drilled through the button, through which the thread is sewn to attach the button to the fabric.

Worked or Cloth buttons

(left is front and right is back of the button; photographed in a mirror)

are created by embroidering or crocheting tight stitches (usually with linen thread) over a knob or ring.

Mandarin buttons, Frogs or Chinese ball buttons

(photographed in a mirror)

are elaborate knots made of cord or braid. Mandarin buttons are a key element in Mandarin dress (Qi Pao and Cheongsam in Chinese), where they are closed with loops.

The dimension given for a button's size is diameter. It is measured in lignes (also called lines and abbreviated L), with 40 lignes equal to 1 inch. For example, some standard sizes of buttons are 16 lignes (10.16 mm, standard button of men's shirts) and 32 lignes (20.32 mm, typical button on suit jackets).

Next week I will talk about some history of the button !


Kreativlink said...

I recently started to use buttons more often in my work so - it's great to learn a bit about them.

Look forward to the history lesson. Hope there will come really ancient ones. You know, I like that! :)

StaroftheEast said...

Great facts about buttons, so much to learn!

Pedro Claus Kube said...

just fantastic , excelent.