Hello everyone! I hope this finds you all happy, healthy and very blessed!! I am doing well as all the pressing matters of the past weeks and months are finally over and I actually feel like I can breathe without feeling like I'm drowning in quicksand! This is such a wonderful feeling...that feeling that you don't have anything hanging over your head, waiting in the wings to be fulfilled. I have nightmares that I will be late for a program that I have been hired for and the people who hired me are furious and I dissolve into tears...Yaaaaa...that's not a fun place to be! The stressors with Colton's school and Cody's asthma are also going away, so that is also nice! I feel very much at peace both in mind and body!! Huzzaaaaaahhhh!!!!!
As I was in my costume/fabric room today picking out the fabric for my next project, I was struck once again by the very large amount of fabric that I have purchased from thrift stores. That is what this post is going to be about. Fabrics that have been acquired from places other than an actual fabric store. You see, I am not what one would call a worldly goods or monetarily wealthy person. I am a stay at home mom and housewife (by design and choice). My fabulous husband is a self employed contractor and we are parents to two fabulous boys. Not that there aren't crazy wealthy people in the same situation as us...this is just where we are! And I wouldn't change it for the world. Perfectly content am I! But, being on a budget does make for interesting fabric and all-the-things-historical-fashion-creating acquisitioning... (I think the most I have ever spent on fabric was $14.00 a yard dupioni silk in the fabric district after Costume College in 2014. I know that it totally stressed me out doing so, but I had been saving money for that trip specifically for the perfect shade of silk for the 1830s archery outfit I a still wanting to make.) Now, if you have the resources to spend $14.00-$32.00 a yard on fabric, that is fabulous!! Please know that this in no way is a guilt trip post, because it is NOT!!! This is just me writing about my particular way of shopping for fabric, which brings me great joy!
I think it has something to do with the hunt. I also get this thrill from finding a fabulous antique at a garage sale or antique store for a ridiculously low price. It is just the knowing that I have purchased something worth great value for 90% less than market value (or however you should say that so that it makes sense mathematically). That brings me an incredible thrill!! Case in point: Victorian Kashmir Paisley Shawl. So, it would stand to reason that finding 7 yards of 60" wide merlot colored wool for $18.00 for the lot, really makes me giddy with joy! I am a regular shopper at many of my area thrift stores as it is just something I enjoy doing anyway, just to see what it has in "store" for me! hahahahahahahaha!!!
Now, I do use a lot of dupioni silk in my costuming (along with some polyesters if they look incredible and can pass for a more natural fibers). I don't belong to a group that strives for absolute historical correctness in their fabrics, I strive more for the accurate overall look and silhouette of the era. When I do my programs, I explain that dupioni (or polyester) wasn't used in the Victorian era, that other silks would have been used. But...I LOVE LOVE LOVE working with dupioni!! It is incredible and behaves so beautifully. The way it irons, stays put in a pleat, drapes, etc, etc, is a thing of loveliness! So when I see dupioni silk drapery panels at a thrift store, I get a wee bit excited! The other fabrics I find are linen and linen/poly blends, wool and wool/poly or wool/cotton blends, cottons, and velvets. I also purchase white sheets for linings and sometimes even Victorian blouses! A good washing either by me or the dry cleaners is all it takes to prep the fabrics.
For the purpose of this post, I have photographed a little selection of my fabrics from thrift stores, then also added pictures of past dresses that were made in whole or part using fabrics from thrift stores with a link to the original post. Most of the fabrics you can tell just from the feel what they are, but I do a burn test on them all just to be 95% certain. Again, I don't feel the pressure to have the fabrics 100% this or that with what I do....
I hope this encourages any new costumers or costumers on a budget to search outside the "fabric store" box for fabrics. Start "haunting" your local thrift stores! You never know what you will find!
Silks: L to R
Striped silk satin (1850s dress): 8 yards of 60" for $8.99
Embroidered dupioni (something 1890s...I have a fashion plate that will be perfect!!): 7+ yards of 60" for $7.99
2 Green Dupioni Drapery Panesl: 2.5 yards each of 45" for $5.99 a piece
Blue with gold thread Sari: Usual sari dimensions $3.99
Linen and Linen Looks: L to R
Green Linen/Poly Blend: 6+ yards of 60" for $4.99
Tan Rayon/Poly Blend: 5 yards of 65" for $4.99
Plaid Linen: 6 yards of 36" for $5.99
Blue Linen: 4 yards of 65" for $2.99
Wool and Wool Blends: L to R
Brown Plaid Wool/Cotton Blend: 5 yards of 45" for $3.99
Blue/Brown Plaid Wool/Cotton Blend: 2.5 yards of 60 " for $4.89
Brown Wool: 3+ yards of 60" for $2.99
Blue Wool: 2 yards of 60" for $1.99
Moire Fabrics because I adore Moire....
Green Cotton/Poly Blend: 8.5 yards of 60" for $4.99
Blue Cotton/Poly Blend: 4 yards of 60" for $2.99
Dresses and Outfits Made from Thrifted Fabrics
Fabric for shirt came from the 10 yard bolt of duck/canvas from Goodwill.
Bubble gum pink linen from Savers. This was dyed with tea to calm the "in your face" pink!
That has since been remade into an NFE tea gown....
Purple satin and printed velvet both from Savers.
The jacket was made using fabric from a 10 yard bolt of duck/canvas like fabric from Goodwill.
Red wool and black and ivory stripe fabric, I think from Savers...
Black raw silk fabric for blouse found at Savers. I think the red silk was also a thrift store find...can't remember what one though...
Blue and Gold sari fabric from Savers.
Merlot colored wool found at Idaho Youth Ranch.
The pink fabric is a poly blend and the white buttons and trim came from a white Linens and Things silk drapery panel, both found at Savers.
The gold silk came from JCPenney dupioni silk drapes found at Idaho Youth Ranch.
All of that cranberry colored dupioni silk was one HUGE Pottery Barn drapery panel found at The Idaho Youth Ranch!
Off White dupioni silk drapery panels from St. Vincent de Paul.
Brown Dupioni silk drapery panel from Idaho Youth Ranch.
Orange wool for jacket and Ivory silk for blouse both from thrift stores.
Fabulous fabric found at Goodwill
Deep green wool from the Pendleton Wool Factory found at a thrift store still on the "Pendleton Wool" bolt. I had petted the exact same wool at the factory outlet in Pendleton a couple of years ago, so this was an exciting find from Goodwill!
Another thing I love about thrift store shopping and finding fabrics that I can use, is the fact that for whatever reason someone cast these things aside and now I get to use them for something lovely. The name of my blog "Beauty From Ashes" hints at this...taking something that someone just doesn't want any more (Ashes) and making something of value out of it (Beauty). It is very much like what God does for us...He takes something broken, cast aside or unwanted and makes something lovely, beautiful and worthwhile out of it!! How cool is that!!??
Well, I hope you all have a most wonderfully blessed rest of your week and weekend! I know I will!