Monday, July 16, 2012

Introducing SewHallie on Etsy

You know that feeling when you open a closet door and things start to tumble out on your head?  That was the impetus for my new Etsy shop, SewHallie.

My grandmother Hallie taught me to sew when I was 12 years old. I was always fascinated with her sewing room. Every drawer and cupboard was filled with vintage sewing notions and fabrics that she had saved all through the Depression years and beyond. Fast forward through the decades. I started my own collection of high end fabrics and notions during my years at fashion design school and then during my time as a manager for a fine fabric store. I spent years as the owner and designer of an infant clothing business. I also had a brief stint as a costume maker.

All of those fabrics, laces, patterns, buttons, and bits and bobs were packed into boxes and moved with me from place to place.  For the last 10 years, they have been stored away in a rather large closet here at Couture Allure.  That closet was loaded floor to ceiling with all these wonderful treasures I planned to use "someday."

Time for a Reality Check. It's rather silly of me to keep hanging onto these treasures when they can be used today by a new generation of seamstresses and crafters who have an appreciation for the quality of vintage.  I am now offering the contents of the closet to you at Sew Hallie.  Lots of the things I'll be listing have personal memories attached, but it's time to let them go.

My grandmother Hallie grew up in a family of 13 children and was a young mother during the Great Depression. She saved and reused everything! Many of her laces and trims were removed from garments that were worn out or they were the leftover pieces after sewing a new dress for one of her daughters or granddaughters.  It was my job to clean out Grandma's house when she had to leave it in the late 1970s.  I remember approaching the project of the sewing room with many fond childhood memories.  But I didn't find this lace in that room.  The multiple drawers of the nightstands in her bedroom were jammed full with pieces of lace and trimmings.  I scooped all of it into a large box and brought it home with me.  I've used lots of it over the years, but I'll never be able to use it all.  The piece of lace shown here is just one fine example of what is already listed and what is to come.

When my sisters and I were young, Grandma used to make the most wonderful doll clothes for us. Our Barbie wardrobe was the envy of every little girl on the block.  I found lots of those patterns when I cleaned out Hallie's sewing room.  But I don't have the time or patience to make clothes for dolls, so those patterns are now listed as well as loads of other vintage patterns that are soon to come. 

During my years as a designer and costumer, I would travel to the fabric show in New York once a year.  While I managed the fabric store, I amassed a collection of designer woolens and silks that I always planned to use "someday."  I have yards and yards of gorgeous dressmaking fabrics for you. The gold metallic crepe shown here was used for Renaissance costumes, and I have yards leftover and available to you.  I also have it in silver and checks.

And then there are the odd bits and bobs that have come to me during my years as a vintage clothing dealer.  There are lots of little treasures that I simply could not throw away, as I know they are beautifully made and can be used in another way today.  This umbrella handle is a good example.  This was in a box of jewelry that came out of an estate about 7 years ago.  A broken handle off an umbrella?  What good is that?  Well, it's genuine Bakelite, that's what!  This piece is now sold and I'm sure the new owner will use those beads in a new and wonderful project.

I have loads more to come.  Ribbons, buttons, millinery feathers, rhinestone trims, thread, zippers, patterns, etc, etc, etc.  I hope you'll add SewHallie to your favorite shops and check back often for the treasures that will show up there!