I recently read this article about a woman called Caroline who has set herself the challenge of wearing charity shop clothes for a whole year. Her project is called Knickers, Model’s Own (in reference to those captions in magazines where they say things like “necklace, model’s own). Over the next year, she is only wearing charity shop clothes from Cancer Research UK, alongside her existing charity shop wardrobe – she’s not buying anything new. This is in homage to her mum who sadly died from cancer last year and used to volunteer in the local CRUK shop. Check out her facebook page here – she posts pictures every day of her outfits, and she has a justgiving fundraising page too.I think this is such a sweet idea, and she seems to have been drumming up some extra business for her local CRUK store with her own rail of specially selected items (shown above). I love charity shops and always have a nose around to find a bargain. I finally know what shape of clothes suits me, and therefore what to look for, and will always check out the dresses, tops and jeans first. I’ll then move onto skirts and other trousers. A lot of my books and craft stash comes from charity shops too. Here are some of my favourite charity shop purchases!
My mustard yellow jumpers and blazer – I LOVE mustard yellow clothes. They’re so bright and sunny to wear.
My stripy dress – pretty much every time I wear this dress, which cost me about £3, I get complemented how polished and put together I look.Bird print dress and jumper – anything with a pattern is good, especially if it is birds! The dress has a kind of robin print to it and the vintage jumper has a sequinned flying bird appliqué.My elephant print dress – I really love this vintage elephant print dress. The elastic waist has gone though, so I need to do some work on it to make it more wearable again. In the meantime, I have to rely on a belt to take it in a bit.and I’ve also has some great practical items, including a brand new running body warmer and my warm and waterproof Superdry ski coat.
What do you look out for in charity shops?
My friend and I timetabled in a crafting day to make Christmas presents, and I sent her a link to my Pinterest page. I had linked up some ideas based on the original conversations we’d had about what she wanted to make. In the meantime, I’d pinned a Kimono pattern, and she decided she wanted to have a go (I will point out she went on to say she had not sewn since school)!
We used this pattern from By Hand London as a guide – it is very good but we made a couple of minor alterations. We used some peacock chiffon fabric from Fabricland. This terrified me, as I have never sewn such slippy fabric. But this whole experience has weirdly made me less afraid of taking sewing risks. Normally I over-analyse myself out of doing things, as I worry they will not be perfect or too difficult, but my friend just jumped straight in, and had no worries about the potentially nightmare fabric. I really enjoyed showing her how to use the machine and learn to sew. She was also far less critical about my sewing abilities than I am about myself, which boosted my confidence!Anyway, these are the amends we made to the original tutorial. I apologise for the shocking photos, but it has been dark and rainy all day…
- We drew the pattern on pattern paper first, and cut out as suggested in the original tutorial (two sides at once). We used a combination of pins and masking tape to stop the fabric slipping. Once the T shape was cut out, we then unfolded it, and cut out the front neck v, as shown in the picture.
- We used the measurements suggested, but instead of making the bottom part triangular as in the original, we just made it straight.
- We zig zagged all the raw edges, as the fabric was very frayable.
- Because the fabric was so floaty, I made the executive decision to edge the neckline and armholes with bias tape. I thought that would be more stable than normal hemming. Fortunately, I had meters of the stuff in a nice purple colour which matched the fabric really well. We hemmed the bottom normally, as my friend has got some black fringing to finish it off by hand, and I felt really vindicated by my decision as it was a bit of a wibbly hem! The bias armholes have also made everything look a bit more structured.
I have kept the pattern and want to make one of my own now. I have some nice satiny navy and white fabric I got ages ago, which I think will work really well. I would also use either satin or velvet bias tape too (MacCulloch and Wallis have some lovely bias tape to choose from).