A good day at the Thrift Store

Warning: Thrift-nerd post ahead. I haven’t been doing much thrifting lately. Partly because of time but mainly because I just don’t need more stuff. But every great while I pop it to check on the pyrex. Because it’s like a train wreck for me, I just have to stop and look. And lately, zilch.

Well, the Saturday before Easter I was doing last minute shopping, sans kids, and totally striking out everywhere. I could not find a decent sweater vest for my 7 yr old and no new DS fabric at JoAnn’s. Rats. So I was driving by my favorite thrift shop on my way home and thought, I’ll just run in for 5 minutes. Jackpot! Two things that were on my wish list and one I didn’t even know I wanted.

First of all a big yellow pyrex bowl.  I’ve wanted some bright yellow pyrex but never find any, and I’ve needed a big summer salad bowl. Woo.  It’s not in mint condition, but it will do. I was so excited.

Then sitting next to the yellow bowl was this beauty. I’m not a super-expert on pyrex and I had never seen the dark blue, but I loved it. With those cheerful daisys? How could you not.  And this one is in mint condition.  Most of my vintage pyrex collection is in the 1970’s harvest tones so I’m always excited when I find something out of that realm. As I did a little google research, I discovered that it’s Blue Colonial Mist or something like that. (Someone with a knowlege far superior to mine feel free to jump in here.) There’s even a similar bowl available on ebay right now!

Then finally, the vintage sheets. After just recently doing a big vintage sheet destash, I’m pretty discriminating about accumulating any more. But there it was a whole sheet in one of my favorite patterns. I’d found a pillow case in this pattern a while back and wished there were more.
 I’d even framed it and hung it in the center of my hoops wall because I loved it so much. What am I going to do with the sheet now that I have it? I have no idea. But for $5 I figured I could eventually come up with something good.
Yay. And then I succumbed to two other good ones because I do need a few other non-white sheets to finish off the quilt I want to make. 
And so things evened out that day. Which made me think of this random Jack Handy article for the New Yorker. I highly recommend it if you are a JH fan. If not, you are going to think I am a total weirdo.

Vintage Sheets Baby Quilt

After a couple years of collecting vintage sheets, swapping fat quarters and amassing a collection, I’ve finally made something with them. (Well, I take that back, I did do my hoops.)  But I’ve finally pieced a quilt with them!

As I laid out the blocks one night I was worried that I was creating a hot mess. But when I came back to look at the design wall the next day, I felt better about the situation.  The colors looked so much better in the daylight and I accepted that the wild prints give it personality.

You realize, not everyone appreciates a quilt made from, what some might consider other people’s grandma’s cast-off sheets found solely at thrift stores. You have to have just the right person who would appreciate such a gift.  Fortunately I was making this for just such a person. My friend, Steph and her husband (who is a good friend and co-worker of my husband), just had their first baby girl this past fall (they already have 3 adorable boys).  Steph is a thrifting diva. She finds the greatest stuff. She’s also an amazing knitter and even reclaims her own yarn from thrifted sweaters. (Steph shares some amazing creations as well as great knitting tutorials at her blog Snickerdoodle.  She’s also very funny.) 

So, as you can see, it was a thrill for me to have just the right person to motivate me to finally cut into my vintage sheets stash and start sewing.  Also throw in the fact that it’s for a baby with a gorgeous vintage name like, Stella? Match made in heaven.

Here is happy Stella with her happy quilt. Oh the cuteness.

I was stoked to find just the right tangerine-y orange for binding. Perfect.  Adorable quilting by my friend, Meridee.

I cut my fabric into 6″ squares – so they are 5.5″ finished.  I had a bunch of vintage sheet fat quarters so 6″ squares was the easiest size to cut.  Now I need to make a quilt for myself.  Once I get my quilt laid out, I will probably sell the rest of my pre-cut squares as well as some fat quarters. I make no promises as to how soon this will happen, but hopefully sooner, rather than later.

Linking up to QuiltStory, Someday Crafts, Creations by Kara, Sew & Tell with Amylouwho

PS Vintage vs Modern pattens giveaway winners announced.

Vintage Sheet Projects

I realized I never shared pictures of the final hanging of the hoops. I love them.  I was originally inspired the first time I visited Purl Patchwork and saw their swatch portraits. Only their’s are Liberty prints – and seeing as my Liberty collection is still pretty small (extremely small, like maybe one really small hoop’s worth), and that Liberty prints are around $30 a yard, I never did anything about it. Until I saw Amanda’s wonderful use of Vintage Sheets for such a purpose! Brilliant!
(The one on the bottom left was my Grandma’s. It’s my sentimental favorite. I still have a flat sheet to use as a quilt back some day . . .)
Here’s a brief tutorial how I framed mine.  I found all the hoops at thrift shops for really cheap.  Most of the sheets in a likewise manner.  Use the hoop to frame the sheet portion you would like to focus on. Tighten that screw-thingy.  Trim off the excess leaving about an inch of fabric all the way around.  Carefully apply hot glue a couple inches at a time and then gently pull the fabric taught over the glue.
 This should create a nice, tightly framed swatch.

I’ve hung mine over my cutting table where I can admire them. And here is a rare glimpse of my work space. (Notice the photo is strategically cropped to hide some serious piles of WIPS.) My goal this year is to have my whole sewing space aesthetically pleasing enough to be photographed.

Here’s one more vintage sheet project we’ve been working on.  My baby is turning 12 this week!! (CRAZY.) Anyway, she is ready for a new, chic, big-girl look to her bedroom.  We found a great slightly-damaged PBteen duvet cover (at a greatly reduced price) a few months ago and we’ve been building around that.  Part of that makeover includes this throw quilt made from two vintage sheets. And then we added our first coordinating throw pillow.  Hopefully I can get to the curtains in the next few weeks and then we can do a big reveal. But in the mean time, here’s a bit of a peek.

PS MANY THANKS for your kind words about my last post. (I realized afterwards that I had broken one of my rules about not writing blog posts when I should be in bed – that one came off way too cheezy!) But you folks are nice nonetheless.

And I was reminded of this little feature.  If you’ve made one of those table runners (or anything else with one of my tutorials) please share! I’d love to see it! (And so would lots of other people, I’m sure.) Go to this flickr page to post pictures. Then one day we could totally have a party showing off the stuff YOU made.
Thank you again. That’s all. {curtsies}

Vintage Sheet Dress

I’ve been collecting vintage sheets for a little while now.  I went through them recently and realized, it was time to actually DO something with them. Last summer I planned to make skirts and dresses and quilts. Instead, we moved. SO HAPPY not to be doing that again this summer. So this year, I sew!
The new dress came from this sheet, which I really love.  It’s funny because I found a flat sheet and a fitted sheet in this pattern and different times and locations. (Isn’t it funny how often you find repeats of patterns when looking for vintage sheets? If you’ve been collecting a while, you know what I mean. Not as much variety 20+ years ago. Which is not necessarily bad. Okay, I’m waffling. . .) 
Anyway, I loved that bright pink edge. Then I had the brilliant idea to make that the bottom edge of the dress. No hemming required! I know, I’m a genius. (That, plus I’m lazy. I love shortcuts!)
I used this much of the sheet (I think it was probably a Queen size originally.) I measured and cut the finished length. For the width, I doubled the finish measurement. I hemmed the top edge and sewed one seam up the back. All I had left was the shirring (gathering the bodice).
I’ve wanted to try shirring every since I watched Heather Ross make it look so easy on Martha. (You can watch the video at this link too!)  Sandi Henderson also has a great tutorial.  The secret is elastic sewing thread. It’s pretty snazzy. I found it at a chain sewing store.

And here are the end results.  It takes a little bit of time to sew all those seams, but I basically finished this dress in one evening. My daughter wore it to church on Sunday and played in it all day. Perfect for a warm, sunny spring day.  The fabric is so soft and durable – I also love the thought that because it’s a blend, I won’t need to iron it. I will probably make more. Especially considering the fact that the whole dress (elastic thread included) cost less than $6. Nice.