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 self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!