Buttonmania - the BIG post
I finally have my pictures uploaded, so this is the BIG post with the news and views of Buttonmania from yesterday. The pictures of the jacket and skirt were really just to tempt.
Buttonmania is a lovely little hidden treasure on Level 2 at 37 Swanston St, Melbourne (next to Subway, almost on the corner with Flinders Lane). It is operated by Kathy Boulton, who is covered-button-maker to the fashion trade. Just before the Spring Racing carnival is not the best time to visit, as she is extremely busy.
The building itself is very historic (and so are the lifts!) and was at the heart of the rag trade in Flinders Lane.
Kathy has a huge range of buttons, many of then vintage - this is just one section of her stock:
But the lovely thing is the other stuff as well. Kathy is a crazy quilter, too. So she has things like ten cent button boxes. This is the white button one:
There were heaps of what I would call vintage buttons in there - I have been collecting ones with four holes lately, as I like the possibilities they give for embellishing in button clusters. I think Kathy would be open to mail-order requests like "Please send me 100 buttons out of the ten cent box" - she is that sort of lady. But maybe you had better e-mail first and ask.
Then, I got into the ten cents each covered button box. This is what I chose (in a hurry!):
Again - can you imagine the fun if you ordered 100 covered buttons, to see what you got in the mail. Kathy did mention that is she is making covered buttons (she does them on a machine that is 100 years old - I need to go back and beg to be allowed to see that one), that she knows are going to be beaded, that she puts wadding underneath the fabric on the button to make them easier to bead - sounds a good tip.
There were other things I didn't get to look at. Judith picked up three rolls of fabric scraps, and I didn't even got a chance to have a look at the, check prices or anything. I need to go back there.
Because what happened was Kathy said that she is hoping to open a button museum in her "big room" next - and "you've seen the big room, haven't you?" I hadn't, so she showed us. Which is where we saw the jacket and skirt, and lots of other things. And this is where she will be teaching classes in future.
I have always known Kathy was instrumental in the Victorian Button Collectors Society (not sure if this is what they are actually called), and I wondered after I left if this is where they meet. So I googled away, and found that they meet in Burwood/Blackburn, but that people out there even blog about them. That link leads to this post - there are more blogs out there I need to explore.
Here are just a couple of views of the sorts of things that are already in the future museum - one of several showcases, and some hand-painted silk buttons that are over 100 years old - made for a wedding that was cancelled.
So, it is Thank You, Kathy, for allowing us to see the big room, and thank you, Judith, for giving me the excuse to go there in the first place.
You can see larger copies of most of these pictures by going to my main Flickr page, finding the pictures, opening them, then choosing "All Sizes". Some are quite large.
I hope you have enjoyed our visit to Buttonmania. And Kimono House.