The well established buttonhole makers, now know as D.M.Buttons & Buttonholes, has been providing services for garment makers since before The World Wars.
Serving the local traders from a small workroom on Berwick Street, in the once thriving manufacturing hub of The West End, ‘Auntie Annie‘ and her husband Dave were an integral part of the garment finishing processes. Auntie Annie’s nephew ‘Jack‘, a trained hat maker born in Brick Lane, started working at the buttonholers when he was a young lad. Auntie Annie, noticing the high demand for sewing buttonholes, asked “Jacky, can you come and help me with the buttonholes?”. After The Second World War Jack, who had previously worked with his Milliner dad ‘Mike’ in Petticoat Lane, expanded the buttonhole services and moved to larger workrooms in Wardour Mews. In the 1950’s Jack married a fellow buttonholer ‘Rita’, the beginnings of the iconic duo that so many of the industries long-standing customers still hold fond memories.
“Jacky, can you come and help me with the buttonholes?”
Some years later they made the business a full family affair by making their son ‘David’, a born and bred Londoner, part of the team. Starting at age 12, David, one of the ‘rare breed’ of manufacturers still trading in the UK, learnt his craft from a very young age. Initially making his ‘pocket money‘ by covering buttons, and through the years learning all the skills, leading to him taking the business reigns after the millennium. David Miller is the owner and buttonhole maker of the ever busy D.M.Buttons & Buttonholes, in the same Mews workshops he’s worked at for the last 40 years.
“David, one of the ‘rare breed’ of manufacturers still trading in the UK, learnt his craft from a very young age.”
Over the years the buttonholers have seen many clients from many industries, from wartime repairs through to high-end fashion houses, students and tailors alike. The ‘bread and butter’ has always been the local tailors, also expanding to a number of independent bespoke makers, alteration tailors and even suiting houses on Savile Row. Wardrobe departments and theatres have brought in work for some of the classics, such as Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Rat Pack, Mamma Mia and Les Misérables. Alongside some of the biggest costume studios like Cosprop and Academy Costumes. TV series, adverts and films will often feature fastenings completed in the workrooms in Soho. Bridal wear and evening Gowns by exclusive designers such as Ralph&Russo and Suzanne Neville, seen in publications across the UK, feature our covered buttons.
“The ‘bread and butter’ has always been the local tailors”
The years have seen great fashion icons themselves walk through the doors, names such as Alexander McQueen, Charles Jeffrey, Vivienne Westwood, Yuki, Bruce Oldfield, Betty Jackson, Jasper Conran and Stella McCartney to name a few. Working with seamstresses and stylists we’ve previewed the wardrobes of an endless list of celebrities from the Beatles to Tom Jones, Michael Jackson to Boy George, even The Royal Family and The Queen have been known to adorn covered buttons from D.M.Buttons.
“Customers today come to the workrooms for that same niche service of machine sewn buttonholes they did over 100 years ago.”
Over the last few years D.M.Buttons & Buttonholes has featured in many publications, you can also follow our up-to-date work on Instagram @dmbuttons
The current ‘look out for the buttonholes’ is whilst watching Downtown Abbey, Poldark, Vanity Fair and the upcoming film Bohemian Rhapsody. Our latest published review is seen on AIRBnB’s ‘things to do and places to visit‘ online resource.
Discover more about Soho:
Soho Then – a photo-based podcast
We also appear and are mentioned on many blogs – See our REVIEWS and browse the links below:
Simply Sewing Mag
Points of Interest – AirBnB
L’Atelier Linda Brooker
The Good Wardrobe
The Soho Society
Living to work – Working to live
The Crafty Crusader