Has my adoration for lingerie oozed out enough? It’s embarrassing to admit but my Google, Etsy, and Pinterest searches have been solely in the realm of “lingerie,” “vintage undies,” “bralettes,” “soft bras,” etc. Did the election occur because I have been oblivious to the world. One lingerie shop that seems to be ubiquitous (I see the sidebar button everywhere) is Mrs. Depew Vintage. Anna, the owner of the shop, is a military wife who currently lives in Norway (way cool!). She is a lover of making her own clothes (she blogs about her creations here), her cat, and most of all, vintage patterns. Stocked within this gem of an online shop are PDF patterns for vintage beachwear, lingerie, dresses, blouses, and hats. If that’s not enough, the silhouettes of said patterns are ones that aren’t seen in today’s world of fast fashion. I asked Anna is she’s be interested in an interview (and a giveaway – continue reading…) and she kindly agreed. When she sent me her responses to my questions, she worried that she was too thorough. I told her no,no,no… long answers are the sign of a blogger and shop owner her cares. So without further adieu, take it way Anna…
Q: Can you briefly describe you and your shop, Mrs. Depew Vintage?
A: I’m a military wife who followed my husband to an assignment in Norway. A series of very unfortunate events left me at home all day with nothing to do but sew. I started designing my own patterns almost by accident and suddenly realized how much fun it was! My shop is basically a fusion of the things that I love most – vintage clothing, sewing, lingerie and all things French. When I start a new pattern, I usually start with a look or an era that I’m trying to capture and then I obsess over the design elements of the patterns in my collection until I’m ready to draft something completely new that captures the feeling that the pattern should have.
2. How did you get into vintage patterns?
A: I was literally raised in an antique store by my mother who comes from a long line of very talented seamstresses. She had this amazing sewing room when I was growing up that had wall-to-wall shelving overflowing with vintage patterns, amazing old textiles and notions like you wouldn’t believe. I used to watch her make the most amazing creations from these things. It was either by osmosis or already in my DNA because after I finished my French degree, I jumped right back into what I knew.
3. What is the biggest difference you see between vintage and modern patterns?
A: I could go on and on about sizing, the details one finds, and the level of difficulty but what really comes to my mind is the history. When you hold a vintage paper pattern in your hand, something magical happens. You can almost smell the years passing by and picture the original owner, what she made with that pattern, and what her life was like. My imagination goes wild and I fantasize about the fabric or department store she bought it from and I get the most amazing inspiration from that daydream.
Q: What is your defense on people who bash PDF patterns?
A: Honestly, that’s ok! I don’t feel personally offended. To illustrate, I have this amazing collection of antique books at home and my husband bought me an E-reader last year. I threw a very silent fit at having to read something without that intoxicating scent of paper as I did it. But I tried it and fell in love! It was so convenient… and digital patterns are the same way. There is a time and a place for them and sometimes there isn’t. It’s just all about what makes your sewing experience pleasurable for YOU.
Q: Do you have an all-time favorite pattern? It can be new or vintage?
A: Absolutely, though I’m still looking for a copy of the darn thing. It’s my white whale, so to speak, and will someday be the gem of my collection. It’s Simplicity S605, a teddy pattern from the 1930’s (shown below). I want it so badly that it hurts. I have blogged about my lingerie pattern collection extensively here.
Q: What did you dream of being when you were little?
A: I wanted to be The President of the United States, but honestly, now that I’ve grown up a bit, I wouldn’t take that job for a million dollars. I design sewing patterns that people love, no one hates me, and my life is wonderful just as it is.
Q: What’s on your Christmas list?
A: A really, really fancy dress form… and if I’m lucky, a trip to Geneva to show my husband my old haunts. I studied French there and I’m just itching to go back.
And just for fun….
1. Pastel or saturated? Pastel, generously dripping in lace
2. Sweet or salty? Sweet
3. Grace Kelly or Jean Harlow? Grace Kelly all the way. Prince Rainier loved her so much, and that’s a wonderful way to be remembered.
4. Forever Young or Big (movies)? Big! I still want his apartment some day!
5. Saturday or Sunday? Saturday, with coffee and cinnamon rolls. It’s a tradition
6. Hair down or ponytail? Ponytail
7. Jeans and tee or dress and sneakers? More like jeans and sweater! I do live in freezing Norway, after all
8. Home machine or industrial? Home… though the very best I can afford.
9. Breakfast at Tiffany’s or The Catcher In The Rye? Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Every girl needs a good cat
10. Bagel or cereal? What? Who has time for breakfast?!
Thank you Anna! But her generosity is not over. Two winners will be chosen at random on October 28th to win their choice of ONE pattern. To enter, leave a comment below and like both Anna’s Facebook Page and Madalynne’s Facebook page. That’s it!