Meet Eileen Patterson

Not everything on etsy is made by someone else. Eileen Patterson's shop, GoofingOff, gives everyone a chance to find great vintage sewing patterns in one place along with fabrics (especially Judaic ones), and sewing machine accessories. She has plans to branch out into vintage sewing machines soon.

Originally joining etsy to sell handmade jewelry, she found great success when she opened GoofingOff, her second shop, soon after. Although she still makes jewelry (mostly for friends and family), her original shop, Miss Eileen, is now a vintage shop specializing in Pyrex, Fire-King, and other vintage glassware.

Fat Quarters Ancient City Fabric
Her interest in sewing began when she took sewing classes in junior high school. However, she admits she is really self taught. When she speaks of sewing, she says, "When I sew I like the challenge of using scraps of fabrics from leftover projects, remnants of new fabrics, and castoff clothing from consignment shops. I enjoy bringing new life to these materials. Sometimes a dress becomes a tote, a pair of worn out jeans becomes pot holders, or a scrap of fleece becomes a hat. I love a challenge."

Vintage 1941 Pattern
Eileen was one of the first original members answering the call to form Etsychai, the Jewish Street Team on etsy. Of Etsychai, she says, "EtsyChai is my link to the artistic Jewish community. Belonging to EtsyChai allows me to express and share my creativity and exciting finds with others."

In her "other life", Eileen practices tikkun olam (literally, repairing the world) as a critical care nurse in the VA system. She tells us, "Nursing is doing a mitzvah (good deed) every day and getting paid for it.....Working critical care is helping a person and their family get through a very difficult time of life.....I am very lucky to be able to do what I do."

Fat Quarters Dreidels Fabric
With all that she does, she makes her crafting work time non-negotiable. Fortunately, her husband is also a crafter, working with metal and fiberglass; so he provides a fortunate mix of help and understanding.

Inspiration for Eileen comes from history books and Haggadahs (the book read at the Passover ritual meal). She also loves old movies since they help her learn about the fashions of the day. Something that comes in useful when she goes out looking for vintage patterns. But, when all else fails, she goes for a walk in the woods to enjoy G-d's creations.

1964 Barbie Wedding Gown Pattern
When asked if she has any advice for other etsy sellers, she said, "If you have an idea, try it. Be courageous in your art and craft. Believe in yourself. If the idea doesn't work though, move on and try something else. Promote. Don't be shy about your work. Some of my best customers and friends who like my work or come up with ideas and challenges for me. Be open to new ideas. The little old lady at the yard sale supported her family by selling handmade doll pillows and pin cushions at the flea market. I might not use her designs, but I love her attitude and work ethic."

As for photos, she suggests good lighting with a white background and white backdrop that reflects enough light to make a flash unnecessary.

Vintage Pyrex Cups and Saucers
You can also find Eileen on her blog, where she searches for new shops and shops with fewer than 500 sales to feature. She's also on Artfire, Facebook and Twitter.

Hanukkah Fabric Pack
-- Post by April Grunspan of AgruArts


Shana said...

I love that you try new things and repurpose existing items. Less waste is definately the way of the future.

Beads of Paradise said...

Eileen, I didn't know you were a critical care nurse! I know how important that is as I cared for my mother who spent 30 days in ICU. What lovely insight into this wonderful team member!

Linda B said...

Eileen, I love that you upcycle clothing and other items. I didn't know about the sewing machine accessories.

Hats off to you, my friend.

Tracey said...

Eileen I also didn't know you were a critical care nurse. I know how much the nurses meant to my mother and us as her family when she needed them. You are truly doing a mitzvah. Thanks April for helping us to find out more about our fellow team mates.

GoofingOff said...

April, thank you for the kind words and telling my story to the world. I love being a part of EtsyChai. I feel truly blessed.