Monday, March 19, 2012

All that, for $11? Yep!

After seeing this post about an amazing estate sale on the sew weekly (make sure to check out the amazing Mad Men inspired dresses over there this week!) some time ago, I've been on the lookout for something similar in my area. This weekend I stalked Craigslist for happened upon a great yard sale that, not quite as awesome as the sale Mena found, was pretty impressive. 

Before I even got there, I had a good feeling about it. There was mention of fabric and sewing items in the listing and it was located just a short drive away from my house. When we arrived, I was not disappointed. The woman holding the sale had been sewing for years upon years and was not at all emotionally attached to her twenty or so boxes of fabric she had removed from her stash. She'd cleaned out her sewing room in preparation of selling the house and just wanted everything to go. Even my boyfriend, who I'd convinced to come along with me, was impressed. He managed to pick up a couple of vintage ties, while I feverishly grabbed the following:

This box, full of fabric - not a hyper cat, for $5. 

Some tracing paper and three vintage 1940s mail order home decor patterns (not sure what I'll do with these yet), thrown in my box-o-fabric and included in the $5 price. 

This vintage display mannequin thing that has a 7.5" waist (I guess 15", when doubled) and a three-dimensional chest, for $5. It's kind of like a human-sized (ignoring the ridiculous bust/waist/hip ratio) metal hanger. I've named her Mable and, though difficult to photograph, she seems to hang quite happily on the wall in my sewing area. Hopefully I can use her to display future makes, since Ruby (my red, adjustable Singer dress form) is fuzzy, wobbly, and pretty cranky, making her a huge pain to drag unlined dresses onto.
This bolt of bright pink, thick, home decor fabric, for $1. There appear to be several yards still on there, so I'm thinking maybe a twirly '50s style party dress? If it doesn't work out, whatever, it was ONE DOLLAR (plus, it makes my sewing room look super legit to just casually have a bolt of fabric hanging out, like I'm a dressmaker or something). For now, this baby gets to live in the only free corner in my sewing space, behind grumpy old Ruby.
Oh, and maybe you're wondering about the contents of the $5 box of fabric?  Don't worry, I'm pretty excited to share. About half of the pieces of fabric were smaller lengths with pieces cut out, but the other half consisted of a few great fabrics in good sized cuts.
Duke likes to inspect anything new that comes into the house.
I threw some of the smaller pieces outside on the table to improve the lighting.
 Here's what it looked like when I pulled out all my loot and spread it on the living room floor to admire. You may have noticed the good sized spool of something like seven miles of white lace trim. Yeah, that was included in the $5 box, also. Anyone ever try dying lace trim? 
longer lengths from the magical box-o-fabric
As for the longer, more usable lengths of fabric, here they are. Some of my favorites are also pictured below. Most are wool, but I did manage to get a huge length of white lace, that I'm also considering dying.
white lace
lovely plaid in mixed browns
deep blue and dark green plaid, darker than it looks here
light blue with darker blue flecks, worsted wool (maybe??)
more wool! brown and white with flecks of blues/greens/reds
Maybe you're like "that's great, Sue, but when are you ever going to finish your Joan dress for the Mad Men Challenge?" Well, to you I'd say, I'm not quite finished yet, but I think I'm in the final stretch. I've got the zipper in and have tried it on, pinched out all the extra baggy bits, made alterations, and was struggling all morning with trying to get the dang sleeves set in before realizing that my alterations affected the armholes. So, once I get those sleeves in, I've just got to add the collar and hem her up. If I have time before the deadline, I'll post some little previews. Otherwise, look forward to April 1st, when Julia Bobin rounds up all of the entries. ;)


  1. Great haul! See Mena's post about dying lace trim. The final dress is amazing

    1. Ah, I totally forgot about this dress! It's really remarkable...and so, so cute! I love the color(s) and the look of the layered lace ...hmm.

  2. hehehe - i bought enough calico the other day at a spotlight sale to justify the assistants rolling it onto a bolt and I too was overcome by a smug feeling! Like having my first bolt is some kind of serious milestone. But in all seriousness - you've totally scored here. And for $11? I'm positively green with envy!

  3. Awesome acquisitions, Batman! I love estate sales!


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