Friday, January 6, 2012
Meet Carolyn of CSBEWS Doll Clothes
In bringing my blog posts to you all I have had the opportunity to come in contact with some of the most amazing people in the doll world. One of these amazing people is Carolyn of CSBSEWS. I am often amazed by the talented designers and seamstresses who have turned their hobbies into amazing career paths. I hope that in sharing their stories with you, you will be motivated in your own lives by their work and stories to continue to consider and purchase hand made items from small businesses and shops. I also love that more Aunts, Mom's and Grandmothers have found away to continue to create doll items and keep American Girl dolls relevant and special.
Here is Carolyn's own story in her own words and images of one of a kind outfits that she has created and sold in 2011
"How it Started: When I retired in 2006 I wanted to get back to sewing. I bought a small machine and started sewing for myself and things around the house. At that time my granddaughters and niece had American Girl Dolls. I had always loved dolls and decided I would sew for their dolls. I did, with some success and failures, but as I continued to create fashions for their dolls, I realized how much I enjoyed it. But I also realized that (1) the children were going to outgrow their dolls and (2) they were probably getting a little tired of grandma's outfits, I took a deep breath and listed an item on Ebay. It was totally underpriced and so of course it was bid on, and sold. (I think I barely covered by material costs , LOL.) However, I was hooked and started sewing for Ebay with some success. At that time I bought my own American Girl Doll and upgraded my sewing machine.
I sold on Ebay until 2009, when the fees and imported mass produced doll clothing from overseas made it a losing and pointless proposition.
csbsews.com. I continued with the store until this year when it became apparent that the monthly cost of the store and the time and effort required on the computer to maintain and drive traffic to the store was keeping me out of the sewing room. So in July of this year I opened a store on Etsy. I closed my store in September and transferred my domain to the Etsy store.
Inspriation and Motive; I realized early on that I could not sit at the machine and sew the same thing over and over again. I wanted to explore fashion through the ages, and learn more and more about sewing and designing. Each of my items are OOAK and they are not duplicated. I do not sew "to order". I love going to the sketch book, designing an outfit, shopping for the material required and then creating it. Most of the time this involves creating unique patterns for that particular item. Reproducing these items would just not be possible. I have created what I call "generic" AG doll clothing, but I find I do that less and less. My goal is to have each item be totally unique. Finally, I enjoy working with fancies. I loved dressing my dolls in gowns and beautiful clothes (and my background as a dancer also led me to a love of costumes). So, as you may have noticed, I love creating costumes and gowns with satins, chiffon's and sparkle. I hope that a child will have one of the special costumes, gowns, etc., and treasure it, perhaps remembering that outfit for a long time. My most successful items, that customers have truly loved, have been the costumes and gowns. (All my feedback since 2006 has been positive.)
To sum up, I create these items (and I try very hard to make them high quality items) for the sheer joy of it. At times I go to my "doll closet" in the sewing room and just look at and enjoy the items. I hope that people like them and will want one for their doll. Of course I want to sell them to cover my costs (the prices never cover all the time and effort that goes into these clothes). but there is always a twinge of loss when I pack one and ship it to a customer. Make any sense? Not to me. So while I am always thrilled to sell an item, I can't say that selling is my main motivation, instead it is creating."
as well as a great resource site http://www.squidoo.com/csbsewspatterns
and you can find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/csbsewsamericangirldollclothes
To see the wonderful outfits Carolyn is working on for 2012 visit her Etsy shop often!
As with all my posts I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org