If you are like me, then you are probably really good at scouting your local thrift stores for fabric - you know what you are looking for and you can quickly scan the craft section to see if they have the kinds of fabric you want.
I wrote a post with tips for thrifting for fabrics here, in case you are wondering how I do it.
But did you know that there sewing supplies hidden in other sections of the your local thrift store too? Let me share my thrift store sewing secrets with you.
1. Ironing Boards and Irons
A good sturdy ironing board can be expensive but it can also last forever. The thrift store is a great place to find a sturdy vintage ironing board that just needs a new cover - which you can sew!
Plus I found that cute hideaway ironing board new at a thrift store too and I blogged about it here. I have since seen more of those - new in boxes! I think people buy them and don't ever install them so they end up being donated.
Don’t forget irons too - my little hottie vintage General Electric travel iron is amazing at pressing seams flat. She was only $5 at the thrift store (read about finding her here).
2. Vintage Sheets
One overlooked source of pretty fabrics (even pretty large fabrics!) is vintage sheets. The first quilt I made for my daughter Chloe has a vintage sheet for a backing and we all love the soft cozy feel of that quilt.
The queen sized sheet was in good shape when I found it at a second hand shop, and it’s still holding up great 5 years later - even better than the rest of the quilt unfortunately!
3. Metal Notions
A couple years ago I wrote to you a warning about using vintage notions. But that doesn’t apply to a lot of metal notions such as grommets, snaps, hooks & eyes, and covered button kits!
These supplies can get pricey at regular stores - but you can often find un-opened packages at the thrift store and they still work great.
On the other hand, old needles are not always a good deal. If you find sewing machine or hand sewing needles, make sure you examine them for signs of rust or brittleness. I don’t buy old needles anymore because I’ve found they aren’t worth even the small price.
4. Wool Sweaters for Felting
Don’t pass by the sweater section!
Ignore the size and style of the sweaters - if they are at least 60-70% wool you can felt them!
How? Just wash them in hot water and then toss them in the dryer - exactly how you’re not supposed to wash a sweater, lol.
Felted wool is great for mittens (get my free pattern here), patchwork blankets, and all kinds of other wool projects too.
5. Purse Handles and Hardware
The day I realized that I could cut apart old purses and salvage their handles and hardware was a happy day indeed!
The purse above was made with thrifted handles (see my post and shopping video about it) and many of my other purses since! Some purses are worth their thrift store value for the metal rings alone.
As an added bonus, I’ve learned a lot about purse and handbag construction by cutting them apart - you can too! :)
Not a supply - but quilts!
Sad but true - many beautiful handmade quilts end up at the thrift store.
My jaw dropped once when I came across an Amy Butler charm square baby quilt for $2. You can bet I snatched that up - I felt like I was saving a poor unloved animal from the shelter!
And it was just the right size for my kids to use as a lap quilt in the car.
Do you know of any other ‘hidden’ sewing supplies at the thrift store?
Or have you made an amazing find that you just have to share?
Tell us about it in the comments!