Monday, December 8, 2014

Sewing on the Cheap: Estate Sale Finds

Good Morning, Friends!  I hope it is warmer where you are than it is here in Indy.  I may be complaining about the cold for the next six months so please forgive me.

Today I want to talk about how I keep my sewing habit in check money wise.  In case you haven't noticed, this sewing, can get pretty expensive.

This weekend my husband and I stopped in to an estate sale, about 30 minutes before they were closing up.  I offered $10 for all the sewing stuff on the table, and they happily took haggling.  Here is what I brought home from the sale:

Pre-sort:  Three totes and 2 large boxes.  That is a Zayre bag...who remembers Zayre?

I truly had no idea what I was buying, but at $10 I was willing to take a risk on the whole lot of it.  We did a swoop and scoop and got it all home.  I was sure there was going to be a good bit of quilting fabric and what have you that I wouldn't be interested in, but I knew there was also some decent cuts of fabric, and I would be happy to share my bounty with some ladies I know who quilt for the local children's hospital.

In addition to fabric, there were notions, patterns, electric sheers, a clapper, all sorts of interfacing, two finished dresses, and 15 WIPs.  How sad is that?  Fifteen fully cut out and interfaced projects that just needed some thread.  If they had been my size I would have finished them (there were three great wool skirt and jacket sets cut out), but I am donating them to the local girls club that has a sewing program. 

I ended up with over 60 yards of fashion fabric, not including the interfacing.  Here is some of it sorted (I stopped taking pictures after 40 yards):

Sea foam green double knit, and black wool crepe

Check out that beautiful piece of tartan, and that corduroy!

I am a sucker for seer sucker, and that top piece is silk.

Something warm WILL be made from all that great large wale grey corduroy.
Figuring there was 60 yards of fabric at $10, I paid roughly 17 cents per yard, and got the clapper and electric sheers (don't know if I will actually use these) for free.  The notions, stuffing/filler, and interfacing I am also counting as free.

I donated a black trash bag full of quilting and home decor fabrics (there were over 20 yards of home decor fabric), and a box full of WIPs that I hope will give some young girls some great sewing experience.

I should note that these fabrics were well kept.  No smoke or dustiness, and the wool pieces were 100% moth hole free.  I have skipped on deals before because of smokiness or strange smells, and pet fur.  Please don't think this is an exceptional score either.  I have a hoard collection of vintage zippers in all shapes, sizes, colors and materials that I paid less than a penny for each zipper.  I have more bias tape, hem lace, piping and other notions that were again less than a penny each.  I find great sewing deals at estate sales, garage sales, and thrift shops.  I end up donating a lot of stuff, and I feel good about that, but I also keep some amazing treasures for myself.

So get out there, do some digging, and become a thrifty sewer.

What do you do to keep your sewing spending in check?  Have you ever had a great thrifted sewing find?


  1. I LOVE estate sales, even if they make me a little sad. My best vintage machine finds and the one newer Bernina serger were from such sales as are well over half my pressing tools. Lots of fabric too, some great for testing, others awesome vintage cotton with beef, the way it used to be made.

    1. They always make me just a little sad too, but I comfort myself by saying that I am continuing this person's sewing legacy.

  2. What a great haul, and I like you think its doing good for the persons sewing legacy, I might just look into this more in australia