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Death Head Buttons, Their Use and Construction

  • Norman H. Fuss
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Product Description

Paperback, 23 pgs. Norman Fuss, a longtime independent researcher and costumer, brings together a well-illustrated and informative book that provides concise instructions on making a thread wrapped button in a true 18th century fashion. "Death Head" buttons are a decorative type of button that was widely used on apparel in the 18th and early 19th Centuries, and which is still used today to provide a unique decorative element to modern clothing. Made by wrapping thread or yarn in a pattern around forms, “Death Head” buttons were a cottage industry and an article of commerce in Colonial times. Made in many different patterns and color combinations, the basic “Death Head” button exhibits a four segment pattern on its face. The “X” formed where the segments meet recalled to our ancestors the crossed bones in the skull and cross bones motif; hence the name “Death Head” buttons. The first section presents illustrations and references to the use of “Death Head” buttons on historical garments from period paintings and from artifact garments in museum collections, including a pair of George Washington’s breeches. The second section presents examples of artifact “Death Head” buttons from the 18th and early 19th Centuries, ranging from the basic single color, four segment button through a wide variety of sizes, patterns and color combinations. The third section presents illustrated, step by step instructions for making basic “Death Head” buttons in the fast and efficient way which study of surviving examples indicates that practitioners employed to make them commercially 200 years ago.

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Norman H. Fuss

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