Hot! Vintage Finds: New England Edition

My time spent in Manhattan vintage and antique stores really gave me an appreciation for my local resources in California. My goodness, things are expensive over there! I hit a great number flea markets and individual shops in Manhattan and didn’t buy one thing that I would have considered a bargain. But it was a vacation, after all, so I splurged. The real deals cam once we headed north to Massachusetts and Maine.

Necklace-white I love this white glass necklace from the 1940s (I believe) that I bought at the Chelsea Flea Market Annex (the Garage). The disappointing fact about it is that Penelope pulled it off of me while I was wearing it and all of the beads came crashing down to the floor. When I got home, I restrung it from what I remember. The picture here is that result.

I’m always on the lookout for vintage fabric, patterns and notions but I also shop for costume jewelry — particularly enamel floral bouquet brooches. At a flea market in Arundel, Maine, I actually scored a good number of brooches for very reasonable prices.

All but the middle brooch and the one on the bottom left were bought at the Arundel Flea Market for $24 total. The other two were bought in Manhattan at a neighborhood flea market for about $18 total. I absolutely love love love the brooch at the bottom right!Brooches

I picked up this rather old Necklace at a Manhattan flea market as well. It was under $10, I believe.

In Maine again — this time at Arundel Antiques — I bought this button card for $10. I don’t know if I can bring myself to use them since they’re a piece of art. I’m sure I will — most likely on a Gatsby dress for September.
There were no deals to be had in the vintage fabric department. However, I couldn’t resist these two pieces I purchased at The Family Jewels in Manhattan. I believe I paid about $50 for these two pieces which are about 4 yards each. At about $6.25 a yard, that’s not bad, but it’s more than I usually spend.Fabric

Fabric-lighthouse At Bananas in Gloucester, Massachusetts, I couldn’t pass on this vintage nautical print. When I saw it I said to myself “I’m in America’s oldest sea port! How can I not buy a fabric with sailboats on it?” When I got it home and unfolded it, however, I saw the lighthouses. It’s not that I don’t like the border print — it’s just, well, really lighthousey.

It was $10 for 2 1/2 yards. I haven’t a clue what to do with the thing, though. It’s not long enough for the kind of skirt that would do it justice. Any suggestions?

I also purchased this adorable necklace complete with little glass fruits. I’ve been wanting some sort of fruity necklace but the ones from the 1940s that are incredibly cute are usually too expensive or just too much necklace for my taste. This is a good compromise though it doesn’t look that old. I can’t remember what I paid but I believe it was less than $15.


Still at Bananas, I bought this World War II-era Red Cross Nurses (Aide) uniform complete with hat for $20. There’s two reasons why I purchased it: 1. I rarely run across pieces of clothing with such obvious history baked into them. I always wonder about the previous owners and this one even has a name attached — the hat has a label that says “Nancy S. Lamont.” So that’s who wore it. 2. It’s actually a really cute silhouette and I would like to use it to create a pattern.

The only downside about the uniform: There are tiny little stains on the dress which I believe is blood. I hadn’t noticed it until I brought it home and kind of freaked out a little bit. You know in shows like the Ghost Whisperer — or really anything with a ghost and antique stores — when some weird haunting starts happening and they can’t figure out why until the middle of the show when someone realizes that “oh do you think the haunting might have something to do with this antique medical skull drill I brought home from the hospital?” Well, that’s what I thought about when I saw the stains. As my mom reads this paragraph I can already imagine her saying to herself “that uniform better now be in my bedroom when I come to visit.”

Did I mention it has a cute little hat?


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. 2 1/2 yards is more than enough for a dirndl skirt that would do it justice. I used 90″ for my fruit skirt and my waist is 5″ larger than yours I believe; the pattern is shown off very well in my skirt! Its a lovely print :) You scored QUITE well my dear and if those are “expensive” finds in comparison to California…well…I’m SCREWED the day I make it to California.

  2. Yeah, in writing up the post I realized I actually did better than I thought. I think what colored my judgment is all the things I didn’t buy because the cost was prohibitive.

  3. The Ghost Whisperer uniform gave me a good chuckle! :)
    It does have a lovely silhouette.
    I can’t think of anything for the lighthouse fabric except for cutting it to one repeat and making a banner to hang on the wall with it.
    Love the jewelry! Especially the blue brooch at center bottom of the grouping.

  4. I actually edited the post to be clearer. I didn’t find any true steals in Manhattan. Most of the good, cheap finds were in Maine and MA.

  5. These are lovely, I’m green with envy! Please please please would you come to the UK and show me how to shop like you do? ;-) First-rate accommodation and meals provided!

  6. Wow, that white necklace is inspiring me! I have some beads I could use to just about copy it, I think. Hmmmm….

  7. Good recap. For the dress soak it in oxy clean. I have done this with vintage table cloths and you will be amazed at how clean it will get. You may need to soak it for a week or two (it can take that long with old stains). You probably know this already, but I thought it may help you exercise the nurse uniform ghosts!

  8. In the late 60’s I was a candy striper (as in volunteer aide) at a Veterans hospital and we wore something like what you bought. No hat, just the cute jumper w/white blouse under it!
    I was thinking that a cute blouse/shirt would look cute out of the fabric you bought! We a cute pair of pants or culottes?

  9. Great Haul! That dogwood brooch and card of buttons are wonderful.

  10. I’m not sure if I have ever commented here, but thought I should. You have a wonderful blog and we have much in common. I just love popping in here and seeing what you have done. You are way more industrious than I will ever be and I admire your persistence for sure. So just a big hello, and way to go, and thanks for the inspiration!

  11. So happy you found bargains and delights in Gloucester, Massachusetts!
    You never know what you’ll find in Bananas, one of my favorite haunts :)
    Love your blog and am inspired by your creativity… keep it coming!
    Linn in Gloucester

  12. Forgive me for saying this, but one reason I particularly like seeing what you do and the “after” photos is that you are obviously not tall and willowy with legs up to …here and about 16 and ethereal!!! You are a real woman with a beautiful womanly figure and the courage to wear more unusual clothes you put much love into and I love that!! Your blog gives me far more inspiration to get the old patterns out, sew and then wear them instead of just in my fantasy because I am not afore-mentioned 50s model type (short and rounder than you but otherwise similar…). Thanks!!

  13. These are awesome finds! It’s always satisfying to see all your hunting around summed up with photos of the spoils. That white necklace is especially adorable.