Tuesday, May 19, 2009


So, I've been having a run of good luck lately. See, I've been shopping at Goodwill for years and years and YEARS now; I got all of my clothes there when I worked in labs (jeans & tshirts that can be disposed of without regret when they get trashed) and now that I am not working again I go in at least once a week. I never used to find anything vintage - nice stuff, granted, but not vintage - and I never saw any sewing patterns until I bought like 20 of them in a 3 week period. I kind of think that the universe is giving me good thrift-store karma to make up for, you know, the whole repeated-job-loss thing. Here's some of the sweet finds I've scored lately:

  • A green glass jar ($3) that sits on my kitchen counter and holds cookies when we have them, which isn't often (not that I don't make cookies, they just don't stay around very long)

  • Patterns, patterns, patterns, patterns (49 cents apiece).
    This is only a small portion of my huge stash of vintage patterns. I literally tripped over some of them because they were strewn across the floor one of the times I went in. The ones that are my size I will keep and eventually sew (I'm dying to make that Very Easy Vogue wrap dress from the 70s just as soon as I have the right fabric) and the rest I will list in my Etsy store, once I go through all the pieces and everything.

  • What's better than old sewing patterns? Umm, how about the pattern and the fabric to go with it? I found these cool boxes (a steal at $2.50 per) that had apparently been in someone's stash that they never got around to using. I love this cool brocade-y stuff: I think I will see if I can lengthen that pattern into a dress, since I don't have much use for a tunic with Nehru collar and matching bellbottoms. And I found this one with the pattern pieces already cut out AND the notions inside the box: The dress will actually fit me, and I completely love the style, so I think I'll sew it up and wear it this winter and piggyback off someone else's hard work. I'm not crazy about the fabric since dark green isn't really my color, so after I finish I'll probably make it up in something else. Maybe shorten the pointy collar a little because technically it's not the seventies ANYMORE.

  • Polly Flinders smocked dresses ($4 each)! Remember those from the eighties? The funny thing is that we had THESE EXACT ONES in the Blinn household at one point. I have vivid memories of Emily wearing that green one around Christmastime when she had bangs in her hair. They're too small for Betsy (size 6 but Polly Flinderses seem to run small. Amy has one that's a 24m and she wears it now. With pants underneath because it's so short) but Amy will grow into them eventually. And then I will pass them down to my girls when they are grown - one for each of them - and we will pretend that they are family heirlooms and not a miraculous thrift-store find.

  • Speaking of smocked dresses for little girls, how about this beauty ($4)?
    I snatched it right off the rack because it's clearly homesewn. Once I got it home and took a closer look at it I realized what a good job it is - French seams, a seriously deep hem, miles of slipstitching (something I personally loathe, and avoid whenever possible). It's in pretty good condition but not so much so that you would think it's never been worn, and it's just a tad big for Amy at the moment.
  • A huuuge stack of records for my mother ($10 for the lot, or roughly $1 a pound).
    Mom's been listening to records a lot lately and these ones are seriously old - they predate vinyl, and according to Wikipedia the switch to vinyl was around 1940. Cool.
  • A really cool old full slip - my mom swears that her mom had one just like it in the sixties. Only this one is way, way bigger (I could get maybe an arm into Grandma's slip; she was a teeny little thing)
  • A really nice heavy saucepan ($5) - I haven't been able to find out much about the Altiva brand other than that it used to be sold at Sears. But it's the perfect size, bigger than my other saucepans and smaller than the stock pot.

  • A bike for Porter ($13) and helmets for both of the kids ($2 each)
  • A sheet ($3). Why a sheet? Because it's old and cool and I liked the print. It's really soft and not faded in the slightest, and I think I will cut the elastic off the edges and sew it up into a dress.

  • This purple satin dress ($2.50)
    They had these at Target around Christmas and boy, I wanted one BAD but I wasn't about to spend $40 on a dress. Goodwill shoppers know that sometimes if you get lucky, brand new stuff from Target will appear once it's no longer in the stores, and I got lucky.

  • Because I'm my mother's daughter, a Liz Claiborne purse ($3). I like that it's capacious enough to hold my keys, cell phone, camera, anti-swine-flu hand sanitizer, some snacks, and all of my coupons without making me look like the kind of woman who carries all that stuff around in her purse. (Sorry, I guess it's not 'swine flu' any more - it's now H1N1, which I believe is pronounced "heinie.")

  • The outfit I am wearing THIS VERY MOMENT ($6 total).

    Because if there's one thing I love, it's a cotton print A-line skirt. The polo was rather unappealingly baggy so I took in the sides with my sewing machine, and discovered that the knit stitch makes an interesting rhythm as it sews.

    So, who else has been thrift-store-hunting? Any great finds lately?

    6 witty remarks on "Finds"

    mom said...

    Well, besides the suitcase I got before I came out, mostly it's been all about the records!!!! I LOVE them!!

    Probably the best deal was the crinoline for Em's wedding dress, cost $10. Oh, wait...I got a muumuu that was made by the premier designer over in Hawaii(and made back in the sixties, if I send a picture to the designers daughter she will tell me exactly what year they made the dress).

    Joni on 9:41 AM said...

    Vintage designer muumuu made in Hawaii in the sixties, and purchased by someone who LIVED in Hawaii in the sixties = cool.

    Polyester zippered housedress bought out of the back of the Sunday coupon section in a color scheme like "mauve floral" = not cool.

    Just so we're clear on the distinction.

    SlyGly on 9:58 AM said...

    WOW. That is awesome stuff. I love the pink skirt, especially.


    Molly said...

    You should have bought the couch. Then you could buy a caftan...

    Oh, how much did you spend for the little girl? I think you got worth your money.

    jdhoosier said...

    I'd be a little leery of relying on a used bike helmet, but otherwise, score! [/paranoid party pooper]

    Laura M on 8:18 AM said...

    You will have to come to the new goodwill they just built in Webster. I feel like I am walking into a Walmart when I walk in (it's not quite that big though). I have gotten a bunch of classic kids books there and some socks and cute underwear (all brand new of course!). That sheet you found....we used to have an outdoor rocker with the EXACT pattern on it!


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