No Quilting Today - Mantilla Factory in Full Swing Today
by, 02-10-2012 at 05:55 AM (1011 Views)
As some of you may, or may not know, one of the primary ways I earn a living these days is by making mantillas. What's a mantilla? It's a veil. Nope, not a wedding veil. These are made for women who wear them to church on Sundays - usually those who attend the Latin Mass. Also, if you're going to the Vatican and are fortunate enough to have an audience with the Pope, you'll need one.
Anyway, with quilting and this and that intrusion into the regular pattern of my life, I am soooo behind in fulfilling my orders, so if it's not made of lace, I can't touch it today. Probably not tomorrow either.
A strange way to earn a living, isn't it? I never dreamed I would become a veil designer. Not in a million years. It was actually accidental. I had a little business selling Catholic artifacts - statues, Crucifixes, etc. from estates. From time to time I would come across vintage mantillas and they would sell as fast as I put them up.
Eventually, I entered into a business arrangement with someone who I thought made them herself so that I could offer them to my customers. Well, for one reason and another, I stopped buying from her.
Around that time I found myself in Kohl's the day before Thanksgiving. I have no idea why I was there, but I stumbled upon my first sewing machine. It was a Singer with a bunch of stitches and it was recommended by Martha Stewart. It was $79. Christmas came and went that year and I eventually pulled the machine out of the box and somehow decided to make mantillas myself. How hard could it be?
I started by using only vintage lace I found at estate sales, but the photography etc for these limited edition pieces took too much time, so I found wholesale sources for lace and trim.
Fast forward several years and that person I was buying veils from moved out of the country and stopped selling retail. I found that I was now the primary source for mantillas. Worldwide. YIKES!
Well, that first sewing machine is now in retirement. I now have two others and a serger that are in constant use. I started to embroider religious motifs on my veils as well and now have two embroidery machines. My house is bursting at the seams with lace and huge rolls of trim and that little business shows no signs of letting up.
During the past year I was approached by two major fashion magazines who wanted to use my veils in feature articles - Women's Wear Daily and Vogue Italia. As tempted as I was, I said no to each of them. I figured until I find a competent apprentice, I had more business than I could handle.
Well, enough writing for now. Back to work!
Have a wonderful, joy-filled day!