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Vintage Rescue: Button Front Pillow

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The button jar. Most every house has one. It may not be a jar; it could a box or a lid or a cup or even a sock. A lot of us spent hours at Grandma's house playing with these beautiful chips of color. Although they do look pretty in pile, they really deserve to see the light of day. Give them new life as awesome accents and embellishments on your home decor projects.

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We had scraps leftover from our Bed Caddy project and were wondering what to do with them. There was also that proverbial jar of buttons sitting on designer, Alicia Thommas' desk. Put two and two together and you often get a pillow!

The pillow design itself is super simple, just three bands of fabric for the front and a solid on the back with a standard envelope closure.

It's the center panel that makes things pop. Made up of six rows of twelve buttons, this pretty, dimensional design mixes the uniformity of soldier-straight lines with the randomness of each button being slightly different from the next. For extra interest, instead of plain white thread, we used embroidery floss in a pale yellow to stitch our buttons in place.

The options for button patterns are endless. Try it with diagonal lines, outline a letter to make a button monogram, or make a pinwheel of radiating circles from a center ornate button.

We used a collection of round shell and plastic buttons on our sample in a fairly monochromatic palette of white and beige, but with a few pale greens and yellows. Depending on your fabric selection, it could be fun to add in even more color, unusual shapes or fancier finishes. Remember, don't go overboard. If everything is decorative, nothing stands out. A mixture of plain and pretty is a better bet.

Don't have your own button jar? Try eBay or Etsy online or check out local vintage or thrift stores. And check through your own clothing collection; before you throw out a shirt or coat you now consider a "fashion don't," cut off any pretty buttons.

There's even a National Button Society, if you decide to become a true button believer.

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