In the 1960s and 1970s I was living and working in Toronto Ontario. The people and vibe of the Village (Yorkville) was always a source of inspiration. At the time, my hobby and passion was collecting vintage clothing, jewellery and even cars. I drove a restored old clunky 1946 Plymouth Deluxe, similar to the one shown below.
My trusted sewing machine was normally found on my dining room table where I produced many garments, now known as up-cycled vintage clothing. Each item was a creative fusion of old and new. Vintage pillowcases were transformed into women’s blouses and skirts. Vintage lace was appliquéd to denim jean jackets. Velvet boots were adorned with colourful ethnic embroidery. My friends started to request clothing items and I started a small cottage business employing the seniors from the Latino Seniors Centre. I called the business “Memorabilia.” It was a happy and creative time for me for several years.
My home-based business came to an abrupt end when, high, bloodied, drug-dealing neighbours came after me with knives. Apparently they were fighting with each other until they saw me and came in pursuit. The adrenalin kicked in and I grabbed my young son and literally ran for our lives. The 4 druggies were charged but remanded on bail. It was unsafe for us to live close to them while they awaited a trial so my friends packed me up and moved me out of my home the next day. Most of my fabrics and supplies went into storage while we bunked with a friend with a few personal belongings. I needed time to overcome the trauma and decide my future. That was a huge disruption to my life and my son and I experienced a considerable amount of trauma. I shook for several weeks after the incident.
My sewing machine went into hiding under my computer desk for several decades but, just this past Christmas, it started to call once again.
When my son visits for the holidays, we love looking through antique markets and going to collectible shows. I was seeking a satisfying hobby for my eventual retirement. He encouraged me to revisit the Memorabilia clothing concept to appeal to older adults who still appreciate unique items, just like we did in the 60s. Many still enjoy being different with a unique flair or style. Where do you find those kinds of things of interest to seniors? I didn’t know.
I searched high and low until I finally found a role-model online, a Canadian woman creating up cycled items in British Columbia.
So last week, my sewing machine, craft and upholstery tools enjoyed another coming out party. My plan is to photograph my hand-made up-cycled creations during the summer and feature them on my social media pages.