Rare finds from a thrift store


I love going to the thrift stores. I can usually “feel” when a particular store has something I may want. It sorta calls to me. I just have the overwhelming urge to stop in and browse. And, I especially love going to the thrift stores with Angie when I visit her in Dayton. And, it seems that we always envy each other’s ability to find such nice treasures at really good prices. Well, this past Saturday was my birthday. I scheduled the day before off of work as a personal day with the intention of getting some errands and things done so I could just relax on my day. On Friday, I popped over to the BMV near my house, with Katie in tow. We were finished within fifteen minutes. This left me pretty much the whole day to finish up other things. But, I decided that since I was there, I would hit the thrift store a couple of doors down in the strip mall. This is one of my favorite thrift stores. I have found many a cheap treasure in this store. And, on this day, it was really calling to me. As I took my time checking things out, I found some of my usual favorite items, dumping them into my cart as I went. I found a simple straw hat that can be reshaped into a period hat, a set of brass candle scones that are somewhat period looking, a 3 yard length of black fabric with white and gray vines, and then I hit the clothing section. This is where Katie and I made a very exciting discovery. Well, exciting for me. Now, I have heard tales of people finding handmade clothing in thrift stores, but I have never come across any, until that day. I was looking through the scarves that were hanging up, when I came across what I thought was a sheer scarf.

I passed it up, and kept looking. Then I came across a purple scarf that had embroidered flowers and beads. I still didn’t pick it up, but both scarves seemed odd, as they seemed really long. Overly long. But, I left them hanging where they were, and kept looking. We made our way to the back corner of the store, where Katie pulled a couple of hangers off of a rack, and in a stunned voice, told me to look at what she found. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that they were handmade choli tops from Indian Saris. When Katie pulled out a purple one that matched the “long scarf” with the flowers and beads, that was when I realized what I had been looking at. It struck me as odd, as you almost never see these type of garments in a thrift store. I made the decision to purchase a few of them with the intent to use some to remake into costumes, and to preserve some as they were. I picked up a burgundy choli top that was made from taffeta, that has a bit of detail work on the sleeves:

I picked up the purple choli top and the sari wrap that matched it:

Along with the sari wrap in the top photo (which is hand painted and beaded), I picked up a white sari wrap that had flowers all over it:

Each sari wrap is about 7 yards long. I was stunned when I went to hang them off the deck to dry, as they would’ve dragged out almost into the middle of the back yard. I got the girls to hold one of them, as I went down into the yard to get a pic of just how long these were:

As you can see, it stretches along one whole side of the deck, and about half way along another side. Well worth the $8 I paid for it.

When I sent Katie back to the rack for the purple choli top, she brought back a complete outfit. It had kurta, pants and scarf, and at a price of just under $7, I bought it:

I was very please with these finds. I am amazed at the hand finishing details on these, including the matching piece of cotton used as hem facing on each sari wrap. On the purple choli top and sari, an embroidery machine was used to do the flower and accent stitch motifs, but the beads and small plastic mirrors were all hand sewn. On the inside of the choli tops, you can see all the hand finishing, even the loops for the hook closures were hand made. You can also see that these may have passed through several family members, as they were taken in about 3 times at the side seams. These garments impress me greatly. And just to see what size they were, after getting them washed up using the hand wash cycle on my washer, and dried in the sun on the deck (they didn’t take long to dry in the full sun, heat and wind), I sized them up to see if they fit either of the girls. Here is Katie in the kurta combo:

And, here is Annie on the purple choli top and matching sari wrap. Granted, I had to wrap her up way more that what is traditional, but the choli top is almost exactly her size:

Beside all of those great finds, I did find a Pashmina style shawl that I may use with a Regency dress:

I am very happy with my thrift store finds this time around. They have inspired me. I was coming around more and more the hand finishing my garments, and these finds have just nudged me more in that direction.



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