Designer of the Week - Twin Pines Vintage

Name: Crystal Browne

Where do you live: Nelson, BC Canada

How old are you? 32

Do you have any children, if so what ages? Two daughters : 4, and 21 months

Current auctions: Twin Pines Vintage by Nelsonmum


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

My first sewing project was a simple sun-dress when I was only eight years old. My mother showed me the basics and I began making simple "granny" apron as gifts. When I entered eighth grade in the local highschool I took the home economics course where we made aprons. I made mine and several others for friends and was rewarded with the class award at the end of the year.

I continued to take the clothing and textiles courses and learned a lot from my teacher, Barb Roberts, who was a real stickler for detail and emphasized the importance of professional finishing methods. She really taught me to have an eye for perfection, and even created an advanced curriculum for me in my final year, as I had already completed the standard curriculum. I was rewarded with the scholarship in Clothing and Textiles in my final year. I further studied Fashion Merchandising and Design at the Blanche MacDonald Institute in Vancouver BC, and graduated in 1992 from the diploma program there.

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?

My first work as a seamstress was making wedding, bridesmaid, and graduation dresses from my basement studio. After several dozen gowns, and trying to compete with rates charges by the the hobby sewers, I decided to put aside sewing as a business venture and I began working full time for the Remax office in town, selling homes.

I "retired" from the wokforce in 200 when my eldest daughter, Nicole was born. Since I have been blessed with another daughter, Danielle. I love my time with them, and have enjoyed making some dresses and summer sets for them. I started selling vintage pillowcase dresses on eBay in the spring of 2004. I have since begun making capris as well as hats and am using vintage chenille in my designs. I have made a limited number of designs with overalls and contemporary fabrics. I have done the majority of my business on eBay. As I am new I find that my buyers take a sense of security in the fact I am part of the eBay community and have, thus far, a 100% feedback rating. Some of my clients have been boutique owners buying for their shops, however.

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 dress that I sold was a vintage pillowcase dress made in a peasant dress style. It sold for 20.50 usd. It was made from one of the first pillowcases that I bought on eBay from crackerjacknanny, who has become a bit of a friend, and advisor.

I am quickly recognizing the importance of good quality photographs, and am constantly trying to improve my photographs. This is proving the most challenging, as I battle with reluctant models, poor weather and space.

3. How did you decide upon your name?

My little house, featured in my logo, is nestled between two gorgeous Ponderosa Pines, that stretch over 200 feet tall. Thus the Twin Pines. My eBay user id is nelsonmum, as I live in Nelson BC and have two darling girls. It just worked, and I haven't the heart to change it now!

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 am a member of the UpTown Girls Boutique, or UTGB. I have the destinction of being the sole Canadian designer in the group, however I feel right at home with these wonderful ladies. We have a really friendly relationship and are a great support to one another, both design-wise and as friends. I have been given great advise, had help with photo editing and html, and have tried to give back with my opinions and assisting with writing descriptions. Our group has a wonderful spirit of helpfulness and I think we all are inspired to make each other the best we can be. We definately work hard to promote each others work by listing m2m (made to match) auctions often.

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

I LOVE ruffles. I worked for about 5 years designing and making wedding gowns, so I have tonnes of experience dealing with gathers. It's fun now that ruffles are back on the scene, with the romantic look becoming popular. Ruffles are so great on little girls, especially if done right!

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

I don't have any one favourite. I have the skill to work with most anything, but do not care much for fleece. I do find the bright stripe and dot combos alot of 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 am "sewing room challenged" We are currently renovating our basement and I will have a space in our laundry room where I will I spend my nights sewing. With two active girls I can't sew in the day. As I haven't proper space, I have to be tidy. I keep all my fabric neat in bins and ongoing projects are in baskets and hung immediately upon completion. Once listed, I place hang-tags and fold and bag the sets, to prevent and incidental damage. So far so good!

8. What other things do you enjoy besides sewing?

Our family loves to go camping and hiking. Granted with 2 young children it's been a few years since I've strapped on a pack, but I do enjoy getting into the back country and enjoying the sights and smells of the places you can only get on your own steam. We have two budding nature enthusiasts so I think it won't be long before we have the oportunity to revisit the famous West Coast Trail and also treck around the Rockies.

9. Anything else you would like to add?

I find sewing incredibly theraputic and I just love the fact the buyers in the ebay world see my creations as worthy of bidding on. I just wish I could see more photos of the wee ones in their clothing, as I do miss out on the fitting stage of the process.

Some past Twin Pines Designs

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