Flea Market Confessions

On Saturday I decided on a whim to drive to Charlotte to the monthly Metrolina.  The latest tropical storm missed us, and I was also dying to see the clothing exhibit at the Mint Museum, so it just seemed right.  I got a late start, but Saturday traffic is light, and I got there with plenty of great old stuff ready and waiting for me.

As it turned out, it was a day for confessions.  The first one came from a seller who had some clothing and accessories.  I spent some time looking, but decided against buying, especially after I found out she had a shop with lots more vintage goodies.  After promising to visit her in the coming days, I off-handedly asked, “Do you have any old sewing patterns?”

She looked a bit puzzled and then said, “Oh, do people want those?  I’ve never fooled with them.”

I replied that yes, there were many people who seek out vintage patterns, and who actually sew the designs.  Her next question was, “How much can you get for them?”   I told her it depended, but at least $5 each and more for older ones.

I swear, the woman blanched to a pure white.  She said, “I just threw out a big cabinet full of patterns from the 30s and 40s.”

By that time I literally had my hands on my ears.  Enough!  I did manage to give her my card, with the promise to save her a trip to the dumpster next time she found a load of patterns.

The next confession came from a guy who had boxes and boxes of junk.  It was the type of situation where I just had to get on my hands and knees to plow through the boxes.  I finally stumbled upon three boxes of textiles; clothing, scarves, fabric, bits and pieces.  I started pulling out some really sweet 1940s casual day dresses, most with tags still attached.  But some had odd stains and little holes that couldn’t have been normal wear.  After paying for my finds, I asked if he had any more clothing on his truck, which was still half full of stuff he did have room for.

“Well, I don’t know, but probably.  I use the clothes to wrap other stuff in.”  “What?”  was all I could manage.  “”Makes great wrapping material, and then I just stuff it in the box.  I just sell the clothes for the buttons so what’s a few stains?”

I didn’t even try to explain.

The last confession is my own.  While going through the above-mentioned clothing, I was joined by a teenager, cute and every bit of a size 0.  She was in serious pursuit of vintage.  I could see her eyeing my armful of 1940s frocks.  In a moment of weakness it occured to me that it might be good thrifting Karma to offer some to her.  I was opening my mouth to make the offer when I had a vision.  I literally SAW this young woman on the floor of her bedroom surrounded by these lovely dresses with a pair of scissors in her hand.  In a flash I knew this girl would not be wearing a 1940s dress that hit her just below the knees.  And so my mouth clamped shut.

I’ve been doing penance, otherwise known as laundry, all day.  A small price to pay to have saved my dresses.

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Filed under Road Trip, Shopping, Vintage Clothing

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