The Process

Monday, August 23, 2010

I sewed for 6.5 hours straight yesterday, and have a pretty similar day lined up today. Eek.

I was thinking about the whole process of designing a set, and thought it might be interesting to write it all out. Putting everything down in writing validates the amount of work that I do!

So, here goes!

First, someone contacts me about designing a set. They usually find me on Etsy, and send out feeler messages to a bunch of the ladies on Etsy who make custom crib sets. I'm obsessive about checking my inbox about a million times a day, so as soon as I get a message, I reply right away with my price list, and inquire about whether they have specific colours or themes in mind. From there, we back and forth about possible fabric options. I send them a bunch of options, like this :

Then, I start drawing up a mock-up (or several) layout of how the various fabrics could go together. Sometimes it's easy, people know exactly what they want, and it only takes a try or two. Other times, well, it's not so easy, and it takes a hundred emails and dozens of layouts to get the perfect design. It's hard when people don't know what they're looking for! The design process is free...
Here are what some of my layouts look like!

Once we settle on a design, I post a custom listing for them to purchase

THEN, I calculate all the fabric I need, and shop around for the best deal. I get most of my fabrics online, although I have a really great shop that's not too far from us that has an excellent selection (and is where I buy all my notions). I buy all my fabrics at retail prices, with the exception of minky fabrics, which I get wholesale.

Most of the time, I have to go to Point Roberts (just south of the border) to the PO box I have there, to pick up my fabrics. In no way am I trying to evade paying duty on my purchases, I have everything sent there because shipping is cheaper, and WAY faster (read three days versus one month!)

When I get home, I open all the packages - I usually get about a dozen at a time - and sort my fabrics according to color. Everything gets washed in hot water, to ensure it doesn't shrink later on, then ironed (LOTS of ironing), then measured and cut to size.

Once all of that is done, I print out a project plan for each order, and get started sewing. I go in stages. For example, fitted sheets all get done at the same time, I cut all the corners out, sew them all, then serge them, then attach the elastic. If I'm doing bumpers, I cut all the pieces out, sew all the ties at once, then start assembling them. Once they're all sewn, they all get stuffed, and then I sew them closed by hand. When all my sewing is done for the day, or I can't see straight anymore, then I get on to finishing ends. With a serger, you have to finish the ends somehow, otherwise they can unravel, and no one wants that!! My method of choice, is to use a large embroidery needle, and feed the loose end back through the finished part of the seam.

Then, I iron everything again, clip all the loose threads, and fold it all as best I can to avoid too much wrinkling in transit. I package everything in plastic first, then, depending on size, wrap it in kraft paper, or heavy plastic wrap. I include a thank you note, and a business card. Once that's done, I label the packages, and head down to the post office. Everything gets shipped, and most of the time I have a tracking number, so I come home and add the shipping invoice to my massive binder, mark down that the item has been shipped, and try to remember to let my customer know it's on its way to them.

Ah, then I get to clean up my workspace, and get ready to make dinner, do laundry, wash the dishes, clean the house, snuggle my baby, love my husband, and get ready for the next day.

It sure is a lot!

Then end result is definitely worth it, though!

Sewing like CRAZY

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I have temporarily put my Etsy shop in vacation mode, so that I can catch up on orders. I just organized all the fabrics for the orders that I'm working on this weekend, and I'm going to be spending a LOT of time in front of that sewing machine.

Can't wait to see how everything comes together, and to get a lot of these big orders out of the way.

The plus side to having to work so much, is that I don't have a moment (okay, not really) to stress about or wonder about where I'm at in my cycle, and if I am or am not pregnant.


Oh, and CONGRATS JODENE!! She had a healthy baby girl this morning, and I'm so excited for her!

A wee bit overwhelmed.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I had to put my store in vacation mode, since I've had so many big sales recently I can barely keep up.

I can't wait for Jay to be off on Sunday so that I can spend the whole day slaving away at my machines. Eek.

I have so much to do!

Oh, and I did ovulate this month! I shouldn't even know that, I wasn't supposed to keep track. Ah well, at least I know :P

Hi :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I've had the whole day to myself today, thanks to my lovely mother taking Jake for the day! I don't even have to worry about picking him up, since Jay's on day shift and is going to pick him up on his way home!

I dropped 15 orders off at the post office, and now have time to gear up for the next insane amount of sewing. I don't know what's going on this month, I've had a record number of large sales, so I'm pretty excited.

I think it's time that Jake goes into daycare once a week, and we have a friend who has her ece, so I think if we can work out the details, that might work out! Exciting!!

I had a little time to draw up a digital version of my dream girl nursery! Have a look!!

I have all the fabric... it is getting made whether or not we have a girl! LOL

It's Market Day!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wow, it's beautiful outside, it's hot and absolutely the best weather we could ask for on this fundraising market day!

I have everything ready, all set up in my kitchen waiting to be piled into the van! I even splurged and bought some fabric to make a table cloth for my main display table. It's white satin with white and teal tulle around the outside. Jake walked by it and did a double take saying "Dats NIIIIIIIICE, niiiiiice, oooooh". :D So cute.

I have three toddler bedding sets that I'm looking to part with (take up too much space), so they're going to be clearance priced. I have a bunch of blankets, leg warmers, crib sheets, a couple pairs of Little Shoes, and the dresses! Still have to figure out how to lay everything out, but my lovely mother-in-law gave me a mini bolt of tulle which I think I'll use to hang the dresses up front, and some of the blankets along the sides. I'm also so lucky to have someone lending me a couple extra 6ft tables, so I will have space to lay it all out properly without being too crowded.

I'm going to bring my camera with me this time, so you can see what the booth looks like all put together!

The only thing left is to decide what to wear so that I don't melt in the heat!!

Market Weekend!

I am really excited about my weekend! Jason's not working, and I have two back to back markets :) Tomorrow is the Heart of Ladner Night Market fundraiser for the new Hospice in town. It runs from 4-9pm in the Harbourside complex of downtown Ladner.

Sunday is my regular stint at the Steveston Farmer and Artisan Market at 3rd and Moncton, from 10am til 4pm.

I am quite stoked about the new little girl dresses I'm going to put to market! They're super cute. I have 8, although one sold this afternoon, so down to 7 for the two days. I have the material cut out for another 6, but it's midnight, and I want to sleep tonight. Besides, I have markets until the end of October, I'm sure there's plenty of time left to sell them, and they layer well for fall!

See how cute they are?

Also pretty pleased with how a couple of my bedding sets have turned out, and how they look in the nurseries! This first set was awesome, her color choices were black, white and yellow. We did a crib skirt with this funky hummingbird print, three fitted sheets (black dots, yellow minky and I think a white minky), a blanket, and some changing pad covers. I LOVE the furniture selection, and the choice of colors. Might not work in our small space, but it sure works here!

This one is one that was just delivered today, in time for her shower on Sunday. I LOVE IT. I loved every second of making the set, the colors are so vibrant, and I was amazed at how everything coordinated so well in the finished nursery. She knew exactly what she wanted, and this baby is super lucky to have such a nice room!