May 09th, 2023
Other than what appears to be a rather violent shade of yellow, do you see anything else wrong with this shirt? Yup, that's it. It's missing a button. I noticed it as soon as I pulled it out of the dryer and immediately went into panic mode. Missing button? Oh NO!
I searched the dryer thoroughly and found nothing. Logically, I next checked the washer and found no button there either. Dang. My first thought was to just throw the shirt away. But luckily I came to my senses and remembered that A) I actually like this shirt a lot despite it's colour and B) I don't own so many clothes that I can afford to just toss a perfectly good shirt just because it's missing a button. Ratz. Sometimes being practical is a pain.
As you may, or may not, recall, I am a non-sewer. I hate sewing. I hate it so much that just thinking about sewing (or attempting to sew) make me itch. Joy, on the other hand, is a great seamstress. She used to make her kids clothes, altering and mending things was a quick afternoon's work and her quilts are works of art. Just like our Nana, sewing is not so much a chore for her as a pleasurable way to pass time.
Unlike me. Clearly, I did not get the sewing gene. I'm the one who got kicked out of Home Ec class during the sewing part because I accidentally ran my thumb through with the sewing machine needle (while using the machine, mind you) and it kind of, sort of, broke the machine. They sent me to art class instead. I wasn't any better at art, but I didn't break anything. Childhood traumas!
It did not improve as I got older. In fact, it only got worse. I've worn things with missing buttons, I do iron-on appliques to patch holes, I fold back cuffs rather than alter the length, I wear skirts and dresses at all sorts of bad lengths to avoid taking it up and I have been known to tape a torn hem rather than sew it, I will confess.
First I decided to fully search the entire house for the missing button. Clearly it fell off the shirt somewhere! I looked under everything - found two hair ties and several dust bunnies, I took all of the cushions off the sofa and even went through a vacuum cleaner bag (yucky job). I even checked the car. No button. double dang. Next, I allowed myself a full blown, adult sized, internal tantrum which culminated in eating an entire pint of Talenti Ice Cream. And then I felt a little better.
At this point, I had to just face facts. I wasn't just going to have to sew on one button, but all of the buttons now because the odds of finding the exact same button anywhere were somewhere between slim and none. Crap.
I whined about it to Tim who suggested that before I worked myself up into a rage, perhaps we should go to a sewing store and actually see if they have similar buttons. Even though I was dubious about the probability of finding a matching button, off we went to Joanne's Fabrics. We searched through all of the button cards and ultimately learned that I was correct. No matching or even close to matching buttons. Of all the times to be right about something. Tim suggested just finding another button that would work and having one odd button, that way I only have to suffer through replacing one. But I am way too OCD to have one mismatched button. (on the other hand if all of the buttons were different, that would look intentional and I'd be ok with that. But it doesn't change the reality - I would still be replacing them all)
Once we got back home, I had to sulk for a few days first, then finally, I kicked myself in the butt, mentally, and firmly told myself to Cowboy Up! It's not digging ditches after all, it's just sewing. Just sewing - HAH!
At any rate, it was time to get out the button box. This is my actual button box:
Now why I, a non-sewer, even have a button box is a bit of a mystery even to me. Habit perhaps? Nana had giant coffee cans filled to the brim with buttons. That's cans, plural. Any time a garment of any sort was no longer repairable, the first thing Nana would do was cannibalize it. She cut out the zipper (if was still good) and saved that with other zippers, cut off the buttons and put them in one of the cans, and then cut the good parts of the garment at the seams, washed and ironed those pieces and save them for future use. No Waste! Obviously there would be no reason for me to save fabric or zippers but buttons, yes. If I think of it before I throw something away, yes I still do cut off the buttons and add them to the button box. And there they usually just sit there quietly forever.
This time, however, I sorted through looking for buttons of the correct size. It took some time and a lot of patience. Not something I have in tremendous amounts. But eventually I found enough of the same - or similar enough - buttons to replace them all. I put them in a little pile and then closed the button box and put it away. Then did nothing at all with the shirt for several more days. I knew I was going to have to start this project with calm. I was not feeling calm.
Eventually came the day I couldn't put it off any longer. I dragged out my sewing box. This is what passes for my sewing box. And by the way, I have never once had to replace a single spool of thread in this box. That's how little I sew. Everything in this box is original from the time that I first put together a sewing box, which is so long ago now that I no longer recall it's original.
I sat at the kitchen table in front of the big bay window on a bright sunny day, gathered up all of my implements of destruction (thank you Arlo Guthrie) AND a box of bandaids, took a deep breath and began.
The first hurdle of course, is threading the damned needle. I cannot even begin to describe how annoying this part is. The back of my neck tenses up so much that before I've even begun the project, my neck aches and the ache begins to creep up and up until I also have a headache. Great start eh? I tried threading with my reading glasses on and then, when that doesn't work, with them off. I tried threading from the right (with my right hand) and then from the left (left hand). After about 15 minutes of it not working, I set everything down quietly and walked away to calm down.
Eventually, of course, through some sort of magical intervention, I actually got the needle threaded. Woo hoo! And in under a half hour too. I think that's a new record. Encouraged, I began to cut off the old buttons. I sawed away at the old thread with my little mini-scissors in vain. I snipped and clipped and hacked and pulled and, once again, occasionally had to just walk away to calm down, but at long last, all the buttons were off and I could start putting the new buttons on.
Actually I decided that that would be a great time to take a break. I would start fresh once more after a nice little walk and a snack. Deep Breaths, deep breaths.
I returned from my break and started anew. It took multiple more occasions of stepping away and returning, several finger stabbings and bandaid applications but ultimately I was successful. I spent most of the day working on it but dang it, I emerged from the fray triumphant! I did not let that button defeat me!
As long as you don't look at the back of the buttons, which is a gnarly mess of tangled thread and snarls and knots, I would say that overall I did not do a bad job. What's important here is that it's done. I've since worn and washed the shirt and it came out of the wash with all buttons still attached so I must not have done a terrible job of it.
I'm rather proud of myself. Despite the tantrums and procrastination and whining, eventually I did it. I kind of feel like I want to say Taadaa! And so I shall.
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.