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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm going to blame this question on a quick-read cozy mystery novel I read the other day where the main character had the most impossible occupation: owned a vintage notions store. Ha. So much for the suspension of disbelief from the get-go. But it did make me wonder if I just can't step far enough away from myself to see it.

It's true that when I head out for the estate, tag, or yard, sale I have some things on the list. Usually it's sewing machine stuff but occasionally I have to call my Sis and ask about what I've found. She's keen on buying up old sewing patterns: Vogue, McCalls, Simplicity, etc. My Mom on the other hand wants all the ancient linens, dolies, lace and etc. I've seen classified ads for bolts of material at crazy prices...

What I don't know; is there really a market for all this? Old sewing patterns, linen tablecloths, lace doilies, buttons, etc etc etc. I mean if there's a honest to goodness interest in all this stuff... and the occasional old machine or bits... then I guess (?) the idea of having a shop with old textiles and related materials might make some kind of sense? Could that really work?

If it could, I could fill the place to the brim in six months of sales. Would be crazy-easy.

Any thoughts/experiences appreciated.


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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
There is grace within forgiveness, but it's so hard for me to find - Ben Gibbard
My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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Christy

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Reply with quote  #2 
My thoughts are everyone wants a sweet deal, so buying things at estate sales for good prices but then selling them plus shipping hoping to make just a tiny bit of profit doesn't offset having to store things until they sell and also dealing with the potential for bugs or mold or whatnot.

I make those opinions off of my experience of selling machines and people constantly bargaining for lower prices cutting my profit margin after all my hard work cleaning and repairing and replacing parts... then also comparing unfairly against what they might get off eBay without considering the shipping prices and quality of goods.

Sheesh!  Do I sound like Nancy negative??  I guess I've had a hard time lately.

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Rodney

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Reply with quote  #3 
There is some interest in the old patterns etc, but I think you have to get back into the 50s or earlier for them to be worth much of anything and condition is important too.  I know of at least a couple businesses making reproductions of some of the older stuff. It would follow that if there's interest in old sewing patterns and styles then there would be interest in old notions to match.
Near as I can tell people who sew are a fairly small segment of the population.  People who sew retro clothing would be an even smaller part.  Definitely a niche market. 

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charley26

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Reply with quote  #4 
Some people do love using vintage patterns to make garments, but the problem arises if all of the pattern is not in the packet. Other people will use the pattern packets to make covers for art journals etc, especially really colourful vintage ones - one packet for the front and one for the back, and joined together with fabric. Lots of people stitch paper and fabric together. Incomplete patterns can make really cool wrapping paper - may need ironing though. The pattern pocket can hold whatever, or a photo/sketch etc.
Vintage linens can be incorporated into quilts, I have made one, and in the middle of making another; it can be painful to cut these linens, but otherwise they are just hidden away or thrown out. Some people will use the linens to add a little something to items of clothing. Stained linen is easier to cut up - bunting comes to mind, but pieces can be sewn on to anything really - denim jackets, jeans, sweatshirts - applique is a friend.

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #5 
So many uses! But again, as Rodney said, it is a niche market. This is what goes through my head at night. How to incorporate several niche markets into one little shop. My Mother complains all the time that there is nearly no quilting shop anywhere close, or how hard it is to by good yarn ("good" being subjective: she wants natural fiber neutral tones). all of us cringe at the prices at sales for old lace that must have taken weeks to do... and it's selling for a dollar. Linen? Ha. When's the last time anyone bought linen? So it's all out there, but in many different places. Some say the only way to make a store profitable is to have a long arm quilting machine in a room with an operator. I have a shelf full of attachment cases for various makes and models of machines, brand new Singer skirt markers in boxes... and could probably fill four commercial pattern cabinets. and then there's the restored machines... and lets not even mention the piles of material that we didn't buy last year... and all of this is cool and it's neat, but without some other subject under the roof I seriously wonder if a shop could be financially possible. I mean this is Pittsburgh; where I can buy a 301 at an estate sale for 30 bucks and people give me Pfaff 130s. 
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It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
There is grace within forgiveness, but it's so hard for me to find - Ben Gibbard
My adventures with VSM's: http://steelsewing.blogspot.com
*QuiltnNan and asshat may be synonymous...
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Rodney

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Reply with quote  #6 
One thing that's harder to find than a good quilting shop is good sewing shop.  Try finding decent clothing fabrics, wools, velvets, silks, etc at any of the chain fabric stores or crafts stores like Joann's or Hobby Lobby.  Online is ok for a lot of things but I like to actually feel fabric before I buy.  Make the vintage notions a part of that.  Add some quilting and sewing classes too if possible.
Sounds good to me but I have no idea of what the costs or sales would actually be.

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jon

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Reply with quote  #7 
I'd try online sales for the National and International market.  If you meet with success you can add a brick and mortor.

Jon
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morningstar

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Reply with quote  #8 
I have been going thru the procedure for a few yrs. have slew of parts /attachments for machines.
Yes, mostly Singer. Don’t know how this happened,. Don’t want to throw in landfill but have so many
Buttonholers I don’t know what to do . Will keep trying to get rid of things.

Still wouldn’t do to have store front for all my notions, parts , fabric and machines. Just wonder how to
get rid of stuff before I get to the time I can not sew.

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Kathleen 
 
northeast of Toronto, ON  or
southwest Fl in winters
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