Monday, April 11, 2016

My Secret Life As a Stripper

A Day of True Confessions

Nearly 30 years ago, I started stripping. I was looking for a way to get some new things, but I didn't have a lot of money. I tried not to be embarrassed, and shared my secret with only my closest friends. Surprisingly, I found a few who had also turned to stripping for the cache.

It's not for the meek or fainthearted, and takes a fair amount of brains and strength. Once you've gotten started the time passes fairly quickly, and it's like money in your pocket. I find if I just turn the music on really loud and use a good spotlight, it eases my fear of making a mistake. 

A Once Loved Little Girl's Purse from GAP

Our 5 children grew like weeds, and I took whatever one grew out of, and passed it to the next in line. Sometimes there were items beyond repair or out of date, and these became candidates to strip for parts. And now, every time I need a buckle, D-ring, or fancy fastener, I check my stash I've created from stripping. Fasteners are one of the most expensive components of sewing, and my stash is like money in the bank.

If you've never stripped an article for parts, be forewarned. Most are sewn with an industrial machine, and heavier thread than used in regular garments. A ripper like the one above is a trustier tool than the one below that snapped like plastic.

It's a reverse lesson in construction to take an item apart. You can see where they placed the interfacing, what they used for a bottom stabilizer, and so on.

Yes, zippers are reusable, but there are a few things to keep in mind. One, if left as above, the pull would slide right off the zipper making it nearly impossible at times to fix. 

Stabilize it for future use by simply sewing a piece of fabric across the teeth to hold them together in place. Sew SLOWLY across the teeth, or even turn the flywheel by hand.

One little purse gave up two different length metal zippers, the hardware for an adjustable strap, and a set of D-rings. That wasn't too shabby for 30 minutes of stripping!

Consider also taking off buttons, expensive trims and appliques, or simply stripping the item for the fabric itself. Used goods stores are hit or miss. Always check the integrity of the fastener.

The pink collar had already been used as a dog collar before I turned it into one for attaching an electric fence unit. The electronic unit went bad, and the new collar came without a place to fix a name tag. My Minnie is a real runner so this was of high priority. Once again, I took from Peter to pay Paul.

Here I got a *plastic snap buckle, and an adjustable thingy for keeping the strapping together. Also a D-ring, which I promptly transferred to her new collar.

*I would not advise reusing a used buckle on another dog collar as it is made of plastic, and may no longer be safe. I would use it, however, in a purse closure or place it would not be a critical piece.

Using a zipper foot, just stitch it to the collar securely!

Flatten it out, and hang the dog's ID tag. At least if she gets lost, someone will know who to call to return her.

I certainly hope you've enjoyed all my reasons for being a stripper. Should you ever need any assistance in this area or music recommendations, just drop me an email at

Enjoy your week!
Come on, Doxie girls. 
Let's go sew.

Linking up with~
Show and Tell with Bambi
Cooking Up Quilts
Love Laugh Quilt
Fiber Tuesdays
Bits N Bobs


Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

What a great idea. Recycling at its best!

Kate said...

Very thrifty way to enhance the stash. Thanks for the tips.

Stitchin At Home said...

I have been known to strip out useful items before discarding the not so good remainder.

Bonnie said...

Yep, been there, done that. I'm not quite as dedicated as some are though. But, I have such a feeling of accomplishment when I can find the right notion in the collection rather than buying it. Better in my stash of stuff than in the land fill.

Sarah Craig said...

I bet you'll get a lot of hits just from the title of this post! Good work, and a good reminder!!

Jayne said...

Well I am shocked! I didn't know you were that kind of gal! I've been known to strip a little here and there too! Thanks for the reminder that we are never to old too do so!

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

I've never thought about stripping my old bags for hardware, what a great idea! I always have such a hard time finding what I want when it comes to handbag hardware. Now I will remember to look through my old stuff or even pop into Goodwill for a few finds.

Unknown said...

Great thinking. And I'll bet if we keep looking at unexpected items we'll find more.

Sandra Walker said...

Love ya my girl. Did not realize you were way deeper into stripping than I am, ha! I've stripped a little, but need to get more dedicated. I just donated a knee-deep pile of my teaching clothing to Goodwill...was thinking hmm, I should strip some of these...but na, didn't.