Eden Saalsaa began buying vintage fabrics from me this year, which is how I got to know her. She shared with me when she was checking out my shop that she was on a quest to pursue a long-held passion as a designer of home interior goods. When she found my shop she was sourcing vintage fabric for a blossoming plan she had to create the brand Olden Vintage Co.
As she explains it,
In March I was furloughed from my sales position due to Covid. Boredom set in quickly and I began using up some of my old fabrics to decorate my new home. I sold my big house in February after my last kid went off to college and realized how many old textiles I had. It became obvious this is my favorite genre of old stuff. It all made sense and Olden was born.
Fortunately for her she had the skills to jump right into her new venture because she had learned sewing for garments and upholstery at the knee of her mother and grandmother back in the day.
I’m a 3rd generation seamstress. My grandmother worked as an upholsterer for many years and my mother was more of a hobby seamstress who was very creative. I guess I inherited a little from each of them.
But Olden Vintage wasn’t Eden’s first foray into designing and executing professionally sewn goods. Over the years she’s been commissioned to make everything from formal wear and wedding dresses, to pillows and curtains, sewing it all on her old Bernina. Doing so makes her deeply happy.
I love to create! I guess it’s my therapy.
Olden Vintage Co. Pillow Launch
For her launch Eden released collections of pillows inspired by both vintage textiles and her family members, with her first three collections named after each of her three kids. Each collection has a distinctive style and vibe just as her kids have their unique personalities. Her current offerings are:
- Olivia Collection: Rare and unseen vintage fabric that are more unique.
- Chloe Collection: Vintage all-American grain sacks.
- William Collection: More masculine type fabrics like vintage denim, velvets, and corduroy.
In our abundant society, pillows are obviously readily available, factory produced on the cheap, and come in many different styles. So why would customers shop with Eden at Olden Vintage? What sets her pillows apart?
First, sourcing vintage fabrics means she’s already starting with a greener product, even when she combines some contemporary fabrics into the designs to reduce costs.
But what makes an equally important impact is the hand made and made in the USA aspect. During a time of great financial upheaval and the change in so many peoples’ job, like Eden being furloughed earlier this year, we have to adapt and make new things happen not only to bring us happiness, but also to create new revenue streams — the gig economy in all its pain and glory.
Eden’s upcycling is the perfect mix of reusing existing goods and putting herself to work.
Yes, other people are also upcyling these days, which is wonderful for the planet. Eden’s contribution is in bringing a distinctive eye to her pieces, combining fabrics in a way that’s all her own, with little touches like fabric-covered buttons that give flair to her designs. She also focuses on natural fibers from across the eras that can be machine washable.
And with that the possibilities are wide open. Her love of so many styles makes her design palette that more ever-changing, surprising, and unique.
I like it all! When I see a fabric I consider the personality of it, that’s what speaks to me when designing.
I’m trying hard to use as much vintage as possible. But to make financial sense the backs of the pillows will be a combination of new and vintage. All buttons will be either vintage mother of pearl or wood or covered buttons from the vintage fabric.
One touch I love is her use of the vintage fabrics’ selvedge edges which were printed with the year, maker, and even designer. There are two Bassett McNab pieces she sourced from lady Virginia Vintage that she did that way (see the photo gallery).
I’m so passionate about keeping the histories and pedigrees of the fabrics I sell alive, recorded, and in the public record so seeing the selvedge used this way really extends the story and preserves that history wonderfully!
Where to Find Olden Vintage
Eden’s first year with Olden Vintage has been focused on pillows, with other ideas percolating for the future. In the meantime, as designer, buyer, and bookkeeper, she’s got her hands full with her emerging business. Her daughter Chloe helps out with social media.
Right now if you’re on the West Coast you can find Eden’s Olden Vintage brand at a pop-up with R Street Purveyors at the Ice Blocks in Sacramento through December 22nd, 2020. Her online shop is coming soon but you can follow her on Instagram and wait for news of the online launch.
It’s so exciting to me to see fabrics I’ve sourced and researched and sold (along with other sellers’ pieces) get a new life through Eden’s passion for design. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
— Lady Virginia