Who are you?
"My name is Susan Adele, I was named after my grandmother. The name of my shop is a tribute to my grandmothers. Adele who was an amazing cook and a typical Italian grandmother. Bee who was an amazing woman, she taught me how to sew and many other invaluable lessons. And, last but not least, Ann. She was funny and she loved me. What more do you need in grandmas than that. Although my grandmas are long gone, I am inspired by them everyday. Each day when I log onto Etsy I see their names and I am reminded of who they were and who they have helped me to be. Adele Bee Ann, I couldn't imagine a better name for my shops.
I began selling vintage items long before the internet even existed. I love to hunt for hidden treasures, everything from clothes to couches, pottery to paintings. I've bought it and I've sold it. Before Etsy, my main selling outlet was the 26th Street Flea Market in NYC. I was there every weekend (rain, snow or shine) until the market was closed down and moved to Brooklyn. That's when I discovered Etsy. I fell in love. (On a side note, this article in the New York Times is about me and the NYC flea market, it's from 1996. That was a long time ago.
Now I have three Etsy shops. Adele Bee Ann Patterns for vintage sewing patterns, Adele Bee Ann Vintage for anything vintage and Adele Bee Ann for handmade homemade items.
How did you get bit by the pattern collecting bug?
I discovered a box of patterns at a yard sale. It was late in the day on a Sunday and there was a box of about 100 patterns mostly from the 50s and 40s (a few scattered 30s and 20s!). I paid $20 for the entire box. I thought the patterns were so beautiful I didn't just want to add them to my vintage shop so I created a pattern shop. From there everything snowballed. Now I have almost 600 patterns in my shop and about 2000 still to be sorted and posted.
Do you sew? Vintage, Modern, or Both?
I've been sewing since I was a little girl. My grandmother use to watch me while my mom was at work, she would teach me different stitches and how to make little dolls. Today I make mostly handbags and dresses for little girls. It's funny because I make my own patterns rather than use the ones I have. I've never used a vintage pattern.
Do you have any sewing tips for those of us who do sew with vintage patterns?
Well, I'm not in a position to give tips as a vintage pattern sewer but as a vintage pattern seller I can advise to take care of your patterns! Keep all the pieces together and fold them neatly when you are done. Store them where moisture can not get to them and please do not cut up the envelopes!
Any tips for telling how to find great vintage patterns to sew with?
I can tell you but then I'd have to kill you. Just kidding. Ask. Ask at estate sales, thrift stores and consignment shops. Many times people are surprised that anyone is interested in patterns so they either toss them out or don't put them out. Ask for them.
What is your favorite pattern of all time? Why?
This is a tough question, I have so many favorites. I love patterns that speak of a specific era. A pattern that screams the decade it was from whether it be 1940s or 1980s.
|1940s WWII Pattern|
Why did you start an Etsy store?
I originally started an Etsy store because the things I was making were piling up with no where to go. I tried to do craft fairs and I hated it! I stumbled upon Etsy and it was love at first sight. I opened my handmade, homemade shop in March 2010.
What is your favorite part of the selling process? Least Favorite?
My favorite part of the selling process is packing up a pattern to ship off to a new home. I love filling orders and I keep a mental track of where my patterns are going. I love shipping out a pattern, it allows me to put a big check in the completed box, and who doesn't like to do that! My least favorite is trying to keep up with expired listings, I have over 100 expired listings. Some of the expired patterns are real gems and the fact that they didn't sell tells me I didn't list it properly. I hate trying to figure out the right formula for selling.
What is your favorite item in your shop right now?
The favorite item(s) in my shop right now are the 1950s doll making kits. I have a batch of old stock of doll patterns from the 1950s and I decided to make some of the dolls to show as examples for the patterns. They were so fun to make. Now I have a personal attachment to the doll patterns because I made them.
|Geisha Sock Doll Pattern|
|Indian Sock Doll Pattern|
Which item do you just want to go away?
There are a few. Mostly vest patterns, people just don't wear vests anymore. I find vests are very hard to sell.
Thanks Susan, for that lovely interview! Stop on by her shop and see if you can find something to love! What do you think? Aren't those dolls cute!! Do you wear vests at all?