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What are Buttons

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

A button is a fastener and can be made from a variety of materials, plastic, leather, metal, ivory, wood, bone and many others. Buttons can serve a practical as well as a decorative purpose. They can be used as clothing fasteners, fashion accessories, in arts and crafts, for decorative purposes and to make jewelry.

Buttons of many colors at Priganart

Types of Buttons

Types of buttons PriganArt

2 hole

4 hole








"The medieval period was the era when wearing lots of buttons meant big money. Franco Jacassi, reputedly the world’s biggest button-collector, describes this as a time when you could pay off a debt by plucking a precious button from your suit. Italians still describe the rooms where powerful leaders meet as stanze dei bottoni, “rooms of the buttons.”

The size of the button depends on its use. Shirt buttons are generally small, and spaced close together, whereas coat buttons are larger and spaced further apart. Buttons are commonly 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).

The American National Button Society (NBS)[21] has its own button sizing system which divides button sizes into 'small', 'medium' and 'large'."

Button Trivia

Did you know that men's shirts button left to right, while women's shirts button in the opposite direction? ​Ornate buttoning among the wealthy required some help. Around this era is when buttons migrated to different sides of a shirt for men and women. Men usually donned their own shirts, so their buttons faced right for their convenience. Women with ladies’ maids wore their buttons on the left, to make it easier for the maids to maneuver while facing them.

"The practice of wearing clothes decorated with so-called pearl, actually mother-of-pearl buttons, originated in the 19th century.[1] It is first associated with Henry Croft, an orphan street sweeper who collected money for charity. At the time, London costermongers (street traders) were in the habit of wearing trousers decorated at the seams with pearl buttons that had been found by market traders. Croft adapted this to create a pearly suit to draw attention to himself and aid his fund-raising activities.[2][3] In 1911 an organised pearly society was formed in Finchley, north London.[1]"

Pearly Kings and Queens

The war of buttons

War of the Buttons is a 1994 Irish-French drama adventure film directed by John Roberts. It was written by Colin Welland and based on the French novel La Guerre des boutons, by Louis Pergaud. The story, about two rival boys' gangs in Ireland, the Ballys (working class) and the Carricks (middle class), is set in County Cork, where it was filmed on location.[2]

The Button Show

Arts and Crafts from Buttons

Button inlaid table

Button Table

Button Stamp tutorial

Button stamp tutorial

Door handles

Button Door handles

Button plant

Button plant

Clothing embellishment

Marion Cotillard a Cannes 2014 abito Martin Margiela Couture​

Button Dress

Embellished sweater

Button embellished sweater


Sandles with buttons

Button Jewelry and Accessories

Button Bracelet

Button Necklace


Button adorned scarf

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#PriganArt #buttons#buttonjewelry#buttontutorial

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