Sunday, 18 October 2009

Rumble in the jumble

Here are just a few of our finds from the quarterly Scout jumble sale held yesterday. Amongst the haul are a collection of early 1960's evening dresses, a 1940's crepe and velvet dress, a 1940's navy blue silk cocktail dress, an emerald green 1950's Carnegie silk top trimmed with rhinestones, some Spanish tooled leather cowboy boots and a vintage Kelly bag.

In my youth jumble sales were magnificent occasions, I'd come away from the church hall with armfuls of beaded flapper dresses, 1940's Barathea suits and chintzy tea dresses donated by wealthy old ladies from the neighbouring Victorian mansions. Nowadays the houses have been bulldozed to make way for flats and today's lust for disposable fashion means you're more likely to find overwashed George at Asda and Primarni than the vintage treasures of yesteryear.

A rough guide to the rules of the jumble:
  • Wear your bag across the body stuffed with strong carrier bags and plenty of change.
  • Get there at least 15 minutes early.
  • Don't get bogged down by labels and sizes. Grab anything of a colour and pattern that appeals. Give everything a cursory once over, reject clothing with obvious stains and damage unless they have fab buttons or a trim that can be reused.
  • Snaffle leather bags after checking for broken zips and clasps, scuffs and scratches can be removed with leather food.
  • Check footwear for untipped, worn down heels and always reject if too damaged.
  • Search boxes for silk and chiffon scarves, leather belts, vintage ties and paired gloves.
  • Rummage through the household section for feather-filled quilts and vintage bed linen. Embroidered tablecloths can be reworked into pillowcases and funky retro curtains made into bags or skirts.
  • Check out the bric-a-brac for old suitcases, padded coathangers and shoe-stays. Keep a look out for rolled-up rugs and vintage framed prints as they are often propped against a back wall and not easily visible.
  • Choose your jumble sale wisely - well-established parish churches with large congregations, posh suburbs with elderly residents and Boy Scout groups are a better prospect than jumbles sales held on modern housing estates and at school halls.
  • Don't be disheartened if you come away with nothing, the more jumble sales you go to the more experienced you'll become.


  1. Wow, the dresses are utterly divine, I wonder if any of them would grow legs and walk down to Bristol?!

    I must get checking for jumble sales in my area, there must be at least one over the winter!

  2. Aaaah, those cowboy boots! I am in love. Will you be selling them in your shop? What size are they?! I am sorely tempted.

    I took your advice at the car boot I visited this morning - I rummaged for 2 hours and came away with a few great bargains! Just posting them to my blog now.

    :) xx

  3. They are gorgeous aren't they?
    They are a 39 and fit my size 7 hooves with room to spare but sadly a little big on the leg so a bit of a "broomstick in a bucket" effect going on.


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