EDMONTON -- Like many others during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jen Waters wanted to find something to do with her time.

As videos of people making sourdough loaves or giving themselves haircuts started to flood social media, the Edmonton dressmaker decided to do something with the objects she's been collecting for years: buttons.

"Some family heirlooms gifted by friends and others procured from antique shops or button and fabric stores," said Waters.

Back near the beginning of the pandemic, in April, Waters was temporarily laid off from her job as a librarian. As she sat at home and scrolled sites like Twitter, she became disheartened by the steady stream of upsetting information — and decided to cheer herself up.

"So I found an old black dress in my closet and I got to work."

She started sewing buttons on every square inch of the dress, combining buttons new, old and in some cases, possibly a century old to create a one-of-a-kind dress.

"Being able to sit down for 10 minutes and sew a couple buttons was just really relaxing and it kind of gave me a purpose," Waters told CTV News Edmonton.

Four months, five rolls of thread and around 1,200 buttons later, she created her masterpiece.

Buttons dress

(Courtesy: Jen Waters)

The labour of love wasn't without its pain.

"Some fingers were harmed in the making of this pandemic project," she said.

The dress is also heavy —and not entirely suitable for day-to-day wearing — but Waters said she hopes to return to her library wearing it one day for a kids' story time.

Until then, the dress is proving to be a hit on Twitter after Waters posted photos of it, garnering hundreds of likes.

"I know the dress isn't a cure for COVID," she said. "But if it brings people some moments of joy in this weird, old world, that makes my heart glad."