July’s Shop of the Month
"She does, however, have a great appreciation for fashion"
Meet Ellen, the owner of Kinseysue Vintage. Ellen has been around sewing and patterns her entire life. Her mother was an excellent sewer as was her aunt. Which makes the fact that she does not sew even more interesting! She does, however, have a great appreciation for fashion and designers.
This is a picture of Ellen’s mother and her Uncle Bill when he came home for leave from World War II. Ellen’s Mom is wearing an Eisenberg brooch pinned to her dress. She made the dress from a Vogue pattern. She was very stylish and a very accomplished seamstress.
What an iconic World War II picture! I think every family has
at least one picture like this one. Soldiers on leave or just
home from the war.
Ellen lives in rural Tennessee with her husband on a beautiful piece of property. She was a schoolteacher before retiring.
I graduated from Indiana University many years ago with a Master's in education and taught in Indianapolis Public Schools and in Dickson County, TN. My husband and I live on nine acres in the country 1500 feet (about the height of the Empire State Building) from the Tennessee River and enjoy taking the pontoon or cabin cruiser out.
What an idyllic setting. I relax just looking at the picture. That is until I read her caption.
“This is our seating area next to the spring where we sit and relax (wearing tons of Deep Woods Off).” Mosquitos love me.
We have a very spoiled and stubborn collie, Chester. We had just lost our beloved Missy and were on our way to the local animal shelter searching for a new fur baby. We saw a lady selling collies at an abandoned gas station and stopped, fell in love, and bought him immediately.
I am truly an oddity in this group since I don't sew. My mother and aunt were wonderful seamstresses, a trait I do not share with them. However, I dearly love history, and sewing patterns is a wonderful way to preserve it. As a teacher, I was thrilled when internet selling became a possibility. My salary was never high, and I had been selling antiques and collectibles at antique shows, flea markets, and in malls before braving the "new world" of e-commerce. My husband is now a retired mechanic and his job paid on commission, so it was difficult to budget. The extra income made it possible for us to keep up with bills. When my husband and I moved to TN from Indy nearly 25 years ago, I realized that setting up at the Nashville Flea Market wasn't financially viable (we live nearly two hours away) so concentrated on the internet. Packing glassware is a difficult chore so I began specializing in sewing patterns, although I do offer a small number of collectibles, including glassware. Now that I am retired, I spend nearly all day, every day, working on my shop in one way or another. My husband takes the occasional job working on boat motors for friends who live nearby. We enjoy the quiet of the country but to be honest, I do not like having to drive 45 minutes to the grocery store!
Ellen loves gardening as you can see by looking at these pictures of her beautiful yard.
It's not easy to see but hopefully, you can tell that the size of the blooms on those Iris are huge!
My garden. It takes up most of our front yard. You can barely see it, but in the background is a 200-year-old oak tree.
Now, I asked Ellen some questions about her journey to becoming a premiere vintage sewing pattern seller and a few other things! Here is that Interview.
Q. What is your favorite part of what you do?
A. My favorite part of selling patterns is the rush I get when I find rare patterns or patterns which have been well cared for, not simply stuffed back into the envelope! I also love it when my customers share photos of the pattern made up - they always look so nice.
Q. What is your least favorite part of what you do?
A. My least favorite part is ironing pattern pieces, but I feel it is important that a customer receives their pattern in the best possible condition.
Q. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
A. Selling patterns is not as easy as many think. To do it properly, patterns must be counted, (I press my cut patterns) and researched to determine scarcity. age, and desirability. It truly irritates me when I see a seller write "appears all there" or placing a high price on an unchecked pattern. My advice is to do your homework before jumping into pattern selling.
Q. Do you have a favorite decade? What is it?
A. Each decade appeals to me in some way, but my favorite is the 1930s. I fell in love with the bias-cut gowns Ginger Rogers wore in her movies with Fred Astaire and my mother explained to me why she disliked sewing them:)
Add anything else that you would like to share.
Vintage clothing is very desirable now and thus so are vintage sewing patterns. By buying a vintage pattern, you can recreate so many looks at a fraction of the prices vintage clothing stores charge for the same garment.
You can find her here at https://www.vintagesewingpatterndirectory.com/
On Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/kinseysue
Here are just a few examples of some reviews left for Kinseysue on Etsy
Jun 9, 2023, 5 out of 5 stars
Very excited about this special historical item. So happy and lovely presentation. Worth every penny I paid. Deserves special care and preservation!
Kinseysue responded on Jun 9, 2023
Thank you for taking the time to review. I appreciate it and am pleased you like your purchase.
May 5, 2023, 5 out of 5 stars
Great find! Item is in perfect condition and shipped with thought and care. Thank you!
Jun 13, 2010 5 out of 5 stars
Thanks! Shipping was unbelievably quick, patterns are awesome! I'll be keeping an eye out and buying from you again.