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  • Writer's pictureDiana Eden

Patchworking in the crazy 1970s

In the 1970s, like most aspiring actors, I had to find ways to earn money to pay the rent, pay for acting classes, and generally keep the wolf from the door.

Also like most aspiring performers, I worked part-time as a waitress. In my case, it was as a cocktail waitress for a well-known establishment on Restaurant Row, where I served cocktails in the lounge where patrons waited for their tables to be ready. I arrived at 5 pm and finished around 10 pm. I didn't make much money, but enough to pay for groceries and other odds and ends during the week. The hours allowed me to go to dance and acting classes during the day, and to auditions when they came up.

I also put my sewing abilities to use to support myself. I started to make patchwork quilts and pillows for interior decorators and friends and made patchwork skirts and dresses, which were a big hit in the free-styling 70s culture in LA.

I was lucky enough to be found by the editors of the HOME section of the Sunday LA Times, which sent me and some others out to a farm in Topanga Canyon for a photoshoot. The resulting photos were featured on several pages of the weekend magazine and got me a lot of attention and business. One of my first new clients was Candy Spelling, who was eager to get the latest and greatest fashion trend!

But, let's face it, as much as I loved putting colors and fabrics together, my heart was still in my acting career at that time, so this was just a means to an end. Some years later, as a costume designer, I reproduced the dress for a play at the Pasadena Playhouse called "How the Other Half Loves." I also designed the patchwork outfit for REBA McENTIRE which she wore when she won her first CMA Entertainer of the Year Award.

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