A Story of Sewing Past




There is no question I carried and designed unique styles when I had my store–but why was the number one colour in Flash Cadilac black? Why did I entice an entire town to wear that colour, when it was always known that supposedly most Ottawa civil servants only wore black on Wednesdays? What was the history behind my colour passion?

Truth be known I always hated colour and still do, and it seemed to be the only shade that camouflaged food stains as a teen. What was not to like? It was slimming, and even though I had creative genes, sewing wasn’t really my forte. So, I pinned, I taped and if it fell apart, well it fell apart, but the general public got the idea. Black was cool! And the only way I could have black clothes was to haunt my local fabric store like everyone did in those days.

I think it all stemmed back to the tender age of 12. I once met a woman reciting poetry on the street in Granby, Quebec. She was thin, cool, and wore nothing but black. Smoking a long slim cigarette, she blew perfect circles into the air and looked like she didn’t have a care in the world. I immediately assumed that one does not have to think if you wear the colour black.

Years later people did not hesitate to ask me if I was a Goth or depressed. To those that constantly questioned me year in and year out I repeated the same answer. I’m lazy and black works for laziness. After all:

Thin women selling perfume at Bloomingdales all wore black.
Black looks cleaner when dirty than other colors when you don’t do laundry.
Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” wore lots of black.
Ninja’s– it’s always about Ninja’s–and the list went on.

I’ve learned to recognize and anticipate the precursor look to this question on people’s faces, and swerved to avoid them in stores and restaurants throughout my life. But above all black says this: ‘I don’t bother you— don’t bother me”. Keeping the colour out of store was a way of saying “floral prints make adults look like toddlers”, and honestly, nobody can ever criticize black.

And very few people sew anymore. Even sewing has out priced itself.




Hi Linda:

My sister-in-law Nancy Collie of Carleton Place forwarded your piece on Millfab to me on Facebook last year. Our Carleton Place store was always the best store we had on a per-square-foot basis. Unfortunately, the business closed in 1981 due in large part to the new demographic — the working woman who didn’t have the time nor inclination to sew.
My Dad’s family were in the textile business; coming to Appleton in 1937. My mother’s side of the family was the Bennett clan. Her father Harry and his brother Austin (Aunnie) ran Bennett’s Butcher Shop for years. My late wife and I bought Harry and Annie’s house on Flora Street in 1976 and stayed there 12 years.
Bruce Collie
Your Carleton Place Blast from the Past Bill White--This pic taken around the middle 70 Arena Upper Hall
Bill Brown

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

2 responses »

  1. LOL I remember many moons ago, going to the Mill Fab, to get my mother material to make clothes. I can’t remember if Fabric World became Mill Fab or vise versa. I remember it was in the Old Embassy Restaurant and Dan’s Bait Shop was right beside it.

    You should ask the lads on here, how many of them went to Kings Castle to get their hair cut. I loved going into the pool hall, watching the older fellas play “GOLF”, on the pool tables. You should also talk to Les Reynolds about Corky’s old warehouse on Mill Street. Laurie Melrose with the bowling alley. I love reading your articles and there is a lot of history for sure in CP.


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