Sunday, 4 September 2011

Summer thrifting - part 2 and some digressions

Thank you to those of you who commented on the last post, it has been fun reading about different sorts of second hand shopping. More please....

This may seem hard to believe given the nature of this post but I have cut back on second hand shopping in the past few months. (Don't snigger into your coffee, it's true!) My summer thrifting finds stretch from June to the end of August. I have tried to cut back due to lack of funds and lack of space to put anything. I also don't want to buy stuff just for the sake of it, just so I don't leave a shop empty handed without having found some treasure.

I have been sticking to my "one-in, one out" strategy and this past fortnight 4 carrier bags have gone into the charity shops and one big bag of books went to the nearest National Trust second hand book shop. I have been told that children can "never have too many books", well, when the bookshelves are overflowing, books are piled on the stairs, the end of beds, on the chest of drawers, on the floors, then, maybe it is time to get rid of a few. We have been given lots of books second hand from friends with older children, plus my in-laws like buying new books for the children, plus normal birthday and Christmas presents. After all these sources I realised we had four different junior atlases, numerous nature and insect books, multiple copies of Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton, the list could go on and on.I know my children are lucky to have so many books so I decided to share that good fortune around and donate a bagful.

Enough digression, let's get on and show what I have for you today:

This fabric is a pair of full length curtains. They are home made by someone and in quite a lightweight fabric so it will translate well to dressmaking. They are photographed here in their unironed state waiting to be washed. I had thought someof this fabric would make a good autumnnal skirt. But I keep having an idea (or even an inspired vision) of this fabric made up into a shirt dress using the Traveller dress pattern view A from Sew Lisette. (As pictured above) Would that be retro-chic or just terrible-frump?? I am even imagining yellow piping.

I bought the curtains in a new shop opened near to T's school. From what I can work out, it is a hybrid shop, part of the profits go to local community groups, I am unsure how much percentage of the profits this is. It also sources supplies and goods for local community groups and all stock is donated by local people. (Yes, they are big on "local" here, it makes me giggle) It is quite a junk shop and I mean that as a complement. It would be a great place to go if you were setting up your first home as it has lots of crockery, kitchenalia and small furniture. There were some lovely wooden chairs and coffee tables. But you do have to hunt as there is also a lot of tat, and broken tat too. These curtains were priced at £20 by a staff member who wasn't working that day. The lady on duty sold them to me for £5. Twenty was out of my budget. I think that in this particular town and in this shop twenty pounds was way over priced. The shop assistant on duty agreed with me! I know if it were new fabric priced per metre this may be what it would cost. How much would you pay for second hand fabric though?

One thing I look out for in charity shops is picture frames and I found this Ikea one in a different shop. It was still in the wrapping. We are about 40 minutes from the nearest Ikea and this is the second time I have found still-wrapped ikea frame in this shop. I wonder if people have succumbed to the Ikea Madness and got carried away with all those cheap frames, and swedish styling, only to regret it once they get home. This frame has plexiglass in which I like for the children's rooms especially. Mr Minnado darkened the wood for me with some wax polish to take away the cheap pine look. I have put in a picture T painted at school two years ago and which has been waiting for a frame since then. (Yes, it is the ubiquitous Van Gogh sunflowers primary school painting, but I still like it).
Two tunic tops for autumn, the pink one is White Stuff via the charity shop and I like the pin tuck detailing. Do you get White Stuff outside the UK? It is a very popular brand with the mums at T's school. The second top is from Zara via the car boot sale and in a soft cotton jersey.

That wraps up this little collection. I am now off to sort out and photo some goods to sell on ebay. Oh and to brush my hair so I can take a Self Stitched September pic.


  1. Nice to see your findings! Your one in, one out strategy sounds sensible. The idea of piping added to the shirt dress sounds like a great idea, as it might tidy up the busy print (a busy, yet über cool!), for a shirt dress. Very nice idea!

    I find that the pricing of fabric in charity shops can vary ALOT, too. I´m sure it has something to do with who´s been at work the day. At my local shop, it seems though, that they have a vaguely standardized price per meter, which is beneficial if it´s wool or silk, but completely over-priced if it´s cotton.

  2. I definitely have to control myself in thrift shops. We are on such a tight budget at the moment that I am even avoiding that kind of shopping. I hate to think of what treasure I might be missing out on though.
    Good luck with your ebay sales - ebay always helps me declutter the house!

  3. I love the curtain fabric and can totally see it as a shirtdress! Then again, I have a little shirtdress obsession right now. I see cute ones everywhere!
    I wish that German second hand and charity shops would sell more fabric...

  4. Oh my gosh! I think the majority of my wardrobe over the last 5 years has come from eBay and charity shops!

    I started getting good condition designer label clothes on eBay back in the UK, and still do now I live in the US. I've a Dior and a Versace suits, and some nice jumpers too! sometimes I don't quite get the size right, such as a lovely pair of shoes I need to re-list because, no matter how many times I optimistically try, I just can't squeeze my feet into them!

    Rather wonderfully the organization I recently took a job with is part of the Goodwill network, an organization of charity shops spanning the whole US. Their prices are low ($4-6 for a pair of trousers, $3 for a jumper etc) and they employ people with disabilities and barriers to employment. I work in a call center on a government information line and the center is staffed mainly by blind people (myself included). So it's a tremendous organization for giving people a chance at employment.

    I haven't noticed any second fabric for sale (though I'm definitely going to look harder!) though I did get a lovely little wicker picnic basket which I now use to keep my fabrics in!

    I love picking up a bargain and can't imagine that ever changing... though there times I think I need to be listing some of that stuff back on eBay!

    oh, did you know there's a phone app that can catalog all your projects, down to the level of which drawer in which cupboard in which room they're in? It'll tell you which fabrics you've got and which you still need (and which rulers and the like you already own so you don't duplicate when you see a bargain and can't remember!) ... and when you're ready to downsize it'll automate listing it on eBay! I think it's called My Inventory Manager and is for ipod and android... I read a great review of it on Quilting Revolution's blog!

    (Touch And Sew /

  5. I think the yellow piping sounds fantastic! A nice yellow belt to go with it too? Really like the fabric and should look fantastic as a shirt dress.

    I like your finds too, you've got a good eye!

  6. Yay for your thrifting. Very good to be mindful of just slipping into being a collector or hoarder! Your policy is a good idea. I love the fabric for a shirt dress and agree that yellow piping and a yellow belt will set it off perfectly. And thick tights and chunky boots. Lovely.

  7. Hmmm, I did notice your use of the word "thrifting"!... I try to stick to the same policy, although I think it would be more sensible for us to have a one in TWO out policy! I've not heard of either White Stuff or Zara, so neither are in Australia.
    I love your idea of the shirtdress in that fabric! Not frumpy at all, although I think it would be best just above knee length.

  8. Yes on the shirtdress. And yes, you can have too many books. I have an ongoing battle on the book front.

  9. Alessa - I think I have that shirt dress obsession too! @Luna - I know what you mean about wondering what bargains you have missed out on! @Giles - I didn't know about the app, it sounds good but I have to confess I have no apps, no iphone, ipod, android...just a very simple basic mobile and an ancient second hand PC. I am not a luddite but I am earning at themoment so just cannot spend money on any nice phones/devices etc. @ Mimi - thank you for the compliment - I think having a "good eye" is something that develops as you do do more second hand shopping! ScruffyB - you make the dress sound so appealing. Carolyn, I agree about above knee length. Sigrid...I want to hear more about the book battle!