stash adoption: pre-owned sewing materials

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While visiting my parents during Christmas, I ran some errands with my mom and went to visit one of her local antiques stores. In the basement in the corner was a huge basket of gallon ziplock bags stuffed with someone’s collection of sewing threads, notions, tools, and trims.

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I bought three of these giant sealed bags for $3 each, and after going through the contents of just one of them, I feel like I’ll never have to buy zippers again. These were just the packaged ones they had fit in the bag. There was a big wad of loose ones as well. They’re all from the ’70s and work great. Almost all of them are extra-long, too, perfect for the costumes I’ve been sewing.

And the zippers came with a surprise Elvis trading card.

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The other bag was full of different kinds of tape and bindings, all of which I’ve never used and have no purpose for right now, but for $3, I couldn’t resist, especially because of how much hem lace was in there.

Many of the sewing blogs I read are by people who purposefully try to work with vintage patterns and materials, and I’m always enamored with all the surprising (to me as a newbie, anyway) and gorgeous details that come up in their finished products. One in particular I look forward to one day using is lace hem tape, like in this skirt by Lily of Mode de Lis. I love that small, secretive, functional detail.

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This stash’s past owner had a lot of the lace but definitely preferred the blue.

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The third bag was full of thread. It always feels better and more satisfying to me to use up old materials and fabrics, my own or secondhand, than to buy new, and I always try to do so, but I almost passed this up, feeling like I already had plenty of thread for what I’m working on right now and in the near future. However, I had just read this blog post by Cate of Vintage Gal and had been struck by her disappointment at being unable to find an appropriate thread for a project that she had challenged herself to make completely from ethically produced and pre-owned materials, and having to buy it new instead.

I was surprised to realize I hardly think of thread as a material at all when I’m planning costumes. I always keep an eye out at antiques stores for button and sequin stashes and look for thrift store garments in the right fabrics to cut down into costume pieces, but I just buy thread from wherever whenever I run out. So I bought the giant bag of pre-owned thread, and now I definitely won’t need to buy any anytime soon.


The thread put me at $9. I had a ten, so I also picked up this Reader’s Digest for $1. I love that ad for the Digest on the back. “But mother, remember that I wasn’t born until 1928 and I have to catch up with all that has happened.” ❤

Love, Trixie


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