Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I love estate sales

Only at an estate sale could you stumble across a treasure trove of department store mannequins in a backyard gazebo. No, I didn't buy any. I am a collector, but sometimes getting pics is enough.

I started going to estate sales in Kansas City with my office pal Pam. She was an old hand at it. She taught me how to do a quick cruise of a full house, how to recycle and reuse.

I still have a couple of nice '50s swing coats that I picked up at KC estate sales. That's also when I developed a fondness for vintage hats and linens.

One of my most treasured finds at a KC estate sale was a collection of three old pattern books (McCalls, Simplicity) at the home of an elderly woman (deceased) who had obviously been an avid seamstress. One of them was from the 1920s; it was filled with flapper dresses, middys and bloomers. Another was from the late '40s, with suits that looked like they came out of a Katherine Hepburn movie. The third one was from the early 1950s; it featured lots of wasp-waisted, full-skirted dresses ... shades of Doris Day.

I still scan the estate sale listings for mentions of "fabric" and "sewing." I've never found any more old pattern books, but I once in a while I find some wonderful vintage patterns. At 10, 25 or 50 cents a pop, they're a cheap to collect and a fun find. I think of them as my "baseball cards."

Tags: estate sale, collectibles