A thrift wish list

Monday, May 30, 2011

Now into in my second month of the Free Fashion Challenge, I find myself drawing up a mental list of things that I'd like to buy; a thrift list if you will.

The Free Fashion Challenge comes with individual assignments along with our shopping sabbatical. In my in-box today, I am prompted with an assignment question; "If you could get 1 fashion item as a gift, what would you pick?" Rather than pick just one, I have three! Here is, my thrift wish list.

1. A pair of Knit Leggings

Similar to these on eBay. Image c/o Joy Hoisery

Perhaps I wouldn't thrift a pair, but a handmade pair of leggings would be good

2. A skirt sewing pattern

This crescent skirt pattern from Sewaholic would be perfect

Otherwise a similar vintage skirt pattern

3. Clogs

Especially fond of these from Second Hand Addiction
(currently having a sale; 30% off all vintage clothing!)

Don't care if they are 'last seasons' looks or not, clogs are great.

Next week my challenge will be tested, for I am leading another Bayside Melbourne Op Shop Tour on Friday 10th June (my first mid week tour) which covers six op shops in one day. Whilst the majority of the day is focused on attendees of the tour and their finds, it is often tempting, even as a tour guide, to stumble upon some treasures when faced with so many bargains in one day.

Do you have a thrift wish list, or do you prefer not having anything in mind at all, thus being open to any pieces you might stumble upon?

Patching with Upholstery Samples

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How did an American fine furnishing sample book find its way to a recycle centre, in a small Australian suburban town? Last year I picked up a pack of upholstery fabric samples by Robert Allen, for $1, at the Outlook Recycle Centre in Mornington; its journey remains unknown.

It is almost as if each fabric square has it's own story, for each piece consists of different material, and made in countries as far and wide as Taiwan, India, The Philippines, Japan, and the USA. There are silks, cottons, linens and synthetics.

Up until now, my upholstery samples have been left untouched in my rather large suitcase of thrifted fabric, waiting patiently for a project. Whilst I am scheming up a suitable project to reuse all of these pretty fabric squares, I have in the meantime found a use for some.

My favourite pair of Diesel jeans, that I've had for close to ten years, have finally given at the knee. Now, I shouldn't be too bothered about this, for ripped jeans have a certain character, but during Melbourne's winter, it is just not practical to wear holey jeans. What better opportunity than to patch with fine furnishing samples?

To sew on my patches, I had to unpick the side seam of my jeans, then machine stitched what I could, hand stitched the rest, and machine stitched the open seam back together again.

Never too old for patched jeans!

Happy Birthday Recycled Fashion

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Birthday cake in a jar, image c/o blogs.babble.com
(must try this!)

Yesterday, Recycled Fashion turned One.

My, haven't you grown since your very first blog post. You got yourself a mascot and a favicon. You started documenting sewing adventures and shopping tours, you raised discussions and debates, and you progressed into two new blogs.

You've been featured in the 'top 100 green blogs for students' and voted '50 Fabulous Blogs For Green Fashionistas'. You appeared in the press, you've hosted five giveaways to your readers, hosted a charity auction, and donated to another.

You receive close to 10,000 visitors each month
You got yourself a twitter following
You started a facebook page
You joined up with pinterest

A summary on (some of) Recycled Fashion's popular blog posts over the past year:

You've come a long way since your inception, Recycled Fashion.
You may be an infant in years, but you are stomping your little ethical fashion footprint in the blogging world

Glitter Shoes

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hold onto your ruby slippers Dorothy, for glitter shoes are in demand right now, as seen here, here and here.

From the most expensive designer labels, ethical brands, through to the high street, here are some shiny kicks found on the net, clockwise from top left:

1. Christian Louboutin, glitter-finish multi-strap sandals, $1,095 from net-a-porter
2. Miu Miu Glitter Oxford's $595 from Barneys
3. TOMS 'Classic' Glitter Slip-On (for women) $54 from Toms
4. Multi glitter platform shoes GBP £36 from Dorothy Perkins

Before parting ways with your hard earned cash to cover your feet with glitter footwear, consider this; you could try creating your own glitter shoes for next to nothing. All you need are shoes that fit you, either from your own wardrobe, or second hand, a bit of preparation, some glue, and a tube of glitter from your local craft shop or dollar store.

Here are some DIY projects found on the net:

DIY SCHUH Prince Court High Heels, Glittered by aaatikue

DIY Glitter flats by wearenotmartha

Now, I can't really see myself wearing a pair of glitter shoes for everyday, or evening wear for that matter. However, when it comes to tap dancing, this is a completely different story. Why not bling up my otherwise boring pair of dance shoes?

My tap shoes were originally purchased second-hand (of course) on eBay last year.

Tap shoes from planet dull

I tried using Mod Podge to glue glitter to my shoes, but found after my first night of tapping, the glitter layer cracked, and peeled off. Asking my dance instructor for advice, apparently the best method is to use methylated spirit to remove the shine first, use a glue called gemstone, and finish off with a sealant spray/lacquer.

"Ta-dah" tap-shoes!

make animation

DIY glitter shoes are a much cheaper alternative to buying a brand new pair, don't you think? Have you tried glittering your own kicks yet, or would you rather see this trend left in the land of Oz?

Crocheted Hangers

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spare a thought for crocheted wooden clothes hangers; one can only imagine a dear lady carefully decorating with pretty coloured yarn, but which sadly end up sitting in a little plastic box, or a basket, at the back of your local second hand thrift outlet.

You know what I'm talking about? Like these...

Plastic and wire hangers from the dollar store seem the cheapest available option these days, but really, aren't they they dullest? Plus, wire hangers, have a tendency to pull and deform the shoulders on jackets and long sleeve tops.

I need more hangers, and have been feeling sad for unwanted crocheted hangers, so picked up 5 for a total of $1.50 from Salvos.

Crocheted hangers, happy in their new home..

If you'd like to crochet your own hangers, there is a bunch of free tutorials here. There is a cute/hilarious kitty coat-hanger pattern here ..

And another tutorial for wire hangers here. Perhaps crocheting wire hangers would alleviate the shoulder pull problem?

Shared with Sophie's weekly Flea Market Finds

Op Shop Guide Victoria Winner

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The winner of the Op Shop Guide Victoria book giveaway is..

To enter the book giveaway, I asked readers to comment leaving their op shop tip. As there were so many great handy hints to choose from, I didn't think it would be fair to pick just one, so instead, a name was drawn from one of my thrifted vintage tea cups, by my two year old son.

I would like to dedicate another blog post to all your great tips, but in the meantime, here is Lisa's top op shop tip:

"I always check out the ladies clothes for my two kids. Skirts can be easily made into dresses or if you have a bit more sewing expertise there is usually enough fabric to make anything kid sized. I have also altered heaps of ladies tops to become dresses for girls over the years too."

Quite right Lisa! Sewing opens up a whole new world to thrifting; by reworking clothes and materials into 'new' garments. There is a lot of that going on right now at Refashion Co-op.

Rug dress

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How about this for a bit of DIY fashion inspiration. Gorgeous Geneva, of A Pair and a Spare DIY Fashion blog fame is one very clever fashionista. She made herself a nice dress..

But this is no ordinary dress, for she made it using multicoloured rugs purchased down at her local dollar store. What is even better, is not just that she re-purposed floor mats into an adorable outfit, but that the rugs she has chosen are actually made from recycled jersey t-shirts. Double recycle whammy, and so creative!

Very clever indeed. The full tutorial can be found here.

Would you wear the flare?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011 hits us with another recycled fashion trend from the past; bell-bottoms. Love them or loathe them, wide leg jeans are hot, skinny leg? Apparently not.

Whilst bell-bottoms, aka flares, or wide-leg trousers, which become wider from the knees downward, are known to have first made their appearance in the early 19th century, and have been noted in one of the first recorded descriptions of sailors' uniforms*. Bell-bottoms were first seen as a fashion statement as early as 1964*, but became a fashion staple in the late 1960's and 1970's. *Wikipedia

One only needs to do quick search online on topshop or asos to note that flares are hot to trot right now. But wait! Surely, the 60's and 70's has left us with a quantity of original bell-bottoms that must have escaped our landfill? Yes, but they do come at a cost..

Dark denim 1970's bell bottoms jeans

Smockin' hot flower child. 70's high waist pleated bell bottom dark denim hippie jeans OSNW S M - vintage

$120 from laurelinsailor

ViNtAgE 70's DITTO Blue High Waisted Bell Bottom Jeans

ViNtAgE 70's DITTO Blue High Waisted Bell Bottom Jeans

As a little experiment, I popped into one of my local Salvos, and made a bee-line straight to the jeans rack. Sure enough, I could count five pairs of wide-leg jeans, the best being a pair of Grab denim jeans (photo below). Not original vintage, but a nice shape, and brand new with original shop bought tags.

Don't ditch your skinnies just yet though, for if you are nifty with a needle and thread, a DIY tutorial, with photographs, has been posted by super fashionable-crafty duo Erica and Lauren of honestlyWTF, to turn your skinny leg jeans into bell-bottoms with scrap denim or fabric.

Image c/o HonestlyWTF

Bell-bottoms can be flattering, but of course do not suit everyone, the key is not to buy, or DIY, a pair of flares for the sake of fashion, but instead find a style that suit's your shape. What do you think readers, would you wear the flare? Vote below.

Step away from the shoes

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Intentions to explore Salvos op-shop today, purely for blog research (post to follow) but disaster struck when I foolishly wandered into the shoe section, my biggest weakness, and saw these ...

Anna Wong heels, my size, $10

"Step away from the shoes" says the voice inside my head, for I am one month into a three month clothes shopping ban; the Free Fashion Challenge. Let me tell you, I was *this close* to failing my challenge, but no, I didn't buy them.

According to a frugality blog pecuniarities.com, tools for fighting the urge to spend are
  • Recognizing your priorities
I don't need another pair of heels. Really? Oh. But they are so nice, I could sell one of my other pairs? No?
  • Rational thinking (not rationalizing)
Where would I wear these heels? What? Around the house is not practical? Couldn't I wear them whilst doing the ironing? Taking out the bins? Walking to the park? No?
  • Self-discipline/self-control
I don't need more heels..oh?.. they are cute! I don't need more shoes.. but they're only $10? I don't need more shoes...
  • Will power
Don't need the shoes, don't need the shoes, don't need more shoes
  • Rewarding yourself
Well then. I think I need to reward myself with a gigantic slab of chocolate for resisting these beauties then, don't you?

Readers. Have you ever resisted the urge to buy a completely beautiful second-hand bargain, and later regretted not buying it??

Op Shop Guide Victoria Giveaway

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Readers, I have in my hands, a copy of the Op Shop Guide (Victoria) written by Kelly Lainson.

Kelly Lainson, a resourceful and enthusiastic bargain hunter, has compiled an extensive alphabetical listing of Victorian Op Shops. 'The ‘Op Shop Guide (Victoria)’ is a stylish, practical and easy reference directory to locating and shopping at these valuable outlets. Each Op Shop is recorded by its suburb. The index lists Op Shops by name.

There are over 380 pages detailing 773 Op Shops. It delivers an overview of the stores’ purposes location and operational details.

Kelly spent a lot of time researching for her book; calling pubs in towns in order to establish the whereabouts of local op shops, sending letters, and in some cases receiving personal hand written notes back from op shop staff, detailing such things as shop history, disability or pram access, and discount days.

e.g. Page 242: The Three Legged Chair Op Shop, 18 Progress Street, Mornington "each week 20% of our clothing is reduced to just $1."

To hear more on Kelly's book research, you can listen to a radio interview here.

Scattered throughout the book, you will find little tips such as "Handy Hint #05 'Scrub stains with a toothbrush and sard wonder soap to get clothes looking like new' "

I would very much like to keep this book for myself, but instead I will be giving it away to one Recycled Fashion follower. To be in for a chance to win the Op Shop Guide (Victoria), leave a comment below with your own op/thrift shop handy hint. The winner will be drawn in a week from now.

International entries are welcome, although the book will not be useful to you unless you intend to travel to Victoria, Australia any time soon!

The OpShop Guide Victoria can be found on facebook, and is available to buy online for $24.95 + $12 postage here

Frankenstein your wardrobe

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The benefits of banning oneself from clothes shopping, is the necessity to re-evaluate one's current wardrobe, giving a new lease of life to retired garments sat unworn for some time.

It is fun Frankenstein'ing your wardrobe; spicing up dull garments with bits of fabric, and using existing things from around the house.

A plain pale blue jumper, coupled with a leftover collar from my butterfly shirt refashion adds a bit of interest.

Colour matching with another mod podge shoe fix, this time some paper confetti butterflies from my craft box on a pair of previously thrifted Diana Ferrari shoes.

These minor wardrobe fixes haven't taken very long, but leave me with the same feeling that I have when introducing new (second-hand) clothing to my collection.

PS. Mod Podge Rocks!

Beware the Moths: Guest Post

Monday, May 9, 2011

Guest post by Stephanie, of The Naked Seamstress.

Beware the Moths! Tips on moth prevention and control. A sinister topic.

When I posted my Sweater Refashion Tutorial on my blog some time ago and wrote about how I love bringing home old, wool sweaters from thrift stores to refashion, one wise reader asked in the comments: "But what do you do to be sure you aren't bringing moths home with the sweaters?"

This is a good question. As refashioners we all find ourselves scouring for new refashionable materials in thrift stores, so I thought I'd share my tips on moth prevention and control.

What to look for

When picking up garments made of natural fibres, particularly wool or fur, but also silk and other natural fibres, it is good to inspect them carefully before taking anything home with you. Little larvae feed on fabric and chew little holes into it. So any little holes in the garment could be a sign of suspicious activity and mean that the garment is possibly infested with moths. Any good thrift store should know how to prevent the little beasts themselves and should not have infested garments hanging about, but you never know, so it's always good to check. If a garment smells clean and is not stained it is less likely to be infested as larvae mostly feed in areas where there are food stains or sweat. So the cleaner the garment looks to you, the less likely it is to be infested with moths.

Getting rid of moths

There is no sure way of telling if a garment is infested or not, so if you happen to bring home moths with your new thrifted sweater, either toss it or put it in the freezer. Yes, the freezer! I like to put all woolen garments I pick up in thrift stores into the freezer for 72 hours or more before I let them anywhere near my closet. 72 hours of freezing will kill all pests that may be lurking in your sweater. It's a safe and environmentally-friendly way of treating moth-infested sweaters. Some people even suggest microwaving but I have never tried this before and would be very cautious of putting precious woolens into a microwave.

Caring for your woolens

Once your new refashioned woolen garment hangs in your closet take good care of it, so it doesn't attract any moths in the future. Keep it clean! Before storing any woolens away for the winter they should first be cleaned. I also like to throw a couple of drops of lavender oil in with each cycle of laundry or when hand-washing my woolens. It makes my clothes smell nice and it is a natural moth deterrent.

So, beware the moths, but don't let them scare you away from thrifting and refashioning woolens. If you have any other moths tips to share, please do!

Ethical clothing for little people

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wouldn't it be fun to be little again...

DIY Dress Up Wings Tutorial

Boys shorts and girls dresses made from recycled sari's

girls vintage linen skirt by guildmaker

Vintage 1930's Little Boys Sailor Suit by Wildrose Primitives