Have you noticed that posts about buttons on social media elicit a flurry of comments about grandmothers’ button tins or jars, fond memories of special buttons, buttons that made certain cardigans and dresses special favourites. It seems that buttons really do “press our buttons”,and we are, like the late Steve Jobs, fond of the perfect button. (Of course he was fond of an entirely different sort of button, but we understand the sentiment.)
Buttons have been special since fashion became fashionable. Not only useful for fastening and making clothes fit, buttons were signs of wealth – status symbols, where the rule of the day was the more buttons the better.
While these days we are not so heavy on the buttons we all know that the right button is worth the hunt. Paris isn’t short of fabulous button purveyors and in our Stitching up Paris guidebook we’ve given you a sample of button heaven in the heart of Montmartre’s fabric district.
Now we’ve got three more button addresses for you to stash in your notebook:
15 rue St Guillaume
Metro: Rue du Bac or St Germain
For the English version click the Anglais button at the top right. The blog posts are particularly interesting and cover a range of topics including fashion tips.
Open: Mon, Tue & Thurs 2pm to 7pm, Weds & Fri 10am to 7pm, Closed: Sat & Sun
Sandrine Mettelal’s fabulous boutique is just off boulevard St Germain on the Left Bank. In fact, it’s not far from the new location for France Duval Stalla’s fabric store that we mentioned in our last post. It’s also just a short stroll from the fabulous department store Le Bon Marché and any number of delightful cafes and refreshment stops.
As well as a beautifully curated range of luxury, vintage, contemporary and top-selling buttons you will find stunning button jewelry and buckles. Just to whet your appetite further, Sandrine has shown Barbara a selection of fabulous vintage buttons including some made of snail shell that were designed by Lucien Weingott – who worked with Schiaparelli.
Sandrine is an experienced connoisseur of buttons and provides excellent advice for choosing buttons.
Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie
51 rue Roger Salengro
(English translation button top right)
Open: Everyday except Tuesdays 2.30pm to 6.30pm
The Mother of Pearl museum is housed in a 19thcentury button-making factory in the town of Méru. For a (half) day trip out from Paris take the train from Gare du Nord to Beauvais-Le Tréport via Persan stopping at the village of Méru (about 50mins from Paris). Consider taking a taxi from the station to the museum; my map App advises it’s 1.1km away, approximately 15 minutes walk.
The museum is open daily from 2.30pm to 6.30pm (except Tuesdays). Please check the Hours and Access information on the website under the tab “Useful” for annual closing dates and any variations to these opening hours.
There are guided tours, in French, that will give you an idea of the working conditions in the old factory; harsh! There is a boutique on site – after all you might like some little souvenirs to remind you of your expedition to Méru.
21 rue des Petits Carreaux (3rd floor)
Metro: Sentier (exit rue des Petits Carreaux)
Open: Monday to Friday 8am to 2pm
If you are on the hunt for buttons, chances are you may want buttonholes too. Here is a great address for stress-free buttonholes made tout de suite and it’s right in the centre of the fashion capital where rue des Petits Carreaux becomes rue Montorgueil (featured in Neighbourhood Notes page 73 Stitching up Paris guidebook).
Drop in to this tiny workshop, the entrance is right next door to Starbucks, between 8am and 2pm any weekday and Monsieur Mireille (junior) will make buttonholes, covered buttons, eyelets, and popper buttons for you on the spot at a very reasonable price. What’s more, you’ll likely see a genuine side of Parisian sewing life: young men and women with their cosplay outfits, independent fashion designers, young sewists with their tote bags, and clever seamstresses bringing their latest self-made winter coats, all of them know the best address for stress-free, perfectly professional finishing touches.
You’ll need to have the placement of the buttonholes marked on your finished garment, know the size of the buttonhole you need (take your buttons) and your piece of fabric chosen for covered buttons.
As always, bon voyage!
PS: the fabulous vintage Rhodoid buttons in the top photograph (and the single button picture) are from La Droguerie in Paris.
La Clarière in Paris has vintage mother-of-pearl buttons and gave us the old French Post bag.