Vintage Versus Charity Shops

The TV is full of programmes on thrifting, upcycling and the virtues of vintage. The American Storage Wars is a personal guilty pleasure, watching hidden treasures (plus loads of random stuff) being unearthed and sold on. One man’s trash and all that.

I’m all for recycling, reusing and reducing waste. I will explore charity shops and though I have yet to invest in any vintage clothes, Channel 4’s ‘This Old Thing’ has made me think I just might.

All of this has left me wondering, what the distinction is between charity shop and a vintage shop. Window dressing? Air fresheners? Price? Because in my experience, there are many vintage items to be found amongst the shelves of most charity shops. Last week, in my newly discovered favourite Nottinghamshire town Southwell, I happily spent £5 on several glass items. They have now become a fruit bowl, decorative cotton centrepiece, candle holder and the decanter is awaiting an appropriate alcohol.


I’m convinced in the right setting, teamed with the appropriate accessories and labelled as vintage, each of these items would have cost much more. I also thought that the glass bowls in particular would make the perfect base for a beautiful gift, and could be filled with anything at all.

On holiday I continued my quest in Welsh charity shops. One volunteer insisted on speaking to me entirely in Welsh, which I thought was fair enough, being in Wales and all, and she wasn’t put off by the fact I replied exclusively in English. Another lady rushed out to her car, charmed by the dog’s bandanas and desperate to supply them with treats from her stash.


In Caernarfon I bought 5 items, 2 bowls which match one purchased at Southwell, and 3 coloured glasses. I’m fairly sure the glasses are cheap yet cheerful (3 for £1 in my case) but they match some my grandma used to have, and which I’m hoping are stashed away somewhere in the cellar.


At the front is a shot/liqueur glass with embellished with a pirate and bought solely for it’s seaside kitsch value.

I also bought 2 old (vintage) baby pillow cases, which were so inexpensive I wouldn’t mind cutting them up for a possible future quilting project I have in mind as a gift. I also bought a little vase. Again I went for appeal rather than inherent value, and paid £1. Only later was it pointed out to me that the vase was cracked, all the way around, water gradually seeping out. For this reason, and after much debate and disappointment, I left the vase behind along with rest of the glass recycling. I know I will live to regret it.




One response to “Vintage Versus Charity Shops

  1. Natalie

    Some great finds there! Love the coloured glasses; things are often better finds if they have some inherited sentimental value too. Vintage vs charity is interesting….. I put white a few clothing items back last week when the label said ‘made in China’ ……probably not as vintage as I imagine! Xx


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So pleased with my purchases from the @johnlewisretail sale today! 4m of Robert Kaufman denim + What was left of some @atelierbrunette cotton + some @makoweruk metallic spot. Plus some pretty she’ll buttons that were less than half price 🙌🏼 All came to a total of £36.50. Now to figure out whether I can use any of them for my #2018makenine plans 🤔 •
#buttons #makersgonnamake #imakethings #dressmaking #sales #shopping #bargains The light isn’t great but here’s my second @sewoveritlondon #soivintageshirtdress hot off the machine. This one is made using some chambray coloured cotton from @fabworksmillshop leftover from an @theavidseamstress #daydress I made quite a while ago. The buttons feel like quite a statement and I’m hoping they don’t detract from the dress. I sewed this up as a size 12 and it fits SO much better than the 14. •
#sewmystyle #sewoveritlondon #sewoverit #vintageshirtdress #chambray #sleeveless #dressmaking #imakethings #makersgonnamake #sewersgonnasew #holidaysewing #buttons The only fabric I purchased (so far) in the sales just arrived from @misformake ~ the mason jars is a brushed cotton and the floral (+ snails! 🐌) is a cotton lawn. I only have a couple of metres of each so I’m not sure what I’ll make yet 🤔
#goodpostday #happymail #fabric #sales #salebuys #endofrolls #endofbolt #makersgonnamake #imakethings #sewersgonnasew Finished! My first @sewoveritlondon #vintageshirtdress made with @dashwoodstudio #flurry fabric with 8 vintage red buttons. I cut out the paper pattern and made a size 14, but I think it’s come up a little large and now I’m regretting not tracing it off - which I nearly always do. I’m hoping I’ll be able to nip it in with a belt, as other than that I’m pretty happy with it. I would like to make a sleeveless version in a 12 to compare but I’m not sure how best to size down a pattern I’ve already cut 🤷🏻‍♀️
#soivintageshirtdress #dashwoodstudio #shirtdress #collar #handmade #Imakethings #memade #dressmaking #January Searching through my vintage buttons for 8 that are a suitable match for my almost finished @sewoveritlondon #vintageshirtdress 🧐
#buttons #vintage #retro #choices #preloved #recycle #reuse Last year I realised I could sometimes combine 2 of my favourite things: running and dog walking. Oliver is less compliant, unsurprisingly, but Wilf just loves to run. 
In 2017 we completed 3 #canicross races together, as well as several parkruns. He gets very excited at the beginning, particularly when there is lots of clapping or lots of other dogs. Wilf keeps me company on lots of training runs, both on his harness if we are running on the road and off the lead if we’re on the trails. He’s happy to go on very early or very late runs. He even looks disappointed if I head out in my trainers without him. 
I’ve already booked our first couple of canicross races for 2018, and this year I plan to log how many miles Wilfie runs too. He’s a good dog. •
#rescuedog #dailydog #instadog #patterdaleterrier #patterdale #patterdalex #patterdalecross #runningbuddy #runningdog #runningdogsofinstagram

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