Friday, December 30, 2011

Shopping at the Goodwill

I know, so far this blog hasn't been about sewing nearly at all.  But today I cleaned out my spare room, and went through my stash of magazines that were put away to look at 'when I have time'.  I did a lot of daydreaming and planning while I was doing that, does that count?

I found about a dozen different quilted vest variations that got me thinking about some sewing I need to do.  With the winter coming on (although there is a decided lack of snow on the ground) I will not feel sorry to go down to the sewing studio and miss any daylight... because there won't be any daylight to speak of!

So what does this have to do with Goodwill shopping??  Well, let me tell you, the Goodwill is one of my favorite shopping malls.  It's cool to go there now because the whole world seems to be into reusing and repurposing, but I always tell people that I've been shopping there since before it was cool! 

When I was in junior high and high school, I didn't have money or access to regular fabric stores.  My mom didn't sew (who would have time with eight kids??) so she never went to a fabric store until she went there with me in later years.  I had baby-sitting money, and there was a Goodwill store near the grocery store Mom shopped.  While she was food shopping I would go to the Goodwill and look for the largest garments I could find in colors and fabrics I liked.  We would launder them and I would 'unsew' them, pressing the resulting yardage. 

The challenge then would be to make the pattern pieces of a garment for myself fit onto this fabric.  I got quite creative in this process.  One favorite outfit began life as a blue and white herringbone wool blend dirndl skirt and ended up as an a-line skirt and vest, lined with navy poly from the local variety store.  I had a gold wool skirt made from another big, long skirt, and to wear with it I found a forest green sweater with some stains near the cuff of one sleeve.  Since the sleeves were pretty long, I cut the ribbing off, cut off the stained section, and sewed the ribbing back on, using a zig-zag stitch.

Yesterday, the 'grands' and I went to the big Goodwill store near us.  We started in books, and each of them picked up at least a half-dozen books if not more.  At 89 cents each, we can do that.  Yes, the library is free, but only if you return the books on time!  Besides, it's nice owning real books, but that's a post for another day.

We perused the assortment of dishes and glasses.  This store's employees group like things together for the most part, and the clothing is sorted according to size.  I like that in a thrift store.  :-)  We could have had 13 Pepsi glasses, or 3 Coke tumblers, but we passed.  E found a nice water bottle.  A wanted a purse. 

We cruised past jeans in dozens and dozens of colors and styles.  We have to shop for those while A is elsewhere... she has no patience!  Well, she's small.

I was looking for green wool sweaters to felt.  I have the coolest pattern for a Christmas tree table decoration.  You start with a piece of wire stuck into a board or a piece of Styrofoam.   Onto this "pin" you place circles of red and green colored felted wool cut from old sweaters, starting with the largest circle on the bottom, getting gradually smaller.  You top it with a gold star button or bead or even a felt star you sew yourself.  Totally cool!

Anyway, someone else must have seen that pattern too, because all the green or red sweaters that were there were polyester blends.  Better luck next time.

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