Garment buttons are often overlooked by consumers. Nevertheless, they are an important detail that can convey a lot about the garment's quality and manufacturing process. To delve deeper into the manufacturing operation, let's look into button production.
Before getting into the manufacturing process, it's important to understand the raw materials. Firstly, buttons have been manufactured for centuries utilizing a wide array of resources. Many of these are no longer available for use in production due to legal and environmental issues (e.g. elephant ivory). We've gone from animal horns, pearls and glass to polyester, which is currently the most common button material.
Now to outline (and oversimplify) the manufacturing process of the average button. It all starts with mixing the polyester that arrives at the factory in liquid form. At this stage dye is also added to provide the desired color. The mixture is then poured into a rotating cylinder which evenly spreads the polyester. As it rotates it begins to harden into a sheet. The next step is to cut the sheet, and next to cut out the blanks. After the blanks have cooled they can be styled. From here the buttons, which at this point have rough edges, are put into spinning drums with water for 24 hours to smooth out the buttons.
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