Designer of the Week - Stiltskin Studios

Name: Michele

Where do you live: Dunedin, Florida. It's on the Gulf Coast. Tampa is probably the most well known city that is close by.

How old are you? 33

Do you have any children, if so what ages? My oldest son, Mack, is 9 and his little brother, Keegan, is 2.

Current auctions: Stiltskin Studios

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

I learned to sew from my grandmother when I was about 7. I really wanted one of those soft sculpture Cabbage Patch dolls, but at that time, you had to travel to Georgia to get one and they were a couple hundred bucks. So my grandmother and I made one. I made little pillows and sold them around the neighborhood for twenty- five cents. I didn't start sewing clothes until I was in middle school, and then designed my first dress for my junior prom.

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?

I started selling on Ebay a few years ago, selling custom-made costume gowns for special events. I've been doing childrens clothing for just over two years. My website is still in the works, I'm having a terrible time deciding on the look I want. It's much trickier than I anticipated. I'm hoping to have it completed sometime in the very near future. Before Ebay, I was a surgical nurse and consultant. Ebay allowed me to stay at home with my youngest son while still earning an income. Prior to becoming a nurse, I was a retail manager with Merry Go Round and also worked as a make-up artist for Prescriptives.

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?

My first foray into selling on Ebay was a Renaissance gown I had made for my sister to wear to a costume ball. I listed it after she wore it. It sold for over $500 and I was hooked! Lol.

3. How did you decide upon your name?

A good friend of mine likes to joke that I'm locked away sewing all the time, turning straw into gold so to speak. Just like the girl in the Rumplestiltskin story. My husband came up with Stiltskin Studios from that. Now they like to call me Spinderella~

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'm in a wonderful group of four friends. They are designers that I respect, always coming up with fresh, creative designs. You can identify us by the clover at the end of our auctions, and we refer to each other as "Clover Girls" but the group isn't the traditional Ebay group. We truly are based on friendship. There is no pressure to do group launches or things of that nature. What do I like most? That's tough. I like everything about our group. It's small, based on trust and respect, and it just feels like "home". I've had a negative experience in the past with the whole group experience, so this is a nice change for me. Last year, three of us got together to meet, and this year we're doing it again, only all four of us are trying to make it.

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

I'd be hard pressed to name a single thing. I enjoy the creative process. It really changes with my mood. There was a time when I was obsessed by chenille, and now I rarely use it. I do love the unique nature of vintage linens, and I love working with denim. I CAN tell you it's not o' I loathe doing them, hats off to the designers that do them and do them well.

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

I'm not discriminatory, I love almost all fabrics. Lately, I've been into cotton twill with a little bit of stretch. And corduroy. As far as fabric designers, Amy Butler rocks. Kaffe Fasset does some really amazing combinations. Micheal Miller always has something fun.

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 have a small studio area where I sew, and a cutting table set up in the garage. I have to admit, I never use it (ok, rarely…) I usually find myself sitting on the floor cutting. Explain this concept of "neat" to me. Sounds interesting. Don't think I know the definition of that word…lol. Seriously, I try to stay neat and organized but once I start creating, forget it. When I'm done working on a new project, I look around in amazement at the mess I've made. I just get very focused when I'm working and don't even notice all the thread and scraps I'm dropping all over the place.

8. What other things do you enjoy besides sewing?

There is more to life than sewing? Does shopping for fabric count? I'm an avid reader, Anne Rice is my favorite, with Sophie Kinsella running second. I have a subscription to every fashion magazine available. InStyle and Lucky are my favs. Allure always has the best cosmetics advice. I do love shopping, but who doesn't? As a family, we spend a lot of time at the beach and on the water. Our house is about 10 minutes from the beach, so we get to go whenever the weather is nice and we have some spare time. Our favorite thing to do is drop anchor off one of the islands and swim there for lunch and just goofing off. I live in paradise, I think, and I'd say I'm very lucky to have the life I do.

Anything else you would like to add?

I've made some really wonderful friends on Ebay, friends that I will keep for a lifetime. Having the friends I do have has enabled me to see the bigger picture on Ebay, to be happy for those that are doing well, whether I am or not. Ebay is a wonderful opportunity, a great creative outlet. I try to remember to keep it fun. If it's not fun, what's the point?

Some past Stiltskin Studios Designs

To view past Designers of the Week Click Here

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