Monday, November 3, 2014

Adventures at a Flea Market

Finally, most everything is washed from the flea market for everything sewing I went to several weeks ago. In French these are called Puces des Couturieres. Just for fun, here are a couple of pictures of what one of these looks like:
Imagine an entire building overflowing to outside with nothing but everything you would want for sewing, knitting and thread based craft work. What ever it is you are looking for you can probably find and most of the time the prices are pretty darn good.

This year my favorite find was a set of beauty pins. Someday I will use them on the back of some future Christening gowns. In the picture below, the center bottom one is sterling silver. 

It is not like I have seen this type of thing before, I have not, but when it rains it pours. Much to my surprise, I also found a set of five, inexpensive ones, made out of some sort of nondescript metal in both silver and copper. The set of five are still attached to their original card.  In the picture below, the center bottom one is the silver one.  All of them are in excellent condition and very usable for where ever I decide to use them. Aren't they fun?
As for lace, There was plenty to be found. Here is a subset of what I found. Lots of fun stuff to play with later:
I love vintage rickrack, it dyes beautifully and has a different feel to it than the modern 100% cotton stuff.  I buy it when I see it.

In the green boxes are initials that one would affix to clothing or linens. I searched out and bought those that were 100% cotton. The last of the vintage ones were made of cotton polyester. Below are examples of 4 different ones I have found. The Poly cotton ones were tossed in my bag for free.  
Looking closely you can see the difference of the "A" poly cotton and the 100% cotton ones.

At the very top of the picture is lacet and lace tape.
Lacet is a kind of a lace tape, also seen in the picture it is very plain (far left and far right), but used to either adorn something, to cover seams or strengthen something. Many times, in investigated a vintage garment lacet was used for the waist of a garment so that the lace would not tear. It was also used as a joiner for laces, usually in a hem application. Just like the lace tapes, there is a thread that can be pulled to shape the tape if needed.

If you needed vintage cotton/linen sheets, they were there in many sizes.

One lesson learned about buying vintage lace is that one really never knows what was bought until it is washed. 

When I buy lace, the first thing that happens when I get home is they are sorted between clean and those with that musty and smelly patina.  Those that need it are washed. None of this careful stuff. They are tossed in the washer. The smaller pieces and lace lengths are placed in net bags (ok, some what careful) so they do not get completely snarled or lost in the wash. Bigger pieces can stand on their own. When they come out of the washer they are laid flat or hung to dry. Anything that turns to lace mush in this process gets tossed in the trash as it is unusable.

Next, ironing. This is where items are checked for sturdiness. It is funny how lace will stay together in the wash but rip apart as it is ironed. This is a sure sign of dry rot. Also ironing is good for close inspection. Stains or damage is found at this step. Pieces can be sorted between those to repair and those that will be used as lace "bits". Dry rot lace is set aside for later use in some sort of altered art project.

If the item is stained, it may go into the BIZ bucket. Biz is an all fabric bleach that does a wonderful job at whitening lace and linens. I say may because if they item was made with a dual color thread, actually quite common, Biz will take the color out making the item very one dimensional. Here is a close up of something dirty.
This has been washed once at this point. Originally it was all the dark brown color and the item appears to be solid in color. Now it looks like this. Is it just dirty or are those brown lines supposed to be there?  

If in doubt soak it in a mild soap. Here is what the end result will look like:
Yes the brown is supposed to be there. It gives the piece a beautiful 2 dimensional look. Any bleach product takes the brown away and what is left is something, although pretty, is not as beautiful as it should have been without the bleach.

The blue on the old sheet from my last blog entry is in the biz bucket now This one, as I suspected, is going to be a hard one to get clean. I am about to up the amount of Biz in the bucket to see if it will come out. I suspect it will need to soak for weeks.


  1. Was signing up for the grow your blog 2015 and saw your sign-up. This flea looks wonderful. Love the " Bebe" pins as well as all your laces.

    1. Thanks for finding me! I love the grow your own blog event.