Saturday, September 25, 2010

Confessions of a Thrift Store Junkie


Like many of you, I've been shopping thrift stores for bargain shirts for the last couple of years. I love to cut them up and mix them with new fabrics from the quilt shops. I think the clothing fabric adds a sense of history and nostalgia to our quilts.



Deb Rowden said on her blog recently that you get about a yard of fabric from a man's 4XL shirt. And look what else you get! You can take these seams...



And make these balls.



You can arrange flowers in the buttons.




You can see where some of the old quilting designs may have come from. The collars could make Dresden plates.



The cuffs might become rail fences.



And here's my thrift store stash. You can see it's pretty full. Better get sewing!

20 comments:

Tonya R said...

ooh, those scrap balls are pretty - never thought of doing that! and I love the buttons in the vase. I've got mine in a jar along with spiders and eyeballs (I started early on Halloween).love the look at your stash - gorgeous.

Victoria @ BUMBLE BEANS said...

oooh! You sure Don't need to hit anymore thrift stores! ;-) What a great stash! I'm loving the balls... they look so great int he bowl,, do you crochet them up or just leave them to look at?

Sujata said...

Oh! Crocheting is such a great idea too! You have great collection of those shirts. My buttons are in the jar too. Need to put them where I can see them. Lovely Post!

The Scrappy Bee said...

What a fabulous post. I have combing thrift shops on my to do list. Your stash is glorious. I also love the balls and especially the buttons in a vase with flowers. I have entertained the crocheting of fabric strips and it is also on my to do list. Your post is inspiring. Bonnie

Shari said...

I've also become addicted to thrift store shopping and always search the men's button down shirts for fabric sources. It's a great source of linen!

I've saved the collars, cuffs, buttonhole plackets (along with the buttons and tags) and am waiting for the right project inspiration to hit. Would love to see you post ideas and tutorials using these left overs! I'll be excited to join along...

Nancy said...

So colorful! Can't wait to see what these turn into.

theodora said...

Your right I do the same I am also a juncki ,but I love it ,I have cut out the collars and have kept them in order to make something like a bag or something because of there sturdiness,I have cut out the pockets and around about 2 inches and have saves them to make a wall hanging so that you can also use the pockets to store items in them ,overall I love shirts and the bigger the better

maree said...

Wow - whatever did we do without thrift stores (or op shops as we call them)? Love the bright photos and those balls are just gorgeous. I made a quilt for a job application once using the pockets of old jeans and in them I put referees letters, etc and quilted using words that summed up my values and key strengths etc. It came out really looking really cool:) Just love pockets! Ciao

Sharon said...

Wow, you've got some great finds there! I may have to start hanging out at the thrift store too! (DH won't give up his shirts!) You've got a huge stash of inspiration there.

I love the pretty balls of color in the bowl, and the "button vase" too.

So, what do you do with the collars and cuffs? Do you unstitch them for the fabric, or use them like they are?

Pat Sloan said...

wow.. lotta fabric out of those big boy shirts!

beth said...

oh my! that was the best, most inspiring post ever!! I'm off to create a button jar now! I loved seeing all your creative takes on shirts. Thrift stores are the best, huh?

Magpie Sue said...

I've got a collection of labels too but they're from the silk ties I've repurposed. Still have to figure out a way to use them...

Love your house quilt on the plaid background!

Sue said...

The fabric balls can be used to make wonderfully colored rag rugs on a loom. I love your stash. My son was totally insulted when I was going to tear up his shirts that didn't fit him anymore. I told him that he could donate them and I would buy them back, then they would be mine!

Alexis said...

Great ideas for the scrappy bits! Your collection looks great- I'm aching to get into my shirt stash today now too!

Victoria said...

Great stash, and the fabric balls... fun!!!

ArtGirl said...

how cool!! i love all the colors!

Anonymous said...

Love this post! I'm always on the lookout for cotton clothing that I can cut up for the fabric, whether I'm thrifting or hitting the garage sales. Just last week I found a brand new Tommy Hilfiger shirt at the thrift store in a beautiful dark blue paisley, still had the price tag on, originally $49.50 and I got it for $2.50. Only problem is I bought it for the fabric, but my son saw it and wants it. Maybe I'll let him wear for awhile then cut it up. :)
I usually just cut out the front, back and sleeves and throw away the collars, cuffs, plackets, etc. I do save the buttons, keeping the unique ones for myself and bagging up the plain ones and selling them at my garage sale.

I found your blog awhile back when your Spider Web quilt was featured on the Selvage Blog. Loved the quilt, so clicked on the link to find out more about it and you. I have been reading your blog since then. I am actually more of a traditional quilter, but I love seeing how you use your thrifting finds in your quilts. Another quilt that I really liked was your String Flower quilt, so cheery. I think that will have to go on my someday list. I also loved your post you did awhile back about sewing out on the patio, what a good idea and even better that you had a friend to join you.

You have quite a stash from your finds and I'm looking forward to seeing what you make next from them.

Valerie
gvkortus at skybeam dot com

Sharon said...

Wow, that's a lot of work rendering down the shirts, Your work is fabulous, I'm more traditional, but I get so inspired by work like yours, thanks for sharing!

Clare said...

Great post. Love those fabric balls.

Vesuviusmama said...

What great ideas! And that's quite the thrift store stash. I'm impressed!