Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thrift (charity) shopping in Cape Town

I learned my lesson last Saturday about the opening hours of small storefronts in Cape Town.  They open from about 9am-1pm, then they're closed until Monday.  If you sleep in until 11am because of jet lag, you're out of luck.  So despite having spent Friday night with friends at a vinyard / orchard / spa / restaurant and drinking my way through not one, but two bottles of Pinotage, I was up early to hit the thrift shops of Mowbray.

Mowbray (on the backside of Table Mountain) is a alternately gritty and student neighbourhood, full of junk shops and cheap department stores.  I had seen lots of promising places from the windows of my morning combi rides, so I had them all scouted out.  I even thought that I'd be able to write an interesting post about all the shops. 

In reality, it was pretty slim pickings.  When you think about the incredible level of unemployment and tight budget most families are living on in these neighbourhoods, it shouldn't be surprising that things are pretty well picked over.  The Value Village in affluent West Island Montreal this ain't.

A bit disappointed after dragging my corpse out of bed early, I passed by Help a Rural Child book shop sale and thought I may as well check it out.

Jackpot.


Up in the attic, behind the non-fiction section, I found four boxes briming with sewing patterns.  I plunked myself down in the corner and got to digging.  I ended up only buying the best ones because my luggage is already stuffed with fabric (post to follow!).



Cheryl Teigs modelling a bridal gown by Belinda Belleville, a disco era Herbert Kasper, and a few basics from Donna Karan.  While I have no plans on getting married anytime soon, if you look closely, this is a pretty good '60s shift.  And come on....how often do you get a Vogue Couturier Design pattern for R2 (25 cents)?




Some '50s and '60s gems:

This beauty is exactly my size

and I love this overblouse pattern, but I have no idea why Green Lady is giving me the finger.


'60s wrap dresses.


Some '70s patterns I've never seen before.  We don't get a lot of Style patterns turning up in Canada, so I wonder if they were ever sold there.  


Lastly, I got some '80s patterns.  Yes, '80s.  I don't know what came over me, but in my defence, they aren't too "out there".  Well, maybe the split-back jumpsuit is a bit OTT......but that draped sleeve Butterick 3790 reminds me of the dress Adey made for the Mad Men challenge



So the charity shop venture was not a complete waste of time.  The internet in my hotel is so incredibly slow that it's taken me a couple of hours to upload these photos, so you'll forgive me if I go to bed and recover from my overindulgence.  If you're ever in Mowbray, please stop by the Help a Rural Child charity shop, climb up to the attic and look in the back corner.  There are still 100s of patterns there.....

18 comments:

  1. Way to go! I love that you scored these at an off-the-beaten track thrift store in S. Africa of all places... I think my favourite might be that crazy 80's jumpsuit. Beautiful!

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    1. That's the kind of souvenier shopping I like to do; I'm not one to buy a T-shirt with a leaping great white shark and the thought bubble, "Take a Bite out of Cape Town!" *eyeroll*

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  2. Ooo, nice find. At least the adventure wasn't a complete bust. I really love that McCalls 9211, although HOLY DARTS BATMAN! Eep.

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    1. I KNOW! I'm a little bit intimidated. and it takes something like 6 yards of fabric!

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  3. I've never seen Style patterns. Those dresses are super cute! Great score. And kudos for showing restraint- it's so tempting to buy them all when you find gems like that! At least for me...

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    1. It's probably a good thing that I travel with a smallish suitcase; it makes me think about all my purchases. (although I once went to Asia with a small backpack and ended up buying two suitcases to pack all the clothes and crafts I bought....)

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  4. There are some real gems there and I too admire your restraint ..

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    1. Well, I've finally reached the point where I ask myself, "Will I use it or hoard it?". I think there are probably too many beautiful patterns being hoarded out there already!

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  5. Awesome! Funny how one score can redeem an entire day of thrifting. :) I especially love the fifties dress and blouse.

    I find Style patterns in the thrift store out here (Western Canada) fairly frequently---not as often as Simplicity, say, but more often than Vogue or Burda though I've never seen them for sale new. (I think the most recent one I have is from the 90s.)

    Woohoo!

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    1. Ah ha, thanks T-I. I think I only have one Style pattern in my collection, and it was sent to me from the UK. Maybe they just weren't sold in Quebec.

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  6. OH!! I am so jealous of Vogue 9211!! You scorsd dude!

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    1. I know! And even better, it's factory folded and includes the original receipt: Sold to one Mrs. T.D. Gordon of 633 Musgrove Rd., Durban, S.A., on January 28th, 1953 for 8/9 (which is what??? Eight shillings nine pence? One of these days I have to look up old English currency.)

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  7. oh oh oh!!!!!! That is amazing, I wiah I was you! x x xx

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    1. in my excitement I couldn't even spell wish properly!

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  8. What fabulous finds! McCalls 9211 is STUNNING!!

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  9. Yep we had them in Canada but they went out of business in 1997 or 1998. Some of my favorite 90s patterns are Style. They fit really well!

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