Sunday, March 10, 2013

Maybe, Maybe Not

The summer I was fourteen, I taught myself to sew.

My mother made all of our clothes, but she would not teach me to sew.

She taught my older sister, who started many things, but never finished anything and she was afraid it would be the same way with me.

While my mother was at work (rare for mothers in my childhood), I went to her sewing cupboard, found a pattern,  chose some fabric and I made a dress - all but the zipper.

When my mother came home she helped me with the zipper and took me to buy more fabric.

I began making all of my clothes and earned spending money in college sewing for others.

When my son was born and I was no longer working I told my sister (who by this time was climbing the corporate ladder) that I wanted to make pillows and sell them.

She discouraged me by pointing out that I might spend money on fabric, but if people did not share my taste, I might lose money and money was tight in those days.

Before teaching, I sewed for a decorator and a bikini shop, but the idea of pillows was always at the back of my mind.

Fast forward to today  - on-line shopping, blogging, Etsy - my idea doesn't seem so far fetched.

In my Giveaway last week, I gave away four custom pillows.

And my goal for today was to make the pillows.

All four of them.

All at once.

I do not have a sewing room like I did in our last home, so today I set up my sewing machine in the garage.

Please don't look too closely - I have been working on fluffing the area and hope to finish over spring break.

Steve loaned me a table from his studio and I was in business.

 I wanted to see how long it would take to make a bunch of pillows.

Altogether I spent about 4 hours, but I was doing laundry, eating lunch, and helping JP fix his bike at the same time.

Four pillows . . . four hours.

Making the pillows is no problem other than time right now.

In 86 days I will no longer have a job so time won't be an issue.

Should I begin selling my pillows?

When I chose to do the Giveaway, selling pillows was not in my mind.

A sweet blogger commented on my Little Beans post that I should make the pillows to sell.


 I will ask the winners their opinion of the pillows.

Who knows, maybe I will sell them.

Maybe not.

By the way, my sister did finish something she started - top rung of a Fortune 500 company.

She is in Tokyo right now, or maybe it's Paris.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 


  1. The lucky bloggers that won these beautiful pillows will love them even more since you personalized them. I am sure they will treasure them. You are the sweetest. I love the story of how you and your mom bonded over sewing. Really sweet.

  2. Your pillows are so cute. They would look so charming in a little beach cottage. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving that cute comment about my hankies! I always appreciate a new follower and I'm happy to follow you back!

  3. I am so excited to have won a pillow that says REACH! I say a great big yes to the oil lows. Sell them! Please. In fact, I love to promote home grown business on my blog. If you decide to sell, I will do a post on you, and put you in my sidebar where I usually feature a favorite Etsy seller. You are so talented!

  4. What a lovely story of how you learned to sew. The pillows turned out fantastic and I can hardly wait to receive mine! I think you should go for it. You've got the time off during the summer and you can choose to work at home as often as you want. I think it's wonderful that you are finally going to fulfill your dream. You'll never know until you try!

    Best of luck on your newest venture, Carol!

    xo, Vickie

  5. When I think about how if there had been an etsy around when I was home raising my kids, I never would have gone back to work.
    Tomorrow I have a post about must be psychic!

  6. Good for you teaching yourself to sew, and it paid off the pillows are darling:)

  7. Carol, it never hurts to try and start selling. I can imagine you would start out with just pillows and start adding other items because you're so creative!!
    Mary Alice

  8. I think your pillows are cute. I say go for it!

  9. I did a similar thing teaching myself to sew at age 12. I loved it then and throughout my life. Don't do it now because of time but miss it. You're encouraging. xo Jenny

  10. Carol, I wish you were here to help me replace the 8 zippers that Frida has chewed up! For some reason she has a zipper fetish. I took them to our local seamstress, who said that she would charge me $35 EACH to replace them!

    Yes, you should definitely sell your pillows! They are charming and unique.

    I made a couple of pillows a few months ago, and I was so proud of myself! Being a non-sewer (with a beautiful Bernina machine that Charles and the kids gave me), I am SO nervous about making a mistake!

  11. Carol your pillows look wonderful. If you enjoy sewing there would certainly be a market for those. When you have more time on your hands it could be a perfect way to generate a little extra cash. I sure wish I knew how to sew.
    Leslie (Gwen Moss)

  12. yes! i say go for it:) they are adorable, carol!

  13. I say why not go for it? You never know unless you try. I think your pillows are darling! They have a great beach-cottage vibe to them.

  14. With places like Etsy that make it easy and fun to sell, well I think you should definitely go for it. Love your pillows. Lucky winners. Wishing you a wonderful new week.


  15. You should sell them. I think you could.

    Interesting story. It sounds a lot how parents parented then. I didn't learn and my mother could have been a seamstress.

    Fast forward to now, my daughter kept bugging me for a sewing machine. Well she bought won with her piano winnings. And she made three pillows all by herself. I had to show her how to stuff , because I knew how from watching my mother, but she caught on right away and stuffed the next two by herself.

  16. I have one of your pillows....which I will be featuring in a couple weeks....and I can say that I am 100 percent certain you will be a huge success selling these pillows because they are fantastic!! The quality the originality... Girl you have to go for it!!! Open that shop!!!

  17. I bet you're sew glad you did too! I wish I had done the same! As it is I am about to teach myself!!! fingers crossed.

  18. I love your pillows! You've done a wonderful job on them, go for it!


  19. These are *wonderful* pillows! If you have a passion for making them, you should pursue it. Sounds like life is kind of setting you up to do just that, anyway. Maybe it's a hint? :)

    I wanted to invite you to join my How To Tuesday link party, if you haven't already joined . It would be wonderful to have you!

  20. Oh gosh yes sell those pillows they are so cute! What have you got to loose? Try selling on etsy or right here on your blog. Come link up to centerpiece Wednesday

  21. Are you retiring? I retired the end of December :)I retired (early) because it was so exhausting working 12 hours shifts as a nurse. I miss the kids and my co-workers.

    I love your pillows. I think you could sell them. Assembly line sewing is what I always do if I am making multiples of something.

    I took years of Home Ec in school. I used to come home from work and make a dress to wear to school the next day.

  22. Hi Carol,
    I received my pillow today!! I love it! Yes, the A is for my last name. And you even put a zipper on the back! The black will go great in my house. I just love it and will be writing a post about it. I think you should definitely go into business in making pillows. You really have a knack for making them. Thank you so much, Carol!

  23. Of course you should sell them!! They are too cute! Thanks for linking up at Made in a Day last week!

  24. Loved your story. And I say YES you should sell. What's the worse thing that could'll be having a bunch of give aways or your house will be filled with pillows. But I doubt it. Good Luck