A cheap sewing notions and hardware source: Thrifted garments

I live about twenty miles from the nearest fabric and sewing supplies shop, which only sell boring ho hum notions. If I want really unique and interesting notions or bag hardware, I can drive sixty miles to downtown LA and find some amazing stuff.

Or I can wait for Wednesdays when my thrift shop has their half off sale, and see what I can find there first.

Upcycling thrifted clothing for sewing notions and bag hardware

These 30mm – 1 1/4 inch sew on snaps are eight dollars for two at the nearest sewing store. I have no idea why they are so pricey, but they are, and I need them for some play costumes I’m working on. The ones I foundat the thrift shop above, are much better quality then the Dritz brand, and I picked them off a sweater that was two dollars.  If had bought the new ones at the sewing store, or online, they would have been twenty four dollars!

I figure, by buying the item, I’m donating to the organization, and getting something I need at the same time. I do however, feel a bit of guilt, throwing the rest of the garment away after I’ve picked off the buttons, snaps, cool zipper. or purse hardware I’m after.Upcycling thrifted clothing for sewing notions and bag hardwareThis was the sweater I picked the snaps off of. Luckily for it,  I donated it back to the thrift shop after I had scavenged my snaps off of it. It would work as a throw or cardigan for someone still, and the removal of the snaps caused no damage.Upcycling thrifted clothing for sewing notions and bag hardwareThis little purse I bought won’t be donated back, but for a dollar fifty, it will serve two purposes. First, I’ll trace the body and study it’s construction to make a new pattern and version of my own of this bag…..Upcycling thrifted clothing for sewing notions and bag hardwareThen I’ll remove the straps and zipper and put them on my new purse I’ll make. Another thing I can do is just to remove the nice brass rings, which can be pricey if you buy them from a supplier, and then sew my own leather straps to match the bag.

A quick search of leather bag straps on Etsy finds they range in price from ten to thirty dollars . Ouch! The brass O rings are four dollars apiece. There are four of them on this bag, so that would cost sixteen dollars to buy rings of this quality. No, you won’t find this type of quality at your local sewing shop. You’ll most likely have to buy them online and then you’ll have to pay shipping, too.

Of course, going to the thrift shop is a hit or miss affair and it may encourage my hoarding habit. BUT, since it’s only across the street from my daughter’s school, I really have nothing to lose by going there first. No gas wasted and you never know what great hardware can be discovered.

Which brings up the question I have for you readers to ponder. How do you feel about buying acceptable quality clothing at the thrift shop and then taking it apart only to use the hardware?

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  1. says

    Fair game! It’s at the thrift store so someone didn’t want it. You gave it a second life! A lot if thrift store donations end up in the landfill. Use anything you can! Good saves.

  2. nothy says

    I love the idea of getting cool buttons from thrifted clothes, but I’ve never done it. I will have to keep an eye out when I get to the thrift store – especially now that I have so many boxes waiting to drop off at the Goodwill (because I almost accomplished my 40 bags donation for Lent that I heard about from your blog. I loved that idea and will definitely adopt it each year now…)

  3. says

    I also buy from charity shops here in the UK, just to take off clasps, rings, magnetic fastening etc. I’ve found it so difficult to find decent quality notions at a reasonable cost. I think it’s alright to do this, you are donating to charity and the leftover fabric can be recycled too.

  4. Patty says

    I’ve done that before for buttons…thrift stores are a great resource!

  5. Joen says

    I do the same thing with the bag hardware – I can pick up bags for around $3.00 and have straps, rings, snaps etc.

  6. Jane says

    My first comment, though I have been reading your blog for quite awhile, this time I couldn’t help but post. YES, I do this, I think it’s a great source for buttons, straps, zippers, etc. As you pointed out, the sweater you used for snaps could definitely be reused as a shrug or sweater, or upcycled into something else. I think it’s totally okay! 🙂