Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Patchwork quilts from old clothes and reclaimed fabrics

I love sewing quilt blocks.  At the end of a stressful, hair-frazzling day, there is nothing more soothing than sitting down at my sewing machine and sewing quilt blocks.  The creative process of selecting and cutting fabric, sewing them together, and then ironing the final result is a refreshing balm.

I first got into quilting when I was 7 years old when I read "Little House in the Big Woods".   The idea of making a warm, snuggly quilt from castoffs appealed to me.  Not only was I creating something from nothing.  But I was also creating something substantial and beautiful a little piece at a time.

Both the quilt tops below were sewn from mostly reclaimed fabric.  These quilts are almost complete, I'm in the final stages of putting them together.

9 Patch Quilt with Glow-in-the-dark lips on the border

The quilt above (pardon the crappy picture)  has alternating nine-patches.  This quilt is made mostly from turquoise fabric which I received for free after an estate sale.  Other material used includes a pair of blue jeans, a pair of red jeans, a dark plaid shirt, and some leftover fabric from a previous quilting project.  The material on the border was purchased.  It features glow-in-the-dark lips.

The backing for this quilt is going to be a fleece sheet.  Instead of the traditional quilt batting in the middle, I'm going to have a wool blanket that can be buttoned in on the inside.

I started this quilt a few months ago.  So it was a relatively quick project.  Sewing the blocks was quick and easy.  But I took forever putting the blocks together in a way that made sense.  I kept arranging and rearranging the blocks and leaving it for a day or two.  Eventually I stumbled upon the idea of arranging the blocks into a larger 5 by 5 pattern.

This pinwheel quilt was truly a labour of love.  I started it over a year ago.  I originally envisioned a quilt made of different plaids, but I didn't have enough plaid in my stash.  Then I focused on creating pinwheels from red, beige or white.  I ran out of beige and white, so I swapped in some gold fabric in the centre of the quilt.  

This quilt was made almost entirely from castoff clothing.  Around 6 shirts, 2 skirts and 4 pairs of pants went into this quilt.  The backing is a flannel sheet, the middle is a premium quality batting that I got on sale.  The binding is going to be some fabric I had purchased for another project.

Quilting isn't for everyone.  And a lot of people choose not to use reclaimed fabric. It's more time-consuming to cut up and piece.  But the material is definitely more durable and better quality than what you'd find in a fabric store.

Quilting doesn't have to be an expensive hobby.  Use what you have and you may be surprised with the results.

Happy thrifting everyone.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

How much did you pay for your outfit? May outfits.

May has been a strange month.  What with the snow, followed by a few days of sunshine, followed by snow, followed by a few days of sunshine.  It's getting so that I'm travelling with an extra parka and boots, just in case the temperature drops and it snows, again.

FYI, my body is totally mixed up.  I keep feeling like it's November, and I should be putting up jars of canned goods.  :)

Most of the thrift finds in this post came from the Salvation Army.  There are also some killer deals from Ardene and Kohls.

Here we have a couple of pics of me on a snowy day.  My darling bf took these pictures after I came home from work.

Snow in May!!

Funny closed-eye pic!
The outfit I'm wearing is almost entirely second hand.  The checked wool coat is American Eagle ($10), Ralph Lauren cable-knit cardi ($5, half price sweater day!), Jones tuxedo shirt (I forget), and Eddie Bauer cordorouy skirt (about $5).  The tights were on sale at Shoppers for $4, and the fabulous booties (which you can't see very well, came from Norstrom Rack for about $70.  I knit the stripey hat from clearance yarn, so it was about $2.  If you don't include the booties, my outfit cost about $30.

Here I am, last week at the movies with my fabulous stylist (she wanted everyone to know that she is really my daughter ;).  It was kind of windy, so I wore one of my favorite thrift finds..a vintage, wool, sweater coat with a hood and bell sleeves.  I love this coat.  It's made in Canada, and I found it in MINT condition for $7.

We saw Iron Man 3, which I give 2 thumbs up!!

Dress for the weather, people!

Sweater coat, oversized cotton sweater, yellow denim capris, studded ballet flats and a mommy tote.
Sweater coat $7, oversized cotton sweater $5, yellow denim capris $10.  All these items were thrifted, the capris still had the tags on them.

The brown tote is one of my favs, it came from Kohl's for $20 on clearance.

The studded ballet flats are Candies, from Kohls for about $20.  The earrings were 70 cents at Ardene's.

Outfit total, including shoes and accessories...$62!!

Going to work! It's Monday.
This is me getting ready for work.  All the clothing is thrifted.  RW shirt, Mexx cardigan and Nine West pants.  I usually pay about $5 per article of thrifted clothing, so this outfit probably cost $15.  The fabulous, green chain necklace was $5 on clearance at Bianca Nygard.

It's Friday, yay!!
Whew, it was a tough week at work.  The good news is that the snow has almost melted, so I wore sandals!!!  Orange jacket (Eddie Bauer), dress shirt (can't remember), Gap capris.  This outfit was about $15, the sandals were about $70.
The multiple-strand necklace was about 80 cents at Ardenes.  

New bandana print pants!!
I splurged and bought a pair of skinny pants with a blue and white bandana print....I LOVE them!  They were on sale for about $35 at Bianca Nygard (hmmm, I'm seeing a trend here).

The nude, suede flats were thrifted for $10.  They are Nine West (sorry for the blurry pic).  This white, cotton pullover was thrifted for about $5.

More accessories!!

Shell necklace, it's hard to make out the pretty details.  $5 on clearance at, you guessed it, Bianca Nygard.

This outfit with the bandana print pants, jacket, pullover, necklace, and shoes came to $60.

I do tend to shop at the same stores over and over again.  I always check out the clearance and sale racks.  Where do you shop?

For my fellow Canucks, have a FABULOUS long Victoria Day weekend!!!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Springtime thrift store haul and washing dry-clean clothing.

Ah, the smell of spring.  Fresh air, the dewy scent of grass, the sound of snowbanks melting into muddy slush.  Spring is not only about nice smells, it's about people cleaning out their closets.  And if you live in a city where people love to shop, you're almost certain to find thrift store gold on 50% off days.

Yup, a few weeks ago, our two Salvation Army thrift stores had 50% off sales.  Unfortunately I had to work at my second job on Saturday morning, so I only had a few hours in the afternoon to visit one of the stores. 

I'm always needing office clothing.  Right now blazers, blouses and nice cardis are at the top of my list.  So I typically hit up those racks up first.  If I have time, I'll do a slow troll through the craft area, and shirts and sweaters.  I'm always on the lookout for glitzy buttons to salvage, and things I can repurpose.

Without further ado, here is my haul.  And just for giggles, I am posting some prices for comparable garments.

Banana Republic knit top, Ann Taylor cardi
Both these tops are made of lightweight cotton.  Perfect for layering in an office.  The sale price on Banana Republic pullover is about  $40..  An Ann Taylor, short-sleeved cardigan will set you back about $65

Kasper sage green skirt suit.  Check out the pin tucks at the waist.
 The picture doesn't do this outfit justice.  Stacy and Clinton would definitely give this blazer two thumbs up.  The pin tucks at the waist emphasize all that is good.  Plus this suit is green, I love green.  Here is a Kasper skirt suit on Overstock for $55.

Covington blouse?  Casual blazer? Made of a linen rayon blend.

Is it a structured blouse?  Is it a flowing jacket?  Either way, it's going to look FAB over a sundress.  Slip this top over a strappy sundress, add a belt and some accessories and you have a great office look.  Slip the top off, and I'm ready to relax after work at an outdoor pub.

Talbot's lambswool cardigan with rhinestone buttons
I just about died when I found this cardi.  Made of the softest lambswool.  The colors are light beige with dusty roses.  It's missing a couple of buttons, but I'll soon remedy that.  FYI I'm going to go for the mismatched button look.  Did I mention that I love beige, roses, wool and blingy buttons?  The Talbot's website only has spring cardis in cotton.  They retail for $80.

American Eagle crested blazer

This American Eagle blazer has already worked its way into my rotation.  I wore it with a pair of cotton trousers, a white pullover and some glitzy necklaces.  I love it.

Remember the Seinfeld episode about the crested blazer?

In addition to these treasures I found some neon green ribbing, quilt fabric, a slightly-oversized collarless blazer, a loose linen top with a loon silk-screened on it, and a FABULOUS blue silk blouse with a rambunctious paisley pattern....and more!

I purchased about ten items of clothing for $50.  So everything averaged about $5. 

Instead of dry-cleaning the clothing, I carefully handwashed it.  Yes, you can handwash blazers.  The trick is to be selective and look for certain fabrics.  Use lukewarm water and gentle detergent.  Do not wring the clothing, soak it, and gently agitate the water.  Then rinse thoroughly, squish the water out, and shape to dry on a towel or hanger.

May the sun shine and the snow melt wherever you are.

Happy thrifting!