Take Our Thrift Store Challenge!

Are you in the mood to live dangerously? Put your sewing skills to the test in our Thrift Store Challenge and let the dice tell you what to sew! Here are the categories:

Take the Challenge

  1. Take a trip to your favorite thrift shop and spend $10 or under on your materials — tablecloths, bedding, curtains, clothing, home décor — the sky’s the limit!
  2. Roll the dice to see what to sew. If you don’t have dice on hand, here’s a virtual dice roller.
  3. Sew your project.
  4. Take a photo and post it on your social media channels with the tag #ThriftStoreSewChallenge.
  5. Stay tuned to see if you won a prize! We’ll do a random drawing for 5 winners, who will each get a free single pattern of their choice from the Sew Daily Shop!

Sadie and Meg took the challenge—see what they made!

Sadie’s Thrift Store Challenge: Pillow Sham to Tote Bag

Sadie's Thrift Store Challenge project

I love a challenge and I love the thrift store. In fact, I think of thrift shops as craft or fabric stores, so the Thrift Store Challenge is right up my alley. I tried my hardest not to get distracted by all the amazing Halloween items that are filling up the aisles and I headed straight for the domestic section. There I found racks packed full of sheets, curtains, tablecloths, and so much fabric — I let out an audible squeal! Since it was Saturday, my local Arc Thrift Store had 50 percent off most tags, so I only spent $3.49 of my $10 budget. That, my friends, is a thrift store score!

I ended up getting two embroidered zippered pillow shams and some coordinating cotton fabric. I headed home and brainstormed what these lovely fall-colored items were going to turn into. I found some gold-colored cotton webbing in my stash and decided to make a fall tote complete with two internal pockets made from the back side of the pillows to utilize the zippers!

Turn Pillow Shams into a Tote Bag

1. Cut out the pillow fronts and backs to your desired tote size. Cut two rectangles the same size out of the lining fabric.

2. Sew the two pillow fronts together right sides facing along the sides and bottom, leaving the top open.

3. Cut the zippered back sides of the pillow into smaller pocket pieces. Fold in half widthwise to create the pocket bag. With the zipper halfway unzipped, and right sides together, stitch the sides and top of the pocket together. Clip the corners and turn right side out through the unzipped opening.

4. Pin and stitch the top of the pocket bag to one of the lining pieces. Repeat with the other pocket bag and lining piece.

5. Pin and baste one cotton webbing strap to the top of one lining piece. Repeat with the other strap and lining piece.

6. Sew the two lining pieces together with the right sides facing. Leave a four-inch opening along the bottom edge for turning at a later step. Clip the corners and turn right side out.

7. Slip the lining into the main tote pieces with the right sides together. Sew around the top edge being sure to catch the strap handles.

8. Turn the tote to the right side through the opening in the lining and stitch the opening closed.

9. Give the top edge a good press, rolling the main outside fabric a bit towards the inside. Topstitch along the top edge to finish off the tote!

I now have a one-of-a-kind upcycled tote inspired by the colors of fall!

Meg’s Thrift Store Challenge: Blanket to Jacket

The thrift store is my favorite place to shop, especially for unique pieces I can wear and/or transform into something new. For the Thrift Store Challenge, I looked for something fun and bright that I could upcycle within a budget of $10, and luckily, I found this super cute (and green!) blanket for $6 in the home décor section.

Meg used the Plata Jacket free pattern for her blanket jacket.

I was thrilled to roll a 3 because I love sewing garments. My blanket was nice and cozy, it looked good on both sides, and had this fabulous fringe hem — I knew I wanted to transform it into a jacket. After browsing through a bunch of patterns, I ended up going with our Plata Jacket, available for free as part of Sew Quick + Easy, Vol. 1.

Turn a Blanket into a Jacket

This pattern provided the ideal, easy silhouette with a straight hemline that would highlight the fringe edging. I had just enough blanket “fabric” to cut out the entire garment in my size, plus a pocket piece.

1. Cut out body pieces. I made sure to exactly match the hemlines with the bottom of the blanket where the fringe starts.

2. Cut out and sew on the pocket. When cutting out the pocket, I oriented the stripes in opposite direction to add visual interest. Sewing on the pocket was the first step to sewing this jacket, and I decided on a basic patch pocket.

3. Stitch seams. I stitched the shoulder seams, attached the sleeves, and then sewed the sides and sleeves in a continuous seam.

4. Finish edges. The jacket hem was already finished with the fringe, so I just needed to hem the sleeves. I pressed 1” to the wrong side and topstitched.

For the front and neckline edges (below right, top), I pressed ¾” to the wrong side and topstitched in place, pivoting at the neckline/center front point.

At this point, I tried on the jacket and the neckline was a bit too big. The open knit definitely contributed to that, but there is always a solution! I ended up creating a center-back neckline pleat (below right, bottom).

Hemming the sleeves
Hemming the fronts and neckline, creating the center-back neckline pleat

I love the finished result! The back pleat creates a nice silhouette and detail in the back, and the front pocket is essential — what pocket isn’t essential?! I can’t wait to wear my blanket jacket. I’m going to layer it over a turtleneck and leggings. It’s super cute and the colors are fantastic.

We hope you’ll join us in the Thrift Shop Challenge! Remember to put your finished-object photos on your social media channels and tag them #ThriftStoreSewChallenge. We can’t wait to see what you make!

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