Monday, July 16, 2012

My First Estate Sale

Okay, I know it has been a while since I last posted.  There has been very little sewing going on around here because my sewing machine, fabric stash and patterns were the first things I packed.  Yep, it was pretty hard to do, but I knew that they would be the biggest distractions from packing and moving so I decided it was for the best.  I cannot even tell you how much I miss sewing and can't wait to be reunited with my sewing machine (hopefully in about a week!).  

Despite not having a lot of free time lately,  I was able to drag the hubby to an estate sale that my friend Linda brought to my attention.  The posting mentioned that there was a lot of sewing supplies in this antique-packed farm house.  It sounded pretty promising, so I made the half hour trek and showed up just minutes after opening.  It was upon arriving that I realized what a novice I was in this world where estate sale shopping is more or less of a lifestyle.

Vintage metal zippers in a plastic case.
First of all, hubby and I were each given a number.  Only a limited amount of people were allowed in the house at a time, on a first-come-first-serve basis. As I mentioned above, we arrived shortly after opening - and were given numbers 115 and 116.  As we waited around for our numbers to be called, others were there chatting about the other estates they were hitting up later that day.  They talked with the people from the company running the sale like they were old friends (it appeared that they all knew each other from many previous like events).

When I finally had a chance to enter the house, I was just hoping there would be something left that I would want to take home.  Honestly there was not a lot, but I did come home with a few treasures that I'm happy to include in my collection.

Some pretty lace that came in quite a bit of yardage!
I started out by making a beeline for a box marked "patterns".  Sadly, these patterns were not vintage, they were modern day patterns that are still in print.  However, while scrounging through a box of lace I uncovered a child's dress pattern that looks like it is from the 40's.  Since it was an older pattern and I know too many people having babies, I decided I would take it with me.

I only saw the dress on the left when I first peaked inside,
I was happy to later  find that there were two patterns inside.
I just hope at least on of them is complete.
As another woman was going through a box of quilt squares, she uncovered what appeared to be an older unprinted pattern.  She remarked how neat it was and showed it to her friend.  This quickly caught my attention and I asked if there was anything more like it in the box.  She said there wasn't, but let me look at the pattern in her hands.  My eyes must have lit up, because she asked if I was into vintage sewing and I mentioned that I was - so she said I could have the pattern.

I love aprons, so I can't wait to sew this up.
My hubby pointed out a Kwik Sew lingerie sewing book that he thought I should take home too.  He said something about how I like sewing lingerie and Kerstin was good at sewing so it would probably be a good book for me.  (Yes, he knows the name of the creator of Kiwk Sew).  No, hubby is not interested in sewing, but through his career in accounting he has worked on the Kwik Sew account for the past few years.

This book is probably nothing compared to this gal's collection,
but it's a start at least.
In an honest evaluation, I would say that my findings were not necessarily worth the wait in line, and I don't think that I will become and estate sale "regular" any time soon - but I am pretty happy the things I found.

For those of you who go to estate sales often, do you have similar experiences?  Do you find that there are a lot of regulars who show up super early for their numbers?  Do you expect to find things, and then not find them?  Does it intrigue you enough to keep looking for more estate sales?  I am darn curious.

Live in this moment and love life!
Annabelle

16 comments:

  1. oh estate sales are SO much fun...but the first few that I went to were similar to yours. A lot of antique dealers go to estates and the shopping can be competitive. I wrote a post ages ago about how to shop estate sales. Some are crazy and you have to arrive hours early to get the goods. Some are as low key as a sunday garage sale. It just depends on what's for sale and who is shopping. If you do go to more estate sales, pay attention to the company running it. Some estate sale companies have relaxed sales with great prices and some overcharge. Here's that post: http://vavoomvintage.blogspot.com/2010/06/q-how-to-do-well-at-estate-sale.html
    I've found a $1 50's swimsuit, $5 girdles, a $15 1950's lamp...Keep checking them out from time to time, you'll find great deals! x

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    1. Thanks Brittany! I just read through your post and it has a lot of good information in it. I will have to keep looking and keep some of your tips in mind :)

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  2. It sounds like it was a fun experience and the lace and patterns are lovely! It sounds like things are going well if the machine will be coming out of hibernation in a week or so? I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

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    1. Ooh, I should have clarified about that. Hubby and I haven't found house yet, my mom and dad are letting us move in until we find some. Our house sold so quickly, we didn't have a chance to find one, and looking for an apartment seemed like a waste of time. I've got a list of charming houses to see that I just sent my realtor though!

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  3. I've never really gone to the "official" type estate sales - only the ones that are more like standard garage sales. (I actually found my vintage 50's kitchen table at one of those.) All I know is even garage sales have regulars who make the rounds and always get there early for the good stuff.

    Good luck house hunting! That should be way more fun that selling! =)

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    1. That is so interesting to hear that even garage sales have regulars! I guess I don't get out enough :) Thanks for the house hunting wishes, we're still looking but there are a lot of promising houses. (And buying is WAY better than selling).

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  4. I regularly attend estate sales (it's where I buy the bulk of my vintage clothing). The first few I attended, I was appalled at the behavior. The one's I went to did not issue numbers. People arrive as early as 3 hours prior to the sale just to be first in line. Some are very rude and will snatch up everything they can lay their hands on upon entering the house, just to be sure nobody else gets it (I've later seen them going through their pile and discarding the things they don't really want.)

    It took me a while to adjust to this mentality. I feel like the home and the prior owners deserve respect. I go because I love the history behind the items, and I usually do end up chatting with the people who run the sale to find out a little more about it. For a while, I would arrive VERY early and try to get in and find some things before they were all grabbed, but I didn't enjoy the experience and it started to make me anxious, so now I wait till a little later in the day. It takes a little more digging to unearth treasures, but for me it's worth it to not fight the crowds of people and deal with the cut throat behavior. I have also formed some decent relationships with the folks who run the local estate sales by being respectful, so some of them will call me in advance of the sale if there are a lot of items to move and let me take a peek a day early ;-) (It pays to be nice!)

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    1. I figured you would have some estate sale advice to offer up! I think I like the idea of going later in the day - it may mean that I will miss out on some items - but the more relaxed atmosphere will likely suit me better.

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    1. I just hope I am motivated enough to use them :)

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  6. I love your finds. I wore dresses like the ones in the pictures so they were available from the late 40's and into the 50's. All the women who took care of me when I was a child wore aprons.

    The answers to your questions are yes, yes, yes, and yes.
    Whether you go early to the sale or later depends upon your shopping goal and/or plan. Go early and be prepared to pay the full price marked if you really want a specific item; go later in the sale if you are just looking to see what you can find and want a lower price. Most people conducting the sale reduce the price on the second day of a multi-day sale and sometimes even toward the end of the first day of a multi-day sale. If you want to see or have a chance to purchase a specific item listed in the want ad or shown on the website, you almost have to be there early to pick up a number if numbers are distributed; you also have to be prepared to endure a little jostling. If you find a sale that you just have to go to early, let me know; we can both bring the DH's to run interference for us. :-D

    Sometimes toward the last couple hours of a sale, it turns into a bag sale. You can have everything you can stuff into a grocery or shopping bag for a couple dollars. The first time it happened to me, I was in the process of asking one of the attendants to write a sales ticket for a couple items. She told me to wait a little longer because they were going to do a bag sale. I picked up an antique Mexican sampler and a couple things that were especially nice that no one else wanted.

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    1. Wow Linda, thanks for providing a wealth of information with your insight on estate sales! It's been fun to see your perspective, especially since we went to the same sale at different times in the day. We should try and go together sometime.

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  7. well, hope your sewing machine gets unpacked quickly. When we moved two years ago that was frustrating. ... and I had to leave the sewing area for more towards the end of unpacking so the rest of the house got set up .. without distractions .... the little girls dresses are so cute! And I would have snatched up the Kwik sew book too - I have the sewing for toddlers and sewing for children books and they paid for themselves quite quickly!

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    1. Hi Caroline - I can't wait to start sewing again though it will not be like before since I am in my parent's house. I feel like I should be spending time with family rather than locking myself in a room to sew. But the good news is, we did see a promising house this week :)

      I'm glad to know that you found your Kwik Sew books to be helpful, I am excited about the one that I found.

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  8. Once you go to your first estate sale, its over! You are going to be hooked! Glad you had such a good time!

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  9. I haven't experienced going for an estate sale yet but my parents decided to relocate and I am planning to go with them. I guess, I would need to dispose some of my stuff. estate sales

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