Selena Photo Credit: Ashley Gribbin
Hello! My name is Selena and my shop is ‘a recurring dream‘. I am
a stay at home mom living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with my husband and our
My shop takes materials that are unwanted from my local
community and I have been making quality home goods and accessories,
and started adding clothing this year.
As a young woman, I had sewn patchwork dresses, skirts, bags, purses,
etc for many years that I would vend at local concert lots and festivals.
In my mid 20’s I wanted to move to the city and started working for a
young restaurant group. I grew into adulthood along side an innovative
and maturing local restaurant group that emphasized the importance of
farm to table food, craft beer and spirits, and embracing and utilizing
the individuality of each of its employees to its advantage. I spent a
decade managing restaurants for them. The demanding schedule did
not afford me much time for sewing and once I started a family, I realized
the schedule did not allow much time for them either.
So I said good-bye
to my home away from home and a couple of months later dusted off my
sewing machine and picked up a gig doing piece work for a local clothing
company to make money for Christmas. I slowly began finding and
unpacking my sewing items and making space for them in my home. Then
I started making gifts for people and trying to come up with ideas of items
to make with materials I had on hand, or could source inexpensively, and I
found myself building a small inventory of items.
A new street fair started
that year and they were looking for vendors. I had just enough inventory
to send photos of my work along with the application and I was accepted
to vend the street fair, and started sewing A LOT in order to have enough
items to fill my vending spot!
Vending regularly was not reasonable for me with my kids in tow, and I had
researched Etsy shops for months before opening my shop. Once I started
I felt so lost! I had zero experience with internet sales. I tried finding teams
for support with little luck in the beginning, then,…. One of the articles in the Sellers Handbook
suggested using an interest as your search keyword when trying to find
a team. I searched “patchwork” and that is how I found the DHAA and I
This team has been such a source of knowledge and support
for me and has truly been a comforting support that has kept me on Etsy.
I also never would have guessed that there would have been an online
market for patchwork clothes, but maybe that is just me showing my age.
I work mainly with up-cycled clothing and de-stash items that I collect from my
community. I have an overwhelmingly diverse stash of fabric, and it can
make it hard for me to focus on one project for a very long time.
get a new idea, I have no problem abandoning a project in progress to start
on a new item. I always have a collection of items in progress…sometimes
I go back and finish them, and sometimes I take them apart to use the
materials for something else. I rarely feel committed to finishing a project I
am no longer enjoying. I find inspiration from so many places in the world
around me. It sometimes surprises even me the things I will suddenly
decide need to be made next!
I grew up with a very crafty mama who loved to sew and craft with
whatever materials we had on hand. She always encouraged us to try
new things and was never afraid of us getting dirty or making a mess. It
was a wonderful way to grow up. I was never allowed to use her machine,
but when I was a teenager and started showing interest, she was quick to
find me a hand me down machine to call my own.
I taught myself how to
sew and quickly burned through a string of hand me down machines. In
the height of my young adult sewing days my parents helped me purchase
a refurbished metal Singer machine. I was always concerned about the
quality of my items and the following year my parents gifted me a serger.
Their support meant the world to me and I still sew on the same machines
today. What a great investment they turned out to be…when I think of what
I have made on them it is almost unreal to me that they are still keeping up
Making patchwork was a natural fit for me. When I started sewing, I
made a basic dress pattern and made a couple of simple a line dresses from
lightweight vintage curtains I had found at Goodwill. My friends mother
gave me a box full of scraps she had collected over her years of sewing,
and I decided to make a pattern for a patchwork dress for myself. As a
child I had often been mesmerized with Holly Hobbie’s beautiful apron,
and wanted a dress that was a grown up version of that amazing childhood
image. After some drafting and a lot of math…I did it! I couldn’t believe
that I had actually made it! It is still my favorite item I have ever made.
I made well over 50 dresses from this pattern and never upgraded my
personal dress from that original, and I look forward to handing it down to
my girls. I have always been so proud of it, and I am hoping to revive the
pattern this Spring.
My children are the most amazing force to have ever touched my life. I
am a very active parent, and enjoy my time with them immensely. I am
also committed to my community, and spend time volunteering at my
children’s schools, helping with coat and food drives, and volunteering at
our community garden.
Our community garden is one of my favorite places
to be! In addition to our own plots, my husband, children and I spend a
lot of time helping to tend the common grounds, and tending the donation
garden. All of the harvest from the donation garden benefits our neighbors
through our local food pantry.
My family and I also love taking advantage
of all of wonderful things Pittsburgh has to offer. Pittsburgh is a beautiful
and exciting city, and we particularly love our time spent at the Carnegie
Museums and all of the surrounding State Parks. The woods are truly my
home. I like to be busy and active, and I am never at a loss for things to do
in my area.
I always loved vending at festivals and shows, and I was excited when I
started vending at the Artisan Market in the Strip District neighborhood of
Pittsburgh this year. I love people, and love getting to talk to people about
my work. I find having an internet shop to be so isolating, and it is always
nice to come face to face with someone who truly appreciated what you are
Music has always held an important role in my life. My father is very
passionate about music and ensured it was part of our daily lives. He took
me to my first concerts, and to many more later in life. The concert that left
the biggest impression was attended when I was about maybe 12 years
old. It was a music festival at Camp Lejeune Naval Base during Operation
Desert Storm. The energy in the crowd was unlike anything I had ever
experienced. I remember that Chicago was the headliner and that Sinbad
was the MC for the event. It was my first experience seeing how music
could bring people together and give them hope, joy and a strong sense of
togetherness. When I first moved to the city in my early 20’s, there was an amazing
theater that had live music almost every night. I went there just about
every evening, I didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else. Some night
they had national acts, sometimes they would even have high school kids
who raised enough money to rent the theater to play for their friends and
family, and everything in between. Often times the younger bands playing
were my favorite nights. They always played with a passion that I truly
My favorite quote is by an author named Richard Bach from No Such Place
as Far Away.
“Not being known doesn’t stop the truth from being true.”
This resonates deeply with me. It is a simple statement of truth that I feel is
too often overlooked.
This past year I have had opportunities to do so many things that I never
would have imagined. I have made my first full size quilts, I have started
making bereavement items to console the families who have lost love ones,
and have written my first tutorial to be published in a national magazine this
Spring. It has been such a whirlwind and I am looking forward to what lies
Selena: A Recurring Dream Vending by John Colombo Photography
“Many thanks to all of you who have supported me on this journey” Selena
Artist Contact info:
Social Media Links:
Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team