DIY Flare Jeans

DIY Flare Jeans You can buy flare jeans in the store, but when you make them yourself, you can add more of your personal style to your flares. Continue reading

How to Make a Skirt from an Old Pair of Jeans

Jean SkirtYou can upcycle an old pair of jeans into a fun denim skirt by adding a little bit of material. It’s a good way to use up old jeans that have holes in the knees, but where the top is still good. Continue reading

Thrift Store Sewing Material

I’m big on recycling, no matter what it is, so one of the things I try to do when I’m sewing is use as much salvaged or recycled material as possible. When I say recycled material, I’m not referring to material that has gone through a recycling process, rather I’m referring to the vast quantities of unwanted clothing that people get rid of every day. Rather than buying new material, getting it from a thrift store is a way to recycle. Not only that, it can also be a great money saver.

At first glance, sewing material in a thrift may not be obvious, but upon closer inspection, it is revealed that everything in the thrift store is material, albeit in a preformed garment. This allows for double convenience. One can either purchase a large item of clothing with the intention of cutting it up to use as material, or the actual garment itself can be used as a starter for something else.

In my area there is both a Salvation Army and a Volunteers of America, so the selection of “material” is wonderfully large. I recently found a huge long sleeved T-shirt with a rather ridiculous picture on the front side (probably the reason it was in the thrift store in the first place!) for a new costume pattern I was trying out. While the hideous front was useless, the entire backside and the large sleeves were prime for the taking. The thick knit material would have cost a lot more in a regular fabric shop, but I was able to purchase it for only 50 cents, which was great as I didn’t have to worry about wasting money if my experiment didn’t work out.

Even better was the white linen tablecloth I found to make a confessor’s dress for the Renaissance festival. I had been looking in the thrift store for a white dress to use as a base, but as long-sleeved dresses are rather scarce to come by in the summer, I had no such luck. It was not long, however, before I found myself in a section with sheets, blankets, and a white linen tablecloth. I ended up getting for $4 at a thrift store what would have been around $20 of linen at a regular fabric store, and as an added bonus, the edges were already finished, so I didn’t have to worry about them fraying. I already had a black tank top and leggings to wear under it, and I was able to get the sleeve trim and lacing for the costume for a $1 at JoAnn Fabrics, bringing the total cost of the dress to $5.

As for finding clothes that can be used as starters, a simple blue dress was the basis for my cousin’s costume. The gown itself was already sewn, all I had to do was add a few ribbonsto the sleeves and the front to make it look “Renaissancy.”

Naturally there are many times when a visit to a traditional fabric shop is necessary, when a certain color, type, or size of material cannot be found in a thrift store. However, it is always worth the time to look in the thrift store first. As an added benefit, purchasing material from a thrift store like the Salvation Army or Volunteers of America supports the organizations that help people. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf