Designer of the Week - Designs by Vicki

Name: Vicki Piippo

Where do you live: Richland, Washington

How old are you? 46

Do you have any children, if so what ages? Three boys, 23 yrs, 21 yrs and 19 yrs old

Current auctions: Calico Closet (Designs by Vicki)


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

My first "creation" was a doll dress I created from scraps and hand sewed when I was probably 5 years old. I have been sewing ever since.

Who taught you? My first teacher was my mom. I had the desire as a teenager to have all the latest fashions, but they were out of our budget. I found I could sew anything I wanted for a fraction of the cost. My most inspirational teacher was a Home Ec teacher that showed us how to go to thrift stores and recreate clothing into something new. She taught me it was okay to "think outside the box". That was in 1974. I have been sewing ever since. I sewed all my clothing, gifts and children's clothing when they were small. I took in custom work and sold crafts I sewed for extra money until I began sewing clothing for profit in 1988. I also taught sewing lessons for several years to middle school girls. I really enjoyed encouraging them to find clothing that flattered them and was easy to sew.

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?

3 years ago

Do you sell anywhere else besides eBay, if so where? (example, web site, local boutique)
Yes, I sell on my website www.calicocloset.com which I have had since May 2003.

What did you do before eBay?
I sold my designs at crafts fairs, through boutiques and home parties.

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?

I do remember the first outfit and I wish I had a picture of it! It was a cropped pair of jeans with pom fringe and halter top sewn from a vintage children's print with little kittens. I think it sold for $12.99.

3. How did you decide upon your name?

I have always sold under the name Calico Closet; however for ebay that name was already taken. My husband has always encouraged me to incorporate my own name into my business so designsbyvicki was chosen.

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?

No, I was in a group for awhile that split up. Although I am not in a group, the positive impact of belonging to a group is the contact with a group of people who share your love for sewing and creating. The offer moral support and no matter how long you have been in this business, there are always things that come up and it is nice of have people you like and trust to bounce ideas off of.

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

Anything using vintage textiles! (example: vintage style dresses, totes, overalls, etc)

Why? I love them for the uniqueness of each piece, the feel of it and also the thought that this is a piece of the past I get to make new. I have been incorporating vintage linens into my designs since 1988 and plan to do so for a long time to come.

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

Besides vintage fabrics and linens; I like anything that has polka dots, stripes and roses.

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

I am fortunate to have a room to myself to create in. Now that my boys are grown, I try to sew during the day but also find myself sewing in the evenings too. Rarely a day goes by that I don't sew or at least draw new creations. I am always thinking about what I can do next.

I keep it all off the floor, but I am not neat when I am creating! I wish I was, but I have several large piles I have to pilfer through to find what I'm looking for stacked on my cutting table.

8. What other things do you enjoy besides sewing?

Cooking big meals for family get together, gardening flowers, shopping garage sales & thrift stores and of course, buying more fabric. .

9. Anything else you would like to add?

Thank you so much for this opportunity to share about my business. I love what I do and am thankful that I have been able to do what I enjoy and make money too. My website is www.calicocloset.com

Some past Calico Closet designs

To view past Designers of the Week Click Here

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