Too Good to Pass Up

I love to brag about where I live, but one thing I don’t think I’ve ever divulged is that either way I choose to turn at the end of my little road, there is a Goodwill Store about 3 miles away.  Sometimes I’ll be in the mood for a little thrift therapy and I’ll have to flip a coin to decide whether to turn right or to turn left.

Yesterday I turned left.

Anyone who thrift shops knows that much of the charm of the experience is  that one never knows what will be found.  I try to keep an open mind, but at the same time I’ve gotten very particular about what I buy.  I’m trying to clear out stuff, not add more useless clutter. But when a treasure presents itself, I’m not afraid to make it mine.

Yesterday’s treasure materialized in the form of a cardboard milk crate which was filled with old crafting supplies.  Most of it was pretty mundane, but I immediately spotted several rolls of vintage ribbon.  I started pulling it out of the box, and quickly realized how special it was – made in England in great colors (blue!) with woven edges.  I grabbed the box and headed to the counter where the worker apologized for the haphazard way the merchandise was presented.  He admitted they had not wanted to price it all individually, so they just threw it all in a box and put a one-price-takes-all on it.

That suited me, as things like this so often never make it to the sales floor, but become bin-fodder for the big clearance center.

Now I’m the proud owner of thirteen rolls of lovely striped rayon ribbon, most of which were never used.    The next question is “What do I do with it?”  I could corner the market on preppy ribbon watch bands, if only the ribbons were pink and lime green.

So I’m looking for ideas.  Please don’t be afraid to post your own thoughts, or a link to a pretty picture on Pinterest showing the perfect ribbon craft.

If you are an envious ribbon lover, and you’d like a bit of this for your own, drop me an email.  I’ll be happy to sell some of it for a nominal cost.


Filed under Sewing, Shopping

19 responses to “Too Good to Pass Up

  1. OMG! that is fantastic! What a find!


  2. ENVY–not just the ribbon but your fortuitous locale. I live close to thrifts but there hasn’t been a good thing in any of them in eons. (I’m talking at least a few years!) Anyway, I love buying thrift store ribbon to gussy-up gifts. I got a few grosgrain rolls long ago that were quite wide and likely meant for the floral (funeral) industry. One is red white and blue stripes–perfect for Memorial Day presents.


  3. What a find! It looks like good ribbon for hat bands, men’s or women’s!


  4. WOW!! What a fabulous find! I’m sure my husband would love some- I’ll ask him to take a peek at your blog. He likes to use these kinds of ribbons for hats 🙂
    Yay for good thrifting finds!


  5. I’d be tempted to weave them (— place mats?) and see what kinds of plaids form.


  6. Super gorgeous and I’m with everyone else: hat bands! A whole wardrobe’s worth at that. Go crazy and add some matching ribbon belts with ‘D’ rings to match. The weaving idea is great too: why not a few big tote bags for summer? Then have your shoe repair shop sew on some well worn vintage leather handles, and you’re off!


  7. How wide are they? They look like the stuff used on straw boaters.


  8. Gorgeous! What a great find! I’m so jealous… I use grosgrain ribbon as waist facings for pants. I use plain solid colors because that is all I can find, but if I can buy a few meters of some of these beautiful striped ones, it would add some interest to the inside of my pants! How wide are they? Would you be willing to ship to the Netherlands? I’ll pay for the shipping of course, as well as a price per meter.


  9. Most of them are slightly less than 3/4″, the white and yellow one is exactlu 3/4″

    Anyone who wants to buy them by the yard can contact me at thevintagetraveler (at) I won’t be able to answer any emails until Saturday evening. And yes, I’ll ship them anywhere.


  10. What an excellent, high-quality find!

    It’s actually not grosgrain – it’s petersham. Grosgrain has a bound edge, whereas petersham shows the “bumps” where the thread turns and heads back into the ribbon. The advantage of this is maintaining flex. Petersham is used not only on hat bands but as internal waistbands (standard in the 19th century), and can be steamed to fit a curve. Can’t do that with grosgrain! That also makes it more useable for binding edges and applying flat as a trim (it can follow a curved edge).

    I also like to use vintage petersham as fashion belting – great for changing out the look of a plain black dress, for example. Combine with a vintage sparkly brooch or 1930s slider buckle for a complete transformation!


    • I learned something today! I’ve often wondered about the difference between grosgrain and petersham, so thanks so much for the great explanation.

      I’ve got 2 projects started using the ribbon, and will share them soon.


  11. LB

    We can weave it into a piece of fabric, like I did for the kids years ago, and make a bodice for a jumper or a purse!


  12. Somehow I knew that must be the case!


  13. Maria

    I make aprons, they would make perfect apron strings! What about accenting totes with them too, lots and lots of things you could do with the ribbon, Great Find!!


  14. Pingback: Ribbon, Part II | The Vintage Traveler

  15. Pingback: Vintage Sewing, Anne Adams 4926, Hat | The Vintage Traveler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.