Historical Button Making: Five Centuries of Fastening your Clothes

Nov 19, 2017, 10am - 4pm
LSI (Language Studies International), Berkeley, CA

Buttons. Who doesn't like a pretty button? Buttons are often an afterthought slapped on at the end of the costume-making process. And store-bought buttons run the risk of looking too modern, or being a bit generic. Wouldn't you like to have buttons that elevated your carefully constructed costume, rather than merely being inoffensive?

If making your own buttons seems intimidating, do not despair! The techniques are simple to learn and easy to master. This is your chance to step-up your historical closure game! By investing a little time (and patience) you can improve your garments' look and historical accuracy.

We will go over how to make:
Cloth buttons - used in Ottoman clothes and medieval garments such as the gothic fitted gown.
Thread-wrapped beads - used in Florentine and Elizabethan outerwear.
Death's-Head buttons - used in 18th century clothing
Dorset buttons - used during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Bird's eye buttons - used from the 18th century well into the Edwardian Era, especially for undergarments and children's clothing.

About your instructor:

Jennifer Bristow has been sewing since childhood, has been making historical garments since 1989, and has stitched for select theatrical productions since 2008. With a particular interest in what "average people" wore, Jennifer has a fondness for the fiddly parts (aka details) of a garment. Self-taught, Jennifer has made buttons for garments ranging from the Ottoman Empire to the Regency era.

Students should bring:
- Basic sewing kit (snips, needles, etc)
- Thread
- Regular and button hole twist in your preferred colors
- 1/4 yard of fabric (scraps are fine)
- Knitting needle or awl
- Note taking tools
- A task light (optional, but highly recommended)

Supply Kit and Fee: 
- n/a


Language Studies International

2015 Center Street
Berkeley, CA 94704



Street Parking is free on Sundays. There is also a parking garage across the street from LSI. Berkeley Bart Station exits a block away from LSI.

From I-80, take University Avenue Exit, and head east. Turn right on Milvia Street, and go down two blocks to Center Street. LSI is to the left. Be aware, there is construction in the lot right next to the LSI building, partially blocking the street!


$47.00 members
$57.00 nonmembers

Deadline to Purchase: November 12th, 2017

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Questions? Send an email to Catherine Scholar at .

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