© Bartłomiej Banasiak|dreamstime.com
See also: buttonholes
In the United States, buttons are now often sized by the diameter in inches. In an older system still used by button makers but rarely by those who sew garments, the diameters of buttons are given in “lines.” There are 40 lines to the inch; thus a line 20 button is half an inch in diameter.
(The line also survived as the measure for watchglasses in the United States long after it was no longer used elsewhere. These lines should not be confused with the British line, 12 to the inch, or the premetric French unit, the ligne, which was one-twelfth of a pouce or approximately 2.2558 millimeters, almost 4 times larger.)
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Last revised: 28 March 2008.