Today, in thrifty crafty news…

I love to make things, and I love to save money. So I often combine the two, and buy craft supplies at thrift stores. I can get a gallon-sized Ziplock bag full of still-in-the-package zippers for $3.99 that way, instead of paying over $2 for each one. It just makes sense to me to buy 15 or 20 zippers for the cost of two, even if the colors aren’t all exactly what I was looking for or the materials of a few are less than ideal. 

Even better than the savings, though, can be the unforeseen excitement inside. Today, I was sorting through my zippers, preparing to make some back-to-school pencil bags or something, and I noticed this kelly green number. 008 I don’t often use the metal zippers, because, you know, in the cold of Minnesota winter, terrible things can happen. But for a simple pencil case, it should be fine.  But then I looked a little closer.



Someone had crossed out the word “METAL”. Why would they do that? And they’ve written….”Nylon”? What? On an unopened zipper? So I opened it up to get to the bottom of this fascinating mystery. 

011 Hm. What’s been written is true: it’s not a metal zipper at all. It is nylon indeed, and it’s slightly frayed on the end. It’s not unusual for me to find used zippers among my sack o’zippers, but they are never put back in their package. But wait. There’s more.

012On a bit of scratch paper, a note cut to fit inside the package says “This nylon zipper opened up when I bent over in green flowered dress. Easter Apr 14, 1974.”

Seriously, this note is worth more than $3.99 all by itself. Forty years ago, this poor woman’s dress opened up, probably along the side or back, and left her more, um, exposed than she would like, even for springtime. So she bought a metal zipper to replace it, because, seriously, she loved that green flowered dress. Who wouldn’t? Now, this next part I don’t quite understand: rather than throw away the offending zipper, or tossing it into the “use for a pencil case” pile, she carefully cut scratch paper to fit the replacement zipper’s packaging, explained what had happened, then folded the offending nylon one exactly, and slid them both back in the package. I don’t think she tried to return it to the store, because she wrote on the package, too, that this was nylon, not metal. Eventually, I imagine, she died, and somebody donated her sewing supplies, and I wandered upon her note. Nothing this cool ever happens to me when I buy stuff in non-thrift stores.

I kind of want to make myself a green flowered dress now. But maybe I should look for a metal zipper. 


About Jennifer

Writer teacher mama sister friend sewist poet trying to stay warm in Minnesota's northwest.
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One Response to Today, in thrifty crafty news…

  1. Shirley Johnson says:

    That was a wonderful story, Jen. Thank you for sharing it. I enjoy some of the same adventures as you, but I don’t do much sewing these day; too old and too busy reading what the internet has to offer, but I enjoy your experiences vicariously. If I could tear myself away from the computer I would sort and give away “stuff,” but, as my mother so frequently said, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    Do you or any of your readers want some shrunken sweater material? During my “collect wool sweaters for shrinking” stage I collected, shrunk, and trimmed probably a hundred sweaters. That is a wild guess because I never counted. I was going to make a shrunken wool quilt and decided that was silly because even in the winter I keep the thermostat at about 64 degrees and only use a sheet and one light blanket. I keep thinking I should do it anyway just on principle, but I have dining room chair seats to reupholster, my computer chair torn apart patiently waiting to be reupholstered, and I just purchased five yards of lovely red silk sheer with beautiful bright, embroidered, flowers for bedroom curtains to replace the cellular blinds which fell apart. The only sewing I have done recently is to make eight cell phone bags for a couple of women in their eighties to encourage them to “wear” their cell phones in case they are to fall (it had happened). Several of them were made our of leather scraps. I have some gorgeous fabrics acquired over the years and I recently came across the sample fabric collage I had started many years ago! I think it will become a purse if I can tear myself away from the computer!

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