Monday, August 15, 2011

Mini Mother Load

Keaton and I decided to go (as he puts it) "thrift bombing" on Friday.  I, of course, like to find vintage fabric and he likes to find vintage electronics and game systems for his chip music.  We hit the countryside west and north of Milwaukee including Oconomowoc, Juneau, Horicon and all points in between - thrift stores, estate sales and rummage sales.

We were meeting with minor success at the stores, but the estate and rummage sales were awful.  Then we passed a house on a busy road with a big "estate sale" sign.  I drove right by and asked Keaton, "What do you think?  Should we stop?"  He enthusiastically answered, "Yes!  You won't know until you stop.  You should leave no stone unturned."  So we made our way to the next intersection and found a way to turn around.  

I was prepared for another awkward smile at the people sitting in lawn chairs by their cash boxes.   This sale was in the garage and there were at least 4-5 people who appeared to be running it.  We smiled as one woman offered to get out of the "lift" chair so we could see it.  I thought, "A lift chair... hmmm.  That's a good sign.  That means they are selling things of an older person.  Most grandma's sewed.  Maybe I will get lucky."

Then I spied it - a big box of buttons.  Oh yeah, now we're talking.  $4.  I can handle that.  Then I looked down and there they were... four boxes of fabric.  The mini-mother load.  I say mini only because I know darn well that there are people (ahem) that have a ton more fabric than four boxes.   I started to paw through it and spotted vintage stuff right off the bat along with a couple of disgusting synthetic abominations from the 70s.  I dug some more.  The boxes were labeled $10 each and I wondered if they would let me cherry pick.  Naw, I couldn't ask.  That wouldn't be fair.  I finally dug enough to know that I wanted the stash and paid up - $40... plus the buttons.

So here are the highlights and no, I did not include any of the DSAs (disgusting synthetic abominations).  P.S. Anyone want to buy some crunchy sheer polyester plissé that feels like paper?

Not like these.
These are wonderful rayons from the 40s.
The blue dot feels magnificent and pools like a dream.

 Another 40s rayon.  Lots of yardage.

 Wish there was more of this 36" barkcloth.  Love the pattern.

 Another interesting barkcloth - a little later than the first.

 Two unfinished aprons.

 36" pastel kitchen print with purple carrots and mushrooms.

 A totally cool print with a giant rooster and poodle - a little over a yard.

 36" cotton with bright daisies.  Love this one.

Ok, I've never been an expert on feedsacks.  I know people love them and I probably have some but I have not been very aware of them.  However, I believe these two pieces with the gray leaves and green polka dot are both feedsacks due to the perforations along the selvage where the chain stitch was removed.  Click on the green polka dot picture and you'll see what I mean.

 Traditional kitchen print

 A lovely border print.

 Mid-century metallic gold on black 36" cotton.

 This seems right out of Lilly Pulitzer - a sturdy mid-weight 36" cotton.

 Best part is the woven damask pattern in the ground.

 This cotton plissé seems really old and the selvages are discolored.
Lots of yardage.  I'll wash it and see what happens.

 This one gets the strange "touch my monkey" sort of award...

 ...with the odd clown, and roller coaster and castle fun house.

Originally 79¢ for five yards.  36" polished cotton.
I haven't got a clue what to do with it.
It's not talking to me.  Any ideas?

And before my story grows tiresome, the rest of these are 36" cottons - 
some with a fair amount of yardage.  Click to enlarge.

And the piéce de résistance?
This unbelievable, gorgeous, luxurious cream colored silk.
Almost 14 yards of clean 36" silk.  It's the real thing.
Looks like a wedding dress to me.
This is what earned this batch the title, "mini-mother load."


  1. Did you know the main store for Bethesda is in Watertown I found out? Horicon's is just an outlet.

  2. I've been to the Watertown Bethesda many times. Horicon's is bigger and I find more of what I'm looking for there. There are a number of other Bethesda stores in the area, too. I love them all.


Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet-
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

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