Old things are just prettier. Don’t you agree? OK, I guess not all old things, as I have seen my fair share of terrible old things too, but as a general rule, old things are just prettier. The packaging is more thoughtful, the details are a bit more unique and the fact that they have lasted this long already, and have a story of their own, makes them just a bit more special.
I used to hate thrifting, because you could never find what you were looking for. But then, about 5 years ago I realized- that’s exactly the fun of thrifting. You never know what you are going to find and it’s like a treasure hunt. Now, I love to go to the local store about once a week, if I can. My local thrift store is a community store staffed by all volunteers (most of whom are older ladies) and all of the money they make goes directly back into the community (by giving the proceeds to the Boy Scouts, Cadets and Santa’s Anonymous etc.) I love to shop there because they get a ton of stuff donated, there are always new things out on the floor, and their main concern is really in getting it out the door, so they keep the prices very low, and every once in a while, when they have too much stock, they have a half price sale. The funny thing about thrift shopping is that I get into a bit of unrealistic bubble about prices, and then I catch myself saying “$3.00 for this vintage wool skirt? I don’t know, I wish I could have gotten it for $1.50 when it was the half price sale.” Oh right. . . $3.00 is a pretty amazing deal.
The past few weeks have been pretty good, and I have found quite a few thrifting treasures, so I thought that I would share them with you.
This piece has a bit of damage, where it looks like the dye has faded or discoloured, and some seams that need to be resewn. Since it is a larger size, it won’t be a problem to bring in the kimono sleeves a bit, though. It feels like a acetate fabric or something of the kind, and is rather lightweight, and has the prettiest metal rhinestone buttons and buckle on the front. It is about 2 inches too short for me, but it has a really wide hem, so I am going to let the hem down to amend that problem.
This dress has a lot of damage, and is going to require quite a bit of help, but the fabric was just so pretty, and it has flipped up sleeve cuffs . . . it was calling to me! It is some kind of artificial rayon/taffeta fabric (it is drapey like a rayon, but heavy like a taffeta). There are areas of the fabric that are shredded, like it got pulled apart, so I am going to see if I can fix them by patching from the underside. So, needs a bit of work before I can wear it.
This one is too small for me in the hips 🙁 It fits perfectly in the top though, and since there is a hole in the skirt, I am going to transform this into a shirt. I know some people feel that vintage shouldn’t be altered, but since this piece is damaged as it is, I am OK with changing it; especially as I know enough about sewing to not destroy it! By refashioning this piece into a shirt, it will have a second life, and I will finally have a winter appropriate top to wear with my favourite pleated wool skirt! I like the fact that is brown, black and grey too, so it will coordinate with a lot of things I have in my wardrobe.
Next are the bags of sewing notions! I found two ziploc bags full of wooden spools of thread and other assorted vintage sewing notions. I love wooden spools- it’s so sad that spools are plastic now, don’t you think? There were thirty eight spools, and I love the variety of colours, and the labels too.
These are some of my favourites. Top L-R: 1. I love the carved end of this spool. 2. This colour of green is so perfect. 3. I just liked this label. Middle L-R: 1.Another pretty blue. 2. This is the label for the blue spool. I’ve never heard of “The Canadian Spool Cotton Co.” 3. This deep royal/navy blue thread is so shiny and smooth. Bottom L-R: 1.Another carved spool and this time for silk thread. 2.This is the silk thread, a grey/mauve colour, and it is so pretty and . . . well. . . silky 😉 3. And the last one: there are two unopened spools of lilac. I guess I’m not the only one who buys thread for a project, and then never gets around to using it 🙂
The elastic thread that accompanied this paper was long past useable, but this little instruction booklet has some great illustrations, don’t you think? They all look rather 1950’s in style to me, but the logo says “known over 50 years for Quality, Style, Value” and as the company started in the 1920’s, I guess it would date this paper as the 1970’s. Maybe the illustrations weren’t current, but rather a throwback to earlier times, or maybe they just never updated their illustration style?
Two lovely vintage books. They didn’t have a price on them, so the lady gave them to me for $0.25 each! #thriftscore
When you doubt whether your outfit is really festive enough, just add this corsage. Instant Christmas kitsch! How could I resist it? Also, these ornaments were just in a ziploc bag, and tossed into a bin. I don’t think they realized that they are glass! One was broken (fortunately it was a modern and ugly one) but all these vintage ones were intact, albeit a little scratched, but that’s OK. 🙂
And, one “extra special” bonus treasure that was also included in the same ziploc bag, was this Limited Edition beauty from 1986. This is literally a glass ornament, with plastic wrapped around it. Yes, that nativity picture is a piece of shrink wrap. Why was this a Limited Edition (with capital letters)? And the better question to ask ourselves is, why did someone buy it in the first place?
Have you found any great treasures lately? (I’d love to hear about them!) Do you like thrifting items if they need to be fixed or altered, or do you stick with only things that are good “as is”? And, what are your feelings on refashioning damaged vintage items?
Sheila (of Ephemera)
November 27, 2016 @ 11:49 am
Oh my gosh, those thread spools take me back! I swear, my mom still has some of those brands! Wonderful finds – I especially like the black/grey/brown dress. Sad about the damage, but glad you can do some fixes on these lovely pieces!
November 28, 2016 @ 10:40 pm
That’s cool that your mom still has some vintage spools too! Even though vintage thread isn’t the best quality (over time it loses strength) I couldn’t pass them up 🙂
November 27, 2016 @ 1:22 pm
I am drooling over these pictures. That first dress is a keeper! I do have a thing about vintage sewing items too, I would have grabbed those too.
I have to admit to altering things – a long 1930s dress with hem damage became knee length, and a 1950s wiggle dress 8 sizes to big has been trimmed down. Needs must. I have no problem with make do and mend, previous generations did it!! Xx
November 28, 2016 @ 10:44 pm
Vintage sewing notions are just so pretty (compared to modern ones) and they make great collectibles 🙂
I’m so glad to hear that you were able to fix a few pieces. That would have been sad if they had gone unfixed and unworn (especially the 1930’s dress!) I love your comment about past generations doing exactly that! I think sometimes we can worry too much about trying to preserve things, rather than recognizing that they are just things, and so we should use them and make them work for our lives today.
November 27, 2016 @ 3:12 pm
Vintage sewing notions are some of my favorite things to buy. So many little treasures! I will usually buy things to alter, but I have a limit of how much is sitting in the metaphorical to fix pile. But if it’s true quality vintage, I will probably not leave it in the store :). Stuff from before the 80s is getting so hard to find in thrift stores that any I find is a rarity. But I mostly leave the 70s-60s pieces on the rack for others to enjoy. Just this Black Friday I found an amazing midcentury princess winter coat that is a little small on me . . . but there was no way I was leaving without it! I hope to do some more research on it before posting about it myself!
November 28, 2016 @ 10:46 pm
Yikes- I too have the “fixing pile” (but it is anything but metaphorical!) Sometimes I feel as though it is a bottomless pit I’ll never reach the end of- but when vintage is getting rarer and rarer- how can you pass things up, even if they do need some mending!? I can’t wait to see the winter coat you found- it sounds lovely.
November 27, 2016 @ 5:42 pm
Wow, Nicole, you found treasures! The beautiful dresses, wooden spools (I prefer these also), notions (love rick rack and needle packets). And Little Men, one of my fave books. I think it’s great that you refashion garments from years past, even damaged ones. When I go to thrift stores, I make a beeline for the patterns. I have quite the fabric stash that I’ve been working on.
BTW, I like the outfits in your last post and the one from the 1960s. The dishes are lovely, too. Yes, I agree that older things are prettier.
November 28, 2016 @ 10:49 pm
Oh yes! Vintage patterns are treasures too! I love how, with vintage patterns, you can get a “vintage” garment, without the bother of trying to repair and care for a sometimes more fragile piece of true vintage. I hope that you can get in some sewing time and work on your stash 🙂
Thanks for your lovely comment Annabelle!
November 27, 2016 @ 7:27 pm
Noooo my original comment vanished!
Anyway, I really love the dresses you picked up! That’s a really great haul, and it’s great that you can fix their flaws or refashion them in a way that suits you. That’s one of the reasons why I want to learn to sew.
Also, those ornaments are so pretty. You just don’t see that shape anymore.
And I’ve had some great thrift hauls recently, although they’ve been from online sources and not brick-and-mortars. I’m starting to get really stingy about new clothes–whaddaya mean it’s $50?? I can thrift it for $10!
November 28, 2016 @ 10:53 pm
Haha, yes I get so stingy too when I’m shopping, and it is completely because of thrifting prices. 🙂
Ugh- I’m sorry your original comment vanished – I hate it when technology works against you. I wonder what happened there- I hope it doesn’t happen again!
How is your plan to learn to sew going for you? Have you been able to start on any projects? Despite the challenges, it is such an invaluable skill, so I wish you the best of luck in it 🙂
November 28, 2016 @ 5:40 pm
Wow, amazing finds! I often find things from the 80s and 90s, but nothing quite as lovely as you have there. That star print dress is really fabulous, and I can’t wait to see what you make of this. That fabric is just dreamy.
November 28, 2016 @ 10:57 pm
Thanks Jessica! I don’t usually find stuff pre 1980’s either, so when I saw these, I had to have them, despite the fact they need some fixing. Now let’s just hope that they don’t make it into the mending-bin-of-no-return 🙁
November 29, 2016 @ 4:38 am
I am always up for a refashioning challenge. I know a lot of people feel that clothing should be preserved, but I always think they are made to be worn and altering and restyling makes that possible. I look forward to seeing these pieces styled soon.
November 29, 2016 @ 7:26 pm
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on clothing alterations, Christina. I’m glad to hear that you think that clothing should be worn, not just preserved. I do think it is sad when people ruin clothing that they are not capable of altering successfully on their own, so perhaps I rather hope that people both preserve and wear.
December 2, 2016 @ 4:53 pm
I find it almost impossible to leave a cool vintage piece at a thrift just because it needs some TLC. But of course that means my mending pile is getting higher and higher! Projects for my retirement I guess. And as far as repurposing vintage, unless it is a valuable collectible piece, I feel it is better to try and save part of something that would have otherwise been unwearable.
Love that adorable Christmas corsage btw.
December 6, 2016 @ 3:07 pm
It is so hard to leave behind isn’t it?! I am looking at my mending basket as I type this, and yes it is getting higher and higher too 🙁
December 8, 2016 @ 8:11 am
Sounds like a great place to have a rummage around. I like the first dress in particular. Looking forward to seeing what you do with it. I always look out for old haberdashery items, in fact, I found a darning mushroom this morning at the local junk market, which came home with me along with some patterns.
December 8, 2016 @ 1:19 pm
It’s amazing what you can find at rummage sales isn’t it? I especially love finding old haberdashery and sewing notions too for some reason.That darning mushroom sounds like a great find!