First Time at Textile Center Garage Sale

Guest post from Kenzie Carlson to brighten a dreary Monday morning-

Good Morning, Ladies!

Thank you for the announcement of the Textile Center Garage Sale! Otherwise, I would not have known anything about it!

Yes, I did go and spend the whole day there, subsisting on the mere rations I brought along (2 granola bars and a water bottle…who knew that the years of scouting, alongside my son, were the training grounds for the Garage Sale?!). I thought enough ahead to bring ex-large and ex-small reusable shopping bags…and a strategized list of items to focus on – no willy nilly purchases today!! This would be a good place to look for those OOP (out-of-print) patterns as seen on my late night browsing on Pattern Review, fabric for those upcoming designs, notions of needed things, and reference materials.

I arrived around 8:00ish, paid a buck for parking and received a $2-off coupon for the Garage Sale and $3-off for the Reuse It Center. Stuffed those in my wallet and forgot about them…onto the Sale!

There were tons of things everywhere-in boxes on tables, under tables. I rummaged through tables (and under) of patterns dated from today back to the 50’s. 10 patterns for a buck! Likewise for books and magazines in display and price. Unbelievable heaps of fabric in every type of fiber content possible…expensive silks, wools, to scraps of leftover craft projects. Honestly, it got easier to look through the material after folks picked the top layer off. Some fabric came from a loving home as it was carefully wrapped in ribbon or string to endure the strains of the Garage Sale. (I had notes attached saying the fabric was machine washed and dried before storage!) Other fabric seemed to be happily rid of the previous life of some gone-wrong project as it was only circumferenced in masking tape and nearly falling apart. The notions were an extravagance of a multitude of junk drawers with everything possible co-mingling in boxes, on tables and underneath.

I slowly went through patterns, books, notions, fabric-once. Then, after a granola bar/water break, dove in for a second time!

At 2pm, I made it through checkouts and s-l-o-w-l-y hauled my overheaped, over weighted bags to my car. Since it was so close to the 3pm $1-bag sale, I was off to join that line. I overheard the party of 3 ahead of me (looked like an older-than-me couple with their college-aged daughter). The mom instructed strategy assignments to the other 2 on the impending break-loose bag sale and distributed HER OWN brown paper grocery-sized bags (no need to waste time stopping for bags!). “Okay, stay away from UFO’s, unless they contain LARGE balls of yarn!” Wow, what a good tip!! I had passed by the UFO’s (unfinished projects) because why would I want someone else’s bad karma projects?? Who thought to look through them for goodies??

Standing there for almost an hour, I realized there was a $2-off coupon in my wallet that I’d forgotten about! In the spirit of strategizing as did the threesome ahead, I decided to limit my fabric intake to the two bags covered by the $2-off coupon. I didn’t need to become a hoarder. I didn’t need to take ANYTHING that fit into my bag just because it was a buck. What I really wanted was 4 yards of Treadle silk fabric, originally priced $120 for $40, that everybody walked passed, unnoticed. I couldn’t decide if the mustard plaid gorgeous fabric would be the right color for a coat. Since I couldn’t decide when the fabric was close at hand, I thought to wait until the bag sale to see if fate was on my side.

Fate was not on my side. I’m still mourning the loss, but still can’t decide if the color was right. (Sounds like a bad teenage relationship….)

But, I did find some wonderful fabrics!! Since I didn’t really know what to take, I started going for the large yardages thinking, if nothing else, they would make good muslins. After going through the frenzy of gathering, I carefully packed my limited 2 bags and presented the $2-off coupon to the cashier. Yes, he accepted the coupon and the bags were FREE!!

Some of the things I ended up with, costing $25:
– 13 patterns, including a Marcy Tilton and a Silhouette;
– 17 books and Threads Magazines;
– 25 pieces of fabric yardage, including the free $1-bags;
– 4 packages of sewing machine needles, including twin and spring;
– 1 spool of ribbon;
– several sewing machine presser feet (some fit my machine, some didn’t)

I spent the evening pouring over the Threads Magazines, ripping out “valued” articles at a coffee shop in St. Paul until 9pm, then in my car until 11:30pm. Who knew that I was the ride for my son and his friend to a metal concert, to enjoy 3 bands I never heard of…. Yes, it took that long to go through the stack of Threads!

Sunday, everything got laundered, ready for sewing. When I pre-wash, fabrics go through a machine wash (regular cycle with soap) and machine dry. After the garment is made, they never see the dryer again as does the RTW in the house (except jeans). Each fabric is cataloged on a 3×5 card, including measurements pre- and post-washing, and post-drying. It’s a good indicator for fabric content. (Oh, I also toss a dye-catching sheet in the wash to give some sort of indication on the amount of dye lost in the wash.) The dry-clean-only got the washer treatment, too, because I don’t want to dry clean. The fabric is folded (and some cases, ironed) after the dryer. Surprisingly, it took all Sunday to do just this! (Thank goodness, I stopped at TWO $1-bags!)

Today, I’ll pick up my pin-head-sized sewing studio (nobody has a “sewing room” anymore….) of past project fabric laying around and incorporate the newbies into storage. The stack of my current project focus (t-shirts, blouses) grew immensely. I can hear the call to create!

Again, thanks for sharing info on the Garage Sale!

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