Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thrifty (and Not-So-Thrifty) Finds

Last weekend I visited a friend in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Little towns and villages popped up around the countryside, and every once in awhile we'd pass an abandoned century-old building that'd make me wonder just how long it had been sitting there vacant. We checked out a couple of main streets with brick buildings no more than a story or two high, a definite sleepy Southern town vibe to it.

...Thrifty Finds...
Ever since I started sewing I've loved visiting sewing-related stores when I travel. There was one antiques store we wandered into that had a bunch of different stalls. At the back of the store I spotted it -- a basket of sewing patterns! Jackpot, I thought to myself. I came away with two patterns, a knit wrap dress from 1972 (McCalls 3080) and a skirt from 1982 (Simplicity 5454). Unfortunately, the wrap dress is a few sizes too big for me, but I couldn't pass it up for $1. I also grabbed a bag filled with bias tape, piping, lace, etc.

1972 Wrap Dress (the styling on this one is so cute!); 1982 skirt

At another stall, Va Va Voom Vintage, I found a yellow crinoline for 10 bucks! After seeing ladies in the blogosphere sporting crinolines under their skirts/dresses I had been thinking of buying one for the heck of it. But I kept putting it off, thinking it was something I might not actually wear. At this price I figured, "Why the heck not?" I couldn't try it on at the store, but it ended up being my size and, minus a few busted seams, it's ready for wear. Length-wise I'd have to wear it with skirts below my knee, unless I want it to peak out a bit.

I don't know the date of it, but the label says "Wundies Subteen" and it's a size 10. I did a bit of quick research through Google Books and the New York Times Archives, and it looks like Wundies filed their trademark in 1953. According to Merriam Webster's online dictionary, the word "subteen" first came into use in 1951 and means (as I suspected) a child 9 to 12 years old. That's pretty crazy that I fit into a pre-teen size 10 crinoline, although I don't know what waist measurement that would be (on the larger end of the size chart, I'm thinking).

...Not-So-Thrifty Finds...
Later on in the day, we ventured over to an indoor mall in Carrboro to check out a fabric store, Mulberry Silks and Fine Fabrics. The mall itself, the Carr Mill Mall, is in this 2-story brick building with huge wood windows dating from the turn of the last century. Very cool! (I always take note of wood windows since they're usually the first to go when people alter buildings.) The complex seemed like it was a former factory, but I've now learned it was an old cotton mill called Alberta. If you're a history geek like me, you can find more info here.

I picked up these 3 fabrics (the buttons and ric rac were from an earlier purchase in an antiques shop):

Alexander Henry Cotton Broadcloth; Anna Maria Horner Voile
(feels like silk!); Red Silk Dupioni

Do you ever get stuck on a particular pattern and then you buy a bunch of fabric and in your mind they'll all be made into that pattern? I looked at these 3 and thought, "These will make nice wrap dresses!" even though I'm sure that won't be the case.

All in all a fun day in the Chapel Hill area, and the university is a beauty of a campus (the earliest buildings date to the early 19th century) so I whipped out my camera plenty of times. And, hey, if you're ever going to the bubble tea place on Franklin Street, wear Carolina Blue - you'll get a dollar off your drink, woohoo!**

**even if, like me, you're not a Tar Heel.


  1. Such great finds! I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who gets a singular pattern stuck in my head. After making two Lisette passport dresses it seemed that every new piece of fabric I got was already a passport dress in my head. :]

  2. Your fabric finds are delightful and I am positively drooling over your yellow crinoline :)

  3. ooo look at that crinoline, brilliant find and for 10 bucks!!! loving you fabric choices especially the flower print I'm looking forward to seeing it made up :)

  4. Ohh great finds. The crioline is fab ! Hope you are ok ! Wishing you lots of positive vibes for you and your family !!!

  5. I love that wrap dress pattern! So cute and timeless.

  6. **Rebecca, I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets stuck on one pattern, hehe! The Lisette dress is really pretty.

    **Meg, thank you! I think I remember you having a crinoline, but I could be making that up ;)

    **Sarah, yes, I had been eyeing that flower fabric for awhile online so I was happy to see it in person!

    **Rachel, thanks for checking in and sending positive vibes. I really appreciate it and was genuinely touched when I read your comment!

    **Katy, thanks! I'm not sure if it's going to be a pain to grade down a couple of sizes, but we'll see! If not, it could always become a giveaway item :)


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