Bring and buy

For the last few years (about 15 to be precise!) I’ve been a member of Hexagon Quilters. While not a charity as such, it is a non-profit group aimed at bringing Quilters together and promoting the art. January is always AGM month and the committee have come up with a great formula of “An evening of a little business and much pleasure”. As last night’s was the 25th AGM they must be doing something right!

One of the highlights is the annual Bring and Buy table where members bring quilting and sewing items they no longer need and sell them. The group takes a small percentage of the profits so to me it’s a kind of pop-up charity shop! There’s always a wide range of items on sale, reflecting the diverse backgrounds, tastes and interests of the roughly 150 group members.

I didn’t pick up too much last night, but I did pick up a couple of retro style Moda fat quarters, some bag handles (always handy!), a larger piece of vintage floral fabric and a fab 1960s apron pattern! I just love these old dressmaking patterns! I have a few now and I hardly ever actually use them, but I love looking at the pictures!!

Charity Supported


  • 1960s dress pattern, cost 60p, value approx £10 on ebay
  • 3m fabric, cost £3.40, value about £15
  • Bag handles, cost £2, value £15 (John Lewis)
  • Total haul cost £6, value around £40

Something from nothing, part 1

Sometimes a new haul doesn’t give immediate gratification, but needs time and thought to enable it to reach its full potential. This is particularly the case with the various craft stashes I’ve accumulated over the years. Often I find inspiration will strike at inopportune moments, but wherever possible I try to run with it.

Not exactly a charity shop in the usual sense, but last year I was lucky enough to visit the National Needlework Archive based in the Old Chapel on the former Greenham Common Airbase site near Newbury. The building itself is rather fascinating, as are its contents. The Old Chapel Textile Centre houses a collection and database of textiles from all over the UK, particularly those in community settings, for research and also to promote the historical and artistic value of these items. The building provides space for exhibitions and conferences, as well as sales of donated textiles and haberdashery, which was the reason for my visit!

The sale proved pretty fruitful, adding to my growing stash of vintage fabrics and trimmings, so I knew which bag to rummage in when Small requested a new bag for her gym kit.

First, choose your fabrics…..

A couple of modern ones and a very pretty retro (I’m guessing 1980s!) floral in the foreground.

I tend to be a little “free form” with my sewing, so I trimmed the pieces to roughly equal sizes with pinking shears then sewed them together in pairs on my machine to make two sides of the bag. I placed the sides right sides together then stitched round on 3 sides to make the bag shape, stopping just short of the top on both sides to leave a gap for the drawstring. I clipped the corners then turned the bag through and pressed thoroughly. To make the drawstring casing I folded the top edge down about 1 inch all round (leaving that little gap I’d left in the seams to make a hole on each side) then top stitched  all the way round to make a channel. I made a couple of drawstrings from scrap strips of fabric by folding two sides over to the middle and zigzag stitching in place. Finally I threaded the drawstrings through the casing and knotted them to keep them in place.

I was pretty pleased with the finished product!

As was Small, and her gym teacher!

Charity Supported


  • Fabric and haberdashery, cost approx £5
  • Value after work….I only used a tiny amount of the fabric for this project and I’ve seen similar bespoke items for sale on Etsy for £10- £15 or more!

The Kindness of Strangers

A couple of years ago I discovered freecycle. I’ve always been a fan of re-using and recycling, and freecycle is the Internet embodiment of that. The freecycle motto is “Changing the world one gift at a time” which really appeals to me. One girl’s trash is another’s treasure and all that. I’ve been amazed by the grateful thanks with which some of my gifts have been received (particularly Small’s old toddler bed, about which I had several emails of thanks!) and even more so the generosity of people I’ve received gifts from. 

The latest came from a fortuitiously timed lunchtime browse of the site.  I saw a recently posted advert for a box of embroidery threads located fairly close to my work so I sent a little (politely worded as always!) message in response and waited…. Within the hour there was a reply.  The box was still available if I’d like to drop in on my way home. 

I was expecting something the size of a shoe box, so when the man came to his door with a cubic metre box stuffed full of all sorts of different types of thread I was pretty taken aback! They had belonged to his mother who had passed away and he just wanted them to go to a good home where they would be used.  I was more than happy to oblige! It was an amazingly unexpectedly generous gift so I feel a sense of obligation to carry on what this lady started and give her threads the good home I promised.


  • Total cost £0, cost new is tricky to calculate but must run into £hundreds!