how long have you been in business? Since 1999, but I didn't start
selling patterns till 2000. I moved off eBay to Main Street Mall
Online's pattern mall three years ago, and I recently bought the
Vintage Fashion Library site, as well. Yeah, I'm not one to tolerate
not having anything to do!
what motivated you to go into the vintage patterns business? I was
looking for an interesting way to make some extra money on eBay. I
needed something that would be easy to hide from my rather OCD
husband, who hates clutter, so I started selling patterns, which were,
I figured, easy to hide in a closet. That was 17,000 patterns ago.
Hubby has now given up hope of having a room that is patternless.
what did you do before this? My "real" job is as a phone triage
nurse, taking phone calls from people who have medical questions.
It's pretty amusing, most days.
where are you based? Indianapolis. We live about 8 blocks from the
hospital where my husband was born, in the neighborhood he dreamed of
living in when he was a kid. Do I have a chance of moving? Never. I
did, however, grow up moving all the time, and had moved 12 times by
the age of 16. I like having roots now.
More fun questions:
what's the weirdest/best/craziest/most beautiful thing you've ever
found? Most beautiful and best would
have to be my new favorite vintage pattern catalog (I collect). It's
a 1954 Spadea, full of Ceil Chapman, Tina Leser, Clare McCardell, Jo
Copeland, and more. I'll sell it after I get it catalogued — MAYBE.
Coolest would have to be the faux-lero pattern, which I'm still
waiting on Janet to sew, so I can see it (hint hint), another would
be a 1932 Vogue Pattern Book, that has a handwritten note next to one
dress, saying that she's wearing that dress on election night, "to the
Democratic candidate, Roosevelt's, house, on election night." Too
Craziest would probably be a vintage obstetrical corset, from the 40s.
I can't imagine strapping in a pregnant belly, but it came with
instructions on how to adjust it every month, as the belly grew. Oye.
what do you have in stock that you can't believe hasn't sold? The
Schiaparelli and Adrian patterns I have. But oh, they'd have to be
listed, right? Of my listed ones, I'd love to see the daring person
who snaps up this one!
what do you dream about finding? Pictorial Review catalogs from
the 1920s, with my grandmother's name in them. She was the original
Miss Helene, and was an editor for Pictorial Review.
what do you enjoy most about working with vintage patterns? I just love looking at them. It reminds me of years past, when ladies dressed like ladies, but it's also such a piece of history, watching the trends in styles, sizes, etc. I just love patterns, period.
what do you wish someone would ask you about your site? Not so much a question, but I like input as to what people like to see on the site. Probably my favorite thing is when people ask me "can you find XXX pattern for me because……" It's like a treasure hunt, and I have a pretty good success rate, even if they don't know the pattern number. And I just added credit card capability to the VFL, so now people don't have to just use PayPal, they can use plastic!
it's a good day at work when …
I find a bunch of 30s patterns, or some Vogue Pattern books. Of course, no listing gets done, but I sure do enjoy looking at them.
if I ran the internet for a day I'd … get rid of spam.
the blogs I read (other than ADAD are …) The Girl Can't Help It
(hilarious!), The Vintage Traveler (such a nice read), The Vintage Goddess/Damn Good Vintage, and Zuburbia.
you'd laugh if you knew this about me … I don't sew. I passed
home ec because I could cook. My sewing skills are rather limited,
but it's on my list of things to master before I die. God knows I
have enough patterns to choose from!
Oh, and a couple of other advertiser things to let you know about:
Sheila of Out of the Ashes decided to go camping this weekend and so she's having a special "gone camping" sale until Sunday, offering 15% off. Use coupon code GLAMIS!
Penny is renovating the Antique Dollhouse of Patterns, so her site will be down until December. Look for a big sale when she comes back, and you can still email her with pattern requests!