Readers, I know I'm not the best person to write today's blog post.
Unfortunately, my original idea for today, which I mentioned yesterday in passing, has shown up this morning on someone else's sewing blog. All's fair in love and blogging I always say, and I do believe we are all connected to a universal brain. Or in this case, to mine.
Lucky for me that in a safe surrounded by a deep moat inhabited by crocodiles, I keep a list of back-up blog topics. And so it is that today we're talking about what we refuse to skimp on when it comes to sewing and all things fashion-related.
As you know, I'm beyond thrifty. I have dug through dumpsters for designer jeans and crawled under cars for imported shoes. I don't ask too many questions and I'm not 100% certain I haven't carried off a bag of clothes left at the curb when the owner was merely out in the street hailing a cab. This is New York.
Even most of my underwear is second hand, or second something; I'd rather not think about it. Rest assured everything gets washed before wearing unless it smells like Bounce dryer sheets, in which case I take my chances. I hate to pay a lot for new things I can find used for less. Like my recently acquired Allen Edmonds shoes, my new obsession till the next one.
There is one thing I will not skimp on, however, and that is socks.
I have learned through nearly 50 years of living (and 35 years of thrifting), that nobody throws out good socks; you will not find them in thrift stores. And you won't find them being sold by street vendors either.
In my experience -- and if you know better please speak up -- you really have to go to a better retail establishment like Bloomingdale's or Lord & Taylor and bite the bullet to avoid Orlon Acrylic and even then you have to be careful. In the winter I like to wear wool socks and I love the selection at Paragon Sporting Goods off Union Square. I've been going to this store since I was a kid and it's a zoo, but they have an excellent selection of sports and hiking socks.
It breaks my heart to spend $15 or more on a pair of socks but the alternative is something that will stretch and pill and bunch up in your shoe. Also, ix-nay on the otton-cay. Cotton absorbs moisture (think towels) so it's not ideal for feet.
As far as sewing goes, I'll save a buck any way I can. The fabric can't be cheap enough, the sewing machine old enough.
I wouldn't use a Brand X needle -- I like Organs -- but then again, I've never actually seen a Brand X needle. With few exceptions I no longer buy individual spools of thread, opting instead to buy big spools at Sil Thread. The quality seems find to me.
No, I think my refusal to skimp begins -- and ends -- with socks.
Readers, how about you? I've known a number of women who refuse to wear drugstore make-up or wear anything but Christian Dior pantyhose. (Fortunately, Cathy isn't one of them.) I know many of you line up outside Jo-Ann Fabric on 50% off days, and will wrestle your peers to the floor over $1 Vogue patterns.
Others haunt the remnant bins at Walmart but sew on $3,500 Bernina's. It's not entirely rational but who am I to question?
Friends, where are you willing to cut corners and where do you refuse to skimp -- and why?
Have you ever tried to save money on something -- against your better judgment perhaps -- and lived to regret it? Can you wear a used bra and hold your head -- or anything else -- high?
Savvy savers and champion cheapskates, let your voices be heard!
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns. I also sew for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!