modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

[ QUICK SLIPCOVER ]
It was never my intention to keep a bean bag in the living room, but after ditching the coffee table, we were temporarily keeping one of the Sumo footstools near the couch. You know, just for a couple of days, then it would join the pile downstairs somewhere. It turns out, it’s perfect for the living room—super comfortable for lounging, an extra seat when we have guests, and perfect tea party size for dolls and stuffed animals. 
The problem was the fabric. The original cover is durable navy blue nylon, and I just kept thinking “rolled up sleeping bag.” I had previously seen these amazing wool stools, so I thought maybe I could create a slipcover in a fabric that would be a little more appropriate in the room.
Wool is great, but more than I wanted to spend at the time, so I opted for a gray chambray (it looks bluer in the photos than it really is). I wanted the chambray to be a little stiffer to hold the shape better, so I used fusible interfacing for more structure. 
I’m also the type of seamstress (can I really even call myself that?) that avoids zippers at all cost, so I figured I could make a sort of drawstring bag shape that would be long enough to cinch up underneath. 
The whole project took less than an hour. I didn’t use a pattern, and in the end, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Since I’m kind of the wing-it type, I can’t say that my directions will be great, but if you want to try to make something like this for yourself, here’s the basic steps:
1. After measuring the circumference and height of the footstool, cut two pieces of fabric—a circle for the top and a rectangle for the side. Make sure to add enough extra height to the side piece to wrap underneath the footstool.
2. Fold up the bottom edge on the longest side of the rectangle and sew, leaving an opening large enough for your drawstring to slide easily.
3. Sew the short ends of the rectangle together making sure to stop before the drawstring section.
4. pin and sew the circle piece of fabric to the side piece.
5. Attach a large safety pin to one end of your drawstring and guide it through the opening. 
That’s pretty much it. Sorry for really vague and terrible directions. Maybe just keep a stitch-ripper nearby. That’s how I usually figure out my sewing projects.
Of couse, most people don’t have a pile of bean bags in their house to recover, so here are much better instructions for creating a bean bag pouf from scratch.

[ QUICK SLIPCOVER ]

It was never my intention to keep a bean bag in the living room, but after ditching the coffee table, we were temporarily keeping one of the Sumo footstools near the couch. You know, just for a couple of days, then it would join the pile downstairs somewhere. It turns out, it’s perfect for the living room—super comfortable for lounging, an extra seat when we have guests, and perfect tea party size for dolls and stuffed animals. 

The problem was the fabric. The original cover is durable navy blue nylon, and I just kept thinking “rolled up sleeping bag.” I had previously seen these amazing wool stools, so I thought maybe I could create a slipcover in a fabric that would be a little more appropriate in the room.

Wool is great, but more than I wanted to spend at the time, so I opted for a gray chambray (it looks bluer in the photos than it really is). I wanted the chambray to be a little stiffer to hold the shape better, so I used fusible interfacing for more structure. 

I’m also the type of seamstress (can I really even call myself that?) that avoids zippers at all cost, so I figured I could make a sort of drawstring bag shape that would be long enough to cinch up underneath. 

The whole project took less than an hour. I didn’t use a pattern, and in the end, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Since I’m kind of the wing-it type, I can’t say that my directions will be great, but if you want to try to make something like this for yourself, here’s the basic steps:

1. After measuring the circumference and height of the footstool, cut two pieces of fabric—a circle for the top and a rectangle for the side. Make sure to add enough extra height to the side piece to wrap underneath the footstool.

2. Fold up the bottom edge on the longest side of the rectangle and sew, leaving an opening large enough for your drawstring to slide easily.

3. Sew the short ends of the rectangle together making sure to stop before the drawstring section.

4. pin and sew the circle piece of fabric to the side piece.

5. Attach a large safety pin to one end of your drawstring and guide it through the opening. 

That’s pretty much it. Sorry for really vague and terrible directions. Maybe just keep a stitch-ripper nearby. That’s how I usually figure out my sewing projects.

Of couse, most people don’t have a pile of bean bags in their house to recover, so here are much better instructions for creating a bean bag pouf from scratch.

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[ SCRAP FABRIC PILLOWS ]
I have a lot of odds and ends fabric scraps stashed away, so when the sudden urge to swap out my pillow covers hit, I was prepared. I always use the envelope method for sewing pillow covers because it’s quick and pretty much fool-proof. This time I added a little more patchwork to the front to make them a little fancier, but the total sewing time for both pillows was still under an hour. 

Patrick bought me a wool blanket from MacAusland Woolen Mill as a birthday gift back in June. I’ve been trying to score a Hudson Bay blanket from thrifts or estate sale for years, but I haven’t had any luck, so I’m thrilled to finally have this one instead. I wanted to add a little more color, so I made a new pillow cover for the bedroom, too. 

Now, time to switch gears from sewing pillows to Halloween costumes!

[ SCRAP FABRIC PILLOWS ]

I have a lot of odds and ends fabric scraps stashed away, so when the sudden urge to swap out my pillow covers hit, I was prepared. I always use the envelope method for sewing pillow covers because it’s quick and pretty much fool-proof. This time I added a little more patchwork to the front to make them a little fancier, but the total sewing time for both pillows was still under an hour. 

Patrick bought me a wool blanket from MacAusland Woolen Mill as a birthday gift back in June. I’ve been trying to score a Hudson Bay blanket from thrifts or estate sale for years, but I haven’t had any luck, so I’m thrilled to finally have this one instead. I wanted to add a little more color, so I made a new pillow cover for the bedroom, too. 

Now, time to switch gears from sewing pillows to Halloween costumes!

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[ HE IS RISEN, INDEED ]
I can only remember one or two sunny Easters in the past twelve years or so, making today a special treat. We spent the morning sipping coffee, watching the kids race around the house looking for eggs, and getting all dressed up for church.
Uh, wait, that’s never how it works out on Easter morning. Actually, the kids scarfed down more peeps and chocolate than I could count while I was rushing around trying to iron my last minute wardrobe substitution. There were tears about pajamas, socks, and snacks, grumpy words uttered my me, coffee spilled, and a late arrival to church. Thankfully, Jesus died and rose for all our sins, even the ones committed on Easter morning.
The rest of the day was mostly lovely, minus the hour long fit from a boy who had the rest of his peeps taken away for the remainder of the day and the dog poop on his shoe. We enjoyed a meal with good friends and played outside in the sunshine—girls on swings, men playing basketball, and Alden working tirelessly digging a big hole in the dirt.
I even managed to snap a few photos before their carefully planned Easter clothes were grass-stained and dirty. This year I gave each of them a little something homemade to wear. For Tula, a felt flower hair clip, and for Alden, a bow tie that I made out of the bottom of a thrifted vintage silk skirt that I hemmed.

I hope that everyone’s Easter was fantastic!

[ HE IS RISEN, INDEED ]

I can only remember one or two sunny Easters in the past twelve years or so, making today a special treat. We spent the morning sipping coffee, watching the kids race around the house looking for eggs, and getting all dressed up for church.

Uh, wait, that’s never how it works out on Easter morning. Actually, the kids scarfed down more peeps and chocolate than I could count while I was rushing around trying to iron my last minute wardrobe substitution. There were tears about pajamas, socks, and snacks, grumpy words uttered my me, coffee spilled, and a late arrival to church. Thankfully, Jesus died and rose for all our sins, even the ones committed on Easter morning.

The rest of the day was mostly lovely, minus the hour long fit from a boy who had the rest of his peeps taken away for the remainder of the day and the dog poop on his shoe. We enjoyed a meal with good friends and played outside in the sunshine—girls on swings, men playing basketball, and Alden working tirelessly digging a big hole in the dirt.

I even managed to snap a few photos before their carefully planned Easter clothes were grass-stained and dirty. This year I gave each of them a little something homemade to wear. For Tula, a felt flower hair clip, and for Alden, a bow tie that I made out of the bottom of a thrifted vintage silk skirt that I hemmed.

I hope that everyone’s Easter was fantastic!

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[ THRIFTED SKIRT MAKEOVER ]
One thing I’ve learned through my years of thrift shopping—never trust vintage clothing sizes. I spotted this skirt in the “large” section and the tag was labeled size 12. I knew as soon as I held it up that it was much closer to my actual size than the tag indicated, but the length looked a little too frumpy for my style. 
I inspected it a little further and decided that hemming it up was something that would be within my limited sewing knowledge. After cutting about ten inches off the bottom, I wound up with a fun $4 skirt to add to my wardrobe.

I don’t post much about fashion here, and by no means would I consider myself a style expert, but I do love mixing and matching thrifted pieces. 

[ THRIFTED SKIRT MAKEOVER ]

One thing I’ve learned through my years of thrift shopping—never trust vintage clothing sizes. I spotted this skirt in the “large” section and the tag was labeled size 12. I knew as soon as I held it up that it was much closer to my actual size than the tag indicated, but the length looked a little too frumpy for my style. 

I inspected it a little further and decided that hemming it up was something that would be within my limited sewing knowledge. After cutting about ten inches off the bottom, I wound up with a fun $4 skirt to add to my wardrobe.

I don’t post much about fashion here, and by no means would I consider myself a style expert, but I do love mixing and matching thrifted pieces. 

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[ FABRIC REMNANTS ]
I’ve posted before about great modern fabric resources, but I failed to mention shopping the remnant table for some great deals. I was recently in Pacific Fabrics, scouting out upholstery options for the garage sale chairs (that are now on their way out), and I decided to dig through the piles of home decorator weight fabric that was on sale. I was shocked at the great selection—most of the pieces appeared to be one or two yard sections—and the price was $7.99/yard. That’s about 50%-70% off the regular price. Pictured above are just a few of the fabrics that caught my eye. 

I didn’t end up buying anything that day, though if I would have thought long enough, I’m sure I could have come up with a few projects to use some of the gorgeous fabric. I will, however, remember to check the table more often.

[ FABRIC REMNANTS ]

I’ve posted before about great modern fabric resources, but I failed to mention shopping the remnant table for some great deals. I was recently in Pacific Fabrics, scouting out upholstery options for the garage sale chairs (that are now on their way out), and I decided to dig through the piles of home decorator weight fabric that was on sale. I was shocked at the great selection—most of the pieces appeared to be one or two yard sections—and the price was $7.99/yard. That’s about 50%-70% off the regular price. Pictured above are just a few of the fabrics that caught my eye. 

I didn’t end up buying anything that day, though if I would have thought long enough, I’m sure I could have come up with a few projects to use some of the gorgeous fabric. I will, however, remember to check the table more often.

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[ QUICK SHOWER CURTAIN PROJECT ]
I’ve been wanting a new shower curtain for our guest bathroom since we moved in a year ago. I nearly bought one last summer, but I couldn’t find one that I was completely sold on, so I decided to wait. I don’t know why shower curtains have to be so expensive… or ugly. I think I finally found one that I love, but until it goes on sale (like 75% off), I am happy with my newest project.
Last week I bought a queen size duvet cover at Goodwill for $6. It turns out that it is an Ikea textile. It seems like anytime I find a modern patterned piece of fabric at a thrift store, it’s from Ikea. Turning the duvet into a shower curtain was even easier than when I made one into these curtains. It required very little cutting, which was made even easier by a fantastic new pair of sewing scissors that my mom gave me for Christmas, and hemming on three sides. I think I spent about a little over an hour on this project.

P.S. I really need to get a wide angle lens for my camera!

[ QUICK SHOWER CURTAIN PROJECT ]

I’ve been wanting a new shower curtain for our guest bathroom since we moved in a year ago. I nearly bought one last summer, but I couldn’t find one that I was completely sold on, so I decided to wait. I don’t know why shower curtains have to be so expensive… or ugly. I think I finally found one that I love, but until it goes on sale (like 75% off), I am happy with my newest project.

Last week I bought a queen size duvet cover at Goodwill for $6. It turns out that it is an Ikea textile. It seems like anytime I find a modern patterned piece of fabric at a thrift store, it’s from Ikea. Turning the duvet into a shower curtain was even easier than when I made one into these curtains. It required very little cutting, which was made even easier by a fantastic new pair of sewing scissors that my mom gave me for Christmas, and hemming on three sides. I think I spent about a little over an hour on this project.

P.S. I really need to get a wide angle lens for my camera!

Comments
[ MODERN FELT STOCKINGS ]
I have been wanting new stockings for the last several Christmases, but finding something modern and cheap has been impossible so far. This year I finally decided to make my own.
You don’t have to be a fantastic seamstress to tackle a project like this. Felt is an incredibly easy fabric to work with, and because the edges don’t fray, it can be left unturned.

There are several options when buying felt by the yard at the fabric store, but I chose to buy the higher quality wool felt as opposed to the synthetic version. The price difference was hard to swallow ($2.99/yard for the cheap stuff vs. $8.99/yard for the wool), but fortunately each stocking only took about a third of a yard. Even at that price, my new stockings were a steal compared to what can be found at the store.
I based my stockings on these ones, but I wanted to change them up a little so that Alden and Patrick wouldn’t have to have flowers on theirs. The circles and pompoms are hand stitched with embroidery floss, but fabric glue would have worked as well.

[ MODERN FELT STOCKINGS ]

I have been wanting new stockings for the last several Christmases, but finding something modern and cheap has been impossible so far. This year I finally decided to make my own.

You don’t have to be a fantastic seamstress to tackle a project like this. Felt is an incredibly easy fabric to work with, and because the edges don’t fray, it can be left unturned.

There are several options when buying felt by the yard at the fabric store, but I chose to buy the higher quality wool felt as opposed to the synthetic version. The price difference was hard to swallow ($2.99/yard for the cheap stuff vs. $8.99/yard for the wool), but fortunately each stocking only took about a third of a yard. Even at that price, my new stockings were a steal compared to what can be found at the store.

I based my stockings on these ones, but I wanted to change them up a little so that Alden and Patrick wouldn’t have to have flowers on theirs. The circles and pompoms are hand stitched with embroidery floss, but fabric glue would have worked as well.

Comments
[ THRIFTED SKIRT TRANSFORMED ]
This idea came from my friend Missy, of Missy Makes a Mess, who decided to take an ill-fitting thrift store skirt and give it a new life as an apron. When I saw her creation, I couldn’t help but grab a skirt from my closet and start sewing. I loved the pattern on this skirt when I spotted it at the thrift store, and even though it was several sizes too big, I bought it, hoping to alter it later. That was last year.

A skirt is nice, but I think an apron is more fun, and now I get to wear this sunny print every day. I like the way Missy combined two different, but complimentary prints, and since I didn’t have enough extra fabric from the skirt to make the ties, I started scavaging my closet for fabric. I found a polka dot shirt—once thrifted itself—in bag of clothes that are headed back to the donation bin at Goodwill. I cut off the cap sleeves and turned them into pockets, then used the bottom of the shirt for ties.
Thanks, Missy, for the great inspiration!

[ THRIFTED SKIRT TRANSFORMED ]

This idea came from my friend Missy, of Missy Makes a Mess, who decided to take an ill-fitting thrift store skirt and give it a new life as an apron. When I saw her creation, I couldn’t help but grab a skirt from my closet and start sewing. I loved the pattern on this skirt when I spotted it at the thrift store, and even though it was several sizes too big, I bought it, hoping to alter it later. That was last year.

A skirt is nice, but I think an apron is more fun, and now I get to wear this sunny print every day. I like the way Missy combined two different, but complimentary prints, and since I didn’t have enough extra fabric from the skirt to make the ties, I started scavaging my closet for fabric. I found a polka dot shirt—once thrifted itself—in bag of clothes that are headed back to the donation bin at Goodwill. I cut off the cap sleeves and turned them into pockets, then used the bottom of the shirt for ties.

Thanks, Missy, for the great inspiration!

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