Hot! Vintage Finds: 9/26/11

Or, as an alternate title to this post: Lighting strikes twice in the same spot.

If you have ever talked to me in person about thifting and estate sales, you've no doubt heard me talk about "the estate sale to end all estate sales," the Novato Estate Sale of 2010. For $20, I got an insane mix of fabrics, patterns, buttons and zippers — stuff that I'm still using as part of my stash today.

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Just last night I was lamenting the fact that I needed to replenish my zipper stash — too many of the zippers from the original haul had already been used or were just not the colors I worked with.  That was my thought last night in my sewing room.

This morning, I checked Craigslist for any Friday estate sales. I haven't done this in quite a few weeks so the fact I looked could only be tied to my zipper thoughts from the previous night. Imagine my surprise when I saw the top listing for an estate sale in Novato. One that had a lot of "material," the word they had used last time.  Oh, and it was the same address (I looked at it on Google Maps street view to be sure and it was the warehouse). Why yes, this was the same exact sale from last year. Apparently they were doing it again with the stuff that didn't sell.

Last year, they sold almost all the fabric: a woman had come by after me and bought everything and loaded it in a U-Haul. This was probably 30-40 boxes of fabric. Even with that fabric gone, I had to see if there was anything I had missed the first time around. So, at around 7:45, I headed 50 minutes north to check it all out.

My initial reaction was dissappointment. There were a few notions, but everything had been picked over last year. I sent a text to my husband:

"Lighting first strike twice in the same place. :( "

Which, now that I look at the text, doesn't make sense at all. I meant to say "Lighting doesn't strike twice in the same place."

I decided to keep on digging when I saw that there were about 10-15 boxes of fabric that were off in the corner. Amongst the boxes, under piles and in bags I found today's haul.

Zippers! Over 150, to be exact and a great proportion of ones in practical colors like navy, black and white. And, a suprisingly good number of invisible ones.

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A ton of knitting/crochet magazines from the late 1940s and 1950s. I am making a pledge right here and now to learn how to knit and have made a sweater from one of these books by next year.

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Bias tape and seam binding — that very practical stuff that I *never* have.

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Some thread, a few of them are nice silk ones.

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A big box of elastics and a few buckle kits and button snaps.

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An adorable purse in great condition (it looks worse in the picture) and some gently used Bass saddle shoes that fit!

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And some fabric. These are the highlights:

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The entire haul:

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The total cost? 



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. Ah! I’m so jealous! What an awesome haul! Lucky lucky you! :)

  2. Wow,that’s awesome! I love the purse!

  3. I think my jaw hit my desk when I saw that you got all that great stuff for only $12! Great finds!

  4. Congradulations.. Perserverance pays off… Know you are so happy with those finds and all for $12.. SO happy for you, Happy sewing.

  5. Wow. That is amazing. Love the fabric!

  6. I found a bunch of notions and a cute pattern earlier this week at a thrift store and thought I scored. I can’t believe all the stuff you got! I should’ve looked at estate sales when I lived in LA, rats. My current project came to a halt tonight because I didn’t have black seam binding so your new acquisitions are perfect finds!

  7. Yay, how great. My fave fabric is the dogs wearing boas! And the 60’s floral – good score!

  8. Wow, you lucky thing! I wish we had more estate sales in England, I can’t believe you got all of that for $12!!
    Ashley x

  9. Oh my, What a fanastic haul! Ever so envious of American estate sales. Similar ones herein UK simply don’t do it.

  10. Words cannot begin to describe how I feel, but jealous would be a great starting point! Well done you lucky lady!

  11. I was expecting it to cost at least 50 dollars, but 12? OMG. That is absolutely amazing. Lucky you!

  12. Wow! What an amazing haul and only $12!! I’m so jealous, it just doesn’t happen here in the UK!

  13. OH MY GOSH! Thats amazing! I’m so green.

  14. Lucky haul there!! If you ever decide to get rid of those knitting pamphlets from the ’40’s and ’50’s, please pass them on to me. ;) They are hard to come by. I’ve found a couple at library sales, but not many.

  15. I’m so glad you understand me!!! The pure joy of scoring vintage fabric/notions, etc, at a fabulous estate sale floods our bodies with enough endorphins to last for weeks! Ha ha. Great job.

  16. margueritedesigns

    That is unbelievable – lucky, lucky you!

  17. Estate sales like that don’t seem to exist around here. Or maybe I’m just going to wrong ones! Lucky, lucky you!

  18. I’m incredibly jealous of your haul, geez. As far as knitting goes ;) you should have said so at TCC—- I would have sat your happy self down and put some sticks in your hands! I do encourage you to “KNIT ON!”

  19. Did you ever figure out who the person behind all these notions was? Just curious… I bet they had epic sewing projects!

  20. JACKPOT!!!! :D I’ve stumbled across some amazing fabric/notions finds, but never anything quite like this. I’m green with envy you found all those knitting booklets! :D Can’t wait to see what you use that Pendelton for too… ;)

  21. That is amazing! You have are a divining rod of fabulous vintage sewing finds!
    I’m giggling over the white pug dogs with leis around their necks! I can’t wait to see what that becomes!

  22. I remember this sale from last year. I remember reading your post and vowing that I was going to start looking for fabric and vintage patterns when I thrifted. (You should see what i have collected!) And I remember kind of hyperventilating when I saw everything that you scored. AMAZING! I seriously need to move to CA because estate sales in UT are mostly cheap 1990s furniture and mauve curtains. Beautiful new treasures!

  23. You are so lucky! They all look like beautiful hi thread count fabrics!

  24. Oh, I’m jealous! I was just in San Francisco for a whirlwind wedding and realized after the fact that I should have asked you for recommendations for thrifting in the city!

  25. I have almost all the same zippers, bias tape, and belt buckle kits from my husband’s grandmother’s stash. And a lot of double knits. A LOT.