Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog: The Nitty-Gritty of Thrifting


The Nitty-Gritty of Thrifting

There have been thousands of post on the web about how to thrift. They have great tips like try everything on, check all departments, etc. But they never really tell you how to look, what to look for, and what questions to ask. Today we're getting into the nitty-gritty of thrifting, "yardsale"-ing, freepiling, etc. 
When I am looking through racks of clothing, I don't look at every single item of clothing. I skim the racks looking at the fabric. I look for prints that catch my eye and fabric that looks new. When I like it, I ask myself certain questions before putting it in the cart.
For example the two items that caught my eye in this section were the plaid fabric and the polka dot fabric. I pulled them out to see what they were.
In this section the stripes caught my eye. (I'm a sucker for stripes. Stripes ALWAYS catch my eye.)

This cardigan still had the original tags on. 
Can you guess what I looked at it this section?

Two cute printed pajamas.

As I thrift more and more, I don't go looking for brand names, but I find that better quality brands actually stand out. Like these Tommy Hilfiger turtle print overalls. They were cute, unique, and in good condition.
I check each one before I put it in my cart, and I check again before I checkout. I have two weeding processes; it's hard to get to come home in my cart. Here are the questions I ask:

  • Check the closures. Does the zipper work? Do the snaps work?   Are there buttons missing, and if there are, are they easy to replace? Are there belt loops missing? Has the elastic lost it's elasticity?
  • Do you like everything but one part? Can that part be easily removed?
  • Are there stains or marks? Is it worth it to spend the money, even if you try to remove the stain, but it won't come out?
  • Are there tears or popped seams? Can they be fixed? Is it worth   your time to fix it or will it sit in your to-do pile?
  • Check the cleaning instructions. Is it very delicate or dry clean only? Is it worth it to pay for dry cleaning or put in the time to take care of the delicacy?
  • Do you love this item enough that if you go home, you'll think about it for the next couple of days? (I've totally done this and am learning to recognize when I really love something.)
  • Do you have to alter it to make it fit? Is it worth the time to alter it? Will it sit in your to-do pile forever? 
  • Are you getting it because you need or want it, or are you getting it because it's a dollar? Don't get it because it's on sale, only get it if you love it.
These onesies caught my eye in this bin, so I pulled them out. Upon closer inspection two were stained and two were good.
This vest had a popped seam, but it wasn't lined so it was a very easy mend. It was worth it.
While thrifting you find awesome stuff, (Once I found pleather maternity pants!) but you don't have to buy every awesome thing. Like these two baby items, I didn't buy the tattoo one-piece but I did buy the retro vest. 
I hope this addressed some questions you might have had!


  1. Hey! Yes, I still very much stalk your blog :) Can you throw out some good thrifting stores that you go to? I still live in Provo so if there's any that your remember were around here that'd be awesome too.

  2. These tips are fantastic!! I always get so angry at myself when I don't check something from the thrift store before I buy it.

  3. Someone seems very proud of some new teeth! What a cutie pie.
    Thanks for all the time you put into this posting, was great.


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