Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

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It’s nice to buy a handmade doll dress and find that it has buttons or snaps instead of that scratchy plastic stuff whose name cannot be spoken and everyone hates anyway.

This post isn’t about doll clothes. It’s about using buttons to make and repair doll accessories, specifically Tonner dolls, but you could use buttons in many ways for dolls of all sizes.

I’ve done one project and one repair using buttons from the button jar my aunt filled and I received after her death. I have three Tonner dolls: Urban Legend Lizette, Fanciful Miette, and ESPecially Prudence. I bought each doll nude, and only Miette came with a stand. Miette also has her blue hair ribbon. I think that the hat on the dressed doll is a bit silly, but I did want her to have a hat. I can crochet, but I have almost no sewing experience beyond sewing on a button.

Then it occurred to me: a button hat! I dug a large white button with two holes out of the jar. I had a couple of mini flower bouquets (who doesn’t?) and one was blue, so I pulled off a rose. Something was still missing. I turned the button jar around and around and spotted some small white star-shaped buttons. It was easy to sew the flower to the base button, then sew on the stars. I have a couple of long straight pins with oval-shaped white heads that I found in my grandmother’s sewing machine. I pushed one through a hole in the base button and into the stiff hair under Miette’s blue ribbon.

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It’s not so frou-frou, like the swan head hat in the doll’s original outfit, but I think it looks a little like those silly hats the English royals wear to Events. My hat is easy to remove without disturbing Miette’s hair. I stuck it to my fancy pincushion when I changed her outfit.

What can you repair with a button? A wineglass.

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Prudence dropped her wineglass. It hit the hardwood floor and the stem cracked. I have a great clear industrial adhesive that usually fixes anything, but I could not get it to set and hold the stem and base. I pulled the base off, filed the stem attached to the glass and the small piece of stem attached to the base smooth, then tried again. It still wouldn’t set. I was determined to fix it and decided that the base was a wash and had adhesive all over it anyway. Then I thought again of buttons.

I found a nearly opaque button with a depression in the middle. The stem fit perfectly.

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Above is Miette (in her Halloween frock) holding the undamaged and the repaired glass. Because the repaired glass now has a thicker stem, the Ellowyne body type can’t hold it in one hand. Now I tape the glasses into their hands. Live and learn.

And because you’re probably curious by now, here is the button jar, and Lizette showing off her new dress and kitten:

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Good Morning! Let the stress begin!

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Let’s not and say we did.

We had a few “decorative” signs and pieces of embroidery in our kitchen that shouted THERE WILL BE STRESS! THIS IS A HOUSE OF STRESS! in various cutesy sentiments. One I took down last night, a framed crewel embroidery, featured a cannon firing the words GOD GRANT ME PATIENCE RIGHT NOW!

That’s not nice to have in your subconscious every time you go in your kitchen.

I took them down and replaced them with one that conveys a comforting sentiment (and has a cat on it!) and another rather intriguing piece of old needlework that someone in the family framed. When I first saw it up close, I thought it was just a framed piece of old tatting. I had to look at it from a distance to make out the word. It’s not for sale, and I don’t have the pattern, but if you’re experienced at needlework, you could surely make your own version, and if you don’t sew, you could paint or stencil it onto an old board and use twine to hang it.

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— Robin