Designer of the Week - A Small Something

Name: Natalee Madsen

Where do you live: Lubbock, Texas

How old are you? 31

Do you have any children, if so what ages? We have two daughters; Taylor is 7, and Reagan is almost 2.

Current auctions: A Small Something

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1. When did you get started sewing and creating? Who taught you?

I started sewing at the ripe old age of 5! My mother and grandmother are incredible seamstresses and taught me first embroidery, then simple sewing, then quilting--and just kept sharing their knowledge with me. I made clothing for myself and my sisters while growing up, and then went to college to pursue an Apparel Merchandising degree and got a minor in Costume Design. I was so fortunate to be able to take such a fun variety of classes in pattern-making, fitting, tailoring, and designing. After I had little girls, I really got into designing and making little outfits and dresses and took further classes in Heirloom sewing and Smocking.

2. When did you start selling your designs on eBay? Do you sell anywhere else besides eBay, if so where?

I have only been selling my designs on eBay for a little over a month and the response has been so positive! I've done custom sewing for customers and boutiques on a part-time basis for over 10 years. I've sewn custom items for Interior Designers and sold through craft fairs & local boutiques-but right now I am only selling on eBay. Up until last year I worked full-time as a Retail Manager for a number of different stores. Being able to stay home now with my children is such a blessingand it has allowed me a little more time to devote to designing and creating custom clothing for them and other little ones.

2a. Do you remember the first outfit you sold on eBay. Do you have a picture? What was it and what did it sell for?

It was not that long ago so I definitely remember it! I couldn't get my 2-year old to co-operate at all (she's my little model) and so had to take most of the pictures of the outfit just hanging. I do have a picture-- It was an embellished jeans and corduroy jacket set with a matching hat. It sold for $45 . . .and I was so happy just that it had sold. I think you could say I've come a loooong way in just a month!

3. How did you decide upon your name?

"Small Something" actually comes from the classic Winnie-The-Pooh stories that my girls and I like to read. Pooh-bear is always hungry and always wanting to go find "a small smackeral of something" to eat . . .it just seemed like a sweet little name. And it reminds me of my girls and how fast childhood goesc hildren are small for such a short while really, and you need to dress them up and enjoy them while you can!

4. Do you belong to any boutique group and if so which one? How did you get started in that group? What do you like most about your particular group?

tI am actually a new, proud member of The Boulevard design group. They are a newly formed group that just debuted September 12th of this year and it is comprised of several extremely talented and experienced designers. I love the fact that everyone is so giving of themselves in my group they share their knowledge and experience freely. I've discovered that being in a group gives you a sounding board for ideas and designs, and even problems and provides feedback and encouragement that is invaluable. I am very fortunate to be associated with such a talented, smart, friendly group of women--they have taught me so much already!

5. What is your favorite thing to create? (example: vintage style dresses, totes, overalls, etc) Why?

Right now I'm mainly designing apparel for Toddler Girls. I love to create anything vintage. I almost wish we could go back to the days when little girls wore all-white dresses and lace-up boots and gloves and hats-there is just something about that style that is so sweet and timeless for little ones. I have so much fun making dressy Party & Holiday dresses, and little coat & hat sets. On the other hand, I love to do some funky, bohemian modern styles too. I guess it all depends on what I see or what inspires me at the moment, looking at a vintage advertisement or seeing a fun fabric can set me off on a whole other track than what I was planning on! I also love to do Smocking and Heirloom sewing--but they can be so time-consuming I don't offer them very often.

6. What are your favorite types of fabrics or fabric designers?

I like vintage fabrics, old laces, embroidered pillowcases, crochet. I really like to work with "dressy" fabrics too; silks and velvets and faux furs. When I'm making more casual wear I like to use 100% cottons and twills, and I really like using linen, I love how my girls look in linen dresses and that inspires me to create them for other little girls! I tend to use a lot of high-quality decorator prints in my coat & hat sets as well. I honestly never really look or care about who designed the fabric--all I look at is if the fabric is high-quality, has a pattern I love, and inspires me to create something. I firmly believe in the motto (or is it just a bumper sticker?) "Whoever dies with the most fabric, Wins!"

7. Where and when do you do most of your sewing? Are you neat about it or do you have fabric covering the floor!

Well . . . we just recently moved to Texas while my husband does a residency for a year, and we are living in an apartment and obviously we need more space because my fabric collection takes up a room all on its own! Right now I do most of my sewing in my bedroom, my sewing cabinet is set up in there. However, that doesn't always work when my husband wants to sleep and I want to stay up and sew, so I also sew on the Dining Room table at night after my children are in bed. I really miss living in a house with a separate sewing room just for me!

As for being neat, I always begin every project very clean and organized - but somewhere in the middle, fabric is stacked up and trims are strewn everywhere . . . I frequently will go to pick up my daughter from school and find I'm covered in threads and "fuzzies"!

8. What other things do you enjoy besides sewing?

I love to read (don't have much time for it, though), bake, scrapbook, do crafts with my girls, and decorate. As a family we really love to do outdoorsy things; camp, fish, bike-ride, hike, etc.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am so honored to be asked to do this interview! I am truly grateful to my customers for their positive feedback and support, selling on eBay is like a dream come true for me, and I can't thank them enough!

Some past A Small Something Designs

To view past Designers of the Week Click Here

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