I’ve spent a chunk of time over the last two days attaching buttons. This Tudor-style doublet is festooned with buttons. And it took a long time to find these in particular. I wanted something sort-of gold, sort-of Renaissance-y, and with a high contrast to the fabric. I found them, but once you find buttons you have to attach them by hand. Twenty-six buttons and some occasionally cramped hands later, and this garment is finished
There’s something slightly terrifying about it. It took around 20-25 hours of work to make, spread over months. It took four visits to fabric stores, one trip to a store in the garment district in New York for buttons, and learning to lucet (and learning to make a lucet tool, too, with which to lucet cord). I could do seam stitching, as well, to prevent the internal seams from rolling. At this point it would be easier to do that with top-stitching with a sewing machine — but it would look better to do something by hand, maybe with decorative gold or silver thread.
What’s that line about how projects are never really completed, but only abandoned? I think I could work on this for a long time. But there’s something about overworking a project too. Some sort of seam-stitching, yes. But I think that has to be the end of it.
Cost: it’s hard to cost out a project that took months and benefitted from a number of discounts along the way, but this is not a simple one-off in any case. I did a brief costing out of the materials, and it’s probably $150-200 in materials — the main scarlet-diamond fabric was $35 from a discount pile; the lining was$8 and probably $6 for interfacing. Thread might have been $5. The buttons cost all of that, even at 50% off. I saved some by making my own trim; I should have figured out how to make my own buttons as well. There’s the sunk costs or infrastructure cost of the sewing machine and tables. And the hours of making it. Hours. All in all, we’re looking at a $300-$500 garment.
Gordon was talking on the podcast recently about how if you want to have complete control over your creativity and imagination, paint two hundred paintings. If it were “general creative projects” and not paintings specifically, I’m at a point well past the 1/3rd mark of that endeavor.