Have you ever tried to buy a buckle? Despite the explosion of interest in dressmaking this is a product that is not easily available today. I tried a few haberdashery shops and market stalls, and came away disappointed.
If you look at buckle use on the internet you will see some lovely examples, this one by Karen, for example. She told me she had been sent the buckle as a gift! And Ooobop has used a lovely one on her turquoise dress. But most bloggers explain the buckle was in Grandma’s button box, or found in a second hand shop.
When I made a 1940s coat it needed a matching belt and I managed to buy a leather one at McCulloch and Wallis. When I made my blue SWAP skirt I needed a belt buckle for the back.
This time I bought one on the internet, via eBay. I got about 12 for £4, plus postage. Unfortunately some of them arrived broken. I felt a bit upset about the iridescent blue one as it had been a bit of a favourite.They broke because they are made out rather thin plastic that I think is known as bakelite.
However the silver one was perfect for my skirt and I pleased it was exactly the right size, phew. I think it looks like it comes from the 1960s whereas I am guessing most of the others come from the 1930s-1940s.
I only wanted one buckle but I bought a few because they are very lovely items. Here is a nice job lot that I turned down (at £20) because I just don’t need that many. You can see that metal, mother of pearl, leather, wood and horn were all used traditionally. Some of them have a pin in the middle so that they can fit multiple sizes (but made to measure clothes can just have one buckle hole!). I would love these beautiful items to have wider use. They really need to be deployed on fitted dresses with a fabric belt. I think they probably look best on skinny girls but our young women just don’t wear that sort of thing anymore, do they? I suppose there may be other purposes for them, but I can’t think of one, beyond keeping them in a box and admiring their lovely shapes, colours and materials.
Do you see yourself finding a role for these little beauties or is the buckle dead?