Buttons That Mimick Fabrics

We invite you to see buttons in a new way: recognizing the fabrics they resemble!

Buttons, made from more durable materials than fabric, were developed to “fool the eye”, imitating weaves, finishes, patterns, and needlework found on delicate true fabric buttons. In this database, we introduce you to the rich variety of the mimicry you can find on buttons.


This fun journey through buttons is brought to you by Dorothy Krugner from the State of Washington. She came to button collecting via decades of historic textiles research. Dorothy’s research shows her fascination with costumes reflecting changes in society. As a hobby, Dorothy collects and displays buttons with the fabrics upon which they would have been worn. Additional articles by Dorothy on Mourning Buttons and the Buttons of the National Recovery Act are available in the Reference Library sections of this WRBA website.

Joy Journeay, WRBA editor at the time, with her impressive web skills, was able to get Dorothy’s many boxes of buttons photographed and beautifully documented for posterity. Nearly, 400 buttons have been put on the WRBA website in gallery form for anyone to view. NBS members may log in to find the video presentation on this topic by Anna Fort of Oregon.

Mika Jarmusz and Kathy Kanter, WRBA members and friends of Dorothy’s, have contributed to the team effort to update and bring you this stunning addition to the button world.

Want to Learn More?

 Some online resources are:
TEXTILE RESEARCH CENTER, Leiden, The Netherlands – Extensive site with hundreds of Textiles for view

SEWINGISCOOL.COM – Free site full of information on fabric ID, stitches, sewing tips


Button Collector’s NOTE:

For those of you who love to catalog and define your buttons by the National Button Society’s Blue Book classification, remember that for a GLASS button to be classed as 6-6.7 or 7-7.3Imitation Fabric”, the button must imitate fabric by the MOLDED SURFACE DESIGN.  For other material classes, there is not a requirement for surface molding.

We are thankful for the time and expertise contributed to creating this introductory database.

Fabric (A-M)

Fabric (N-Z)