Buy Nothing New October, Dress to Impress (for Less), Footnote Frivolity***, Gen DIY-er, Second-hand Scavengers

Second-hand rags to second-hand riches

Once there was a shirt from the flea market. Despite its lovely seventies floral print and one-dollar pricing, passers by would pick it up only to put it down because it was missing half a dozen buttons. Then a Mustbethrifty godmother came along. Even though she couldn’t turn pumpkins into coaches*, she saw some potential in the flea-market shirt and decided to give it a makeover.

Firstly, she moved what was left of the original cuff buttons to the central placket**. Old stitches were removed with a seam ripper. Some double length thread was secured to the back of the work. The needle was pushed through the fabric and the button shank until several loops were formed, securing the button to the shirt. Winding the thread around the shank added more support. The work was finalised with a couple of knots at the back.

The Mustbethrifty godmother then added some shankless buttons to the cuffs; these matched the blue of the shirt’s floral print. A couple of pins inserted into the fabric formed the shape of a cross, raising the button above the fabric like an actual shank as well as helping keep the buttons straight***.

After securing some double length thread, the needle pushed up through one side of the cross and one of the button holes. It then came down through the second button hole and the fabric on the opposite side of the cross. This was repeated several times. The pins were removed and the thread was wrapped around the underside of the button a few more times, before being fastened with some knots on the other side of the fabric.

With its new buttons plus a good wash and iron****, the once raggedy flea-market shirt now looked a million dollars and was ready for a night out on the town.

This post is part of a Buy Nothing New series for Buy Nothing New Month 2012. Yep. 

*or sew for that matter. Thank goodness for DIY crafty books like Kristin M. Roach’s Mend It Better.

**Instead of replacing the original buttons, I decided to keep them and add shankless buttons; I hate throwing away things and I thought the lack of uniformity in the shirt would give it a homely feel. However, this required me moving the original cuff buttons, so that the work wouldn’t look unintentionally mismatched, but it was worth the extra effort in the end. 

***I didn’t realise this second function until after I had finished a whole row of crooked buttons.

****Never wash and iron clothes before they’ve been mended; they may get damaged further.

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