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Blackwood Opshops

13 Oct

When I first came to Australia and discovered opshops, somebody told me I had to go to the Blackwood opshops. I didn’t find the time to till last week, when I went to visit some friends there, who babysat the Little Wyld Man while mummy went-a-shopping.

Blackwood, for those unfamiliar to Adelaide, is south of Adelaide, and situated in the hills. It has 5 opshops within a small shopping radius, the best and biggest being the Salvos one. There are also the Save the Children Opshop, Redcross, Goodwill, and the RSPCA thrift shop. See here for addresses.

I went to the Salvos one first, which was the most famous. Inside was the most organized and appealing  layout I’d ever seen in an opshop, being almost boutique-like in a rustic way. That said however, I didn’t find anything  to buy. There was a trouser press being sold for $60 displayed outside, but I don’t iron enough trousers to justify buying it. But if it had been a gravity feed iron/steam generator, that would have been a different story.

The next opshop I went to was the Redcross one. Here I spied an almost brand new shawl-collared white cardigan which I snatched up.

White Cardigan

Originally it had two ties sewn in to tie the front together which I removed. I also tacked the collar in place so that it would stay in that shape instead of collapsing. I’ve worn it out twice within the last week already. $6.99. Kaching!

I also found a dressmaking book, Success with Dress by Ellen and Marietta Resek.

Success with Dress

I hummed and harred about it, but was sold when I saw that it had a section on drafting patterns.

Bodice Drafts

This is an Aussie book, and very well written. Every chapter starts with a cute little rhyme, and it covers most of the basics in dressmaking.  The sleeve draft was good, being an assymetrical sleeve. (Sleeves shouldn’t look the same front and back, the front of the sleeve has less material, and the back has more-some books get it wrong). I have an earlier book by the same authors called Successful Dressmaking, which I posted about here. $3.

I went to Save the Children Opshop next, and here I picked up some fabrics-a nude and a red tricot fabric, perfect for petticoats and lining knit garments. I also found a nice wool felt hat in cream.

Cream Felt Hat

This is a back view.

Back view

I’m not so crazy about the way the grosgrain ribbon trim is finished at the back. I think it needs something more. I haven’t decided what to do about it yet. $4.99

I also found a sewing box for $9. I thought it was a bit steep for an opshop, but I really wanted and needed one, and Spotlight sells them for $20. I’ve been sewing out of a Tupperware container, so I’m glad to have this.

Sewing box

Inside peek

No, it didn’t come with tools and notions. *pout*. Wyld Man says it looks almost exactly like his mother’s.

The last stop was at Goodwill. I didn’t find anything that I liked until I was almost leaving and then I saw this.

Buckram hat with feathers

I really, really liked it. However, the feathers were a little scraggly, and the ribbon wasn’t glued on properly. I bought it, and I’m going to refashion it one of  this  days. This is a hat for spring, while the other one was a wintery one. $6.50.

So that’s all from Blackwood. I didn’t go to the RSPCA one because my friend/tour guide said it wasn’t any good, and I also wanted to get back to Little Wyld Man. I needn’t have worried though, he was very good and didn’t miss me at all!

And while I’m posting about all things opshop, I found this little top at the St Agnes Save the Children Opshop some weeks ago and loved it.

Red Polka Dot Top

Makes me feel like Minnie Mouse! Love it! $3. The camisole came from an opshop too. Can’t remember where from now.

What did you find at the opshops?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Opshop Finds On My Birthday

13 Jul

Yesterday I turned 26. It doesn’t feel like another year has passed and that I’m a year older and only four more years away from the big three-O. In my head I still feel like a giddy 18-year-old. We had a quiet celebration with the family on Sunday night. The Wednesday before, Wyld Man and I had a special night out to celebrate both our birthdays-we’re both July babies. I got a Mileni bag as a present from the family, as well as a gift card at Suzannegrae.

Mileni bag

It’s a huge bag-I carried it around yesterday with one of the compartments with my stuff, and the other half with William’s stuff-nappy, squirt bottle, a bottle of water, nappy change mat, bib, hanky and a stuffed toy!

Anyways, yesterday morning I caught up with a playgroup mummy and she brought me to her favourite opshop! It’s run by the Uniting Church and is quite small, but I still managed to bag quite a haul. I got a few things for myself…

Opshop outfit

The tan crossover top was AUD1.75,  and the angora wool skirt was AUD3.  I especially love the skirt, with is a thick stretchy knit, quite warm and perfect for winter outfits. The only thing is that with tights, it tends to ride up unless I make a lining for it, which I shall.

I also got myself a couple of belts for 50cents each-I keep wearing mine out.

I got William a few things-lots of bibs and some little outfits like…

Marks and Spencer red striped 2 set

…for AUD3. And a couple of Wondersuits…

Wondersuits

…for a dollar each.

I also picked up 2 metres of a lovely winter weight wool twill.

Twill fabric

I’m in the middle of cutting it out for a skirt. I’ve decided to make another Vogue 8426-inspired skirt.

When I came home later that day, I had this given to me.

My Little Wyld Man's card for me

He’d even signed it!

Signed by William

Isn’t it the cutest little scribble ever?

And this was his and daddy’s present to me.

365 Day Cookbook

A friend on Facebook reminded me of how blessed I was to have my very own knight and prince.*Sigh*. Happy.

White Jacket

1 May

Some time ago, I thought that I’d like to have a white suit to wear to church-actually to William’s baptism on 28 March. I rummaged through my fabricf stash and decided to make a white suit made of a waffle weave white linen that was given to me, trimmed with a navy blue polkadot fabric. This is the sketch I drew.

Fashion Sketch

It would have a shawl collar, and bias bound with the navy blue polkadot trim, with a sewn in belt feature, accompanied by a pencil skirt in the same polkadot fabric.

The chosen fabrics

This would be the first time I attempted a jacket, as well as make my own bias binding. I’ve always been intimidated by the jacket, with its facings, sleeve vents, linings and collars-but I decided to take the plunge this time.

I drafted a jacket block from Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear.

The Jacket Draft instructions

My personal jacket draft

The shawl collar had to be drafted separately on another piece of paper and attached to the main jacket block.

My shawl collar piece

I decided where I wanted my style lines to be and marked them on the main block with pencil, and traced them out onto newpaper with seam allowances.

My cut pattern pieces

Laying out my pattern pieces on fabric, ready to cut.

The cut fabric

I also cut my interfacing for the jacket facing and the belt.

Interfacing pieces

Next up was the bias binding. I used the continous binding method to make a long chain of binding. I estimated that I needed around 3.5 m of 2.5cm wide binding to go around the jacket. 2.5cm x350cm=875 cm squared, square root of 875 =29.5cm. So I cut a square of polkadot fabric 35cm by 35 cm, and marked 2.5cm intervals on the bias with tailor’s chalk.

Fabric square marked on the bias with chalk every 2.5 cm intervals. The marks are not visible here.

I cut the square into half at a 45 degree angle across the bias

Now place one half of the square on the other side-making a rhombus like the picture. Match all the chalk marks

Sew the two pieces together with a very small seam allowance and press

The rhombus has to be rolled into a tube and joined together, matching all the chalk marks again. This feels very counter intuitive because it feels like the fabric is twisted.

The rolled tube of fabric

Now I just cut the fabric into one long strip following the chalk marks I made.

My bias strip

To make it suitable for binding, like bias binding you buy in a package, I use my bias tape maker.

Pulling the strip through the bias tape maker and pressing as I pull it through.

My bias binding all pressed and ready to go

It was rather satisfying to make that loooong strip of bias tape.

Before I started sewing, I did all the other incidentals like fusing the interfacing into place.

I fused the interfacing to the jacket facing.

My interfaced belt pieces

I sewed the lining pieces together first-to prevent sewing fatigue. You know how you’ve finished the main garment, then look at your lining and sigh-wishing that you didn’t have to do it after all? Well, making the lining first prevents that problem.

The lining pieces

I started sewing all the main garment pieces together and didn’t take pictures because I was in a hurry to finish the jacket. I sewed the binding all around the jacket by hand which took me the better half of two days.

This was the finished jacket.

Finished jacket

HOWEVER- I tried it on. And boy was I disappointed. It didn’t fit!!!! Well. It fitted well enough in the shoulders, and had the jacket been a standard design with no in-built belt, it would have fitted beautifully. But, I didn’t make a muslin, and didn’t anticipate that the draft being a looser fit with standard jacket ease built into it would not carry my design well. My design needed an extremely fitted jacket, with the belt sitting and wrapping the waist precisely. This jacket billowed at the back. And it has so many seams that was I to make the alteration to fit, I’d need to recut the belt piece, as well as take out every seam at the waist, where I counted at least 8 seams. It’s such a pity because I loved the colour combination-it’s so pretty! Grgh! And because it didn’t fit, I haven’t the motivation to finish making the buttonholes nor put in buttons. And now it’s officially an UFO-UnFinished Object. Sigh. I haven’t the heart to make my polkadot pencil skirt either. That’ll teach me to make a muslin next time I make a new draft of something.

Encounter Bay Op Shops

8 Apr

Went on a trip to Kangaroo Island and Encounter Bay over the Easter long weekend. Thought I’d try my luck at the opshops there. Wyld Man was very accomodating-knowing my love for bargains. There were two opshops that I knew of, a Salvos one, and a Lifeline one. However, on this trip I found 2 more, a Save the Children’s Opshop, and one more which seemed new, but didn’t have a name.

I didn’t expect them to be open on Monday, being a religious public holiday, and Salvos and Lifeline being run by volunteers, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was wrong. I went into Salvos, looking for but not really expecting to find any sewing books-but what do you know, I found a 3 really good books between 1 and 2 dollars each as well as a really nice denim skirt with a flounce, a style which I really love.

Stretch Denim Flounced Skirt. AUD4.50

Another view

I was really glad I found this, because I was actually planning to make one. I already have a similar one which I made with a maternity stretch panel…

My maternity flounced denim skirt

…but it’s become too loose to wear since I gave birth. So this will do nicely.

The books I picked up were these:

1. Singer: How to Sew Fashion Knits

Singer: How to Sew Fashion Knits

Inside

Another look inside

Boring line drawings, but useful information on knits. 99 cents.

2. The Bastford Book of Sewing by Ann Ladbury

The Batsford Book of Sewing

I’ve got no idea why it’s called the BATSFORD book of sewing-there is not explanation inside as to why, and the author is called Ann Ladbury, so I assume it’s not sewing methods that she’s invented, but someone elses. Printed in 1977, has 500 drawings and phtographs, and divided into alphabetical sections starting from Alterations, Belts, to Waistbands and Zips. A little counter-intuitive, as I was puzzled when I first turned the page and straigthaway saw the section on Alterations. Normally sewing books start with fabric and equipment first, before graduating to techniques. I suppose the author decided to make it into a sort of alphabetical sewing dictionary.  Below is an inside look.

Inside

Another page

Another inside look

For 99 cents, a pretty good find.

3. Singer: Children’s Clothes, Toys & Gifts

I was really happy with this one. It’s a Reader’s Digest publication, and I love their books. I have a Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, the 70’s edition, and I love it. I found that book at the same Salvos store too.

Singer: Children's Clothes, Toys & Gifts

Elastic Waistbands

Closures

Rugby Plackets

Collars with Faggoting

Insulated Jackets

This book was AUD1.99, but with tons of pictorial guides – totally worth it.

I got the fourth book at a second hand book shop next to Lifeline, called Creative Serging Illustrated by Palmer, Brown and Green. This wasn’t run by a charity organization, so I had to pay AUD5 for this one.

Creative Serging Illustrated

Failsafe Fundamentals

Heirloom Sewing

Flatlocking for a topstitched look.

Books on serging don’t come up very often, so I’m glad I got this one.

At Lifeline, I stumbled on a treasure trove of fabrics. It’s not often that you find fabrics at opshops. Maybe 1 out of 6 opshops will have them? I got at least 20 maters of fabric for AUD20.

My New Stash

I was extremely happy to pick up this all-wool luxury flannel from England, the type for men’s suits. There was at least 3 metres of it. I won’t quit be able to make a suit out of it I don’t think, but defintely a skirt.

Beautiful striped wool flannel.

All Wool Luxury Flannel

It’s been cut into, but there’s still a substantial yardage of it. Yay!

This was another piece of fabric that I picked up-I’m pretty confident it’s a wool, though not as high quality as the one above.

Another wool material

A pretty plaid

I thought the plaid would make great little pants for the Little Wyld Man.

A pretty rose cotton print

Really soft. Would make a pretty dress. Pity winter is coming up.

Knits

I was also lucky enough to come across a bunch of knits, which are quite expensive retail. I snapped up everything they had available.

I love the opshops at Encounter Bay!

Op Shop Bargains!

10 Feb

Last Saturday my mother-in-law stumbled into a Baptish Church opshop. Knowing my love for bargains, she went in and saw clothes, fabrics, baby things, and she hurried home to tell me about it. And both rushed back there a half hour before it closed. There were racks of clothes being sold at 50cents a piece, as well as rooms devoted to women’s wear, baby wear, menswear and odd bric-a-brac.

The first thing that caught my eye were 2 pairs of Jeanswest Maternity jeans-50 cents each!

Jeanswest Maternity Jeans

They were practically brand new and in my size!  I wouldn’t wear them in summer, but I’ll wear them in winter for a winter baby. Wink!

I was excited when I saw that they had a cupboardful of fabrics. Here’s what I picked out for a dollar a bundle.

My op shop fabric.

The top fabric is a large yardage of blue-green linen.

Pink polyester tricot.

A pretty light green checked cotton blend.

Would probably make a nice boy’s shirt.

A beautiful silver grey material.

Can’t figure out what it is. It’s wonderfully soft and silky, but I think it’s probably a synthetic blend.

A really pretty vintage print cotton

A mustard-brown linen.

And last but not least…

A really interesting heavy weight cotton print

I also browsed through they sewing notions and found this.

A shoebox full of zippers

And they weren’t old vintage ones either.

Some of the zippers were new.

The lady said there were some sewing books-but somebody had already made off with them. Darn!

But the prize of the day was this.

An almost brand new bassinet

It came in about 10 minutes after we did. And I just fell in love with it. Even though we already had one given to us…this on was just so hard to resist. It was absolutely beautiful. Retail it would be at least AUD150 or more. This one was AUD 25.  It was probably a spare one from the grandparents when they babysat the little one. But it really looks new. And the cream-coloured frills! To die for.

I also got this.

It's not a golf bag.

Take off the cover and you get this.

It's not a shopping trolley.

It unfolds to.....

A Portacot!

Really handy for travelling. Or even as a playpen! Got this one knocked down from AUD40 to AUD 20.

It was a wonderful day.

New Fabric For My Stash!

31 Jan

Yay! The lady at church lived up to her word and gave me another stack of fabric to bring home and play with. And I have already done something with it today-see my later post.

New fabrics to add to my stash

Again, she emphasised that they were all natural fibers-wools, linens and cottons-nothing synthetic-well, except for some Bemberg linings. They are more than 20 years old, but are in amazingly good condition.

A really pretty purple and silver Bemberg lining

Some sort of grey and brown tweed

A really pretty white Swiss cotton fabric with raised dots and lines

A light blue houndstooth wool

Blue linen

A dusty rose pink polished cotton

A beautiful light wool

But I have no idea what to make with this. I’m not sure it’s a colour that would suit me. The only thing I could come up with was to make a light blanket! Surely that’s a little sacrilegious?

A light tan-coloured thick cotton twilled material.

I think it would make a beautiful winter skirt-gored of course. Maybe a matching jacket?

A white cotton with jacquard weave

Would make a lovely white suit.

More linens.

A heavy cotton plaid

A purple linen

And the lady threw in a jewellery travel bag.

Handmade in white satin.

A view from the front and back of it

Zippered compartments for necklaces and bracelets

And that tube thing has a snap at the end which you unclasp and you can string rings unto it!

I love all the fabrics I got today. It almost filled up a 55-litre plastic storage box I just got last week! Now I have 4 of those boxes all filled up with fabric!

An Ever Increasing Fabric Stash

24 Jan

Is a good thing. Despite the increasing lack of storage space. A lovely lady at church today who used to sew but doesn’t anymore gave me a huge stash of fabrics to take home and play with.

Fabric Stash on my kitchen table

The fabrics were really good quality, made of natural fibers and in wonderful conditon, despite the fact that some of them were over 20 years old. Some of the stars of the day were:

Silk with matching woven trim

This would make a wonderful ethnic looking skirt and top. Maybe a sari? Although I wouldn’t know where to wear one in Adelaide.

Genuine Thai Silk with a certificate of authenticity

Thai Certificate of Authenticity

A huge yardage of a soft blue waffle weave cotton/silk blend

A different shade of the same cloth above in a reddish pink.

Light pink silk

White Linen

Pink material with woven checks-not sure what kind of material it is though.

Champagne coloured soft linen

A white pinwale cord-like material. It also came in light and dark blue.

I’m thinking a white gored maternity skirt for this one.

Light brown linen

Today’s catch inspired me to sort out my fabric stash into some sort of order.

My fabric stash and storage place

This is what it looked like before. I’ve filled up 3 55-litre storage boxes, and fabric stilled overflowed.  I spent more than an hour sitting down on the floor folding fabric into uniform lengths to fit the boxes.

Folding folding folding

I folded and positioned all my fabric so that it was sitting vertically.

Makes it easier to see and pull out a particular fabric that I want.

My fleec stash for making cloth nappies.

Fashion fabric.

Fashion fabric

At least one third of the material you see were given by other people. Another third from opshops, and one third from Spotlight. I can’t help collecting fabric-it’s so addictive! I need to sew more!

I should have catalogued the fabric and measured it though. But my back was aching from sitting on the floor too long.

Anyways, the fabric were collected over just 3 months-I wonder how much I’ll have in a year?! The church lady said she’ll bring more next week-can’t wait!