Hot! This Weekend’s Vintage Finds & Stash Bustin’

This week’s vintage finds post is two part — the first part being my finds and the second being my commitment to join the Stash Bustin’ Challenge (via Colette Pattern’s Stash Bustin’ Post). These two parts are, sadly, very much related.

But first, the fun stuff.

On Thursday morning, I headed about an hour north for an estate sale I found on Craigslist. The thing about estate sales is that, when you drive farther than 30 minutes, they will either be really good or really bad. There is no in between. I usually brace myself for the really bad.

When I got there (it was held in some sort of storage unit/garage like thing), I quickly found the sewing portion of the sale. I grabbed some bias tape packages and was looking around, slightly disappointed, when one of the sellers said “are you looking for fabric?” I said yes and he took me to the upstairs part of the sale which — I kid you not — was a room filled with boxes and boxes of fabric. He then gave me a large shopping bag and said “Fill it up for $5. Fill up two bags and I’ll give you the third bag for free.” That’s when I knew I was at a really really really good sale.

Here are some of my favorite fabric finds:
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IMG_0573  IMG_0584  IMG_0896
I also found a large box of vintage patterns — 40s, 50s and 60s — upstairs. I asked “how much?” and was told $5 again.

IMG_0827 IMG_0860  IMG_0862

Now let me just interrupt this story and say that, pathetically, I have had dreams exactly like this scene that was unfolding. I’d go to an estate sale, find some secret area and be told that all these wonderful things were some ridiculous price. And, I’d have to stuff them in a bag or something. It’s quite tragic.

I asked the nice man (who I joked probably wasn’t even the seller and was some crazy man just setting me up for disappointment) if there were any zippers or buttons. He came back with a plastic bag filled with vintage (mostly 1950s) zippers and then told me to check “that trunk over there.” It was, indeed, filled with unopened zipper packages. I ended up filling an entire bag with about 100 zippers. The price? $5.

And then, the buttons! Oh, the buttons. He showed me three boxes of buttons still on the cards. Once again he gave me an old Montgomery Ward plastic bag and told me to fill it up and I could have them all for $2! Buttons

So in all, this was my haul:

  • About 35 pieces of fabric — average about 2 yards each (some much more)
  • About 110 unopened vintage zippers
  • About 400 button cards
  • About 80 vintage patterns

When it came time to buy it all, they said — brace yourself — I could buy all this stuff for $20.


Needless to say, I was ecstatic.

And now the second part of this post.

After bringing all this stuff home, I’ve realized that I don’t have any more storage space in my sewing room. I try to keep everything orderly and visible so I’m not going to go the hoarder’s route and keep things in boxes. Three days later and I’m still trying to clean my room and find places for everything! Coincidentally, this morning, I read this post at Colette Pattern’s about destashing. It references a bigger challenge  — the Stash Bustin’ challenge.

I’m going to commit to this challenge despite the fact that I love the hunt so much more than the actual kill. My own rule is this:


My stash bustin’ goal is a one for one exchange. I can only buy one piece of fabric once I’ve used or sold or given away one of my pieces from the stash. I can only buy a pattern once I’ve used or sold or given away a pattern from the stash. 

* I was fairly calm about leaving without being thorough because the man told me that they had tons more of fabric in storage and that they’d be holding more sales then next couple weekend. Unfortunately, when I emailed them later to confirm the next sale, they told me that someone had come and bought all the fabric they had and was picking it up in a U-Haul. Oh well.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. Holy heckova steal!

  2. Never worry – I have had the same fantasy before too, about the big secret sale. I think I get small thrills from some of my finds, but I think I would pass out if I was actually in the situation you found yourself in this past weekend!

  3. Are you kidding me. I am dying inside right now! This would seriously be a dream come true for me too!!! Buttons! Fabric!! Patterns!!! I am in total love with your perfectly good luck. I think I am going to bookmark this page and when I have a particularly bad thrifting day I will come back and look at it and remind myself that sometimes dreams do come true. Can’t wait to see what you make from these!

  4. Best. Estate sale. Ever.

  5. What a haul! I would’ve fallen over and died when they said $20!!!

  6. those patterns are amazing! I think I would have gone back for more after being told $20, even if my stash was spilling over haha

  7. I was ready to, but my daughter was about to lose it and my trunk was full!

  8. Oh my gosh, I’m so jealous! :) I can’t believe the deal you got.

  9. This literally made me all verklempt with excitement/envy/appreciation. How lucky.

  10. That’s so funny, I was reading the paragraph about the fabric find and thought ‘I’ve had dreams just like that!’. I wonder who owned all these patterns, fabrics and notions? It seems like you’re on a roll, maybe take the stash-busting pledge another time… I love seeing the dresses you make but I also love these posts on estate sales!

  11. EGADS!!! Seriously–the has got to be the estate sale tale of the year! WOW! Good for you, scooping up all those great deals (especially the zippers. ;) Am I the only one who get excited about finding zippers dirt cheap?). I cannot wait to see what you do with some of these things!
    Good luck on the Stash Busting challenge! I thought about doing it, but alas, I really don’t have much of a “stash” any more (between living in an apartment, making myself use most of it, and not having a good fabric store nearby, it’s only a marginal stash at best! ;). I’m looking forward to reading how things go with that!
    ♥ Casey
    blog |

  12. I’m a little lightheaded with excitement for you. What an amazing haul! And your destash challenge means less time for shopping and more time for sewing with those great fabrics. Squee!

  13. where can I find one in my area?!

  14. Hahahah, I too have had the “World’s Greatest Estate Sale Dream”. So tragic.
    And once I was riding a giraffe through a warehouse packed to the gills with vintage patterns that I owned. Man that was an awesome dream.
    Don’t tell anyone!

  15. Yup, I’ve had that dream. Wow, your post made me giddy with excitement. And I have to admit it — I hate you just a tiny bit right now. Not real hate, but the “you got a great steal” hate.
    Wow. WOW! No, I DO NOT hate you. Because if I am a good person, maybe I too will find the Estate Sale of My Dreams! :)