There's a little green door in the market place in my town which is the gateway to 'Tutankhamun's treasure' for the sewing addict...
For the last 30 years Mary has run a market stall, selling old china, crockery, bedlinen, furniture and more. And if you ask her nicely, she'll let you rummage around in her market place 'gloryhole,' or store cupboard. And, like Tutankhamun's tomb, it is a small space crammed with an impossible quantity.
Now, my prolific sewing over the last few months means I've started to think about where I source all my bits and pieces. I've got so many projects underway, some just forming in my mind - but if I'm really honest, my sewing spending is mounting (Oops! I really hope that my Other Half, isn't going to break his habit of vague disinterest and actually read this post!)
So my new policy is to buy lovely designer fabric when I REALLY, TRULY can't resist, but be 'crafty' and save elsewhere!
And Mary's stall - and her amazing cupboard - is my saviour.
For three decades Mary has been gathering, storing and selling laces and linen, buttons and blankets, sheets, curtains, threads and more.
So after stocking up on five different reels of thread, (10 pence each!) Mary let me loose in her cupboard. Drawers, shelves and boxes are labeled floor to ceiling; 'single sheets', 'tray cloths', 'pillowcases', 'assorted lace', and quirky items such as 'crystal pie flutes.'
I was after sheets. I have a vision underway which requires pure white cotton (Soon to be revealed, watch this space) and I also wanted delicate prints. A crisp white double sheet was £2, around $3 I guess, for so much fabric, bargain! I pulled a very delicate blue spotted sheet from the bottom of a pile (not as easy as it sounds - the stack was huge and heavy, think "princess and the pea") . Complete with frill and piping (hooray) at one hem, it's already inspiring me to sew.
And who could resist this vintage pattern? The picture alone was worth the 50 pence! So I now I need to add this adorable coat to my sewing 'to do' list!
And of course then I got side-tracked, rummaging through Mary's cupboards. A walking stick anyone? Need some forks for extra guests? A tea set?
I love Mary's cupboard. It is full of things that remind me of a time lost, when tea was served in cups and saucers, and everyone had a drawer of traycloths and beds always had valences. And I also love the way it brings old sewing trinkets back to life, that thread that has sat in a drawer for a decade is perfect for Missy's latest outfit. And I love that I came away with a sewing haul for just a few pounds. Sheets, thread, a pattern and a pretty printed scarf. And yes... ok.... there's also a blackbird pie flute thing, couldn't resist, my mum used to have one of these).
Now, I'd love to hear your thrifty sewing tips!