Monday, April 25, 2011

Unusual Places to Source Sewing Materials: Auctions

Auctions can be great places to source materials. You never know what you will find. I checked out an auction last weekend in Kansas City with my Mom. It was the first auction that I have ever bid on anything myself. I wanted to share with you a little about my experience. It might help you on your materials sourcing adventures!

 Pros about auctions:
  • You never know what you might find - rare specialized machinery, unique sewing notions, bits and pieces leftover from other people's projects that could be inspirational, vintage clothing and fabric.
  • Sometimes you can purchase large quantities of the same item for a bulk price
  • It is a good opportunity to take a chance on a new material 
  • If you are the only person interested in a particular item, it is possible to get it for very inexpensive
Less great things about auctions:
  • You must decide on the spot how much something is worth to you
  • They can be very overwhelming
  • Often things are dirty or grungy (take that into consideration when deciding how much your are willing to pay)
  • Sometimes a lot of people want the same thing as you (that can drive the price up)
  • There are no warranties or product guarantees; everything is "as is"
  • It is often difficult to judge the exact the working or not working condition of an item on the spot, especially in the case of machinery
  • Keep an eye out for rust and missing parts in the case of machinery or equipment you are interested in bidding on. If you are looking for working machinery with all of the parts present, auctions might not be the place for you when looking to buy these items.
  • Do your research beforehand. How much does each item cost new? It is always good to know the new price to weigh how much something is worth used.
  • Seriously consider the condition something is in. Do you have the time it will take to clean or restore the item and source new parts? Or is it worth it to you to just buy this item new?
  • Keep an eye out for rare objects or materials that you simply can't buy new. This is when auctions are really worth your time.
  • Try not to buy junk, but be willing to throw some things out if you get a lot of something with a few gems and also some broken or useless bits mixed it. No big deal.
  • Try to stay focused and calm. It can be very easy to find yourself confused and overwhelmed with what you should bid on.
This is my best auction advice! Let me know how your auctioning adventures go. Feel free to send any unwanted sewing materials or vintage treasures my way if that isn't your thing. One last bit of advice: don't ever feel guilty keeping secrets about your best materials sourcing places. These secrets are very personal and can make a big difference in your product quality. It's okay to keep them to yourself. <3


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