In addition to tailoring, Benson & Clegg has established itself as one of the country’s premier suppliers of brass blazer buttons. Their vast range stocks over 150 varieties that represent some of Britain’s most prestigious military and academic institutions. Moreover, there is a diverse range of historical and decorative designs that also coincide with sports and hobbies from hunting to golf.
Exclusively created in the UK by craftsmen, the manufacture of these buttons follows an authentic tradition of artistry and distinction established in the 18th century. Nine separate hand operations ensure that these finely composed buttons meet the superior tradition of fine English tailoring.
Complete assorted sets of buttons are available in Benson & Clegg’s repertoire that include six jacket buttons as well as eight cuff buttons, which will be ample for either a double-breasted jacket or two single-breasted coats These are beautifully arranged in a distinguished display box making for an ideal Christmas or birthday gift for the discerning gentleman in your life.
Given my tendency to perceive myself as a somewhat sly individual, I could not resist the Fox Mask buttons. Although my choice was based purely on aesthetics, the refined form and subtle matt finish would make an excellent accessory for a riding jacket on the upcoming Boxing Day Hunt following Christmas.
How To Sew On Blazer Buttons
The Benson & Clegg brass buttons come in a traditional shank form meaning that at the base of the button, there is a brass loop through which the thread is sewn. There are several approaches onto sewing brass shank buttons by hand that provide various levels of strength.
Coincidentally, I came across an old French tailor-made club jacket from the 1920s. Although it was a beauty, it’s clear to see that it was in need of considerable attention. After some gentle washing with hot soap to remove scuffs and stains, the interior lining was repaired. All that was left was replacing the century-old and worn brass buttons.
Sewing buttons with a stay
If the jacket is usually worn with the buttons attached, the use of a stay is the safest method to ensure that the threading doesn’t detach under stress. Given that brass buttons are often heavier and quite precious, this is the recommended method.
In essence, the process involves sewing two buttons together between a piece of fabric. In turn, the inside button will take the strain rather than the fabric preventing any damage or stress to the jacket.
For the purpose of this guide, I used a larger button to be illustrate the process. However, there are buttons that function specifically as stays and shirt buttons work just as well.
A final note before we continue: If possible, seek out waxed and pressed threads for best results. Glazed threads are more likely ensure a strong hold on the button.
Begin by inserting a single thread from the inside of the jacket. Loop it once through the brass button (facing the right way up!) onto the where the brass button will be and thread it back to the inside.
Continue to thread the inside button as you would do regularly. However, every time you thread through to the front of the jacket, loop it through the brass shank. Try to keep it relatively tight so that the brass button is able to stand up on its own. Too loose and the brass button will be too limp on the jacket.
When shank has been sufficiently looped through, consider wrapping the thread around its base to provide strength and help it stand up. Do this enough times to cover the base and it should stand on its own.
Once finished, push the needle through the shank of thread created on the inside of the jacket, make a loop, and clip it. You should now have a sturdy brass button standing neatly to attention.
Sewing buttons without a stay
Some buttons on the jacket may not need a stay as they will be unlikely done up. For example, doing up the bottom button of a jacket is somewhat considered a sartorial faux pas. Moreover, if the cuff buttons aren’t functioning, they won’t go under any strain and have no need of a stay whatsoever. Although the following steps are longer, it makes for a quicker method for attaching buttons.
Make a large knot in a length of thread and insert it between the layers of the suit about an inch away from the button placement. Staying between the layers, guide it out to where you want to place your button. I have used a red thread to make this easier to see.
Make two or three small knots on this spot using a small space of stitching.
Pull on the big knot created at the start that should cause the fabric to bunch.
Clip it off and the thread should be hidden by slipping between the layers of the jacket.
Following what you learned in the previous guide, thread the button tightly onto the jacket. Except rather than passing the through all the way through the jacket, try to stay between the layers so no thread is visible on the lining. Don’t forget to loop the shank before finishing to apply that extra strength.
When finished, simply reverse steps 1 to 3 to create a small knot at the base of the button that can then be clipped away between the layers of the jacket.
The Final Result
From dull, oxidised and flopping buttons that had seen better days to gleaming gems standing to attention – it’s amazing what a well-sewn set of buttons can do to compliment and bring life to a jacket.
Metal Button Cleaning & Care
To keep your buttons beautiful, Brasso or any other brass polish is effective. However, be sure to protect your garment as these products can be pretty nasty to fabric. I protect my jacket using a sheet of greaseproof paper with a little slit to slip the button through. Using a cloth with a small amount of polish, I give it a gentle rub down then wipe off with a clean cloth.
Traditionally made by expert craftsmen, Benson & Clegg’s brass buttons are eye-catching accessories to spruce up any coat or jacket. Whether sailing, hunting or golfing, there is a vast collection of buttons to fit various gentlemen’s clubs or societies. Perhaps a perfect Christmas present or a special treat for yourself.
If you seek something a little simpler, Benson & Clegg also offer a fine selection of hand enamelled buttons that are subtle yet sophisticated. Moreover, ‘Mounted’ buttons are also available where customised crests can be cast and then fixed to the button with rivets.
On a final note, Benson & Clegg’s collection of accessories for your jacket extend beyond brass buttons. Benson & Clegg offer an extensive range of beautifully crafted blazer badges hand-made by artisans from bullion wire, silks and cottons. Coincidently, there’s still work to be done on my club jacket, so expect more soon from Bespoke Unit.