Thursday, January 17, 2013

Things You Can Always Find At A Thrift Store #2: Fun Fabrics

Hello! For me, a must-see section of any thrift store is the fabric area. As an occasional seamstress, frequent crafter and lover of vintage, I'm always thrilled when someone else's fabric stash can become mine, at thrift store prices!

I will show off a few selections from my fabric collection. My basement studio is very cold this time of year, so I grabbed just a fraction of what my thrift store jaunts have yielded.

Although the thrift stores often sell small pieces of fabrics, one can find pieces big enough for sewing larger projects:

I made a tote bag out of the blue and white floral print on top, and there's still a good-sized piece left. I made a skirt out of the red, white and blue striped material and haven't decided if I'll make a skirt or shorts out of the print on the bottom. 

As you can see, I paid the equivalent of $1.00/yd for this blue and white print (second from the top in the previous photo). This is a heavy material, suitable for another tote bag, among other possibilities. 

Not shown, because I used most of it already, is a navy blue fabric with white polka dots. I paid $1.00 for it - and there was enough to make shorts for both our daughter and myself!

For crafting, I favor small-scale prints for projects like ornaments and dolls:

Some of the fabrics above are older; may date from the 1970's. Anyone out there know when Meijer stopped selling fabrics? The piece in the foreground is from there.

I'll pick up larger prints if I like the designs, especially if the fabrics appears to be older:

The fabric on the left has an interesting large weave and I like the old-fashioned print. The Christmas design on the other piece also looks older, but I don't know if it actually is. 

Besides pieces of fabrics large enough to be folded and displayed on shelves, thrift stores often sell bags of miscellaneous smaller pieces of fabrics. I'll look through these and buy them if a. there's enough fabric that I like and b. the pieces are large enough for me to use. I've seen bags with fabric pieces so small or narrow that I'd be hard-pressed to find a use for them. 

An example of some smaller pieces:

This is a mix of newer and older fabrics. The red and white print in the foreground came from a grab bag of assorted red fabric pieces from a specialized thrift store in Ithaca, NY called Sew Green - it sells fabrics and a few other categories of supplies related to sewing and needle arts. The store isn't very big, but I enjoyed purchasing a couple of grab bags and a sewing pattern. (if you wish to learn more about Sew Green, go HERE.)

These smaller pieces of fabrics are great for many crafting projects. My current project, Comfort Dolls (mentioned a few posts back), is a perfect example since the dolls can be no bigger than 6" high. And since I'm using three different fabrics per doll, I don't need much of each piece.

One of my all-time favorite thrift store fabric finds was first mentioned HERE.  Here's what some of the fabrics look like:

Besides the sheer quantity of fabric pieces - hundreds - a good number of them are older fabrics and it was fun to see the variety of prints. I couldn't resist the likes of this, for example:

Nor these:

Thus far I've used some of the fabrics to edge a pair of white pillowcases and have made yo-yo's and a couple of other projects. 

As I said at the beginning of this post, this is only a fraction of what I have collected from thrift stores. I should also add that what I've shown reflects my tastes in fabrics and what projects I have in mind. There are plenty of newer fabrics to be had, as well as occasional bolts of heavier decorator fabrics.

As with any other category of thrift store wares, you'll never know what you'll find - but if you like to sew, do crafts, or just collect a variety of colorful older fabrics, thrift stores are worth a visit!

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