major haul!

vintage thrifting at The Shambles

Last week I hit up The Shambles market in the little town in which I live, and the spoils were just too good to keep to myself. This little lane comes alive every Friday with Stroud’s answer to Kempton Market. It is but a spec compared to somewhere like Kempton (indeed, when compared with most markets!) but what it lacks in square meters it makes up in bric-a-brac pedigree!

There are several stalls here but the one which draws most people irresistibly in is Mary’s vintage stall; one which I believe started with one pitch many years ago, and which now makes up half of the market and boasts a small team of helpers. There is also a small storage unit at the back (old stables I think) which if one asks politely, is open to the public and is well worth a nosey too! Wooly pastel blankets to the ceiling, I kid you not!

Today was all about finding materials for my textile work, so I went straight for the yarns, and then was majorly distracted by the excellent selection of sewing patterns. There seemed to be quite a few from the same era – 1950s and ’60s- and in the same size so they possibly came from the same person. Happily they were all my size so I had to control my excitement and only buy the ones which I knew I’d make use of. Check out the gorgeous details and colours on the covers; the ideal inspiration for styling and colour combinations!

I am rather terrible at buying patterns which I never get around to actually using. But these were shapes which I’ve been looking for for a while – either in a ready made vintage garment or sewing pattern. If you are not an experienced thrifter there are two main lessons to bear in mind; 1, to be flexible. You never know what you might find, and you have to be fluid to that. If you have a really fixed idea of what you want, in my opinion your shopping excursion may be a frustrating one. Thrifting is about seeing the potential in things and trusting your own eye to lead you to things which you personally like (and having basic sewing skills doesn’t hurt either!)

I also happened upon a few other delicious things; a selection of skinny belts – red and gold and brown which will match my various shoes perfectly! – some gorgeous old postcards and embroidered hankies – and I managed to score quite a bundle of yarns for my work. I also snagged a very Orla Kiely-esq towel, which went straight in a hot wash. All in all the perfect haul!
I highly recommend paying a visit, even if you’re on a tight thrifting budget; I spent a staggering £12 on all this loot. Check out Mary’s Facebook page here and Like it to get updates for what wonderful stuff she’ll have at the market! Happy hunting!

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