Hot! Vintage Finds: October 24, 2010

It’s been forever since I’ve documented my vintage finds. Well, it’s been forever since I’ve actually had any true vintage finds. Because of its tendency to (1) make me depressed (2) make me interact with jerks, I’ve avoided the estate sale scene for a good number of months. Krissy actually encouraged me to check out a sale on Friday and, while I had to deal with the usual sort of estate sale annoyances*, I found two great pieces of fabric for a steal of $7 total.


I’m particularly in love with the bright floral print. Five yards of this fabric for $4. Based on my dating fabric formula, I’m fairly certain that this fabric was from 1962 or 1963.

*I’ve written about all the things that annoy me about estate sales over here. One thing I’ve left out is the dreariness of the vulture culture. Estate sales are held usually when someone passes away and there’s something incredibly morbid about picking through the belongings of a recently-deceased person. While it may make me sad, most of the people who go to estate sales have gotten over this morose fact ages ago. On Friday, while we were all lining up outside in the rain, people were starting to get very pushy and anxious to get into the sale. In fact when one of the elderly neighbors of the deceased “jumped the line,” she was actually yelled at to go to the back. I may be fooling myself in thinking that I’m any better than any of the other vultures, however.


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. I always try to think of shopping at estate sales as respecting the objects that someone likely loved by giving them a new home where they will be loved again. I know when I go, I would rather my fabric and notion stash be used by someone like you, who will wear and enjoy it, than to be left sitting somewhere neglected.
    That said, it is always sad when someone dies. It would be great if everyone at these sales remembered that, but maybe it’s enough that someone does.

  2. I love to comb through Estate Sales and sometimes wonder not about the person who died but how those selling their things must be feeling. Is it hard for them to part with things they have no need of but remember the deceased using? I would think that it would be very hard in some cases. I try to be respectful to the them.
    I too can’t wait to see what you make with this beautiful material.

  3. I just purchased the property of a couple who are now living in an assisted living situation and because they know I sew, they graciously left me several boxes of “sewing stuff.” I can hardly wait to see what vintage fabrics are included. Any advice on what to look for to use in a fashionable, stylish way?

  4. Is it common to find old fabric at estate sales? If not, how do you hedge your bets so that you don’t put yourself through all of this stress for nothing?
    PS LOVE this blog, can’t wait to hunt down some old patterns of my own!

  5. Going to estate sales is always a weird experience for the reasons you mention, but mostly because I know the stuff is being sold because someone died! However…when I walk out with sewing stuff, the family has, without exception, seemed so excited. “Oh, you sew, too!” It’s like a way to carry on their life by sharing the same love for an activity.

  6. I went to my second estate sale a couple weeks ago and have to admit that at several moments of digging through the lady’s closets I was struck by the notion of how “vulture-ish” it was. :p But, at the same time I’ve been thrifting for years, and I know some of the vintage that ends up in places like that has been donated because of someone passing away. I just comforted myself with the notion that at least I was someone who would appreciate this particular woman’s old clothes.
    ♥ Casey | blog

  7. I am so very touched by your post. My mom died this past April and her most valued treasurers were anything that had to do with creating. She saved all patterns purchased from the 1950’s to present. They were donated and it gives me great comfort that someone like yourself may now take great joy from them. Hugs..

  8. Love vintage fabric too! The red and pink flowered fabric is awesome. Thanks for sharing your passion for vintage.