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Sewing Hacks: What to Look for in Thrift Stores and Garage Sales

thriftGoing “thrifting” is not a new trend, but it has been becoming more popular recently. Going to a thrift store or browsing garage sales can seem intimidating because of the sheer volume of objects, furniture, and clothing that usually aren’t organized well. If you know what to look for when you’re thrifting, you can save time and money on your next sewing projects. Upcycling and refashioning fabric, clothing, and bags is on the rise in the sewing world. What you look for at thrift stores or garage/rummage sales might depend on the sewing project that you have in mind, too, so we’ll give you some advice on that as well.


Sewing Hacks and Advice:

  1. Most kinds of fabric can be washed and then cut up and used for a sewing pattern. Grab sweaters, blankets, pillow cases or decorative pillows, napkins, tablecloths, curtains, or basically anything made out of fabric that can be turned into scraps for your next sewing project. You’ll probably be able to find some cool vintage prints and patterns that you’ll be able to wash and upcycle into a new DIY top or DIY bag.
  2. Find some curtains or a tablecloth to sew some throw pillow covers for a decoration upgrade.
  3. Follow your local thrift store on social media or through mail subscription to know when the good sales are happening.
  4. If the thrift store or garage sale is busy, don’t be too selective when you’re browsing. Grab anything that strikes you as a piece of fabric you might use. After you’re done browsing, go through your finds and put anything that you don’t think you’ll use back in its place.
  5. Think about how much fabric you’ll actually get out of something. For example: a men’s button down shirt is made of about 1 1/2 yards of quality fabric. While it won’t be continuous yardage, you’ll get a good amount of nice fabric. You can weigh what you’ll get out of it against the price and decide that way if you have trouble making such decisions.
  6. Sometimes you’ll even find fabric bundles at stores. Definitely pick these up as a great find because you know how expensive they can be in a regular fabric store!
  7. Don’t be afraid to try something new. If a piece of fabric interests you, it could be a great addition to any sewing pattern. Try new kinds of fabrics with different textures that you may not have used before. This will create some more variety in your work.
  8. If you’re shopping for clothing, don’t be afraid to alter something if it doesn’t completely fit you correctly or you don’t like the sleeves. You can always create a completely new DIY dress out of a thrifted one! Get creative and you’ll have a super unique wardrobe.

Now here are some sewing ideas to get your thrifty imagination going:

The Thriftiest Purse Organizerupcycled-diy-hankie-totebag-tutorial

Sweet and Simple Vintage Pillowcase Dress

Simple Tee to Skirt Refashion

Upcycled Sweater DIY Bag

Foldable DIY Tote Bag

Plaid DIY Backpack

Baby T-Shirt Romper

Bow Tie DIY Shirt

Reusable Swiffer Duster Cloths

Flattering Upcycled DIY Skirt