Friday, October 28, 2016

Orchids on your Budget Gift Series...use thrifting and renewing to fill your gift cupboard...


 
 
Upcycling and embellishing vintage clothing and linen is big business on the hand crafting sites like Etsy and MadeIt. It amazes me then, that some people will buy from these sites, yet turn their nose up at thrift shops and garage sales. Where do they think the Etsy dealers find their wares to upcycle?
 
If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I love a good thrift store, and making a silk purse out of a sows ear (as the old saying goes) is a challenge that never ceases to put a smile on my face.
 
Over the last couple of weeks, maybe you've followed along as I've been embellishing thrifted clothing to give it a more designer look and feel. You can see those posts here, here, here and here. I've also been encouraging you to visit your local haberdashery, and familiarise yourself with the look and feel of some of the more luxurious fabrics. Once you know the difference between polyester and silk, or knit and ponti, or polyester chiffon over a beautiful silk chiffon or double georgette, you'll acquire a whole new appreciation of thrift stores, and their offerings. Because at thrift stores, you can find gorgeous items made from all of those luxury fabrics, and more.
 
Over time, you'll be able to spot a delustred or duchess satin over a polyester satin from ten paces. You'll easily discern a cheap chain store robe, from a 100% silk one just from the feel of it under your fingertips. Your eye will rapidly dismiss anything that looks cheap and throwaway, and will hone in on items made from quality fabrics that will stand the test of time.
 
Here are a few examples, from this weeks thrift store shopping and upcycling alone....
 
This camisole looked very sorry for itself when I dug it from the bottom of a wire basket, where it was trapped amongst a plethora of DD cup bras and dubious black and red lingerie. It's silk, and I paid just $2 for it. It looks a bit sad, doesn't it. You probably wouldn't look twice at it. But I felt it, knew it was silk, and pictured immediately what I could do with it.
 
 
A gentle sustained swish in a sink full of my home made wool and silk wash helped, (and this is the perfect companion gift for your upcycled pretties). Then I caressed it with an iron set to just barely medium heat, and embroidered it with some Bullion Roses and French knots. Suddenly a thing of beauty.
 
 
This sad looking pistachio green satin pyjama set, didn't look much, when dragged from the depths of the same wire basket...
 

...but again, a gentle hand wash, and a press with a warm iron, and it looks lavish and brand new again. In fact better than new in some respects, as it's been washed of it's starchy new-ness. This will be added to my daughters stash of more grown-up pyjama wear. She's already worn it twice and pronounced it a favourite.

 
This red Chinoiserie inspired robe, didn't look much either, hung amongst a dozen or so cheap polyester robes. But one drape against the back of my hand, and I knew it was the real thing. This one was just $7, and once washed, dried in the sun, and ironed...
 
 
 
...it rewarded me with the lustre and glow that only silk provides.
 


 
See here below, a polyester night dress, and note the difference between it and the silk, above. It's noticeable, isn't it. The polyester looks almost plastic-ey by comparison.
 
 
All the same, I grabbed this one for $2, as well as this silk scarf below for just $1, and given it's toning colours, I have a plan to use both to create something sweet and new to gift to a womens shelter.
 
 
Of course silks and satins aren't the only prizes. I found this quality robe, in the sort of fine knit towelling that lasts and lasts, for just $4. I knew straight away that some delicate pink Bullion Roses and ivy stems would elevate it to special as well. I haven't decided on a new home for this one yet. I may keep it for myself!


 
Don't be shy about gifting things that you've elevated to special.
 
I include a manilla tag tied with satin ribbon to my gifts. It says...
 
"A prize, lovingly restored to as-new condition, and embellished with my hands, for you to enjoy"
 
This seems to be an honest representation, that 99.9% of recipients accept joyously.
 
I hope it works for you too.
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26 comments:

  1. Mimi, training ourselves to look for the finer fabrics is a skill many would do well to learn. In this era of skyrocketing prices paying full retail prices for such items is out of the reach for most of us, but with this skill they suddenly become affordable again. I love what you've done with each of these items. Thank you for the inspiration!

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    1. Dear Patsy, yes this is a skill in itself. Learning what quality fabrics and workmanship look like, means we can source items that will stand the test of time. And who wouldn't rather a silk robe over a polyester one, or a fine linen tablecloth over a man made blend? We've lost that skill a little with the ready availability of inexpensive chain store items and it's possibly only later in life, that you learn to appreciate them again. Thanks for your lovely comment! Mimi xxx

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  2. I love thrift stores and visit favorites weekly. Sometimes there is nothing I want. Other days I find a treasure trove. Your beautiful additions really are inspiring.

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    1. Carol, I know what you mean. I'm rarely disappointed as I always have a wish list in my purse, and I'm usually very focused in my hunts and know where to search, but I do strike out occasionally ;-) Mimi xxx

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  3. Hi Mimi,
    You found some great finds, and did a great job restoring them to like new
    condition, amazing what just ironing something can do.....I have never been
    in to wrinkled clothing myself, but these days it almost seems like a lost
    art like tatting! lol It will be around at my house forever, even tho
    I have to say I use a steamer a lot more now, but some things just need
    to be ironed and that is all there is to it.
    Love those adorable lil roses you used to embellish the blouse and that
    beautiful robe, love the color.......

    Hope this finds you doing well hon. We were away but got back on Monday
    night, so just getting back into the swing of things. Having overnight
    Company on Saturday, so looking forward to that.
    Blessings, Nellie

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    1. Dear Nellie, thankyou! Yes a little gentle washing and pressing often restores things to loveliness. I'd love a steamer, you lucky thing! I hope you enjoyed the company on Saturday. I'll pop over and visit the blog today. Love, Mimi xxx

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  4. Hi Mimi - love your thrifty finds! I am a big fan of thrift shopping myself, and have a taste for luxury fabrics, too. I especially love 100% linen and wool. I recently found two linen blouses - one is Irish linen. They are a lovely natural color and I plan on embroidering a little something on them - perhaps just a blanket stitch around the color and cuffs. I have a whole wardrobe of beautiful designer clothes for a fraction of the cost. I always love your upcycling posts. You are so talented :) Sending hugs xo Karen

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    1. Dear Karen, how lovely to find a treasure like that! I've never thought of using blanket stitch on collars and cuffs, but that sounds divine. I'm thrilled to hear that you're enjoying the upcycling posts. I'm certainly enjoying generating them! Love, Mimi xxx

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  5. I agree that Op Shops are great places to visit regularly, Mimi. I buy yarn there quite cheaply as well as the odd bits and pieces of clothing. You have done a lovely job of restoring the beauty of those items.

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    1. Dear Chel, I see yarn so often, but as crochet and knitting aren't my favourite crafting skills, I pass them up. If you let me know what colours and types, I'll keep an eye out for you. I got Annabel some lovely Alpaca yarn last year for very little! Mimi xxx

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  6. What a lovely, sweet idea! I am going to tuck this idea away for future use.

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    1. Jolena, how lovely to see you! I'm glad you like this idea. It's an easy one to replicate. Love, Mimi xxx

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  7. I love thrift stores because I can find quality items there that I could not afford at retail prices. Right now I am wearing the softest lined and cozy cotton jacket by Land's End. Their clothing is high quality with prices to match so when I find it at the thrift store and it is something either I or someone I know can use, I buy it.

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    1. Dear Debbie, I hear you on that one! Isn't it a thrill to be able to afford something that would otherwise be beyond your reach? Your jacket sounds gorgeous. Love, Mimi xxx

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  8. Wonderful finds! Your creativity has brought them back to life and I am sure any recipient would be thrilled to receive them. Have a wonderful week ahead and happy thrifting! Looking forward to your next finds.

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    1. Thankyou Lynn. I know these will be welcomed. Anything blessed with love and a careful restoration is a thrill, I think. Mimi xxx

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  9. Completely amazing. So much luxury for so little. I will link to this on Wednesday so everyone can see your grub roses plus another idea of what to do with this skill. xxx

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    1. Dear Annabel, I think the grub roses are going to be everyones new craze! Thanks again for inspiring us all. Love, Mimi xxx

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  10. What lovely finds you have there. I love the embroidery you added, perfect! I am going to take your advice and learn what the true fabrics feel and look like. Right now I could not distinguish between them. So, a trip to the fabric store to do my homework. lol Thanks for great ideas and help.

    Darlene

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    1. Dear Darlene, I'm flattered you like my little roses. Yes, it's a great skill to have to be able to discern one fabric from another. You could even have half a dozen little clippings of the ones you like, to aid your search for similar luxurious items. Most haberdashery stores will happily provide a test clipping for free. Love, Mimi xxx

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  11. Aww...I love this! So cute. :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

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  12. That robe was an amazing find! Thank you for sharing your inspiration at Monday Social.

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  13. I love your remake and your very special saying.
    Anyone would love getting these as a gift! have a great night!

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I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx