Bouton lavable pour costume de toile – La Mode Illustrée, 1910

So at the museum that I’m working at there are, in the library, extensive original issue of La Mode Illustrée. So on my lunch hour I’m scanning as many as I can stand. I’m almost through 1910 now. During my perusals of this wonderful resource, I found a little project to occupy my fingers when they’re not engaged in stitching something old back together. I included the original text and a rough translation below.

The original French:

Bouton lavable pour costume de toile. – Le modèle est très simple à exécuter soit qu’on utilise du cordonnet fin ou du coton à crochet un peu fort, on choisit une forme, ou un moule en bois, de la dimension nécessaire sur laquelle on enlace le coton en changeant trois fois de direction et en enlaçant de 12 à 14 brins chaque fois. La gravure représente clairement le travail. Ensuite, on enlace trois fois encore le bouton de façon qu’il so trouve un fil dans chaque intervalle, on répète ce travail pour poser un second fil à côté du premier, dans chaque intervalle. Puis on fixe le brin à l’envers, par quelques points, de façon que les brins ne chevauchent pas les uns sur les autres. Après avoir glissé le brin dans une forte aiguille à tapisserie on enlace, suivant les indication de la gravure, les derniers brins posés; après chaque rayon ainsi formé, on glisse le brin de travail à travers ce rayon pour le faire ressortir au milieu.

On peut simplifier l’exécution en recouvrant la forme ave de la toile et en travaillant seulement le motif brodé. Il est facile d`établir de cette dernière façon des boutons en taffetas ou en satin et de broder avec du cordonnet.

My translation:

 Washable button for fabric clothing – The example is very simple to create using either fine cord or strong crochet cotton, choose a form, or a wooden mould, of the size necessary upon which you wrap the cotton changing the direction three times wrapping 12 or 14 strands each time. The engraving clearly shows the method. Then, wrap again three time in such a manner that we find a strand in each interval, and reapeat to place a second thread next to the first in each interval. Then, fix the strand in the back by a few stitches, in such a way that the strands do not overlap on top of one another. After threading the strand in a strong tapestry needle, enlace, following the pattern of the engraving, with the last strands placed; after each ray is created, slide the working thread through this ray to emerge in the middle.

 The execution can be simplified by covering the form in fabric and working just the embroidery motif. It is easy to created this last method on taffeta or satin buttons and to embroider with cord.

For my buttons I’m just using very basic white plastic buttons. I have found that it is, not surprisingly for a fashion magazine, not a simple as they make it sound. For one thing, I cannot just simply wrap the threads around the button in three sections. The farther the threads get from the centre of the circle, the more likely they are to slip off the side. I really found that I needed to cover the buttons in a layer of fabric to give myself a place to anchor stiches on. Once I figured that out it was mostly easy going. It’s still a fiddly piece of handwork but that’s inevitable with the size of button (11mm) that I’m using. I’ve also noticed that I can’t seem to get the tension of the decorative stitches right. The star criss-cross ones are too loose and the ones that form the “petals” too tight so the result covers much less surface area than the illustration from the magazine. But I like them better this way anyway.

As I mentioned I’ve been taking these to work and I have a handy dandy little box to hold everything in. It once held gummy Eiffel Towers that were very delicious.

And here you can see everything unpacked. I would have the plastic buttons on a safety pin but I misplaced my pin box during my move from Glasgow. It’s around here somewhere… I sometimes find I need the pliers to pull the needle through all the layers of thread.

On another note, would people be interested if I posted the copies of La Mode Illustrée somewhere? I’m got most of 1910 and the pattern pages as well. If there’s enough interest I can look into hosting the files somewhere.


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