How to Make 18th Century Thread Buttons, with William Booth Draper

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Thread buttons were used on the collars of men’s shirts and other undergarments from the late 17th into the early 19th century. Not only were thread buttons less expensive than bone, wood or metal but they would not break during the strenuous beating and scrubbing used by the laundresses which is described in the book The Laundress. Unlike buttons made of other materials, thread buttons are soft and comfortable to lay against while sleeping.

Thread buttons (also called Dorset buttons after the area that produced many) are individually hand made from either unbleached (top), off white (center) or white (bottom) strong 16/2 linen thread and are approximately 1/2″ in size. There is a small thread shank at the back to sew to your undergarment.

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