Shopping Thrift Stores and Pawn Shops For Collectable Jewelry Considered

Finding pristine pieces of collectable jewelry takes a lot of patience and a bit of knowledge. That means it takes some experience and observational talents that must be developed over time. Some folks like to peruse the online ads on eBay, Craigslist and such to find collectable jewelry, but you better make sure you know what you are buying and that the picture displayed is crisp and the actual digital shot of the item that is for sale.

It’s starting to sound a little dangerous buying stuff online or at online auctions isn’t it? Sure it is, so beware. Still, a talented shopper can find some super deals online, again, with patience, knowledge and knowing exactly which questions to ask, before they send the electronic payments to the seller. May I be so bold as to offer some advice on shopping for collectable jewelry another way, using the “what you see, is really what you get method?”

 
Why not go into a nicer area and check out the Pawn Shops? Right now with the economy in the tank, many folks have hocked their collectable jewelry to get quick cash to stay in their homes, pay their mortgages, or get money to stay out of bankruptcy. With job losses increasing at the bottom of the recession, there is quite the supply available.
 
If you have collectable jewelry and you take it to a Pawn Shop do not expect to get much for it, it’s too risky and many Pawn Shops will not give you much for it, as there is no definite market and its value is so hard to judge. There is a market for some specific top end brands like Rolex Watches, but for the most part collectable jewelry is not so easy to Pawn.

 
Perhaps this is why you can get such a good deal for it. And while you are at the Pawn Shop, why not check out the Thrift Stores too. The selection might not be so great during a down economy, since more folks are shopping for low prices for jewelry, but Thrift Stores often have great collectable jewelry, again if you are patient and know what to look for. Think on this.

Machine Embroidery on Jackets

Of all the different wearable items that can be embroidered, jackets would appear to be the easiest. When most of think of jackets in terms of embroidery, large areas for full back and left chest designs come to mind. What many of us often forget are the little curveballs apparel manufacturers are adding into their designs such as box pleats and seams down the back. Fashion forward styles may have things like raglan sleeves which can throw off design placement since they lack the guideline of a shoulder seam.

One sure way to begin with a jacket that is fit for embroidery is to focus on working with styles that give the fewest headaches. Therefore, do some research on the newest trends. In addition, start with a machine that is in top notch condition, with fresh needles and bobbins. Below are the other basic elements to consider in your quest for trouble-free jacket embroidery.

Choosing a hoop

The best choice in hoops for jackets is the double-high hoop. This hoop is taller than the average hoop so offers more holding power. You can wrap your hoop with white floral tape, medical gauze, twill tape or bias tape to prevent hoop marks and help give a snug fit. Tissue paper, backing or waxed paper can also be used. Hoop these materials on top of the jacket, then cut a window for the embroidery. A thin layer of foam under the tape can also help. But avoid masking tape as it tends to be sticky and leaves a residue on jacket and hoop. When choosing your hoops, remember that oval hoops hold better all the way around than do square hoops with oval corners. The “square oval” holds better in the corners than on the sides, top and bottom.

Needles

The size and type of needle will depend on the fabric of the jacket. Leather jackets call for an 80/12 sharp. (Wedge shaped “leather” needles tend to do more harm than good.) Use this same sharp needle on poplin and other cotton-type jackets. Use a 70/10 or 80/12 light ballpoint on nylon windbreakers and a 75/11 fine ballpoint on satins and oxford nylons to avoid runs in the fabric. Heavy wool jackets, canvas and denim jackets require a stronger sharp needle. Corduroy stitches well with either ballpoint or sharp. Remember that ballpoint needles nudge the fabric out of the way in order to place the stitch, while sharps cut through the fabric. A good rule of thumb is to use the same size needle to embroider as you would to sew the seams of the jacket in assembly.

As for thread, polyester is a good choice for embroidery on jackets that will be exposed to the weather and coastal climates. Be sure to include washing and dry cleaning instructions with your finished product. Consider choosing a large-eye needle when working with metallic and other heavy specialty threads

Placing the design

Hold a straight-edge across the jacket back from side seam to side seam at the bottom of the sleeves. Mark a horizontal straight line, then double check this with a measurement from the bottom of the jacket to the same line. Jackets are not always sewn together straight. Measure the straight line and divide in half to find the center of the jacket. Place a vertical line through the horizontal line at this point. The intersection of the two lines will be the center. If you are rotating the design to sew upside-down or sideways, take this into consideration when measuring and later when hooping. Use tailor’s chalk, disappearing ink pens or soap to mark your garments. Avoid using pins. Masking tape is available in thin strips at graphic and art stores. It is easy to remove and leaves no marks. Wider masking tape, though, can leave residue.

Centering the design eight inches down from the back of the collar is a good place to start, and should work with most jackets. Small sizes may do better at six inches; very large ones may end up at 10 inches. The top of the design should fall about 2 ½ inches down from the collar of the jacket. But remember that this will change if the jacket has a hood. Then it will be necessary to place the design below the hood.

The best way to determine the center point of the design is to have someone try the jacket on, or invest in a mannequin. Pin an outline of the design or a sew-out to the back, making sure to include lettering and graphics to determine size and placement. Left or right chest designs should be centered three to four inches from the edge of the jacket and six to eight down from where the collar and the jacket body intersect. When embroidering on jackets with snaps or buttons, use the second snap or button as a guide.

Be careful not to place the design too close to the sleeve side of the jacket. Designs are not to be centered on the left chest. The correct placement is closer to the placket than to the sleeve. The center of a sleeve design should fall three to four inches below the shoulder seam of the sleeve. When placing a design on the sleeve of a raglan style jacket, mark the placement using a live model or a mannequin.
Backings

The complexity of a design will often be the major factor when choosing a backing for embroidery. Stitch intensive designs may need the extra stability backing provides. Even jackets made of fabrics such as poplin and satin (that might not otherwise cry out for a backing) can benefit from its use, especially if the design is complex. Consider attaching the backing to the jacket with spray adhesive before hooping to increase stability. Attaching a piece of light cut-away backing-or even rear-away-to a satin jacket can hold the jacket better while stitching, allowing for good registration in your design. And, if you should need to remove stitching, the presence of a backing can make your job easier and safer. Backing can also prevent residue from coated canvas fabrics from raining down into the bobbin housing.

Most jacket materials do not require topping. The exception to this might be the corduroy or fleece jacket where the use of a topping can tame the fluff of the fleece and prevent stitches from falling into the valleys of the corduroy. The use of underlay does a better job than topping for challenging fabrics-and as an added benefit, it does not wash away.

Hooping technique

When hooping, especially large or bulky items, start from the “fixed” side of the thumbscrew and travel around the hoop to the “free end.” Use the heels of your hands to alleviate stress on your fingers and wrists. When hooping flat on a table, make sure that there is nothing between the hoop and the table. If any adjustment is needed, hold as much of the upper hoop in place as you can while adjusting. This prevents the garment from popping out of the hoop.

Always make sure the jacket lining is smooth, and double check to determine that the outer shell and the lining are even. Turning the sleeves inside out can help with hooping a lined jacket.

Hooping too loosely can cause puckering, too tightly can cause fabric burn. It can also stretch the fabric causing it to “spring back” when unhooped, meaning more puckering. Tips to prevent puckering include lightening the tension upper and lower, using tear-away if lettering is fill, using mid-weight cutaway if lettering or design is satin stitch. Adjust the hoops before hooping the garment and do not pull or stretch the fabric after it is hooped. Puckering is a risk when stitching on satin, and the lighter the weight of the satin, the more the danger of puckers. You will have the best results when the hold is firm. If you can move the satin around in the hoop, it will move while stitching.

A light pressing or steaming of the area to be embroidered can improve results and ensure that lining and jacket are lined up correctly. While you are checking to make sure your bobbins are full, it is a good idea to check that no part of the jacket is doubled up under the hoop. And please make sure you are not sewing pockets shut, especially inner ones.

Hooping the jacket upside-down and reversing the design is a good way to keep the bulk of the jacket away from the needles. Make sure the arms of the jacket are out of the way of any stitching before you begin. Use clothespins, bulldog clips, quilting clips or even large hair clips. Make sure that you support the weight of the jacket during embroidery to prevent the fabric from slipping out of the hoop, and to help ensure good registration. Embroidering jackets on the tabletop instead of in the tubular mode can help prevent the weight of the jacket from hampering the job. Check also to make sure the material is flat against the throat plate. If you can push down the fabric, the presser foot will too, and this can cause flagging. Flagging can cause stitching problems and poor registration.

Sexy Lingerie Buying Tips For Men

Sexy Lingerie Buying Tips For MenMen want to buy lingerie for the women in their lives. That said there is a growing need for information to help men choose the right lingerie for their wives and girlfriends, as often the purchase is a gift for a special occasion. Special occasions like a honeymoon, anniversary or vacation are a great reason to buy and wear lingerie. Relationships today are perhaps no more complicated than in the past, but it is clear that lingerie is growing in popularity due to a number of factors. Special occasions can be a loved one returning from a tour of duty or a weekend getaway. Regardless of the reason for buying lingerie, both men and women are often disappointed as the lingerie is not appropriate for the woman who has to wear it, or worst of all, it doesn’t even fit. Unlike flowers, jewelry or dinner and a movie, lingerie needs to fit, and if it doesn’t, the effect on the evening can be dramatic.

As women express themselves in the clothing they wear, lingerie is a major apparel line that women wear in intimate settings as well as increasingly as outer wear. Men are often shy to enter our lingerie retail store. Grown men are reduced to babbling and stuttering when faced with the prospect of talking to another woman about their wives or girlfriends undergarments. I see it time and again where a man comes in to buy lingerie and is visibly nervous. Enthused about the idea of buying his wife or girlfriend lingerie, he comes face to face with a woman who is asking him questions he is often ill prepared to answer.

While buying lingerie over the web is a lot easier for men due to the anonymity factor, the problems of buying the right lingerie for the woman who has to wear it, and getting the sizes right still remain. Most women love lingerie, but many do not relish the thought of having to wear what their husband or boyfriend chooses. When women return the lingerie they often admit it was the wrong size or their husband must have bought it for themselves as the woman would have never purchased the garment. Men need some assistance in how to buy the right lingerie for the woman and occasion. It is understandable that many men love to see women in lingerie, but they need to focus on the woman they are buying it for, and how it will look on her, as well as how it makes her feel.

Men know what they like, but that doesn’t always translate to the women in their lives. Many men make the decision of what their wife or girlfriend will look great in is as a result of of television programs or movies. While there is nothing wrong with that, it may not result in the woman in his life being happy with the choice. Men need to think before they buy lingerie for the special woman in their lives. Many men enter our store and complain that their wives or girlfriends don’t wear the lingerie they buy them. This is due at least in part to the possibility the lingerie was bought to fulfill a man’s fantasy without consideration of the woman who has to wear the outfit. A real girl who may have some concerns about such things as modesty or her body image Does that mean men are inconsiderate when purchasing lingerie? Yes, sometimes they are as they often buy what they like, ignoring what the woman may like or want to wear. Lingerie, unlike outerwear does little to nothing to conceal body imperfections, real or imagined, and little wonder a woman refuses to wear something that makes her look or feel bad about herself.

Buying a woman lingerie is not unlike purchasing any gift. Giving some thought to the purchase before the fact will improve the chance that the lingerie is worn and appreciated. Whenever buying another person a gift one should consider a couple of factors. Consider exactly who it is you are buying this gift for. Is the gift for her, or is is for me? A good gift is one that takes the recipient into consideration, not just what you may like. But it is not just taking her feelings into consideration, but knowing her personal taste and attributes as well as her height, weight or favorite colors may be the beginnings of a gift that is not worn or appreciated. Is it true that it is the thought that counts? Of course not! If there was no or very little thought put into the purchase of lingerie, then perhaps it is the thought that counts, and in fact counts for very little. The thought of giving a woman an intimate gift of lingerie that exposes her body and it is the wrong size, too revealing for the womans sense of modesty, or the wrong color can be insulting.

This article is really just a couple of suggestions that should help men choose lingerie appropriate for the occasion, and most importantly the woman who will wear the lingerie. So let’s get started. First are the feelings of the woman! Never lose sight of the fact that you are buying lingerie for a living, breathing, thinking person. It is not like buying a toothbrush, or even a sweater. Lingerie comes with an emotional charge. That is one reason many men buy lingerie. That emotional charge can be great, and it can be the basis of disappointment. Unlike other gifts, lingerie may be the most intimate gift one can buy for a woman. It is, after all intimate apparel, reserved only for the special person in her life. Also, it exposes some potential flaws, real or otherwise that she likely doesn’t like to advertise to anyone, especially the man in her life.

Second think about her about her likes and dislikes in clothing, comments she may have made about various fashion styles, celebrities, and her comfort level when it comes to lingerie. Whew! If this sound a little like a primer on relationships, it is and it isn’t. The truth is buying lingerie does require knowing something about the recipient. Does this mean that you shouldn’t buy lingerie for someone you don’t know a lot about? Yes! As a general rule there are those you buy lingerie for, and those you don’t. Don’t buy lingerie for someone you don’t know well, and that includes your wife or girlfriend. Learn who she is first, and the rest is relatively easy. How long does it take to learn what she likes? An hour or more should do it.

Comfort level is important as everyone has a different tolerance for things. Tread gently my friend. Lingerie should not become a test of your and her political will. Understand her comfort zone, and go beyond it at some risk. The point here is to stretch her comfort zone, but any attempt to violate it will likely do more harm than good. Ask yourself does she like it when you suggest new things, or is she more likely to prefer her own tastes? Does she like the assertive lead taker, or is she happy making all her own decisions? Regardless of the answers, know your wife or girlfriend, her personality as well as her stated limits.

Is it all that difficult? No, not really. Most men know that their wives or girlfriends enjoy the theatre or movies, staying at home or partying until the police arrive, or skirts and heels versus sweats and flip flops. So don’t turn it into rocket science. If you don’t know the womans likes and dislikes, ask! Ask her if she would wear the outfit you are looking at in the catalog. What does she think about wearing a thong, or a mini skirt or whatever? Whatever the answer is, you accomplish at least two things. One you learn what she likes, the other is you learn what she dislikes.

Step three is what I call- fact finding. Get the information and gather the clues. When she steps in the shower, or when she leaves to go to the store check out her panty drawer. Check out her clothing, preferably lingerie, panties and bras to get the following information. Bra size, panty size, color preferences, style preferences, size of her jeans, skirts, blouses and yes, even her shoes. Somehow get her weight, or at least an educated guess. Every man should have a list of all his partners sizes, preferences on his person at all times.

It takes ten minutes of your time, and should be updated from time to time to take into account weight loss, or gain, changes in comfort zones, if any and color preferences! Don’t forget shoes, as a gift of shoes could make you the king of her kingdom. Buying shoes for a woman is not easy as styles change often, women have specific preferences based upon the season, the occasion, their unique likes and dislikes and other factors unique to her. If you can master buying shoes for the woman in your life, then you have arrived! Let’s start with something a lot easier. Lingerie!

Now that you have an idea about her comfort zone, as well as her sizes you are onto step four, what I like to call surveying the landscape. You have a general idea what she likes; you know what she can fit into, now you need to know what is available in the marketplace. This will take a little longer than steps one, two and three as they are easy while step four requires a survey of the internet, and perhaps a visit to a local store.

The beauty of the internet shopping is offset slightly by the disadvantage of being unable to try items on. This can be a substantial disadvantage in some cases. I suggest you shop online but beware of a couple of things. Check out their return policy and call them if you have any questions about what can be returned. Second understand your sizing as lingerie does not generally follow conventional sizing due to the nature of the lingerie, as well as deviations in products made overseas. Finally, remember that the model wearing the outfit on the internet is likely 10-25 pounds lighter in real life, is 5’4″ tall before she puts on the 5 inch platforms and the garment has been pinned, tucked and perhaps altered to fit her body like a second skin. She is a model, after all. Even if your girlfriend is a model, or ought to be, the garment will likely fit differently.

The benefits of internet purchases are generally selection, as few boutiques in your hometown will carry the styles, colors and brands available on line. Next, the cost of items online is generally much lower than in retail stores. Finally is the anonymity of buying lingerie from your home is far different from driving down to your local neighborhood lingerie boutique store and negotiating women’s undergarments.

When you sit down to look at lingerie online, use your save a favorite function liberally. Why? Because you are going to need to sit down with your girl to refine the search, and perhaps make a purchase or two. What should you look for when you are searching alone? Here is where the information you have previously gathered comes into play. What is your woman’s favorite feature? Her legs, tummy or her feet? This is where you start. Does she have a nice tummy with a sexy belly button ring? Then a baby doll that shows off her stomach will likely make a good fit. Does she have legs from the floor to the ceiling that drive men wild? Then a lingerie set with stockings, garter belt and a matching bra may be just the ticket.

What doesn’t work? Stay away from missy sizes if she is tall, or over 160-165 pounds. If she is long waisted ignore the teddies and body stockings. Does she have very slender legs, stay away from hosiery. Does she have a large derriere? Stay clear of one size fits most.

Colors to avoid! All colors she doesn’t like as well as prints and designs that are risky as they may just not be to her liking. Colors that are safe- black, white, perhaps red. Don’t venture too far here, unless you think she will like the color, and it is compatible with her own skin tones. Color and style are risky by their very nature. You can experiment with hot pink, fuchsia and other hot colors as these garments are hot by their nature. While she may not have hot pink as a favorite color, a lot of lingerie is made in hot colors for dancers and bedroom attire.

If she is a plus size woman the news is good as more and more manufacturers are making sexy lingerie for curvy girls. But be sure you understand plus size sizing. Many women don’t understand it because plus size lingerie is sold often in extra large, 1x through 6x. Be absolutely certain before ordering, or ask the online customer’s service representative exactly what sizes will fit your ladies curves. Be prepared to give the height, weight, bra size, waist size in order to size her lingerie correctly. Be careful when buying plus size lingerie that is offered as one size fits most-plus. This is a bit of a risk as a 1x is obviously not the same as a 3x. The manufacturers do this to make the garment less expensive, not to make it easier for you to buy it. The same applies to misses’ lingerie sold as one size fits most-misses.

Caution: One size fits most is not one size fits all. In the past manufacturers labeled these items one size fits all. Through bad experience, the labels have been changed to read one size fits most, but many people assume that it means fits all. It doesn’t! Typically, but not always one size fits most means up to 5’6″ and up to 145 pounds. The one size fits most is very confusing to most buyers, and must have a substantial spandex content to fit.

When ordering online the word to the wise is: Order from a website that has a toll free number with a live person to speak to. Second order from a site that carries inventory. The vast majority of sites are bedroom enterprises that carry little or no inventory. Third beware of sites that are drop shippers only. While drop shipping is perfectly good, and larger sites utilize some component of drop shipping, drop ship only sites rarely have good product knowledge as they may only ship from one manufacturer, and since they carry no stock cannot develop product knowledge when they do not have inventory to actually pull the product and respond to specific inquiries. Often the only option they have is to call the manufacturer. Third ascertain how long they have been in business on line. Do they have a retail store. What is their Google page rank? Don’t be afraid to ask as reputable businesses are proud to answer those questions.