I ♥ Op-Shops

By ari - September 09, 2013

I really do. Before I used to sew as often as I do now (like 10 years ago), I would op-shop mainly for cool clothes that no one else wanted. It was cheap, and I got some nice things! I saved a lot of money that I didn't have that way, but not having to buy the latest clothing and working my own odd style into the clothes I bought for $4 each instead of $40.

This filters into my sewing. I mean, I sew because (a) I LOVE making stuff and (b) I want to save my husband money on our clothes. And I do. A LOT. So buying designer brand fabric just doesn't make sense to me, really. Why buy fabric that costs you an arm and a leg? It really just reminds me of highschool when everyone had to have brand name stuff (in my town it was like surf labels). I don't get it.

SO. Back to my love of op-shopping! I think second-hand stores in Australia are a little more expensive than the thrift stores of the US of A but lucky for me, my little town has a good reputation for quality cheap stuff (some places in Brisbane want to charge me $30 for a pair of second hand jeans? No) and there are a few op-shops that are my Go-To places for the good stuff! Now that I sew 

My sister Betty perusing the racks
Most times I search for clothes to refashion, t-shirts I can resize or use the fabric for something else, pants I can take in or reconstruct into little pants for Vincent, even just clothes that are good to go as is for us. I check the bedding section for sheets to use the fabric and also for pillowcases because you can find some quirky novelty pillowcases that are awesome for future projects (or even just pillowcase dresses). 

There is one op-shop in town that I always always ALWAYS score some amazing fabric hauls at. Pictured below is metres and metres of fabric that I bought in just one trip there. It probably all came to about $30?

I took this photos ages ago, so you will have already seen some of these fabrics! The fabric piles are on a few metres of grey marle knit, I used it here in the tutorial for the Ruffled Portrait shirt for Edison. The pastel zig-zag at the bottom centre I used for Edison's tribal skinnies (remind me to blog the finished jeans!). The white and black fleece I used for Vincent's Alpine hoodie that he wore to New Zealand! I have used a few of the other fabrics pictured too, in upcoming projects! 

Jelly Sandals for Edison, 50c!

The shirt on the left I cut up and used for one of Edison's tumble tees, and the cardigan on the right is super soft and I ended up sizing it right down into a little cardi for Edison

My niece Ruby is a good shopping partner!
 Every time I go op-shopping I always seem to return with a crocheted granny throw blanket. This time Betty picked up one as well and so did I!

 I usually score a lot bigger with the kiddie clothes, but since we are right in the middle of moving houses (and finding a new house to live in) I decided that the kids have more than enough clothes! So Edison got this cute little vintage dress...

And Vincent got this gnarly acid-wash denim jacket!

The dude did not want to model. He wanted to jump on the trampoline.
 So this just shows how old this shopping post is, I had fading red hair. (it's been orange and now it is pink & orange!) So a few months ago! However here is a snap my sister took of me with my haul. The grand total would have been about $70 because those fluro pink converse kicks at the top of the page? $25 brand new from the op-shop. I wear them every-where now!

The most awesome thing about op-shopping these days for me, apart from the above reason of saving a lot of money (and also finding really unique stuff!) is that it's good for the environment too! I'm tired of buying cheap crap (although awesome) from Kmart that falls apart after a few washes. I'm sick of supporting places that outsource all their sewing in poverty-stricken countries (and although in my mind I feel bad that that might mean those people won't have jobs?), I like that I am doing my own bit. People get rid of SO much crap. Also I like being different, in case you haven't noticed, not because I want people to look at me but because I'm not a sheep ^_^

So go plan a second-hand shopping trip some time soon! Some days you will turn up nothing you fancy, but don't give up because some days you have this STREAK and you can find some amazing stuff! Good luck!

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  3. I love this post - op shops are the best :)

  4. DUDE!

    i love you bur! ur cute and so is eddie, vince and ruby! tell betty-boo she's a cutie too lol!

    i LOVE THE PINK CONVERSE! i will be wanting to make you a neat summer dress now with the pink fabric i have to match them :3 but i have no idea how i'm going to get it to you! lol

    i dont know why but vince in that jacket makes me think of james dean ahaha. ur son is a heartthrob dude! that pose (even if he doesnt know it) is SO going to make the girlies swoon ahah

    by the way, i like your hair like that :) now its more like a flaming sunset. you could always streak it with some indigo, and wear a diamnate clip. i'd call it starry-starry-night.

    Aurora (sheepish... >.> LOL)

  5. A mutual friend raved about your blog so I came by to see if she was right -- and she is! Your sewing skill is amazing. Very impressive. I'm eager to learn and seeing what you do inspires me.

    This post resonated with me. I go to thrift-shops every week to browse. I like not only how cheap everything is there but also how environmental and anti-wasteful it is to re-use and re-purpose clothing. My situation is a bit unusual (trying to squeeze female clothes onto a male body) so I frequently have to tailor my clothes (myself) and alter them in ways one wouldn't want to do to a new $79 dress; a $4 used item is perfect for my purposes.


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