Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thrifted books (and fabric)

Since we were already downtown on Saturday, I convinced D to stop in at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. It's enormous, hot, poorly lit, and completely disorganized. To most people, this probably sounds like a nightmare, but I see it as a challenge.

And I scored! I picked up several sweet vintage sheets. Sheets are an amazing way to get tons of fabric for very little money per yard, if you check the labels to make sure you're getting 100% cotton, and keep your eye out for sheets that don't look too sheet-y, if that makes sense. For some reason, many sheets are instantly identifiable as sheets, even when the fabric is cut up. It takes some effort to look for good colors in high quality fabric so that you avoid this problem.

Actually, one of these is a table cloth, but whatever. Sorry for the poor lighting. I swear the colors are cuter in the light of day.


I fell in love with this print, and in person, the colors are a great range of greens on white cloth.


But I really made out in the book section. $2.10 for each hardback, and despite somewhat limited patience, I managed to dig out three books I'm very glad to add to my library.


I grew up with the Jane Brody cookbook, and I love it. The subtitle is Living the High Carbohydrate Way, which thrills me. Of course, she really means veggies and whole grains, rather than say, Twinkies. The Silver Palate Cookbook looks great too, but I'm really excited about the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. This little gem has incredibly detailed descriptions of basically every sewing technique you can imagine, perfect for a novice like me.

You can get the new version on Amazon, but the cover isn't nearly as cute. And it probably doesn't have this amazingness...

barrel bag

Seriously, how cool is this lady? I heart the bag, the outfit, the massive sunglasses. I wish the scan quality was better so you could see all the detail.

And this really made my day. It's just a little skirt for wearing to the beach, right?

beach cover up 1

Wrong. It's also a makeshift tent for changing out of your swimsuit.

beach cover up 2

According to the book: Worn as a skirt over a swim suit, the coverup will take you in style to snack stand or parking lot. Take cover under the cape for protection against sun or breezes. In a pinch, under its generous width, you could even change from wet suit to dry clothes!

Amazing. Please note that the "cape" does not have slits for your arms, so you would have to walk around like a mummy.

It looks like there are copies of the old version up on Ebay. I can already tell it's going to be a mine of information as I do more and more sewing.


  1. the way this whole post was formatted was perfect. i saw the skirt and thought, hmm not so bad. then i scrolled down to see the tent. probably the funniest thing i've seen all week. you now know what's on my xmas wish list...

  2. how clever, a porto-dressing room!
    love vintage finds from fabric to trims, to books. a swell time machine of inspiration as well as the frugal bonus.

  3. Those are some good books!! (I've never looked at the sewing one, but I can vouch for the oter two!) And I really need that skirt. Really, really.

  4. awesome. jumper. will you make it, please?

  5. WOW! Take a look at that skirt. I mean tent. I mean jumper. I mean...

    These were GREAT finds!

    Thank you so much for stopping in and saying hi :)

  6. I meant the jump*suit* actually. Why is everyone overlooking the jumpsuit?

  7. Glad everyone else is enjoying it too!
    I think my super poor scans make it hard for people to see the awesomeness of the all white jumpsuit. Also, the bag is somewhat strategically placed, making it difficult to see if it is a suit or just pants and a shirt. I'm going with jumpsuit!
    Maybe I should go into business making 1976 tent skirts and jumpsuits.

  8. I love your thrifted finds! Especially the beautiful fabrics- next time I'm at a thrift store I will pay more attention to them. :)
    Nothing better than a good thrift store challenge.

  9. I love it all...the "tent" made me smile.

  10. Great books! PS I have the Silver Palate Cookbook, it is a classic and the recipes are delish. Your post reminded me of what one of my thrifty friends does with thrift shop hand knitted items: she unravels them for the yarn. Much cheaper than buying new wool! Love your blog, thanks for sharing.

  11. OMG I love the lady in white with the brown bag, which would be perfect for holding a yoga mat (or beach towel, or something more luxurious). I hope you will share more of this wonderful book with us in the future :)

    Great work on the vintage score this weekend. Thank you for the great tip on sourcing quality vintage fabric. I've been hunting for some vintage fabric as of late, and your tips will come in handy hopefully this weekend!

  12. Love those books--great finds! :)


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