Nothing makes my heart sing more than when I welcome in sewists and crafters to my classes and when I ask, “Where did you get this [insert descriptive adjective here] fabric?!” And their response is “I thrifted it!” You’d be amazed at how many beautiful fabrics I have sourced from local thrift stores! But did you know the sustainable crafting revolution is also happening online? Platforms like Tik Tok and YouTube are flooding with creators who also own fabric and craft resale shops. They’re taking to social media and sharing their passion for “hot garbage” as creator Kathryn from Swanson’s Fabrics on TikTok calls it.
With the rise of more and more people taking up sewing, sourcing your materials sustainably is also growing in popularity. According to Research And Markets, “The Global Sewing Machine Market size is expected to reach $5.9 billion by 2028, rising at a market growth of 5.7% CAGR during the forecast period.” Considering this, to me it means there’s no time like the present to pick up this highly rewarding craft! While we can assume the sewing machine market also applies to the growing sewist community, if you take a scroll through the Tik Tok search “Thrift Store Fabric”, hundreds of videos pop up. From thrift flips to finding the dream .75 cent fabric, the sewing community is growing, especially in the Gen Z population.
In today’s post I am sharing 3 stores that I love when it comes to buying recycled materials for my projects. From locally owned in Denton, TX, all the way to Massachusetts! With the rise of sewists of all backgrounds, today’s post is sure to spark creative joy in both beginners and masters alike!
Reduce, Reuse, Raise Hell
There’s a little shop right by the college called Thistle Creative Reuse, and I am in this shop once a week at least. From fabric rolls, to yarn, all the way to vintage craft magazines, Thistle is your one stop shop for your next project. Their motto Reduce, Reuse, Raise hell comes from their passion to reduce waste, encourage their community to reuse materials when you can, and be a safe space in the community for those who often times don’t have one. They also speak up on topics that many other businesses would rather brush under the rug, such as the overturning of Roe V Wade. From the moment you walk into their shop, someone will be right there to help you find what you need for your next project!
Tik Tok sensation Swanson’s Fabrics is another online fabric resale shop that you can get one of a kind fabrics from. If you’re shopping online, fabrics are $5 a yard and the online shop features bulk lots, creative sets, fabric, yarn, and my personal favorite, hot garbage. Swanson’s has made an impact on Tik Tok by allowing a space for conversations about reusing fabric and destigmatizing the practice. Along with Tik Tok, the store in Massachusetts hosts “The Fiber Arcade” where crafters across the world can come together on a platform called Mighty Networks. If you’re looking to discuss crafts and ask for #IndigoAlerts, an alert for those looking for a vintage fabric, you’ll want to join The Lawn. If you’re looking to open a concept like Swanson’s or you’re a growing crafty business owner, you’ll want to join The Workshop. All in all, Swanson’s fabric has curated an online community where you can shop one of a kind fabrics all the way to connect with other crafty friends, all from the comfort of your home!
I am a sucker for a good goodwill find. When it comes to fabric, if I can’t find what I need from my favorite resale shops, I head over to my local goodwill or vintage mall and start out on a hunt. So far, I have found fabric like Italian wool that was labeled as a table cloth to a stained quilt that I turned into a cardigan for fall. This is where many sewists start looking for their first projects! Upcycling is a popular trend, with thrifting being it’s base. According to an NPR article, “Thrifting has transformed into a $28 billion industry within the past decade” with Gen Z being the base for this growth. You can blame the economy, or you can thank the love of vintage 90’s products and trends from the 60’s-Y2K returning to retailers in droves. Upthrifting is another term sewists use when they find a thrift store item, and epicycle it into a new garment or product. Essentially creating a unique one of a kind item in their closet. One Tik Toker has made her fame on doing just this. Creator Lily of @ebcjpg has been upcycling and creating one of a kind looks from her thrift finds and sharing her hilarious real life struggles with boys during the pandemic.
Whether it’s your first time making a project or you’re an avid sewist looking for a unique fabric for your next project. Shopping recycled is a great way to start, finish, and find new projects to sew. Want to check out any of the stores mentioned above? Head to their website’s and get to know their offerings and shop small and keep supporting local.