Friday, September 18, 2009

Where do you get your fix? - Alternatives

So, to date, we've been walking through the crafting/fabric options in the inner city of Brisbane and in previous postings have had a look at multinational companies and independent stores, now we're onto alternative finds.

Op Shops/Thrift Stores/Garage Sales:
These places are a golden opportunity to find something unique to reuse, recycle, repurpose...for the good of the planet and your soul...also your wallet - second hand things are cheap! I usually look for nice cotton print dresses that might not be to my styling or a few sizes too big and use the fabric for handmade goodness.  It's a pity Brisbane doesn't have much of a winter as we don't really ever see second hand cashmere jumpers (sweaters) in these parts - which is a shame. Most of the remnants in Op Shops are old curtains or horrible, horrible home furnishings - but I did happen upon a great hand printed piece of linen once which I thought was a score! These places are also great for finding an assortment of buttons and knitting needles, which for some reason are always lurking in a glass jar on top of a shelf - mostly tiny, tiny gauge needles though - must have been alot of baby knitting going on at some point!

Secret sell offs:
Thomas Dixon Ballet Centre - this is the Queensland Ballet school which is situated in West End (on Montague Rd) and used to be a shoe factory which was built in 1827! Anyhoo - apparently every now and again they sell off costumes, embellishments, left over fabrics etc from their productions. Has anyone ever been to one of these?

OK, now this one is not a secret but is a great find and I may have to swear you to secrecy after reading this. Reverse Garbage was set up to take unwanted surplus, waste or remnant supplies etc from businesses and sell them to the public for very, very cheap prices. This place is awesome for artists and weekend DIYers as it has anything and everything and it's random, changes daily and is lots of fun! I saw a basket of plaster cast feet once (from a podiatists) and picked one up to have a better look - it had my family name written on the bottom - SPOOKY! I bought it and put it in the garden as some weird outdoor art sculpture. Of relevance to us, they also get fabric remnants/scraps from local designers and manufacturers (Sacha Drake to name one) - sometimes you get heaps of black lycra...but sometimes you get some amazing linen, or lovely pieces of knitted I said, it's random. There are also Reverse Garbage places in other Australian states - does this happen in the USA, Canada or Europe?


  1. Hi Danielle - I just discovered you through Selvedge House. I really had a good out loud laugh at your writings, thanks for giving me an evening, after dinner chuckle! Funnily enough I am an ex-research scientist. I gave up being Dr somebody some years ago and now realise that my dream job would just be crafting, all day everyday. Sound familiar. Cheers, Caroline.

  2. Hey Caroline! Hooray for another ex-scientist (I'm finding them everywhere) will have to pop into Selvedge House when we open and we can discuss and compare our previous lives :-)

  3. Yep, all my knitting needles are from op shops! (I used to live above a sally army store). I haven't had a spare minute lately but would love to check op shops for linens and knits. I have sewn 2 friends patchwork baby quilts from ikea curtains and I am currently sewing Freya a dress out of an aldi tea towel set. Fabric is fabric I say.

    by the way do you ever risk the onlines for fabric shopping?

  4. Hey Colette! Aldi teatowels - nice work! Yep, fabric is fabric and I'm always looking at clothes I'm sick of wearing and thinking...not bad fabric - keep it to use for something else - which of course means I have bags of fabrics, bags of clothes...I better start making more stuff!

    I've done ebay for fabrics (people randomly do stash cleanouts), Etsy occasionally and I know alot of people who have bought from online places like Kelani, Duckcloth etc without any problems. To be honest, I spend enough time on the computer so I'd rather go into a store to look, feel and get to take my fabric home with me.