Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Thrifty Sewing is in the Air

It seems that other people are also thinking about thrifty sewing these days. In the last couple of weeks some of my favourite podcasts have featured episodes about this topic, in one way or another.

Love to Sew's last podcast was about "Rubbing Off Ready to Wear". If you want to learn more about this technique of copying RTW which I've just been talking about in my last Weekend Review, check out their podcast and definitely check out the show notes, where they link to youtube videos, classes, and a great book by Steffani Lincecum, all on this subject.

Over at Sewing Out Loud, Zede & Mallory talk about thrift and resale resourcing this week. This mother & daughter team are always entertaining, and have lots to say about this subject. This time they are focusing on clothes and materials -- in earlier episodes they've discussed the pros & cons of  buying thrifted machines.

There are also many bloggers who are way more into to refashioning than I am -- one of my favourites is Jillian Owens, aka The Refashionista, though she's taken a much broader approach than just fefashioning clothes in the last while. And if you are interested in upcycling or refashioning, you can't miss Portia Lawrie's yearly Refashioners challenge. People are extremely creative!

Over on the Curvy Sewing Collective there's an article by Alyce R. that's a couple of years old but still super useful, full of tips on making the most of thrift store shopping & upcycling, especially for plus size women.

My thrift store tips?

  1. Go often
  2. Know the areas you are interested in & check those first (clothing, fabric, linens, crafts etc)
  3. If you are planning on a thorough search, give yourself time
  4. Look beyond the current incarnation of a piece of clothing to the fabric or the buttons, lace, etc. for reuse
  5. Our thrift stores here in my area of Canada are not the kind of bargain outlets found in the US. That said, they are usually cleaner and more organized than a bargain bin last chance kind of store. If you're planning to dig through dollar bins, take safety gloves. 
  6. Be open to serendipity! 
  7. Wash your items prior to using them, whether clothing pieces or fabric finds. 
  8. Have fun!

What are your basic tips, if you are also a thrifter?


  1. My main comment would be look for garments with interesting details that can be used, and look for the larger garment that gives you more room to play!

    Our op shops are such that I have never needed to wear gloves when sorting clothes. They are pretty well all on hangers.

    1. Yes, we are lucky here too that ours are generally tidy and not a mess to dig through. I've seen some people say that they look specifically for interesting trims and buttons to reuse. I always consider carefully so I don't end up with a large pile that I have not used after a while!


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