Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pink Rayon & Silk Satin

With all of the online talk of estate sales and major Goodwill scores, I had to see what all the fuss was about.  I will admit that I was hoping to have incredible beginner’s luck and find scores of vintage 1940s sewing patterns tucked away at my local Goodwill, along with pretty pastel slips from the 1950s.  Whatever was I thinking?  Most of what I found on the racks were 1980s and 90s polyester monstrosities that I felt were overpriced, and no sewing patterns whatsoever. 

And although I feel a bit let down by the experience, I did come away with quite a few things – just not exactly what I was expecting/hoping for.  And there, I think, is the lesson.  Go into a thrift store expecting to find a Chanel suit, you will be disappointed.  On the other hand, if you go in with an open mind, who knows what treasures are there for the taking!

I did find a few garments.  Exactly what I need, right!  It seems rather silly purchasing something I can make.  What I was hoping for were some cute shoes (but nothing I was interested in fit) and those elusive Vogue Couturier Patterns – a girl can dream, right?!  There was one especially lovely navy wool pleated skirt.  Alas, it was too small.  But how fun to be in a store entirely filled with one of a kind items instead of racks and racks of the same darn thing.

This silk skirt was one of my finds, and it reminded me of a sweater that I finally finished a couple of months ago, which had yet to make its debut.  

The sweater was living in pieces (a couple of which were incomplete) in a bag, the victim of a move to a new apartment a couple of years ago.  However, the new volume of A Stitch in Time motivated me to finish a few of the WIPs waiting patiently for my attention.

And yes, there are still more unfinished sweaters needing attention, however, they will not be wearable until the change of seasons, so I am going to ignore them for a few months.  Besides, I have already cast on for my next sweater.  There is also a suit sitting in pieces on the table waiting to get sewn together, but for some reason, the knitting needles keep calling my name.

Skirt:  Banana Republic via Goodwill
Shoes:  Banana Republic “Gracie” in Beet
Earrings: Thrift Store
Ring:  Victoria Townsend


  1. I think you just had to buy the skirt, because you have the perfect shoes to match!

    I don't have a lot of patience for sifting through thrift stores, although husband and son would beg to differ! I have one nearby where the items are filtered - a little more expensive but it sure saves time! I think she has the same taste as me - by the time I've reached the second rack of clothes I've usually spent my budget!

  2. I go to thrift stores a lot, but none of them have sewing patterns. Ever. I'm not sure that Goodwill sells them--maybe they throw them out? The only thrift store I have seen patterns at was a Value World in Detroit (I was just visiting).

  3. If I said my jaw dropped when I saw this ensemble, I'd be part of the masses. Perhaps I should elaborate, and say there are unconfirmed reports of my chin bobbing somewhere in the South China Sea.

    First, the up 'doo. You are now in vixen territory.

    The sweater reeks of the right kind of boutique, pricey because everything is exquisite. The soft shade, the various stitches, and the leg-of-mutton sleeves. Your skills are amazing.

    Lastly the skirt and heels; they were made for eachother. Of course, you saw to it that they met (and on your chassis, no less!).

    It goes without saying that the drop earings are what separates you from reckless bohemians and retro wanna-be's.

    Your needles beckon for good reason.

  4. I agree with Sherry about the shoes. You always have the perfect shoes.

  5. Time, patience, persistence, flexibility; all necessary for successful thrifting. A trip to a single Goodwill for a specific item is unlikely to succeed, but casting a wide net will often bring unexpected treasures.

    We have at least 30 Goodwill stores in the Phoenix metro area, and almost as many Savers stores. Two of the locations always carry patterns, another one always has a huge rack of fabric yardage, and one carries patterns as well as knitting and embroidery supplies. The other places always have the possibility of something good!

    I habitually make the rounds of any thrifts in the vicinity when I venture in one direction or another for car repairs, salon visits, grocery shopping.

    1. I think I am going to take your advice, and keep going back whenever I get the chance. There is something thrilling about finding a treasure surrounded by a ton of junk!

  6. Also, there's a discussion going on in the Sew Weekly community about a possible meet up later in the month. If you're a member (I think you are since I saw your post last week), check it out and add your two cents:

    If you're not a member but would like to meet up with other sewers, let me know and I'll keep you filled in.

  7. Just so everyone knows, Goodwill has their own auction site now and sell a good deal of patterns on there. It's always changing. I don't shop there because it seems to take the fun out of thrift shopping, but it's fun to look.

    Have a wonderful day!


    1. Thanks for the link, Debbie! But I wish they would sell the pattern in a store - I want to see what I'm getting. There are some beautiful antique sewing machines, though - so it was worth a look!

  8. @Amy Thanks for the info Amy - I am member, but probably would not have found that link on my own! I can't wait for the next meetup!

  9. I have never found patterns at thrift stores, alas. Most of the stores in my area are hit or miss, and some can be surprisingly pricey, Goodwill in particular. Often the racks are uncomfortably stuffed with merchandise that doesn't move as quickly as it should due to high prices. A few years back they seem to have changed their pricing structure, and are no longer focused on selling things cheaply. Shoes, for example, that would never cost more than $7.99 a pair at Salvation Army whether they're Prada or Payless, can go for big bucks at Goodwill. Disappointing!

    I thought of this black rayon Schiaparelli gown I saw recently at an FIT exhibit (2nd photo down) when I saw that lovely skirt. Great find!

  10. Whoops -- here's the link!

  11. "But how fun to be in a store entirely filled with one of a kind items instead of racks and racks of the same darn thing." <-- Totally my favorite thing about thrift stores! I also love finding basic pieces that I can upcycle into something fabulously unique and personal to me.