Spit Shine Man Goods

Jaunty, Rakish Menswear

Repurposing Mistake Fabric

Part of the fun of tie-making is the fabric hunt. While I’m particularly fond of estate sales, musty old buildings with ceiling leaks, and flea markets, I can’t not give most of my fabric-seeking credit to that most cherished of online crafty spaces–Etsy.

Oh, how I love that nearly impossible to navigate, delightfully tangential rabbit hole of oft-well-photographed items. Oh, how easy I find it to lose hours at a time simply by reinventing or carefully adapting the phrase “vintage fabric by yard.” And one of the best things about Etsy is the personality of its sellers. It’s not unusual to find a charming handwritten note with your items, or nearly a half-yard of brightly colored fabric you didn’t order used simply to wrap your newly purchased treasures. It makes the shopping such a pleasure, even if you lose hours out of your day to do it.

But I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes mistakes are made on Etsy. Let’s be honest, often mistakes are made. When you can’t touch, see in person, or even smell your fabric, you’re basically using your imagination. Particularly when you have the terrible combination of seller who doesn’t use some sort of measuring tool to represent print size and buyer who’s too trigger happy to stop and ask before hitting the purchase button.

Which is how I ended up with a beautiful, but wholly un-tie-worthy crunchy black fabric with opposite-facing lines of grey and white flower vines. And while these fabrics often sit unloved on my shelf for months at a time, sometimes a new baby comes bouncing along and gives a beautiful new reason to repurpose that mistake fabric.

So now a dear friend will have a new diaper bag, and an almost-forgotten fabric will find a home.

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