1950s · 1960s · The Vintage Closet · Thrifting · Vintage

The Vintage Closet: Warm woolies. And mink.

Readers, I’ve decided to start a new feature on the little blog here that I’m calling “The Vintage Closet.” You see, I believe I’m developing a shopping addiction, which is probably the direct result of working full-time and therefore having more money than time. It’s a weird thing to adjust to, because for so long I’d been a poor student that had more time than money. Anyways, with this shopping addiction comes not only the purchasing of more clothes for my modern wardrobe, but more clothes for my vintage one, as well. So, The Vintage Closet is my attempt to show you all the fabulous vintage things I’m filling my closet with!

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First off is the new 1950s blue wool sweater dress I just bought yesterday. I’m going to a “Fur and Feathers” luncheon next weekend (how fabulous does that sound!?) and wanted a blue vintage dress that I could combine with the mink collar I just got, as blue and brown just happens to be one of my favorite color combinations.

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I snapped up the mink collar after spotting it in my favorite local antique store, where I also got the pearl charm bracelet. I brought it home and my southern grandmother randomly told me one night while watching television, “You need to put fur on something” (we had been talking about the Fur and Feathers luncheon earlier that day). So, I grabbed the mink collar I had just bought and my black peacoat, draped it along the collar, and showed it to grandma. Of course, she replied, “You can’t get better than that.” No, grandma, you can’t. 😉

However, when I went to go sew the collar on, it was a bit too long for the coat, so I think it will work much better draped along the neck of the dress, like so:

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I also picked this cute 60s green wool blazer up while thrifting last week. I have no idea what I’m going to wear it to (or with), but that really doesn’t matter, does it? 😉

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Finally, if you haven’t entered the Multi-Era Pattern Giveaway yet, there’s still time! I’m giving away 3 patterns to 3 lucky readers, wouldn’t you like to be one of them?

Musings · Thrifting · Tips

Sewing on a Budget

Happy Monday, readers! This is a post that I’ve been contemplating for a while, as  sewing can definitely be an expensive hobby and it seems that fabric and notions are increasingly getting more expensive.

So, whether you’re a (relatively) poor college student (like me!) or just on a budget, here are some tips I’ve found help to make sewing a less costly endeavor.

  • Buy the highest-quality fabrics and notions you can afford. Well-made, natural fiber fabrics are worth the investment (and sometimes they needn’t be expensive, especially if you thrift) and will last longer than cheaply-made synthetic fibers.
  • Thrift whenever you can – It’s amazing what people give away to a thrift store sometimes, huh? But I’ve found amazing fabrics (like some great wool pieces, polished cotton, and fabulous printed cottons) and vintage patterns for under $1. Considering what some etsy sellers are charging for vintage patterns, buying from the thrift store can definitely save you a pretty penny, as well as shipping costs (you might have to pay sales tax in your area, but even a 9% sales tax on a $1 pattern is cheaper than any shipping costs). One caveat, however: thrift stores are very hit and miss. Somedays you’ll find amazing stuff, and other days you’ll come away with nothing. Don’t be discouraged, though, and realize that thrifting does require an investment of time. I recommend finding out when your local thrift store puts out there new merchandise, and then plan to visit your thrift store on that day. Also, many thrift stores will have weekly sales, so take advantage of those.
  • If you’re going to make a mock-up or test garment, use old sheets rather than muslin. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen the command “make a mock-up first!” in a sewing book, I’d be rich (okay, I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d definitely have enough to buy a candy bar). And while I think that it’s great advice, I don’t always make a muslin. Sometimes after I’ve made the garment I wish that I had, and, well, that’s sewing karma for you. That being said, mock-ups are great ways to try out your patterns, but rather than paying $2 a yard for several yards muslin to do so, you can go to the thrift store and get a sheet for that amount and use that to mock-up. Added bonus? You’re also being environmentally friendly by reusing something, rather than buying new.
  • Shop your stash first before buying anything new. You would think that if you’re sewing on a budget, you wouldn’t have a massive stash of fabric piled up in your closet. Wrong (at least in my case). There will be cases, of course, when nothing in your stash will work for the project you’re contemplating and you’ll need to purchase something else.
  • Trade fabric and patterns with your sewing friends. Exchanges like these are great ways to get new-to-you items in your stash for no money at all.
  • Sign up for coupons from the big fabric chains. Places like Joann’s and Hancock Fabrics have a program where you can sign up to get their mailers and they’ll send you coupons about every 2 weeks. Joanns also puts coupons in the Sunday paper, which you can use in conjunction with your mailer coupons for added savings!

Anyways, I hope these tips have been helpful! If you have any money-saving tips when it comes to sewing, please do feel free to leave them in the comments!

Modern Sewing · Thrifting

New (to me) White sewing machine!

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve been working on a few sewing projects, but I thought I would share with you the new (to me) sewing machine that I picked up this week for around 7 bucks. Yep, 7 bucks. 😉

Despite battling an icky cold all week, I managed to come away with this treasure Wednesday evening during a chance thrifting trip with my mom. I was headed straight to the linens section (like I usually do) when mom spotted a sewing machine in a white plastic case. After taking off that case, the machine was covered by this cute little sewing machine cover:

Anyways, the machine looked pretty good at the store (meaning it was all in one piece he hee) and I was able to plug it in and make sure that it worked before I brought it home. The best thing was definitely the price. The machine was originally $13.99, but mom had a 50% off coupon, so I paid around $7 for it. Definitely a steal, considering some of the reviews that I’ve read about this machine since purchasing it.

Now, I already have a sewing machine and certainly don’t need another one. Actually, having 2 sewing machines makes me feel a bit like a crazy old lady sewing machine hoarder with cats. However, my rationale for this (hoarders always have rationales, don’t they? lol) is two-fold: One, I split my time between my parents’ house and my apartment in Seattle, and lugging a sewing machine back and forth on the bus is a pain in the rear. Second, this new (to me) sewing machine is a bit more of a hassle to use, both because things are not where I’m used to them being and especially because it doesn’t have a drop in bobbin (which I’m used to) but rather this fancy-pants bobbin contraption where you basically have to take the whole machine apart to put a bobbin in:

Despite this, and after reading through the manual a few times, I did get the machine threaded and the bobbin in place so I could test out some of the stitches. Readers, it sews *so* much smoother than my crappy Singer sewing machine (which probably needs a tune-up). And, even though I’m still getting used to it, I think it will be a great machine to have at home for sewing costumes, as they usually only require a basic straight seam, and I typically keep all my layers of underpinnings for my costumes at home, making fittings difficult anywhere else.

Anyways, I start school up again on Monday (today’s the last day of spring Break, and unfortunately I spent most of it sick), but Sunday is the season 5 premiere of Mad Men and I’ve decided to throw a little 1960s cocktail party to celebrate! I’m still finalizing the menu, but I know that we definitely will be having a pineapple upside-down cake (the quintessential 1950s dessert). Other than that, I’m totally open to any culinary suggestions. 🙂

Have a nice weekend!