Swank Underpinnings

I gotta a case of the gimmies!  These petticoats and tulle slips made by Swank Underpinnings take me back to the young girl I used to be, eating Froot Loops wearing my little girl full tulle slip and athletic socks.  Okay, so I was a tomboy, but even then I knew a beautiful thing when I saw it.

I am so in love with the colored tulle petticoats! Where do you do your dying?

Well, a lot of my tulle petticoats are made from the eeenormous stock (that's what it feels like when I am trying to find room to store it neatly in my studio) of colored tulle that I keep on hand. But I do have a not-so-secret passion for the beautiful variations of color that can be created through hand-dying. All of my hand-dyed items are dyed in my 'laundry room' right below my studio. My fiance and I were actually fortunate enough to buy a home last June with a beautifully spacious detached artist's studio. It is a lofted haven above our garage....which also, weirdly for most people, but conveniently for me, is split into two sections, one of which is the home's laundry area. The previous owner probably fitted it all out with clean, cozy carpeting, but I just let the dye drip and splash on the cement floor while I create!

Who or what influenced your style?

So I told a little bit of the story of my amazing workspace above. But the full story is that I would never have had the space or the inspiration to use it the way I do, if the love of my life didn't have his eye on it first - as a music studio. My fiance, Vic, is a musician whose creative energy fills up half of my studio space and most of my life. Not only do his guitars and piano make into some of my shop's photographs, but he also provides the soundtrack and encouraging motivation for many a late-night sewing session. I also credit him with giving me the space, time, and encouragement (not to mention financial support), to stop and really make an honest attempt at starting my own creative business.

I've always loved to sew and a lot of my style comes from my background in theater as well as my current stage of life as a soon-to-be bride. I just sort of fell into the petticoat and crinoline niche when I started looking around when I first got engaged, and really didn't find much in the way of the vintage style colorful underthings I loved to look at so much out there to buy. So I started thinking...well, how can I make them? And then I had a studio space with enough room to collect bolts and bolts of tulle and a generous partner who was willing to share it with me and I thought...why just make one for me?!

Is spring your busiest time of year or do you have steady sales figures throughout the year?

So far it is! But I haven't actually had my Etsy shop open for a full year yet, so I will have to let you know. Last October, I offered a series of feminine styled Halloween costumes with matching petticoats that kept me plenty busy filling orders as well.

Is your business providing a sustainable income at this point or do you have your creative finger in other pots?

Not yet. Right now, I am really in the 'investing a lot to make my business grow in the direction I want it to go' stage. I read a post with Beantown Handmade on your blog that said there is a saying that "the first year you feed your business, the second year your business feeds itself, the third year your business feeds you." That makes a lot of sense to me, and while I'm crossing my fingers that it doesn't take quite 3 years, I understand that if I really want to be serious about creating a sustainable business that I'm proud of, it will take some cultivation in the early stages.

In the meantime, I am also trying to finish graduate school. And looking forward to the end of May when I can focus all of my 'work-time' energy on my shop.

Which of the models is you, if any?
Hahaha. Funny that you ask that question, because I am in some of the photos in my shop, but you're not supposed to know that I am!! I am the model in some (but not all) of the 'legs only' shots. I don't really like to pose for photos of my own stuff - but sometimes out of necessity and the desire to post more listings in a short time frame, I let my fiance take pictures of just my legs peaking out from under a crinoline. And he doesn't do a bad job either. This one might be my favorite.

Keep your eyes open during the wedding season.  I'm sure you'll be seeing her work on all the fashionable brides!

Her twitter:  twitter.com/BoutiqueSwank

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