Penelope Byrne

handmade | one-of-a-kind | upcycled

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Private
Owned By
PenelopeByrne
Store Details
Who is Penelope Byrne? Penelope was the wife of Odysseus. In addition to her many charms and virtues, she was a talented and creative weaver. Byrne comes from Byrne Fabrics, the store in Philadelphia where I bought my first (and still only) sewing machine. At the time, I was driving a 1974 Toyota Corolla that was so crotchety that if you peeked under the floor mats, you could see the road flying by in the spots where the rust had completely fallen off. And yet my priorities were such that spending $1,200 on a sewing machine seemed perfectly reasonable. Each Penelope Byrne item is truly one of a kind, made from whatever I have on hand, whatever I can find, whatever I can rescue. I reuse materials such as old jeans, clothes, and quilts and rarely purchase materials. I’ve been upcycling since long before it was trendy. Growing up with Depression-era parents instilled a no-waste mentality, and finding new uses for things rather than throwing them out has always interested me both as a creative endeavor and because it is, quite simply, the right thing to do. My very first sewing project (at age ten) involved my mom helping me transform a dress I had outgrown into a groovy halter top. The fabric was navy blue with big white polka-dots. I can still picture both the dress and the halter top with absolute clarity (and fondness; thanks, Mom). So that’s what this is all about: creativity, quality, and reuse. But Penelope Byrne has a much better ring to it.
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