Why thrifting is essential for sewing

Ironing is half of great sewing, right? I’d argue that thrifting is a decent percentage, too, and an important way to get better, especially if you want to sew vintage, especially if you sew to save money.

Thrifted clothes can be deconstructed so you can rip off all kinds of professional techniques. I like to see how the pros do it. I learned to finish waistbands for pants and skirts with a little bias tape based on some Ann Taylor pants. I understand why you use grosgrain ribbon to finish the front of a cardigan. And it’s more ethical to buy things outright to deconstruct than to buy new out of a real store.

Thrifted goods can be chopped up for parts: Muslins, buttons, zippers, trims. All that stuff can be reused. I feel bad about buying brand new fabric to experiment on, and I’m a little bit c-h-e-a-p, too.

And thrifting lets you try out ideas and styles: Today I’m wearing a giant long wool-blend dress in black with short sleeves and an A-line. I already took the sleeves up, but that’s it. I never would have thought to sew up this kind of long long dress, but now that I have one on, I’m thinking how I could extend a t-shirt pattern into another one or three.

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