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Jan 4, 2014

First Fabric-from-the-Trash Haul of 2014!



Friends, I don't mean to play the victim, but why does this always happen to me?

I left my apartment early this morning to go pick up some swatches for Michael's winter coat at Mood, but I never made it there.  Not a block from my apartment, outside the High School of Fashion Industries (the 25th St. side), I stumbled upon the mother lode. 

Are those whole bolts of fabric in that bag?







In sum, bags full of old fabric, some nice, some not-so-nice.

I left stuff behind -- I can't take it all!



Can I interest you in some gently worn dress forms?





I could have taken more but how much fabric can one person possibly salvage?  I was so cold after digging through this stuff, it was all I could do just to drag it home. 

Here's my haul, which is now sitting outside on my balcony in the freezing cold until I have a chance to launder it.

I think this lightweight plaid is cotton rayon suiting.









Below is a soft, thin, cotton flannel.  It would make a good lightweight interlining.



Finally, there's this blue and brown plaid, which I think is either all acrylic or an acrylic/wool blend.



The wrong side has that somewhat fuzzy acrylic look.



What I like most about this haul is that the fabrics I took all coordinate with each other.  I'm seeing winter separates!





Readers, as fun as it is to find fabric in the trash, it's also a bit of a hassle.  After it's all laundered, I have to find someplace to store it.  Remember, I don't have a basement, attic, or garage.  But I shouldn't complain, should I?  If this is a sign of the year to come, I'd better start decluttering now.

Have you ever found fabric in the garbage?

Have a great day, everybody!

57 comments:

  1. the only way I find fabric in the trash is when I put it there.

    good haul!

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  2. Hi, Peter! Happy New Year to you and Michael! You are certainly blessed by the fabric Gods--what a fantastic haul. Incidentally, leaving it out in subfreezing temperatures is a great way to kill any creepy-crawlies (moths) and their larvae. I read that museums do this with their textile collections and new acquisitions.

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  3. I can't believe you didn't take the stripes! Go back for it!

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    Replies
    1. I went back and looked -- thin knit poly jersey. Very meh.

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    2. Oh bummer. It looked like a soft flannel in the photo.

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    3. i was going to say the same thing. the stripes looked like a must. too bad it was poly. im still jealous though.

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  4. I wish! Being out of work means I really have to cut back on my hobbies. No fabric shopping for me.

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  5. Happy New Year,

    I once found a pile of discarded fabrics at the end of a local weekly auction. Anything left after the auctioneers finished their work was free. It made me sad to leave so much behind but you just can't carry everything. All of the fabric I brought home I washed. Some I took to the school I teach art at to be used for for still life back drops. The kind of stuff you found would be great for test sewing a muslin.
    Waste not, want not !

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  6. Oh to live where there is such bounty in the garbage bins.

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  7. No fabric, but recently my son and I found an art deco Nichols Chinese rug from the 1920s under some trash in the alley, the sale of which will be funding my sewing for some time to come.

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  8. No way! But given your successes, I am thinking that I have got it all wrong. We might be moving soon to the great unknown of the Midwest and I have been researching good primary schools to figure out where we should live, but I am thinking I should be looking for fashion schools instead...

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  9. In England it's illegal to pick things up out of the rubbish. It also seems to be stored in more sheltered/secluded areas.

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  10. Oh my Lawd....in my dreams.....its going to be your lucky year....what a start!
    bestest from the rainy uk....
    Daisy j xxx

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  11. OMG I'm so jealous LOL ;) Good for you!

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  12. This only happens to you. That dress-form-in-the-snow photo is a riot!

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  13. Never, ever, ever have I found fabric in the trash. ....or dress forms or sewing machines or sculptures or any of the other myriad of objects that you have picked off the streets of New York. Around here, trash is garbage and it stinks!

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  14. I've never found fabric in the trash. I have found outlets and close outs with great deals, but never free, or something as nice as those fabrics.

    The rayon suiting is a good color for Michael.

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  15. Oh man, what great finds! I'd be all over it, especially the dress forms. Hey, they could be recovered...

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  16. I always avert my eyes when walking past those piles of garbage. Maybe I should take a closer look (at least when in the Garment District).

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  17. I think it's kind of outrageous that the High School of Fashion Industries would throw out perfectly good fabric when it could be donated to a thrift shop. The dress forms as well as the fabric could have been picked up by Materials for the Arts which accepts these things for other art groups. What a waste.

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  18. It is impossible to tell from the photos, but is any of that flannel-like fabric Viyella?

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  19. Ugh. To see those heaps of bags of usable stuff made me mad. So much waste. We have an art store in Detroit (Arts & Scraps) that would GLADLY take every last bit of that pile to use in art projects for kids.

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    Replies
    1. Just to be clear, only a few of the bags had fabric in them -- it wasn't the whole pile.

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  20. Wow! I've never seen anything like that. Then again I live in Seattle where unless it's in the approved trash/recycling container it won't be picked up. So no great finds here unless you go around bin to bin lifting up lids and peek inside hoping for something other than double bagged dog poop. Regardless I'm always envious of your great finds since they don't exist around here.

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  21. Wow! I can assure you I never walk outside of my house or job and find left behind fabric from someone. Lucky you. Looks like you got some nice fabrics.

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  22. OMG SO MANY TIMES. It's shocking, really, what people put out for the trash. I'm lucky (or maybe not) that I have places to store it and an empathetic husband.

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  23. No, never found anything like this fabric haul. I did once find a kitten in the garbage (which I kept) and I once found a sawed-of shotgun (which I turned over to the local police).

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    Replies
    1. In the 1980s I once found a handgun in the bathroom stall of a midtown deli -- no joke.

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  24. I'd be sewing a little 4-leaf-clover into the pocket of whatever you whip up with this fabric ~ def's was your lucky day ... J

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  25. I've never made a lucky find on the sidewalk like you have but years ago a relative of mine worked for a fabric jobber and I was occasionally allowed to go through the trash at their warehouse. Smaller pieces that they couldn't use were tossed. That was some fun dumpster diving and I made quite a few baby items and also summer clothing for myself.

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  26. We found a child's battery operated jeep about ten years ago on clean up day. Hubby bought a battery and our two youngest used it for years. It finally fell apart, piece by piece.

    Your story reminds me of the super sad ASPCA commercials that have you crying if you watch too long. I'm so glad you saved some fabric. I'm sure I would have made multiple trips and made my kids share rooms until I could use it all or find a good him for it.

    It must be good luck. Go buy a lottery ticket!

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  27. That is so rad that you found cool fabrics in the trash! I love the plaids! I once found some really amazing vintage clothing that was being thrown away and snatched it up immediately and took it to the laundrymatt ... it's such a great feeling. Find a corner in your living room for the fabric, put a pretty scarf over it.. that's what's goin on here...

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  28. This is the most unbelievable post I have ever seen. I am thrilled that you scored but at the same time disgusted that this organization would just throw out perfectly good fabric. What is wrong with these people? I am so happy that you scored and kept this great stuff out of the landfill. Love your blog. Happy New Year

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  29. Bloody hell! Why this never happened to me?
    Great found!

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  30. Lucky thing! Shame that it wasn't donated, but hopefully other sewing people will walk past and continue your rescue efforts ;)

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  31. you lucky man ! I never found anything like that in trash !

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  32. I have never found anything like that where I live but my son lives in NYC and we have found some interesting things there. Knowing how small most apartments in NY are I think you could benefit from using storage ideas from the RV industry. The beds in RV's lift up with hinges and their is a world of storage space. Just depends on how high you want your mattress. Next time I go visit my son I'm going to be paying close attention to the trash piles.

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  33. Wow, that is so lucky. I have never found anything like that in the rubbish but have been fortunate to have been gifted lts of sewing related items, from vintage fabric to machines by family, friends and acquaintances. May your luck continue in 2014.

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  34. How do you find this stuff?! It's like the fabric fairy lives in NYC. In your neighbourhood. I have never had this experience, but you know I'm freaked about garbage so I don't really keep my eyes open. It's shocking to me that bolts of fabric were discarded that way. So many sewists would have loved a chance to buy that, I imagine, at a highly discounted price. Of course, I'm pleased for you that you are the beneficiary.

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  35. Ally - Design Rewind Fashions on EtsyJanuary 5, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    I want to cross paths with a MOTHER LOAD ....of fabrics or patterns or winning lottery tickets :) I am so happy for you because I am sure you will find a great use for the fabrics. Those dress forms though - me love!

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  36. I would have taken those dress forms home too! What a find, happy for you.

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  37. so awesome a find, I would have love the dress forms,
    yes, one day I partially emptied a dumpster of loads of black, navy fabrics, some velvets, a kind person posted on the free section of craigslist, looked like no other takers, the bin was full when I got there, other times I found 2 bags of winter scarves, planning on making into quilt, silk curtains, super cute lap quilts, discarded clothes in petite sizes, 11-year-old daughter has stylish wardrobe as a result

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  38. Wow. Lucky you! I'm surprised there isn't a clearinghouse of discount/discarded fabric in NYC--a trading heaven for fabricholics. Our garbage has to be locked against raccoons and bears, so no fabric. Only a suicidal person with no sense of smell would climb into the dumpster/compactor.

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  39. Honestly, I think someone should be 'horsewhipped' for sending that much fabric to landfill! Glad you were able to save some of it. You don't have to keep it, mind, you could always freecycle or sell it! Love that flannel - sounds warm!

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  40. Not in the garbage per se, but piled up in man-high mounds on the sidewalks of High Point, NC after a furniture show. Can't rescue it every year -- part of the the three pick-up truckloads rescued for me by a friend seven years ago are still haunting my closets and basement shelving.

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  41. After watching Dirty Money I've tried to convince my boyfriend that we should trip to NYC (we're in SC) to dig for gold, but he thinks I"m a lunatic. I get high on this kind of thing!!

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  42. I like that. Dumpster diving is fun. Don't waste precious time or hard-earned money on professional sewing classes, just steal their trash!!!!! :)

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  43. Wow.

    No fabric in the garbage (I'm somewhat envious about those dress forms, because I could use one, even if your definition of lightly used looks wonky to me ;-), but I've scored with books and a roll of very nice wallpaper. My sister has found a perfectly fine frying pan (I'm still using it) and an almost new pair of boots.

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  44. That is awesome, and is something I can only dream about LOL

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  45. I used to live in Chelsea across the street from the London Apartments (it was long ago and don't recall exactly what the apartments were called but they blocked out the sun and the stars). Coming home from work one evening I found a pile of bolts of fabric resembling that in the photo and I hauled some of it home and returned with my roommates for some more but the fabrics were mostly jerseys in the gawd awful colors. But it was exciting none the less.

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