On the same day as we found the pirate dress of previous post, we visited about 4 different op-shops in our area. These are my most frequent haunts. Thankfully they provide a lot of variety in quite a small area, and the catchment for donations is always of a high quality. Three of them are in one street, and the fourth (and the biggest) is about a 10-minute train journey away.
On this particular occasion, we had amazing luck in finds. The very first shop we entered (as it opened, I might add) was Red Threads run by the Red Cross. Specialising in clothing, with a few knick-knacks scattering in between, it was great fun, if occasionally a little overpriced. We must have tried on half the shop. Fortunately amongst all the things that didn’t fit or looked terrible on, there was the pirate dress I spoke about previously. Too big but with an amazing skull and crossbones print and with great potential. It’s already been taken in and is currently in hot rotation in my sisters’ wardrobe.
We then moved on to our local Salvation Army Family Store. The newest of the op-shops in our area, it has a great selection of clothing, furniture and particularly haberdashery. I think I must have struck gold: the biggest bag of zippers I’ve ever seen, priced at 50c a piece. Since that’s less than half retail (and these looked like they’d come from a shop clearance) that was a pretty good deal. But I couldn’t choose. There were too many and so many colours and lengths. So I walked timidly to the counter and asked for a price for the bag. The volunteer looked at me very strangely. Apparently she had only just put the bag out on the floor and were expecting to sell the zippers one at a time. I’m pretty sure she grabbed a number out of thin air; not really believing anyone could have uses for so many zippers. $10 for the bag. Well, that’s definitely coming home with me. Turns out there were 126 zippers in the bag! That works out to about $63 if I’d bought them individually at 50c each. Not a bad haul.
Having found my first big score the day, I moved to the dress rack – my favourite area of the store after fabrics and haberdashery. I’m such a dress person, it’s a bit ridiculous. So I’m always looking for something in those racks: doesn’t matter if its vintage or new or somewhere in between. I love them all equally. Thankfully, luck was once again with me. I found the most amazing print dress. The fabric wasn’t the best quality but the print of flying geese was unusual and it was priced at $6, so I didn’t even try it on. The top was definitely not my style, so that’s definitely changing, but there’s loads of fabric to do something with.
With our treasures, we moved on to the third of the op-shops: St Vincent de Paul. This one in particular is amazing for sewing notions. They’ve literally got buckets and buckets of patterns, even vintage ones dating back to the 50s. Plus good amount of fabric. I generally find a good quality of bias binding and hem facings attractively priced at 50c per pack.
On this occasion it looked like the zipper gods were again smiling on me. Literally a whole basket of invisible zippers. Knowing how many I’d just bought, I restrained myself and only bought ten. God I love invisible zippers. They look so professional and sleek. If they have any left next time I’ll there, I’d love a few more in different colours. They only seemed to have white or bright pink. I’ll stick with white, thank you very much. At 50c apiece (do op-shops have some sort of hidden guideline for zipper pricing) they were another steal. I’ve already got plans for a few of them.
At last we hit the train and jumped off a couple of stops later at the second St Vincent de Paul in our area. The biggest shop of the four we visited, I’ve had great success there in the past, including everything from linens to formal dresses to sewing patterns, even furniture. They’ve got enough of everything that you’re about to have a good rummage without actually getting lost in the clutter. They even have the odd true vintage piece. On this particular day I think I used upon all my good luck in the previous shops, as I didn’t find anything I wanted. My sister however – my constant thrifing companion – found a number of outfits to try. None of them quite compared to her pirate dress, so we left with just a bird scarf (see, we’ve got a thing for bird printed things at the moment).
We then spend the afternoon sewing and altering our treasures (more to come in future posts!). It was the loveliest way to spend a day, and just what I needed.