My love of fabrics and sewing began at eleven. It was the beginning of seventh grade and those were the times when girls were automatically scheduled for one semester of sewing and one semester of cooking. The boys were in metal shop and wood shop. No, no one crossed over.
My mother's utilitarian machine, manufactured by White, was set up in the kitchen / laundry room at all times ready for quick repairs and costume making for summer drama classes. In fact, I remember clearly a lime green fairy skirt she patiently hand-gathered with several layers of soft tulle for one performance. Mom stopped short of being what we'd all call a seamstress however, and sought out a professional for things like taking the top of one of my dresses and putting it on a different skirt. There were limits.
My very first sewing class project was a very full gathered skirt. I selected turquoise and white half inch checked cotton. This would be a structured garment with Pelham stiffening the waistband, a zipper and even a button and button hole. I wore that skirt for years.
Learning the machine operation came first, of course. Then, there was mastering how to read and adjust a pattern (which cost 25 cents back then). I remember many of my classmates being hesitant to cut their fabric. But, fearlessly I just charged ahead loving the entire semester of projects. We made beanbags and pillows shaped like animals for a homeless family shelter. My first pillows.
I signed up for a ninth grade elective of advanced sewing in high school and made a rather complex, fully lined, white wool boucle two-piece suit. It was complete with dressmaker button holes and covered buttons. By this time, I’d made most of the clothes I was wearing to school and made my boyfriend's shirts and jackets. This was back when sewing your own clothes actually saved money. Now, with the cost of a pattern and fabric, you could buy three outfits at Marshall's.
That white wool suit was entered by my instructor in a national contest for high school girls held by the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and it won! There was no prize. It was honor enough to win.
I was more interested in coming home after school and sewing or just walking through the nearby fabric store than pretty much anything else. The colors ... the feel of the fabrics ... the textures ... the smells of fine silk and wools ... promoted dreams of many dresses that were not in the budget of a high school girl.
And, Pillow Talk? It started as a weekend hobby; going to yard and estate sales.
At one sale, I acquired a huge box of linens and fabrics. I made small white and cream accent pillows with crocheted doilies on damask napkins ... a bit of lace around the edge ... and suddenly there was something from nearly nothing. A new treasure.
As that business grew, it supported my family for years. The finer the needlework, the more elaborate the trims, the faster the pillows sold. Ultimately, the stock grew to hundreds of one-of-a-kind pillows and was sold to the trade through nine decorator design centers throughout the country.
But why just sell to decorators? Now, with the website, people in the design trade or not, who seek soft treasure are able to go direct.
And me? I get to make wonderful home accents from amazing aged textiles and lush trims. Yup, I still make every one myself. It gives me joy. I hope owning one of Pillow Talk Direct's pillows gives you joy too.