Monday, 13 August 2007

old school

Actually, what precedes old school? Relic or anachronism have a tinge of morbidity about them, antiquated or archaic suggests that something is completely out of date, old fashioned is also just not right.

Blast from the past - that's The Button Shop (
181 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern; tel. 95097077; M-F 9:00-5:30, S 9:00-4:00).

I dashed in here on Saturday afternoon after completely losing track of time pruning rose bushes to buy sewing thread and ribbon. I did have to pop into Spotlight afterwards to buy some iron-on interfacing as The Button Shop doesn't sell fabric but, heavens, it has almost everything else. And what's more - this is the old-fashioned bit - it is an independent retailer, a genuine old-time haberdasherer with no fluorescent-lit refurbishment, no VIP programme, no (e)mailing list. I love it.

I remember my mother bringing me to The Button Shop when I was in primary school nearby, so around 1984 onwards. I think that hardly anything has changed, indeed some of the stock looks like it may already have been there in 1984. The store is quite deep, the rear third full of knitting yarn - lots of Patons and Cleckheaton but also yarns by Naturally and Heirloom; along the right-hand wall is an incredible array of buttons and otherwise there is an incredible array of sewing threads, ribbons, elastic, ric-rac, sewing accessories, shoulder pads, knitting needles, knitting patterns - the place is a treasure trove.

While I was there I bought a spool of Gütermann sewing thread. Talk about brand loyalty, I am a marketer's dream in this sense. I always buy Gütermann because I like all of my spools to be the same. Truly. And I would quite happily acquire every single colour thread available if the need existed.
Above is only a small selection of what I already have. I love the way that a spool can set off a memory - like that silky blue that I used to mend a lovely cornflower blue Saba cardigan that was part of a twin-set; or that light olive green that I used to sew in a zip in a knitting project. Sadly, the spools can also set off memories of projects that never came to fruition. I have a tendency to confuse buying the supplies for a project with actually doing the project - sewing thread, oil pastels, language books ....

On Saturday, I bought the dark blue-green (utmost top right) to do the shirring on the caftan top in order to turn it into a dress for baby bear. I also bought some musk pink grosgrain ribbon to match a cotton miniskirt that I bought at the op shop last Friday. I am in the process of putting in pintucks in front and back and it will become another summer dress for baby bear. The ribbon will be used for the straps and a sash. I hereby declare these supplies and my intention to produce a finished product.


nikkishell said...

A great shop but i always find it smells of stale smoke.

greenolive said...

It is a great shop. Last time i was there, a few days before I met you at Nicki's, I'd bought yards of grograin ribbons and lots of silk yarn by Naturally. I always go to the Button Shop and Cutting Edge when in Malvern.