How long have you been in business?
The facts: My name is Tina Sutherland, I'm a 52 year old former RN, current grandmother and married to a lucky guy. I own What-I-Found – Sewing Patterns. (I'm one of the several pattern sellers at Main Street Mall Online.) I have been selling patterns for about three years, selling online for 10 years.
What motivated you to go into the vintage business? I live in an RV traveling full time for my husband's work. He does safety inspections on amusement rides so we go from big cities to tiny towns and I shop everywhere, all over the country. I owned an antique shop in Seattle and sold things online from there, but when we hit the road I needed to sell something small and unbreakable. Patterns work out perfectly, I think they are fascinating and they move with us (all 3,500 plus).
What's the weirdest/best/craziest/most beautiful thing you've ever found? The best thing I have found is a letter and I have a dress with iron on details (warning! FAKE POCKETS! —Ed.) that hasn't sold (but I admit I'll be sad when it goes!).
What do you dream about finding? I dream about finding boxes of uncut 1920-30's patterns. Oh, and they would be in wonderful condition!
What do you enjoy most about working with sewing patterns? Since we move so often it's not practical for me to take a "real" job, so working with the patterns lets me be flexible. I can list a ton or take a day off as needed. So long as I have internet I'm a happy gal.
What do you wish someone would ask you about your site? I do wish folks understood that these are pieces of history … a sixties pattern is nearly 50 years old … it's sort of amazing that something made of tissue paper is here and intact.
It's a good day at work when … A good day is when somebody discovers the long lost pattern they have been looking for. They are so happy and send such nice notes. A bride finding her exact dress is exciting too. Even when it's a fauxlero dress!
If I ran the internet for a day I'd … If I ran the internet for a day I'd issue everyone a sixteen year old to stand by as tech support.
You'd laugh if you knew this about me … You'd laugh to see me wearing my pink hardhat hauling steel. Sometimes we move rides and since I have no real tool skills I get the scut jobs … but I can outwork those young whippersnappers.