Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Q & A Day: Basting and Buttons

It seems that for a few weeks running it has been the fellas who have stepped forward to ask the questions for the weekly Q & A, and this week is no exception. So for this Tuesday's post, I'll be anwering these gentlemen's questions on basting and buttons.

First, Aaron asks: "Can you describe 'basting'?"

Jennifer responds: A basting stitch is a long, loose, straight stitch that sewers use to temporarily hold fabrics in place. It's quick and easy to do, but not meant to last.

And then dovetailing off of yesterday's post on The Hallmarks of Quality ,Aaron, Steve and Peter wanted to know what quality buttons are made of, if not plastic.

Jennifer responds: Quality buttons can be made from a number of different materials. One of the very best is horn, from both cow and buffalo. Modern horn button are a dull brown; antique horn buttons have a wider variation of colors and are usually streaked. Another popular material for buttons is mother-of-pearl, prized for its luster. Both of these types of buttons are quite expensive. Two other materials prized for fine buttons, tortoiseshell and ivory, are not generally used any longer, due to laws protecting endangered animals. Buttons made from these materials will most likely be found on vintage clothing and on garments made in countries without these restrictions.

However, the buttons you will most likely encounter are made from a polyester-resin blend. These might be confused with plastic...however they are very durable and through a number of special processes can be made to imitate the look of fancier buttons. Plastic buttons, on the other hand, are cheap and often brittle.

Of course, nearly any material you can think of could be fashioned into a button of some kind. But these are the most common that you will find on pieces of quality.

If you have a question you would like answered in the weekly Q & A, feel free to ask, and I will try to answer. See you next time...same blog time...same blog channel....

(For more information on wardrobe planning, or to sign up for my E-Zine, please visit my website.)


JW said...

Ok Since Ms April has given me grief about my Tommy Bahamma Shirts, are they out for now?


Aaron said...

Thanks for the answers Jenn! Do you inspect the stitching along the inside of clothes, then? That seems to be how clothes are put together.


Sheridan said...

What kind of stitching should they be using to hem my pants. Once someone used basting, and the hem fell out in about 3 wearings.


Matthew Shields said...

I just picked up a few new shirts a couple of days ago. They had an advertisement that reads unbreakable buttons. I thought to myself well thats nice, I can't recall ever breaking a button before. Having them rip off thats another story.
Focus Your Energy

Lisa M. McLellan said...

I thought I learned once that buttons were made of seashells. I wonder if there was any truth to that. What do you think?

Lisa McLellan

Jennifer Skinner said...

You are right! Mother-of-pearl is one type from mollusks, but other shells are used in making buttons as well.

Hems should be done with what is called a blind stitch...in other words, it won't show on the outside of the garment. It looks like this:
- - - /\ - - - /\ - - - /\ - - -

Unless you really want to make Tommy Bahama shirts your brand, you'd best save them for vacations. ;-) They are quite popular, though.

Yes, check the seams inside the clothing.

Jennifer Skinner

drpeter said...

Relly? Tommy Bahama shirts seem popular here in California

Dr Helton, making your skin beautiful without surgery, nationally renowned Cosmetic Dermatologist

April Braswell said...

Oh John, it was just so loose and pink. Not that SOME pink on men can't look great. Just in in a more tailored environment.

Hmmmm, I may have stuck my foot in it and emasculated you online. :((

Matt, that's because of the ENERGY with which your GFs are tearing your clothes off, I'm sure!

Jenn, this is excellent information as ever. I really appreciate the DETAIL to which you go in describing a QUALITY wardrobe.

All the best,

April Braswell
Romance Coach, Online Personals Coach, Online Dating Coach, Romantic Relationship Coach

RobFromGa said...

I once had to sew a button on a shirt in an emergency, and it lasted almost three hours.

Crisis averted.

For my son's Boy Scout patches we use the iron on kind. My medical plan doesn't cover sewing accidents.

Rob Northrup

RobFromGa said...

Did you know that buttons on a man's jacket sleeve have absolutely no purpose. They originated on the uniforms of Napoleon's army when he discovered that his soldiers were using their sleeves to wipe their noses.

Cliff Clavin, Cheers
October 9, 1986

S Chambers said...

Thanks Jenn, I'll pay more attention to the buttons next time I go shirt shopping.

Steve Chambers, Sales Training Expert

Sabrina Peterson said...


Great explanation. I sew (I'm much more domestic than I let on...) so I knew what basting was. But, then again, I'm not a guy.