I read about ‘thrifting’ on other people’s blogs and have this romantic idea of going into second hand shops and coming out with armfuls of beautiful vintage fabrics, quirky objects and items that can be up-cycled into wonderful new things.  The reality however, in my experience, is not like this.  I’ve popped into the local charity shop and come away empty handed many a time.

But recently I’ve had a little success!  Nothing too amazing but it’s a start. Last week I managed to pick up this decent sized piece of blue material for £5, which might become the back of a boy quilt sometime in the future, and some cotton dollies to add to a couple I got a few weeks ago.  I have a few ideas for these, and one now lives under the glass on my coffee table.

I also got some embroidery and needlework books from a few different shops when I was away in Norfolk last week.   All a couple of pounds each.

They’re all from the 60s/70s but my thinking was that the techniques will still be as relevant today.  In fact some of the designs are quite timeless, or they have come back into fashion.

I like the colour and the pattern of this front cushion


Interesting embroidery image


One of the few colour pages in 'Enjoying Embroidery'. Sadly most of them are black and white

So I am now inspired to carry on hunting out finds, but think I have learnt a couple of things:

  1. Know what you’re looking for.  That way you can go in and hunt them out.  I found that without an idea of the sort of things I wanted I was in danger of ending up with a load of stuff that I had no purpose for just because it was cheep,  or (more often in my case) coming away with nothing because nothing stands out.
  2. It makes a difference where you shop.  Thinking about it it’s obvious that the contents of the shop is going reflect the people in the local area who donate to it so it’s worth shopping in different places.
  3. Go often.  Because things change and you never know what you’re going to find.

Also while I was away I went into Jarrolds, an independent department store in Norwich, which has a lovely little haberdashery section.  I couldn’t resist getting some grosgrain ribbon in aqua, grey and flowers, some buttons and a length of this lovely patterned binding.


5 Comments to “Thrifting”

  1. Love those 70s flower cushions… and the goodies form the department store in Norwich. Wonder if they sell online, its hard to find patterned binding where I am.

    • No I haven’t seen patterned binding like that locally. The lady in the shop said they’d just had them in (there was a selection of about 6/7 different types/colours, I kind of wish I’d bought a bit of them all now!)

  2. The majesty of thrifting!!! I could go on for ages about how amazing thrift stores are… and give you a list of a ton of things I’ve gotten for cheap… like my prom dress which cost me 8 dollars and was absolutely gorgeous: no up-cycling required.
    There is an art to thrift shopping I suppose… (one) location is important. Some thrift shops get better stuff than others. (two) it takes time and a bit of luck to sift through things and (three) again, timing. Once you find out the best thrift shops (I have a lot of luck with the salvation army) go there regularly. They get tons of donations on a regular basis, so you never know what you may find a week or two later.
    Good luck! Happy Thrifting!

    • Thanks for your tips and enthusiasm! A prom dress for $8 sounds amazing. I get the impression that thrifting is better in America where there are more garage sales etc, but I will continue to suss out the best local stores and see what gems I find.

      • Hey, sorry for the late reply, but no problem!
        And you are right, America does have better thrifting… I’m in the UK right now and the lack of cheap deals is killing me!!! I have found a few decent thrifts in the dodgier parts of town though… worth a try. 😀 Good Luck!

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