Designer of the Week - Grandest Child Clothing Company

Name: Kate Pillash

Where do you live: Alabama

How old are you: 52

Do you have any children, if so what ages? My son Josh is 29, Rae, my daughter and partner in GrandestChild clothing co. is 26.

Current auctions: grandestchildclothingco

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

I started designing clothes before I could sew, by wrapping and folding fabric around my dolls. My mother noticed and sat with me with scissors and needle and thread before I was too young to have them alone. So probably around the age of 3 or 4. I first learned to sew with needle and thread at my mother's and also my grandmother's side, both of them are or were needlework artists. My mother is 84 and still does turned edge appliqué by hand!

In junior high I had my first sewing lesson with an absolutely awesome teacher, Mrs. Ellis. I then went on to take two more years of sewing with her and started making clothing for myself in high school--I sold my first garment, a prom dress for a friend right out of high school. Mrs. Ellis taught with the attitude that for a garment to look good and drape correctly , it must look as good on the outside as the inside. It is still my prevailing attitude about sewing and I give her full credit for my love for quality sewing.

2. When did you start selling your designs on eBay? Do you sell anywhere else besides eBay, if so where? (example, web site, local boutique) What did you do before eBay?

After much urging from my daughter, I began selling on ebay in March of this year. At this time besides ebay I sew only custom orders for long standing clients.

What did you do before eBay?

I had a custom sewing business for area clients. I did everything from wedding dresses to slipcovers. I also created a line of layette items for infants that I took to arts and crafts shows and marketed to local boutiques. I hope to expand this line to ebay in the future. Before that I was a SAHM until my children were in high school then I worked as floral designer for several years and then in an art gallery as a framing designer and a girl friday.

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?

The first outfit I sold on ebay was Itsy Bitsy Teen Weeny Bikini Girl, it was a yellow and white dotted rumba top with appliqued capri jeans featuring my own drawings, the little girl is a characature of our model, my sweet little grandaughter. It sold for about $125.00 to Michelle/all4mchildren. Her little Anna looks darling in it and I'd like to thank Michelle for taking a chance on me! I was amazed it sold because the listing looked so terrible, it was a real learning experience. My little grandgirl is still wearing it so we have quite a few pictures of it.

3. How did you decide upon your name?

I guess my name seems to be fairly obvious since I came back to sewing for children with the birth of my first grandchild and the grandest in my name does refer to my little grandestgirls. However the name has an even deeper meaning, my grandmother, we called her Mama, always made each one of us feel as if we were THE grandestchild, I was “her baby” until she passed away and that was after the birth of my own children. My mother continued the tradition making each of my children and their 17 cousins feel like they were THE grandestchild and I have tried to continue it with my daughter's girls. So the “GrandestChild” is as much for Mama and Mother as it is for MY grandestgirls.

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?

I belong to ODOD, Original Design by Original Designers. An absolutely fantastic group of ladies! After I listed Eiffel Tower Whimsy, Carol of Just Kiddn' contacted me and asked me to join. It's hard to say what I like most about the group because I like everything about it. They are supportive and eager to help each other and they are all top notch designers and there are absolutely no “ego” problems amongst us. I guess what I do like the most is that now I have this built in circle of friends that can be turned to for just about anything. We gripe with each other, cry with each other, offer suggestions and ideas and LOL with each other all the time.

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

This is a tough one, because my favorite thing to create is whatever I'm working on at the moment. I sew everything from appliquéd jeans and overalls to heirloom quality dresses. I prefer to sew the design that is in my head demanding to come out because it won't leave me alone until I create it and if I have to sew on something else it never goes as well.

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

For my more casual and fun stuff I love working with the cotton fabrics of designers like Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, Amy Butler and Robert Kauffman. I guess MM would be my favorite right now, though there are so many talented fabric design studios out there it makes picking just one difficult. It also makes shopping for fabric tough and wonderful. For my dressier designs I love fine fabrics like batistes, tissue linen, silks, and velvet. I love to combine fabrics that are traditionally not put together like linen with denim and velvet.

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

In 1997 facing an empty nest, we sold our suburban home and bought 45 acres of land in northeast Alabama. Our home is a very small farmhouse located in a secluded little valley in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The house is so small we had to convert a sunporch into a sewing room for me. We jokingly started calling it my studio because it is so very humble. The name stuck, so I sew in my sunporch studio. Every time I write this in a listing it brings a smile to my face.

I am almost compulsive about the neatness of my shelving and storage areas in my sewing room, but when I sew neatness goes out the door. I seem to drop into some sort of creative world and I come out of that world into a room filled with piles of unfolded fabric, scraps and threads all over and PINS from top to bottom. What usually brings me out of that world is the frustration I feel when I can't find something—like my scissors that are laying under a pile of cloth. I can't sew again until everything is put away and then I start all over.

8. What other things do you enjoy besides sewing?

From a creative point of view I love to draw, paint and work with flowers. My greatest leisure enjoyment is curling up with a book next to my dh while he watches tv. However, all of these, even sewing, pale in comparison to the pure joy it is to play with my grandgirls. There's nothing like seeing the look on their sweet little faces when they see Grammie walk in the door!

Anything else you would like to add?

This was a great honor to be asked be designer of the week and I want to thank Amy for asking me. I also would like to say that ebay has opened a whole new world to those of us that choose to work from home and I am grateful to have found it and the sellers and buyers that become your online friends that go along with the ebay world. I'd also like this opportunity to thank odod for asking me to join them. Their professionalism and determination to produce original designs of only the best quality has given me the courage to do far more than I thought I could and they always calm my panic when something unknown to me comes up. There's nobody like them.

Some past the Grandest Child Clothing Company Designs

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