Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thrifting For Materials and Bags From Jackets

I'm now making a bag from this jacket - hope it will be done in a couple of days!

There are many places to find materials for sewing projects: the usual fabric stores, online shops,  own closet filled with I-will-never-wear-this-again clothing, a friends closet, also filled with some unwanted clothes, a fabric stash, hidden in bottom of the closet with fabric we can’t re-call purchasing, thrift stores and probably some very unique places which I forgot to count.

The assortment in local fabric stores isn’t as big as I wish it was and it doesn’t change as fast as I hope it one day will; the online fabric shops aren’t for such picky shoppers like me, who must to test the fabric before spending money on it; my closet is already in a state where I can’t look at it and think of what I can get rid of; my fabric stash is small and now only contains things that are in I-will-finish-it-one-day condition, some big sewing flops which I can’t force myself to throw away and the very first garments I ever made. So, I have one option that works quite fine for me: the thrift stores. Even though I usually leave thrift stores empty handed (as I said, I’m very picky when it comes to this matter), I still go to them with expectations to come across garments with interesting materials that I can use in my projects. And sometimes I find something I really like.

There are a couple of things to look for while thrift shopping: old handbags for either leather, either interesting hardware; silky scarves for lining and leather garments for outside of the bag.

So I’d like to share a few points how to choose materials for bags project in a thrift store:
1) Price – the very first point to look at. I have set a limit to spend on a garment in a thrift store and I don’t pay above that line. Reason is very simple – I like to keep my hobby as inexpensive as I can, because I would lose motivation to create if I could buy things for less than it would cost me to create.
2) Condition – it’s pretty clear why: if the garment you would use as a material looks very “used” there’s a great chance your creation from it won’t look good or will not last long.
3) Material – of course, it’s very important to know what you are going to make. For example, I like making bags that’s why the first thing I check when in thrift stores is the leather jacket section. Originality of material can also play a role when choosing. Also, be sure that your sewing machine will be capable to deal with chosen material: I had left a couple of nice jackets only because the leather was too thick and my sewing machine wouldn’t sew it.
4) Size – if you buy leather jacket with expectation to make a big bag, be sure to look for a large size with little details – in this way you will have enough material :) That’s why I usually buy men jackets instead of women – I have more space to create!

Now let me share my latest purchase (see the photo above), which fits in all 4 categories mentioned above: 0,75 Euro cents; great condition – seriously, I almost didn’t want to cut it!; amazing material – alcantara, which looks like suede, but made from polyester; large size - plenty of space to create. Great choice for a bag (which is in a process of making right now).

I hope this will encourage you to look for materials for your projects in thrift stores! Have a nice day :)

1 comment:

  1. I am like you...always on the lookout for material in thrift stores. Here in Europe there are so many amazing finds at thrift stores, with beautiful fabrics that I could never afford in a fabric, I love to shop, looking for exotic & expensive fabrics that I can remake into something new. thanks for your blog!