Category Archives: Thrifting

Used vs New Clothing

I don’t how y’all feel about it, but I’m a big fan of second hand clothing. It keeps things out of the landfill, my money doesn’t have to directly support companies I’m not always a fan of, I get to support local charities and best of all, it’s super cheap! And this normally shopping phobic girl loves finding high quality treasures on the rack that you would never guess aren’t brand new. Most of my clothing purchases since starting grad school, even pajamas, have been at thrift or consignment shops, but I do have a few things I refuse to buy used.

Underwear: I think to most people this is a big “duh.” And while sometimes Goodwill has panties, bras and socks that still have their original price tag, but the ick factor is too high.

Workout Clothes: I’m not talking about old cotton tees and sweats here, which I do occasionally pick up to use as work clothes; I’m talking about fancy wicking “technical” workout clothing. I don’t know about you, but when I look at that stuff, all I think about is sweat and dirt. Not to mention that type of material seems to hang onto body odors despite repeated washings. Smelling myself while working out is bad enough, I don’t want to smell anybody else.

 

Everyday Shoes: I know there are people who voluntarily buy all their shoes second hand but they must have either better luck or knees and back than I do. I’m a big walker: it’s a rare day when I don’t cover at least three miles, usually five so I need high quality shoes that are comfortable. I’ve found secondhand shoes that meet those requirements exactly twice. Everything else is super cheap or on the point of falling apart. If I find dress shoes with minimal or no wear and tear I’ll buy those, however it’s hard to find them in my freakishly small size.

What’s your policy on used clothes and shoes?

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Braided Tee

Some of you might be asking, another t-shirt craft? Of course there’s another t-shirt craft! There’s unlimited Pinterest links and thrift store piles of tees. And, this one actually yields a shirt! I love the embellished tees I see in stores but I refuse to spend $20 on one, so I decided to make my own.

I’d count this as an advanced project: as far as I know, you can’t do this with a machine. It took about three Project Runway episodes of hand-sewing and wine drinking. Once again, I neglected to take any in progress pictures, but I promise to start with my next project. Now, on to the craft!

Start with two t-shirts of the same or complementary colors: a fitted tee that’s the base, and another tee to cut up for the braids, of any size or fit. Take “braid shirt,” cut off the hem and discard, then cut strips of fabric across the torso. Snip one end of each to make long strips of fabric. Safety pin three strips together and braid, closing at the end with another safety pin. Repeat to make as many braids as you’d like. Lay out braids on fitted tee to make a pattern you like, then pin. Try not to pull the fabric as you go to prevent puckering as seen in the picture below. Turn shirt inside out and tack down the end of the first braid by folding the ends under and sewing them down. Then continue down the braid braid, taking a small stitch through the tee into the braid, feeding the needle through the braid for a bit, then out to take another small stitch, continuing the entire length of the braid. When you get to the ends of the braid, trim the ends, fold them under and set them a couple of small stitches. Repeat for all braids.

Turn inside out and admire your creation. Feel a little smug at making a fancy shirt for a whopping $1.50 worth of thrift store tees and prepare to receive compliments (and not just from your dog)!

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Jersey Shrug

Being somewhat cold blooded and often finding myself needing to cover up a little, I’m a big fan of light weight cardigans and shrugs. However, I resent spending $20 (or more!) on something so basic. So, when I was on my t-shirt craft binge, I pinned this to one of my Pinterest boards. I’d agree that it would count as a more intermediate project, but I finished it by handsewing in about an hour, with a break or two for wine and cookies.

This time, grab a women’s fitted tee in a size that fits you. Cut a straight line down the middle of the front of the shirt. Then cut off the collar. If you were a smart blogger, now would be a good time to take a picture. If you’re not a blogger or get distracted by wine and cookies, fold the raw edges under by about an inch and pin down. The corner where the neck hits the front of the shirt might be a bit awkward, so feel free to trim it into a curved shape. Sew the edge down, leaving one continuous tube going up one side around the neck and down the other.

Cut a length of coordinating or matching ribbon (mine was 1/2 in diameter) the length of that entire tube. Thread through tube (a safety pin attached to one end of the ribbon is helpful for this step) then start to scrunch up ends.

Feel so exhausted by your efforts take a picture in your downstairs bathroom rather than walk all the way upstairs to the mirror without a toilet in the background.

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T-Shirt Tote

As I mentioned last week, a friend has challenged me to tackle some of the numerous t-shirt crafts I’ve added to my Pinterest boards. This week, I’ll show you my version of a t-shirt tote bag. It’s a great way to use that shirt that has that awesome graphic on it that you never wear or just doesn’t look quite right on you.

First, find a men’s or kids’ t-shirt with a graphic you like. Cut off the sleeves, then cut out the neckline in a wide U. This will form the handles of your bag.

I would recommend making those handles wider than I did: I neglected to factor in how much un-hemmed jersey rolls in on itself.  Next, flip the t-shirt inside out and sew a straight seam just above the bottom hem. If you want to be fancy, take the corners, spread the sides out from the hem seam to form points, and sew across to create boxed sides to your bag.

Curse yourself for using a black t-shirt since it photographs so poorly and wish you had a better command of English for describing such techniques. Finally, turn your creation inside out.

Ta-dah! You have an adorable, washable tote bag that squishes up small to fit in another bag. Take a final picture and be glad the hair your white dog decided to rub on your finished product doesn’t show up.

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Simple Jersey Skirt

Like many of you, I get a little obsessed with Pinterest sometimes. Lately one girlfriend and I have been passing back and forth pins for t-shirt crafts. Finally she challenged the two of us to actually start making some! With the pressure off from my giant test, I thought I’d share some of the crafts I’ve been doing. This one requires absolutely no sewing, which was awesome. I picked up the tee for this craft from the thrift store for a whopping $0.50 and had the ribbon in my stash.

Simply cut a t-shirt in a straight line beneath the armpits. Discard the top half. Snip vertical slits in the hem.

Feed a ribbon into one hole, through the hem and out the other slit. To make this easier, attach a safety pin to the end of the ribbon and tug that through the fabric. Once you’re done, tie knots on the end of the ribbon.

Spill a few drops of water on the skirt, flip it over and wonder what the heck you’ve made. Then put it on, admire your handiwork and take a poorly lit photo of it.

Simple Jersey Skirt

  • 1 men’s t-shirt that fits over your widest part
  • 1 ribbon that’s 6 inches longer than the circumference of your shirt
  • scissors
  1. Cut the shirt in a straight line underneath the arm pits.
  2. Snip 2 small vertical slits in the center of the hem.
  3. Thread ribbon into one hole, through hem, and out the other hole.
  4. Tie knots in the end of the ribbons.
  5. Put on and enjoy!

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DIY Scarf Hanger

In the past year or so, I’ve noticed more light weight scarves infiltrating my wardrobe. They’re an easy way to add a bit of color pattern to an outfit, cover up cleavage (something I’ve got to spare), and protect myself from drafty classrooms. But, they’re somewhat awkward to store and my dresser is already overflowing. A while back on Pinterest I saw an idea for a homemade scarf hanger that even I couldn’t mess up.

All you need is a plastic hanger, a set of shower curtain rings (available at the Dollar Store) and 12 pieces of ribbon or string, each at least 6 to 8 inches long (longer if you want bows instead of knots).

Knot the ribbon once around the skinny part of each ring. Then double knot the ribbon around the bottom part of the hanger.

Then simply feed your scarves through and take a slightly out of focus picture of it to show the internet that you have awesome craft and photography skills.

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Thrift Score

On Saturday, I had some time to kill downtown, so I popped into one of my favorite thrift stores. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but hey, every girl loves a bargain. I did my usual walk: check out dishware, flip through dresses and tops, then scanned the books. My last stop is usually the shoes, since it’s often hard to find a decent pair in my size (5.5 or 6), but I’m always on the look out for cute but comfortable shoes since I do so much walking around. Then I saw these:

 

 

Brand new Sketchers in my size for $5! Then I went to the counter, and found out they were having an Easter sale. I got to pick an Easter egg with a discount listed inside. So, with a 25% discount, I got a pair of name brand brand new shoes for $4. Woohoo!

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