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Old 05-30-2012, 01:46 PM
whitehairedidiot Female whitehairedidiot is offline
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Default Sewing Preps?

This has crossed my mind more than once and thought I'd ask if y'all think I'm crazy.

It's been harder & harder for me to find good fabric shops over the years. Granted I was spoiled with them, where I grew up in Ohio. Now, the only place I can buy fabric by the yard in person, is Walmart. The quality isn't anywhere close to what I'm used to most of the time. I have ordered from online sources, successfully, a couple of times. There's just something important for me standing in front of a row of bolts, being able to touch the fabric, see it, etc to the whole creative process.

Question IS, what are you all doing to prep for future sewing needs, if it's not possible to get fabric, elastic, zippers, etc anymore? I'm thinking I need to put back a bolt of denim, a couple colors of cotton, ticking, muslin, etc. I've hoarded buttons for a long time and have some antique ones, too. But the seam binding, elastic, interfacing... those kinds of things...will be almost impossible to get under some circumstances.

Used to be - when we wore clothes out - that we'd "harvest" the buttons, zippers, etc and save them back to be reused. But there's only so long a zipper will be able to be reused. Old legs from cutoff blue jeans make good patches. Hmmm... embroidery thread... I guess there's a whole list of things I'd put back and save "just in case" I couldn't get it. How bout you?
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Old 05-30-2012, 02:21 PM
crackergirl Female crackergirl is offline
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Default But for how long?

I try to keep most of the necessities on hand, but some things, such as elastic and even fabric, only last for a certain length of time before they dry rot.
Granted some of the fabric in my stash is 25 years old, but there are beginning to be faded, worn or threadbare spots in them.
I do try to keep it all out of extreme conditions (heat and humidity) and of course protect it from direct sunlight.
Another idea would be to locate or make patterns that do not require elastic, especially. IE drawstring drawers and camisole/chemise patterns rather than standard brassieres and panties.
Another thing I do is if I am travelling and see a true fabric store or general store (there are still a few in small towns) I stop to see what is available.
One thing that has horrified me is cost-creep. I worked in a fabric store back in the day and it was not unusual to get good decent cottons for 1-2 $ a yard. Now it is nothing to see good quality fabric going for up to $20 a yard. I scour the remnant and bargain bins for sure!
PS -- if you are crazy, it's my kind of crazy!

Last edited by crackergirl; 05-30-2012 at 02:24 PM. Reason: Add a thought
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Old 05-30-2012, 06:55 PM
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Txanne Female Txanne is offline
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Default fabric

I just had this conversation on another forum.

When cotton/permanant press went to 7.00 and 8.00 a yd I couldnt believe it.

Walmart is importing alot of china trash called fabric--it has No fabric content--no wash instructions and its durability is totally in question.

You have to dig to find any bolts with fabric content or wash care.

I have to drive about 11/2 hrs to a Hancock outlet in Baytown--they have bins of fabric
and you have to dig--but I find that fun--I like to touch all of it anyway--kinda of strange
LOL

Walmart had stopped selling it for along time--and women raised sucjh a stink they brought it back--mainly craffters I think.

I am amazed at the price of thread--wow--2.29 for a spool of white.


annie
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Old 05-30-2012, 07:52 PM
whitehairedidiot Female whitehairedidiot is offline
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Well, today - since we seem to be getting the six inches of rain from Beryl - I'm FINALLY getting around to organizing my sewing room. I inherited a good bit of basic notions from my MIL, who died a couple years ago shortly after moving in with us. She had been a gifted custom seamstress. Lots of thread! (I'd already taken all her scrap fabric years ago...).

I bought fabric from Walmart for aprons - just a yard, yard & 1/2 - and that's some of what I have stashed back. I seem to have buttons out the wazoo - those'll wait for winter to sort, I think. Lots of leftover wedding stuff to sort...

I didn't think the elastic would last too long and like the idea of alternative patterns. But, do I really think I'll be able to see to sew in 25 years?? Hmmm... that'd make me 80... I don't know yet!! hahaha!

But, I think I will stock up on those notions - elastic, seam binding, etc - and if I don't use it maybe my D will think of something. She's been making Xtreme-art quilts.
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:37 PM
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Txanne Female Txanne is offline
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Default sew

I have an old flat top trunk that I store in. ( Its huge) And I also use it as my cutting area.
I too sew aprons also---my hobby--people make fun of me--its a thing I ve loved since I was a tiny girl--Greatgranny wore those long muslin ones--(living in an Rv)

11/2 yds is about what I use---I have a name for mine--I call them Happy Pockets.
Every lady should have one huh? or 2 LOL

My daughters MIL gave me tons of thread--had to go through it and test each spool--
If it broke I threw it away--My machine is touchy about its thread.

The kids got me a computerized one for Christmas--Loved my old brother--was a tough one.

I too have buttons--coffee cans of them---I am amazed at the people who dont
know how to sew on a button.

I gave away boxes of patterns--to my local thrift store.
I dont have small kids or anyone at home but me to sew far.

I dont know where I got them--but I have a number of button hole makers for sewing machines--dont know what to do with them.

I am a sewing pack-rat LOL

annie
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:18 AM
crackergirl Female crackergirl is offline
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Default If notions could talk

I wonder what they would tell us? I got a laundry basket sized lot of notions from an estate sale for about a buck. There were so many spools of khaki colored thread on wooden spools that the little old lady must have altered a lot of Army uniforms during the war. I also go to a lot of auctions and look for fabric and notions. I wonder what the little old ladies up in heaven think. "Look what she is doing to my scraps!" "Oh, she is going to finish that quilt top" "You silly hussy. That doesn't go like that!"
I feel honored to have their beloved belongings to use, even the darning egg that I have never used!
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:34 AM
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Txanne Female Txanne is offline
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In my Mothers sewing when she died was old wads of tatting my GGgrandmother had tatted.
And 2 tatting shuttles.
That is a lost art...
And among my most prized cherished things
They mean nothing to anyone else.

Old lace---and wooden spools of thread.

I have those in sealed bags--
I am with you--I wonder what they used the thread for
and how many quilts little girls dresses and baby gowns
were made from them.


We are making memories also--thats nice

annie
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:44 AM
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As I make costumes a part time business I'm probably... possibly...justified with the fabric stash I have...maybe...

But onto the subject of preps. Yeah, I've thought about what I'd do if TSHTF and how to keep me and mine clothed and warm. For starters I've got a 1950's manual Singer sewing machine in good condition and I know how to prepare fleece, spin, weave and dye. Got a spinning wheel as well - not got a loom as no space but know how to make one and have a set of plans tucked away safe just in case.

Material wise, I'd say a minimum of a couple of bolts of good heavy woo for coats, a bolt of Arctic fleece for lightweight warm clothing, some waxed cotton for waterproofs, brushed cotton in a neutral colour for shirts and kids stuff, corduroy and/or denim for trousers and some stretch fabric for underthings if you're not happy with medieval style body linens - I am TBH so would add a couple of bolts of linen.

Looking at that list I realise I have all of it on the shelving....like I said, that stash is pretty big.

As I make historic clothes I can say with confidence that comfortable and practical - as well as good looking clothing can be mad without zips or elastic. Lacing is your friend and learning how to sew an eyelet is a vital skill.

other than that I'd say a passing familiarity with leather working and few sq foot of leather in assorted weights would be a good addition.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:36 PM
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I've been collecting sewing preps for a couple of years now. Getting a good collection of needles, scissors, buttons. Have a couple of shelves of fabrics - haven't actually paid cash for any of it. People getting out of sewing seem to leave bags of it at the "swap shed". If your community doesn't have a swap shed yet - you need one! Ours is at the local landfill. Things that are to good to be thrown out can be left in it, and others can take the stuff - all for no cost to anyone.

But...it would sure be kept nicer if they had a student organizing it and making sure people don't make a mess of it!
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:18 AM
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Txanne Female Txanne is offline
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Default Idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenBC View Post
I've been collecting sewing preps for a couple of years now. Getting a good collection of needles, scissors, buttons. Have a couple of shelves of fabrics - haven't actually paid cash for any of it. People getting out of sewing seem to leave bags of it at the "swap shed". If your community doesn't have a swap shed yet - you need one! Ours is at the local landfill. Things that are to good to be thrown out can be left in it, and others can take the stuff - all for no cost to anyone.

But...it would sure be kept nicer if they had a student organizing it and making sure people don't make a mess of it!
That is the neatest idea--will have to ck it out--some landfills wont allow you to remove
anything.

I forgot to mention --Tx has yard/garage sales all yr round--that is my primary
search places--found some beautiful drapery remanants--got the big box for 3.00.
Made cushions for my dinner chairs--and extra pillows for my bed--small touch makes my
reading area so speacial.


Karen--I hadnt thought of leather---good idea also.

annie
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:29 AM
whitehairedidiot Female whitehairedidiot is offline
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Tarvae - your list sounds a lot like the one I'm putting together. I don't think I have it in me, anymore, to do my own weaving -- I thought about it 20 years ago though! I will probably kick myself, but I've turned down a treadle sewing machine a few times. It's an old Singer. They're just the best for heavy denim or leather.

Txanne - I've thought I would start making little girls' heirloom dresses just for fun. No grandaughters - yet - all boys. I like doing all the picky, tedious hand sewing. When my MIL moved in with us, she showed me her "hope" chest of handmade baby clothes, her wedding trousseau... all exquisitely made by her 40-50 years before. She was asking my opinion about throwing it all out and I have to say I was horrified at the thought! You know how sometimes "truth" just jumps out of your mouth without intention? I told her all those clothes were a part of her and her love and she couldn't just throw that away - each stitch was part of who she was. It just made me want to cry. She was a fine seamstress and supported her family with tailoring, pageant dresses, etc.

I've kept lots of things my grandma made... and have my own "treasure trunk".
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:50 AM
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Default sewing

Ohhhhhhhh that had to be a testy moment LOL

My mother could look at a dress we wanted in a store,
go home and cut a pattern and make that very dress.
She was a sad product of the depression yrs.And it would
not very one iota.--I was always amazed what she could do
with a couple of yards of fabric.
She made our underpants out of feed sacks.
Flour sacks,etc.

Durning world war 2--she sewed to get me extra powered milk.

I have some very old dress shears they called them from England.
I need to have them sharpened,but like many crafters-someone that does
that now days is rare and I wouldnt trust them to just anyone.

One thing I am trying to stock up on is blanket binding. One of my favorite wool blankets had to be redone this pastwinter.
That stuff has gotten expensive.

annie
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:39 PM
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Annie my maternal grandmother was like that about making clothes. All I wanted when she passed away was her sewing patterns as she had some from the 40's and 50's even. Don't know what happened to them, probably tossed in the trash, but I didn't get them.
I remember back when I was a high schools senior there was a fabric shop on the corner from where I lived and I used to buy 3 yards of 100% cotton material for $1, a long zipper and a spool of thread, go home and make myself a shift dress to wear to school the next day. I didn't own a sewing machine but the lady I rented a room from was more than happy to let me use hers.
The only Hancock Fabric I can get to on the bus is a ways away but I need to go check out their remnants. Sure hope the remnants are marked down, Walmart sells theirs at the regular price most of the time so I seldom ever buy them.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:43 AM
whitehairedidiot Female whitehairedidiot is offline
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Well. Story time.

My Grandma was the oldest of 10 kids - the first generation born in America of Mennonite parents. Yes, she learned lots of ways to "make do" during the depression. She raised most of her siblings; her mom died in childbirth when she was 12. And we were never middle class, much less rich growing up - "making do" was our way of life. She had a reputation among her neighbors as a healer. I didn't have her long; she died when I was in 2nd grade. But my wacko photographic memory has preserved so many tidbits of information that I assimilated just from spending so much time with her. (My mom aspired, but just didn't have the knack for nor maternal instinct, to be like her.)

If she wanted a pattern, she would tape grocery bags or newspaper together and draw what she wanted. I used that to make some chair cushions, and it works just fine as long as you remember seam allowances! Everything got saved to be recycled into something else. Clorox bottles and milk cartons were craft supplies... and turned into door stops... organizer boxes... small buckets... or funnels. Any left over trim - even just a couple inches worth - were saved for doll clothes or craft projects. Rubber bands wrapped into balls. Plastic bags saved & washed & dried & reused... over & over. When they shredded beyond usefulness... she used them to stuff a channel stitched quilt. She saved old stocking for stuffing, too. Socks became doll parts. Anything wool was saved for cutting into strips during the winter and hooked on burlap for rugs; she dyed this for specific colors and drew her own patterns. Grandpa made her an ingenious rug frame, so she could roll up longer rugs as she worked instead of piecing sections together. And one of my earliest memories is of several women hand-quilting around a 6 ft. frame. I learned to darn, do basic weaving, embroidery, and handsewing all by the age of 6.

It's just what "you did". You didn't go to a store and buy it - you made it yourself. I recall, once I was in school - having a hissy fit because all the other girls wore store-bought dresses and I didn't even have one - this was the 60s after all! Not the stone age... Later, breezing through home ec - because I already had 5-6 years of experience and practice. I was adding trims and zippers when others were trying to figure out how to make a straight seam. It wasn't so much talent, as it was just hands-on time, and repetition. No one starts out being really terrific at things... it seems this simple truth isn't part of teacher-training or education philosophy anymore.
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:18 PM
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We remodeled the house about 10-12 years ago, and one of my friends kept coaxing me to get rid of a lot of crates of sewing goods. I donated so many things to SA and so many books because the kids were getting older then. I could kick myself for doing it, but at the time it seemed like a good idea to cut down on clutter. And of course I had friends suggesting and coaxing me to get rid of a lot of things too.

I use to love to play with my grandma's button collection when I was a kid. And when she passed that was a really high priced commodity at the auction. I don't know who got them, but I know she had buttons from the 1920s on to the 1980s. Buttons seem to be a collectable item.
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Old 06-10-2012, 04:59 AM
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mom-to-7, I also loved to play with my Grandma's jar of buttons. I spent hours playing with those buttons! She kept hers in a gallon jar. Now I do the same - and am getting a nice collection built up. When my niece was here, she had fun going through it to pick some out for her card making hobby.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:34 PM
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Was going through some old clothes today and realized that I had very few items I could salvage things from. No zippers as the clothes weren't put away until a zipper was useless, and less than a dozen tiny buttons. This was clothing from myself, my daughter, and her three oldest girls. Almost everything was pull on, both tops and bottoms, so much easier to get dressed that way and I still tend to wear that type of clothing.

Last edited by MYellowRose; 06-11-2012 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Correct spelling goof in second sentence.
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Old 06-11-2012, 07:38 PM
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Oh yes. I also kept 2 fleece throws, one red and one green. I can cut off the bad parts and use them to back a small lap quilt. In fact I may not use batting as I think the pieced top on a fleece back would be sufficient.
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:28 PM
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I've heard it said that fabric is women's real estate. Must be true! I feel bad for the generations that aren't learning to sew or even mend their own clothes.

My preps for sewing are a fabric, thread and button stash, and my precious treadle sewing machine. I was lucky and got a new leather belt for it right before the last machine repair shop went out of business. (One year there were 6 or 7 in the area, then 3, then 1 and now - zero!) Same with fabric stores, although the craft shops carry a little overpriced cotton for quilts.

I've had a blast buying fabric on Ebay. I got several antique silk saris for $2-$4 a yard. A sari is usually a little over 5 yards of fabric. Since they're used, it's a crap-shoot. Some are in pristine condition and some are rags when I get them, but even the worst will yield up some scarves or used in crafts. The best ones have been silk-cotton blend; like new, heavy weight & gorgeous. They come right from India and even the envelopes are hand-sewn fabric because those people have very little of the goods that we take for granted. I've also gotten rip-stop scraps and fleese on E-bay, but from sellers here in the US.

I've gotten buttons in bags from www.shopgoodwill.com, but only if I can get them cheap. It's another site like E-Bay, but run by Goodwill Industries. If you do this be SURE to check the shipping before you bid - some Goodwill stores will really rip you off on the postage! They also have bags of sewing notions, yarn and fabric occasionally.

Your local thrift store is another place to watch for donated sewing goods. Someone has died & their kids don't sew, so it all gets given to a thrift store and they often sell cheap. St. Vinnies is EXCELLENT for this stuff & usually cheaper than Goodwill. (I've gotten bags of "rags" at St. Vinnies for $1 that turned out to be almost new T-shirts in many sizes, as they get so many they don't even try to hang them up to sell.) Sew a long ruffle on the bottom of a T-shirt and you have an instant little girl's dress!
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:45 AM
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Default sewing preps

There is no way to save stuff for all possible future crises. I can see having a whole lot of sewing stuff, just to have it destroyed in a tsunami. I think it is more important to educate your self on how to make it from scratch. Can you spin wool into yarn, to knit or crochet or weave your material do you know how to prep cotton or turn flax into linen? Can you felt wool (the earliest fabrics were simple felted wool). can you make buttons from wood or horn. Can you make buckskin, or tan leather? Not only would these talents be important to you but this kind of knowledge can give you an advantage in a drastic scenerio. I don't know all this stuff but I take every opportunity to study and try to gain at least a basic understanding.
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