thrifty finds + giveaway

08.01.11 | thrifty finds + giveaway

This past weekend proved to be extremely fruitful on the thrifting front—which was surprising and has got me a bit giddy because the thrift stores have been very picked over of late. I found a few treasures of various sorts, but really lucked out on vintage sewing notions—my sewing room is now freshly restocked! (A good thing, because I’ve actually been running low on some notions I use regularly.) I stopped by both a new-to-me thrift shop and an estate sale, and came away with a myriad of little bits and bobs: zippers, seam binding (including what looks like a barely used roll of 100 yards!), an unused Sulky transfer pen for my new embroidery obsession, buttons, bits and pieces of fabric… I’m really quite tickled by the finds!

08.01.11 | thrifty finds + giveaway
08.01.11 | thrifty finds + giveaway

This particular notion intrigued me the minute I picked it up at the thrift shop. Things were more than a little crazy at this particular store (there was barely any room to move around and it was crowded), so I didn’t get to thoroughly examine it until I got home. The gist of this is that you can use it to pleat a skirt (or various home décor items—but I like the skirt idea). Simply measure a length of the pre-pleated tape according to your waist measure, remove the stay-basting along the pleats, cut a length of fabric equal to the stretched-out tape, baste, and reform the pleats. Pretty ingenious, no? I’m thinking a nice, lightweight wool skirt would be lovely! (Or something that doesn’t wrinkle a lot; I rather dislike wrinkly pleated skirts…)

08.01.11 | thrifty finds + giveaway

But probably my favorite find of all is this Dritz Bound Buttonhole tool. Now you may have heard me sing it’s praises before, but it’s really a beautiful little piece of equipment that makes fashioning bound buttonholes a breeze. They’re also highly sought-after and like many vintage notions tend to be a bit pricy on Ebay and Etsy. Because I found two of these over the weekend, I wanted to pass this one on to someone else! It unfortunately doesn’t have it’s original packaging and instructions, but considering Sarai has written excellent directions on how to use this tool, don’t let that stop you. If you’d like a chance to win this, continue reading…

Entries are now CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who entered!

I do hope perhaps this will be of interest to a few of you reading! Best of luck! (P.S. Sewing not quite your thing? Don’t worry—I have a completely non-sewing related giveaway planned for later this month!)

August 1, 2011 · 301 lovely thoughts
posted in thrifting + vintage · tags: ,

Katie Crismali August 1, 2011 at 11:06

My favorite sewing notion are buttons–really how can I not find a use for them in every sewing project :) Thank you for the giveaway!


amy August 1, 2011 at 11:06

Wow, awesome finds! I love the idea of the Pleat-O-Matic. I love pleated skirts but I have a hard time making the pleats even and figuring out how much fabric I need to make it fit my waist.

My favorite sewing tool is my vintage Dritz gauge. I get a perfect hem every time!


Rachel August 1, 2011 at 11:12

Wow- that is definitely a great haul :) My favourite sewing notion… I would say the various embellishments… I love ribbons and buttons especially though. Its the really cool fancy buttons I love best of all! I have just never figured out where to use them!


Emily V August 1, 2011 at 11:14

I would love to stumble across so many great things at a thrift shop. Mine tend to be short to nil on the sewing front.
Favorite sewing tool…probably my rotary cutter. Its just so fast (at least in comparison to my sad dull scissors–really need some new shears).


Leslie August 1, 2011 at 11:15

My favorite notion right now is my bias binding attacher. It saves me from all that pinning!


zilredloh August 1, 2011 at 11:15

You have so many great finds! Thanks for offering up one of your bound buttonhole toolies, it looks pretty great. :)

You must go to some pretty great thrift stores when they get so full you can’t move…

Thanks again for the giveaway!


Molly House August 1, 2011 at 11:16

My husband gifted me with a pair of amazing shears for my birthday last week…it’s like cutting butter now! I love old metal shippers and vintage buttons!


Sarah August 1, 2011 at 11:18

What great finds! I never find more than a few buttons or seam binding when I’m thrifting. Those magazines I recently got were a complete fluke and probably will never happen again. :D

Anyway, I suppose my favorite notion would be a razor blade. Unusual no? It’s used in our sewing room at work to save time. I was absolutely frightened at the aspect of using a razor blade to cut seams and how fast the seamstress would use them gave me the chills. One day I had a stubborn back stitched seam to rip, tried using a razor blade, and it cut the stitches like a knife through butter. From that moment I was hooked, it saves a lot of time versus using a regular seam ripper, and it’s one of the “tricks of the trade” I loved that I learned on the job.


kassy August 1, 2011 at 11:19

I have never heard of the Dritz Bound Buttonhole tool as I am still very very new to sewing. I know that the button I have put on some pieces have turned out crooked and some fell off :(

I was also interested to see the pleat maker strap…that looks like it can definitely come n handy…great finds!


LauraD August 1, 2011 at 11:20

Count me out for the giveaway because I already have two–one wasn’t even made by Dritz! Strangely enough, my favorite notion–besides a seam gauge–is a tube turning tool. I have nieces to make dollies for, and since they’re all babies, my favorite dolly pattern has long, thin limbs. It makes turning any sort of tube fast and easy!


Mrs. Lyons August 1, 2011 at 11:21

Wow, you found some great stuff! We rarely find anything sewing related in thrift stores in our area. Even the sheets are picked over! (lol) My favorite sewing notion is either my seam ripper or sewing gauge… I use both constantly! Can’t imagine life without ‘em. Thanks so much for offering up the bound buttonhole tool. I love bound buttonholes… but must admit I’m a bit *challenged* when it comes to making them properly…


Joanie Coyote August 1, 2011 at 11:22

Congrats on the score! I really love those patterns. I would love the bound butonhole tool And I do have my parent’s permission although I am 49 and don’t need it.


Katie August 1, 2011 at 11:23

Great finds!!! Since I am fairly new to sewing, I have not been able to live without my seam ripper! I must have it handy at all times, haha.


Lucha Lovely August 1, 2011 at 11:28

I would love to win this lovely tool and put it to good use! I have never seen this little tool before but it is always fun for me to find new sewing tools and figure out how they work and make a new garment just as an excuse to use the new tool!


nichole August 1, 2011 at 11:29

Ohhhhh I just made some pants that would look super awesome with bound button holes, but I worked so hard on them I don’t dare try something fancy at this stage that would ruin them! I also didn’t put in the welt pockets.


Judi August 1, 2011 at 11:30

I remember my mother using one of these. My favorite thrifty notion is seam tape in unusual colors. It’s a hidden surprise in my clothes.


Brenna August 1, 2011 at 11:33

What finds! I think my favourite sewing tool is actually my pair of super fine tweezers. I do a lot of hand sewing and they are sooo useful for pulling precisely on threads!


Stephanie August 1, 2011 at 11:34

This would be so perfect! I love bound button holes! I adore buttons and rick rack, but I’ve been drooling over bias bound seams. They look so pretty. I want to learn how to make my own bias binding, but my first attempt was a major fail. :(


Ms.Cleaver August 1, 2011 at 11:35

I can’t live without my seam gauge. I use it for drafting patterns, making hems, checking guage on knitting swatches, everything!!!


rose August 1, 2011 at 11:38

i’m a beginner at sewing, so right now my favorite notions are pretty simple — ribbon, buttons, and zippers!


Sheila August 1, 2011 at 11:38

Thanks for the giveaway! My favourite tool is a metal ruler which I use to set the crease in hard-to-press synthetic fabrics after I remove the iron. Works like a charm. Sheila.


Serra H. August 1, 2011 at 11:38

Oh, I would love one of those!
My favorite notion is probably clear elastic – it can be used to hold gathers, or pin place of stay tape, to make a bathing suit, or with a double needle stretch hem for added stretch :)


Lauren August 1, 2011 at 11:42

great finds! i love buying weird old sewing notions – i actually have a preferred vendor at our state flea market who has the BEST stash of vintage sewing stuff… and they’re rarely picked over. i like to think he saves them for me :) haha yeah right!

i think my favorite notion, boringly enough, is probably my teeny little thread-snipper scissors. i keep them by my sewing machine so i remember to clip every.single.thread as i’ve finished the seam. keeps the threads from hanging out everywhere! i love how tiny the scissors are and i love the satisfying little “click!” they make every time they snip a thread. it’s the little things :)


victoria August 1, 2011 at 11:44

This looks very cool. Having never done bound buttonholes before this could be an excellent incentive to try.


Sam August 1, 2011 at 11:46

Wow Casey, you certainly hit the jackpot! Vintage notions are one of my favorite thrifting finds… you never know when someone will have been cleaning out and you’ll be the lucky recipient!

As far as my favorite sewing notion, all praise goes to the Turn-It-All (joann’s here:, a tool that makes it SO SO easy & quick to turn tubes, even tiny ones, right-side out. It’s saved my life on dress straps and purse straps, but it’s absolutely essential for narwhal tusks – so it’s also my most frequently used tool!


Chip August 1, 2011 at 11:50

Wonderful! I’ve never tried bound buttonholes, but I would love to do some sometime and this looks like a great way to do them!

Favorite sewing notion . . . ah.. . hard one. I think my favorite sewing implement would be the Blind Hem Foot for my sewing machine. I have yet to use it for a blind hem – but I found out that its absolutely amazing to sew bias tape on because you can adjust it to where the needle runs just along the edge of the bias tape. You get perfectly straight stitching along the edge. I also use it for regular hems – for the same reason. You can use it to guide your stitches at a even distance along the edge. It’s great!


Danielle Hinton August 1, 2011 at 11:52

I would LOVE a nifty tool to help with bound button holes! I rather dislike the ones my machine produces. Thanks, Casey :)


Nicole Tobin August 1, 2011 at 11:53

Currently my favorite sewing notion is piping and other random trimmings. It takes triple the time, but it looks so neat once you’re done.


Abby August 1, 2011 at 11:55

My favorite is a set of seam gauges that used to belong to my grandmother. My most used is actually a roll of the paper they use to cover exam room beds at the doctor’s office. I use it to trace patterns, fit new patterns, and even trace designs to embroider.

Thanks for the giveaway! I’d love one of these little bound buttonhole tools!


Kristin August 1, 2011 at 12:02

I love buttons. But I also love rickrack- it makes everything cuter!


lunachick 265 August 1, 2011 at 12:03

Hello! When I think about it, my favourite notion is my seam ripper. It’s got a few uses beyond un-picking seams, and let’s be honest, I do a fair amount of un-picking. It seems like I can’t have one sewing session without a little seam ripping, so I appreciate having a good seam ripper handy. Have fun with your new notions!


Lorien August 1, 2011 at 12:04

My favorite sewing notions are my bias bars. They’re used mainly for quilting, but they work fabulously on sewing spaghetti straps or making bias trimmings for my little girls’ dresses!


Staci August 1, 2011 at 12:08

Fantastic find! I love old notions, they seem to fit into place with my vintage sewing machine and basket. My favorite notion would have to be my magnetic pin cushion! I’m an avid pinner and my pin cushion is always closest to me when sewing. It also travels perfectly, not a single pin falls off even when turned upside down :)


Cherise August 1, 2011 at 12:11

Wow, that is so neat! I hate making bound buttonholes, cause it’s really hard to get them even and perfect. This tool would be an essential for me.

I make a lot of petticoats and ruffling the hard nylon tulle makes my fingertips tingle, so my favorite sewing notion at this moment must be my new ruffling foot for Bernina. Makes ruffling so fast and easy and gives my poor fingers a well deserved break :D


Anna McClurg August 1, 2011 at 12:12

Oh, how lovely of you to give away your bound buttonhole tool! I’ve been wanting one of those for awhile, not that I am planning to make a bound buttonhole any time soon. ;) Anyway, probably the tool I use most is a pair of small sharp scissors. I find sometimes ripping a seam open is easier with a pair of tiny scissors. And then I am obsessed with snipping off loose threads right after I sew a seam. Couldn’t live without them!


Grace August 1, 2011 at 12:13

That’s a great question, but I’m not sure I have an answer. Lately I’ve been living riri zippers.they are the best quality and are so beautiful.


ms. modiste August 1, 2011 at 12:14

My favorite notion is definitely the seam ripper… I don’t know what I’d do without that thing! :)


Nicole August 1, 2011 at 12:16

My favorite notions are buttons. I have a giant clear jar that I store them all in, and they look like colorful candies.


Margaret August 1, 2011 at 12:16

My favorite notion is definitely my rotary cutter. It makes cutting out pattern pieces so much more precise! Fantastic finds at the thrift shop, I just love that lace! I don’t know if it’s in keeping with your generally vintage aesthetic, but I would dip-dye that for an ochre lace skirt with a quickness! <3


Katie August 1, 2011 at 12:19

hmmm, I would have to go with vintage metal zippers, I’ve lucked out a found a few bagfuls at thrift stores. They are so sturdy and average about a penny (or less) a piece. I rarely if never bother to match my zipper to my fabric, I think its kind of fun to have a cheery red zip on the inside of a blue top.


Caitlin Rose August 1, 2011 at 12:22

OH excellent! this notion looks amazing. As for my favourite notion, it would have to be a gauge, I just love measuring all my seams and folds and hems to see how accurate they are : )


Laura August 1, 2011 at 12:28

What a fun giveaway!


Mary Austin August 1, 2011 at 12:29

I love it! My favorite notion would have to be buttons…. buttons of every size and color! So many options!


Jenni August 1, 2011 at 12:35

My favorite sewing notions are usually buttons….so this is perfect.


Renee August 1, 2011 at 12:41

Welcome back.

Looks like some great finds.

Favorite has to be my seam ripper.


Rachel August 1, 2011 at 12:43

My favorite is my seam ripper.


Bridget August 1, 2011 at 12:46

I know it’s silly but I love my thread clippers, they’re so satisfying to use and make life so much easier. Also got to love buttons.


the fabled needle (jen) August 1, 2011 at 12:46

Sewing notions are the best thrift store loot! What finds!

My favorite might be bias tape makers. I love how you can make your own from any fabric. Oh, but I love, LOVE buttons too. Especially vintage (naturally!).

Thanks for the generous giveaway :)


Lucy August 1, 2011 at 12:47

Seam rippers, there’s never been a project I didn’t use them in. Yes, I know that’s not something to be proud of but it is the truth. Buttonholes scare me a bit, since I usually mess them up, so anything to help is wonderful.


Annabelle August 1, 2011 at 12:49

This would be perfect – I have a few projects in mind that require bound button holes! My favorite notion would be lace. I love adding it to the inside of hems and it is fun to come across a nice length in a thrift shop.


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