Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fabric buntings

I love buntings.  They look adorable pretty much anywhere:  weddings, parties, in your baby's room.  So far, I've made two, and both have been signage for our tables.

The first I made for our jellykoe booth after seeing so many at craft shows.  I used leftover scraps for the pennant flags and felt for the letters.  We've gotten so many compliments on it, too!

So for the wedding show I've got coming up (This Ain't Your Mama's Wedding Show), I thought I needed to make one for my table.  It came out really cute!  Again, I used extra fabric I had laying around, so this cost me nothing.  

Here's a brief tutorial on how to make one if you want to try it out.  It's really simple, and only took about an hour to make.  P.S. I'm a lazy seamstress on my personal projects, so I did a lot of freehanding and guesstimating based on what I thought looked good.

Fabric, felt, ribbon

First I measured the table I was hanging it on.  It's a 4 ft table, so 48".  I needed 9 letters and two end pieces, so I divided 48 by 11 to get 4.3.  That's how wide the finished triangles should be.  Since I cut two pieces and sew them, I cut my triangles 4.5" wide, so that they would be 4" wide when finished.
*If you're using felt as the backdrop, you really only need to cut one piece, but I didn't want my fabric to fray, so I had to finish the edges.

I freehanded the letters on felt, using the triangle as a template to make sure they would fit inside once it was sewn up.

Sew the triangles with a 1/4" seam, clip, turn, and iron.

Sew on the letters.  On the jellykoe bunting, I used contrasting thread colors, which made it pop against the busy background.  On the YesterEra bunting, I used ivory thread since the background was solid.

Sew your triangles to a length of ribbon.  I left a bit extra on each end.  You can fold the ribbon down to enclose the tops of the flags, but it's a personal choice.

Use felt background, or thick fabric and fray check to keep your edges neat.  Glue letters on triangles.  Glue tops of triangles to length of ribbon.  DONE.

I think for craft shows, people appreciate the effort of handmade signage, and of course, it's cheaper than buying a banner.  Next I want to make some paper buntings to string all over the place!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Thread and scrap catcher

I can't believe I waited so long to make this!  It is one of the most useful things I've ever made.  It's a small bag for loose threads and scraps that hangs off the table, right beside your sewing machine.  Much better than having to turn to the trashcan constantly.  It's attached to a pincushion too, so less clutter on your workspace! 

I made mine with scraps of fabric I already had laying around.  The original tutorial I followed can be found at Merriment Design.  I did, however, make a few adjustments to her thread catcher. 

-I made mine shorter: 18 x 9 instead of 17.5 x 11. 

-I also made the pincushion part smaller (5 x 4) and filled it with emery sand to sharpen the pins.  The emery is also hefty enough to sit without any other weights.  TIP: put the emery in a small bag and then put it into the pincushion.  Keeps any of the grains from leaking out.  I bought my emery sand from LoveLaurie on Etsy.

-Because the pincushion was smaller, I chose to only use one strap.  Saved me a bit of time, I like the look better, and it hasn't been any inconvenience.  If I made another, I might consider trying two skinnier straps.  It looks like hers is held more upright by the two straps. 

-I used lightweight boning from Jo-Ann Fabric instead of plastic clothesline.  Not sure which is cheaper, but the boning looks good and is easy to work with. She says the clothesline is optional, but I say it is needed to keep the bag open.

All in all, I am very happy with this project.  It took under an hour to complete, and the instructions were super easy to follow.  Please share if you decide to do this too!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Decoupaging a wig head

So I'm planning to do my first indie wedding show in early 2012, and I've already been making plans for it.  I don't do craft shows with my YesterEra designs because they're so wedding specific, plus my husband and I already do the circuit with our jellykoe stuff. 
I have done a traditional wedding show before, and quickly found that they are not for small businesses.  The booth fees are outrageous, and you're competing with David's Bridal and all the other boutiques.  Plus, the one I did was a huge event, and all the brides were rushing from one booth to the next just taking info.  I sold one veil, and got about 3-4 later sales from it, but overall it was nothing like the craft shows we usually do. 

The sad thing is that indie bridal shows are scarce.  The one I plan to do is hosted by Homespun Parties+Events, based in Chattanooga, TN. 

Anyway, I 've been giving a lot of thought to the way I want my table laid out.  At the last show, I had veils hanging from a hat rack, and accessories laid out on a table.  Boring! 
One of my plans was to bring a few wig heads for showcasing veils or fascinators.  I have two that I've painted faces on and one plain.  I didn't like my first painting attempt, so I used that head as a base. 

We had found an old Dick and Jane primer in a thrift store recently, and I thought it would be fun to use the pages to decoupage.  Add a little Mod Podge and here is the result:

Cute, cheap, and hopefully it will add visual interest to my table!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Feature Friday #6- Little White Chapel

This week I'm featuring Paige from Little White Chapel on Etsy.  She makes absolutely gorgeous wedding jewelry with a charming vintage feel.  

How long have you been doing your craft?
I learned how to make jewelry when I was 12, but I've had my shop open for a little over a year

How and why did you start designing?
A couple of reasons. One, I wasn't happy with my degree or day job, and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Two, I love weddings. Always have, always will. I got married in 2009 and planning my day just made it "worse." I wanted to keep the fun going, so I opened the shop.

What inspires you to create?
As dorky as it sounds, I get REALLY excited when I shop for beads. A lot of special occasion supplies are pretty all by themselves, so they get the wheels turning right away.

How would you describe your style?
Vintage-inspired beauty without a lot of fuss.

Why did you decide to delve into the wedding business?
Like I said above, I'm a wedding junkie.

Do you have any new items you plan on adding to your shop?
A larger selection of hair combs and bobby pins are coming up within the month, and I just ordered vintage rhinestones to turn into earrings.

Which items are your favorite to make and why?
Earrings! Strangely, I don't wear a lot of jewelry everyday, but I always wear earrings. I like to make them because I like to wear them.

Do you have a facebook, twitter, or blog?

I'm on Twitter: www.twitter.com/paigeronchetti
A blog for my shop: whitechapelwedding.blogspot.com
And a fashion/shopping blog: finalclothesout.blogspot.com

Do you sell anywhere besides Etsy?
Not online, but I do various craft shows in the Chicago area.

If you're in the area, try to check her out in person, or you can always visit her Etsy shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/littlewhitechapel

Thursday, March 24, 2011

When your concepts take a life of their own

I always have this problem:  I go into something with one idea in mind, and by the time I'm done, it's morphed into something different. 
I guess it can't be helped.  Evolution of ideas is inevitable, and a positive thing.  But let's look at this from a business standpoint.
F--- yeah scarves!

Let's say you're a knitter.  You have your own shop online, maybe your own website, you've got facebook, twitter, a blog, the works.  Normally you're knitting awesome fingerless gloves, chunky cowls and scarves, some hats occasionally.  Then your friend asks if you can knit some baby booties for her daughter, and all of a sudden, they take off.  Everyone wants baby stuff now, and some of your other work falls by the wayside. 
You never intended to get into children's clothing and accessories, heck, maybe you never really wanted to do it, but now here it is, making you fistfuls of cash. 

Now you have to make some sort of decision.  Do you continue to try to do both children's and adult, knowing that one makes you more money, even though you like the other better?  Or do you switch over and throw yourself full force into the children's world so that you can concentrate all your efforts where you know it will pay off?

This is where I am.  When I decided to start my own Etsy shop, I had something definite in mind.  I wanted to design and sell clothes first and foremost, and I wanted to add in some vintage styled accessories to fill out the shop and complement the clothes. 
But selling clothes online is tough.  Not only are handmade clothes very expensive, but many people do not buy clothes without being able to try them on.  So slowly the accessories started to outweigh clothing, and now I have wedding veils as well as vintage items. 
The veils are now selling more than anything else, and I've been pondering making the switch to a full wedding shop, even though I never planned or particularly wanted to get into the wedding business. 

booties...not as exciting
If this was the only shop I had, I wouldn't think twice about splitting the wedding and non wedding stuff up.  But since I already run a shop with my husband as well as a destash shop, I would feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything. 

The real problem would be rebranding.  If I switched to all wedding, I would want to change the name of my shop.  That means losing all my feedback on Etsy, starting a new facebook, twitter, etc.  It just seems like too much work when I've already gotten this far. 

Comments and thoughts would be appreciated, as this is something I feel I need to give a lot of thought to. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Feature Friday #5- LJL Designs

Hi everyone!  These weeks just fly by!  This week I'm featuring Laurie Louis from LJLDESIGNSSTATIONARY on Etsy.  She creates digitally designed cards that can be customized.  Her specialties are Wedding Save-The-Date cards and Bridal Shower and Party Invitations.

 How long have you been doing your craft? 
I have been doing my craft for 5 years.

How and why did you start designing?
I enjoy designing on my MAC and have done things for friends for years. It helps me relax after a busy day at work. It lets the creative side of me come out.

What inspires you to create?

When I see things in stores or in magazines, my first thought is - I would change that just a little - my next thought is - I can't wait to go home and work on it. I love trying out new ideas and putting together different items to create cards for people.

How would you describe your style?
Clean and contemporary with classically inspired themes. I like to take a traditional concept and modernize it.

Why did you decide to delve into the wedding business? 
A friend of mine was getting married and couldn't find what she wanted at a decent price. She liked my creativity and asked if I could design an invitation for her. I had so much fun creating the invitations that I decided I would work a line for my website. From there, my wedding business continued to grow. The longer I worked on the invitations, the more ideas I had. A year later my ideas continue to grow and hopefully so will my wedding business.

Do you have any new items you plan on adding to your shop?
I just completed a Pool Blue Set of Invitations, Save-The-Date Card, Rehearsal Dinner Invitation and Thank You note. Along with matching Wine Boxes that can be used for gifts for wedding party. Currently, I am working on a set of Invitations and Thank You notes to go with my beach Save-The-Date cards. I also am working on some fun Summer Save-The-Date invitations, Bridal Shower Invitations and Thank You notes.

Which items are your favorite to make and why?
Save-The-Date cards are my favorite to create. You can be fun and creative with them. Wedding invitations tend to be more traditional.

Do you have a facebook, twitter, or blog?
I have a facebook page: www.facebook.com/home.php#!/LJLDESIGNS
My Twitter page is: @LJLDESIGNS
I do not have a blog yet but my goal for the summer is to create a blog.

Do you sell anywhere besides Etsy?
I also sell off my website - LJLDesigns.com

Be sure to check out her shop on Etsy at  http://www.etsy.com/shop/LJLDESIGNSSTATIONERY

Friday, March 4, 2011

Feature Friday #4- Enchanted Bouquets

Welcome to another Feature Friday!  This week I'm talking to the wonderful Amber with Enchanted Bouquets.  She does wonders with paper.  Her shop can be found at http://www.enchantedbouquets.etsy.com

Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Amber Pitts. Beach dweller, loving wife, owner of classic cars and mother to a spoiled cat. I run 2 vintage clothing shops, thevintagevortex, Islanddollvintage and a paper flower wedding bouquet shop, enchantedbouquets, all on Etsy.

How long have you been doing your craft?
I've been making paper flowers since the summer of 2010.

How and why did you start designing?

I started paper crafting as a hobby. I was a workaholic with my vintage shops and was starting to get burn-out. I looked toward papercrafting as something fun and relaxing that I could do to balance part of my life and I fell in love with it. Especially making flowers.

What inspires you to create?
My biggest inspiration to create is creativity itself. I'm always thinking of different designs, color combinations and themes that I can make come to life through my bouquets. My brides are also a huge inspiration to me. They always have such amazing ideas and I get so excited to see the finished result of their visions.

How would you describe your style?
My working style is a mish-mash just like my personal style. I like a little bit of everything. I find great inspiration in the past, though and I love bringing that glamour and romance into my designs. This is why you will find a lot of vintage materials brought into my bouquets.

Why did you decide to delve into the wedding business?
When I got married I settled for a beautiful white rose bouquet. Although it was what I thought that I wanted at the time, looking back it was just so not me. Even that day as I looked at it, I wished that there was something else, other than fresh flowers, that I could carry down the aisle; something that would represent my quirky, creative nature. This is the very reason I went into the wedding business. So that brides like me could walk down the aisle with a creative expression of themselves in their hands.

Do you have any new items you plan on adding to your shop?
I'm always working on new things. About every month and a half I have new designs making their appearance in my shop as inspirations for my brides. I just finished a pink and black burlesque theme bouquet which I'll be listing this Saturday.

Which items are your favorite to make and why?
My favorite items to make are those for my brides. I get so excited to see their visions realized!

                                                          Do you have a facebook, twitter, or blog?
Here is the link to my facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Enchanted-Bouquets-Paper-Wedding-Flowers/124733704263249

Here is the link to my twitter: twitter.com/PaperBouquets

Do you sell anywhere besides Etsy?
At this time my designs are only available on Etsy. My direct link is www.enchantedbouquets.com.

Amber does amazing work!  I encourage you to check out her Etsy shop and "like" her on facebook!