If you’ve been following my Instagram or YouTube (or even my other blog) for a while, you’ll know I’m obsessed with op shops. Or thrift stores. Or charity shops. Whatever you call them, I love them. I buy plates and bowls from them. I source many of my sewing supplies from them. When Tim and I first moved in together, we bought almost everything we needed from them.
And I’m still going to them, because it’s impossible to stop. You can’t go in to an op shop and expect to buy a particular item; you have to go in with an open mind and a sense of adventure and that’s what I love about the whole experience.
Of course, the actual best part of picking up a whole bunch of treasures at an op shop is telling everyone about it! Read on to see what I found when Tim and I dropped in to a couple of fabulous op shops near a friend’s place.
Country op shops are my absolute favourite: they consistently have the most interesting finds lurking on their shelves. On this particular day, we found ourselves in a fabulous country op shop… and then we walked out of that one straight into an equally fabulous country op shop a few doors down. Given the temptations on offer, I was actually quite restrained with my purchases!
Watch The Video
The Bag With A Dream Attached
What’s the one thing you need to carry all of your new-found treasures? A bag!
This cost me a whole $A9.25 and it has never been used. There’s actually a mark on the shoulder strap from where the buckle has been sitting ever since it was first bought. It’s a Fiorelli bag and they seem to fetch a decent price online, so I’m happy with my $9.25 bargain.
Plus, as I said in my YouTube video, it’s a laptop bag and it comes with a happy fantasy of popping my little laptop inside and heading off to a café where I will drink many a coffee and pretentiously type away at my latest writing project. It’s a bag with a dream attached and you can’t put a price on that!
I’m Always Looking For Sewing Goodies
Op shops are frequently full of temptations other than un-used laptop bags, but I always head straight for the biggest temptation of all: the haberdashery department. I never know what’s waiting for me there. Will I find glorious vintage patterns or dubious creations from the nineties? A handful of bias binding or a whole bunch of curtain heading tape? (I had to look up what that was called, because ‘You know, that stuff you sew to fabric that you can insert the hooks in for curtains’ really wasn’t going to work. I do aim for a certain level of accuracy in my blogging.)
Luckily, both of the op shops we visited had generous haberdashery sections. Here’s a little of what I found. (The fabric finds are coming later.)
Here we have a fabulous Kwik Sew pattern for a raglan t-shirt with a square neckline option, some nice ribbon, and a Singer sewing book. I am in love with that book. It was printed in 1950 and it’s full of glorious sewing goodness. Here’s a quick look inside for you.
I don’t want to be picky, but her dress isn’t fitting that well in the back there. Looks like she might need to shorten the bodice, so it’s lucky she’s currently starring in a sewing book that will teach her how to do it!
All the seams.
I love the illustrations! And it’s nice to see that the list of essential sewing supplies in 1950 remains much the same as today.
I Look For Non-Sewing Stuff, Too
Once I’ve thoroughly picked over the haberdashery options, I frequently head for accessories. I particularly love looking for interesting stockings – I’ve picked up some fabulous coloured and printed stockings in the past! And when you get right down to it, stockings don’t generally last that long, so I’d much rather buy a pair for 50 cents in an op shop than $5 or more in a supermarket.
Here’s what I found this time around:
I didn’t even know about the print on those teal tights – I just saw that colour poking through and thought it was glorious. What a gorgeous teal! I only happened to spot the print when I was filming the video for YouTube and now I love the tights even more. If only I could actually wear them! Alas, it is still very much Summer here, so I will just have to bide my time.
Next up: an addition or two for my belt collection:
Both of these belts go perfectly with the wearable toile I made from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book – the trick is choosing which one I want to wear at any given time! The pink belt still had its original tag and the purply-bluey one looks like it was barely used. Together, they cost me a whole $A7.50.
And now, it is time to move on to the best part of all: the fabric haul.
So Much Fabric!
There was so much fabric on offer in both of the shops! I could have bought more but I don’t want to be wasteful, so I settled on a small selection that would work well with existing or planned sewing projects.
These fabrics are destined to become a skirt, a slip or petticoat, and a Winter dress. I wish you could reach into that photo and stroke them all! The navy fabric is some sort of knit that my mum thinks might be a wool blend. It’s so cosy and huggable!
Fortunately, the other two came with handy labels, so there’s no guesswork required.
Pure wool worsted flannel and deluxe satin – at bargain prices.
Then there’s my favourite find of the lot…
My Favourite Find Of The Day
Oh my goodness, I am in love with this fabric. Just have a look at it and you’ll understand why.
Yes, it’s printed fabric and yes, I’m meant to be trying to make some plain clothes to wear with my printed garments, but I couldn’t walk past this. It’s perfection. I’m actually working on a three-part blog post series about defining my style and one of the things I want to sew is floral dresses and skirts on darker backgrounds.
And what’s this? A floral fabric on a dark background. In other words: perfection! I can already see it as a dress with a fitted bodice and a full, pleated skirt. The colours go with so many of my cardigans, too.
The fabric feels like a nice sateen and it has lovely widthwise stretch. I need to turn it into a dress right now. I’m so obsessed with it that I’ve already washed it and I’m planning to make a dress from it once I’ve finished my #dayandnightdresschallenge projects. It will be perfect for Autumn and I can’t wait to swan about in it, possibly while taking my laptop to cafés with my new bag.
And that’s everything I found on a particularly good op shopping afternoon. What was your favourite find? Have you found something fabulous in a secondhand store recently? Let me know in the comments.