We're very excited to share our first ever guest blog. Marie from A Stitching Odyssey is obsessed with stitching, and has created some beautiful things from items she's found in charity shops...
What springs to mind when you think of charity shops? For me, it can be summed up in one word: potential. I’m not really interested in the ‘obvious finds’ and items in pristine condition. I enjoy seeking out items with potential far more, something I can transform and bring back to life. Charity shops are full of these kinds of items, which really only need a bit of TLC and creative thinking.
Since learning how to sew nearly five years ago, I've become obsessed with stitching my own clothes. Buying new fabric can be quite pricey though, so I greedily eye up interesting textiles I come across. There's no better place to grab a bargain than at a charity shop, and you feel even better knowing that your money is going to a good cause.
My favourite finds include bed sheets and curtains, which are usually plentiful and often top quality brands. Take the gorgeous pair of St Michael's curtains I recently found. They are 100% cotton and the print reminded me so much of a summer meadow that I just had to make a sundress...and I still have leftovers for a second project.
It’s also fun looking for clothing that’s too big and even intended for the opposite sex. These larger items provide lots of fabric to play around with and are ideal for refashioning, allowing you to really flex your creativity. I refashioned the men’s shirt above as part of an online challenge, but if you want to see some seriously good refashioning skills check out Charity Shop Chic and Miss P.
My other obsession
Sewing aside, my other big obsession is vintage furniture, and this is where my local Sue Ryder shop comes up trumps! It always has such a great selection of rare pieces, at a fraction of the ‘going’ price and in excellent condition.
There’s not a week that goes by without something catching my eye, perhaps most fittingly this 1927 Singer sewing machine, complete with all its accessories and worktop. Alas, I had to give it a miss as I couldn’t justify adopting yet another sewing machine!
I also regularly drool over the stunning 1930s/1940s pieces, as well as the cool mid-century designs. They honestly don’t make furniture like they used to!
Sadly, my house isn’t big enough to buy everything I fall in love with, but I did succumb to two beautiful pieces from Sue Ryder recently – a 1930s/1940s dressing table and a solid rocking chair. I plan on reviving them with a lick of paint and new handles for the dresser, hopefully without compromising their unique details.
Are you a fan of spotting the potential in charity shop finds? I'd love to hear about your finds. Leave a comment below or tweet us at @StichOdyssey and @Sue_Ryder.
Thanks for reading!
We'd like to say a huge thank you to Marie for writing our first ever guest blog. If you like what you read from Marie, you can keep up to date with what she gets up to via her excellent blog - A Stitching Odyssey. You can also follow her on Twitter - @StitchOdyssey - if you've got any questions or if you want to share anything that you've created.
Think you could follow in Marie's footsteps and write a post for us? Get in touch! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a quick tweet.