Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Gift wrapping

I have several fair coming up for Christmas and got thinking about gift wrapping, after asking the question on facebook and twitter, the feedback seemed to be that lots of people liked the idea and would pay extra for it. I then had a look at the wrapping paper I had and had a play around with ribbons etc as I felt if I was going to charge for gift wrapping it had to look lovely. Next I ended up looking on Pinterest for ideas and ended up creating a whole Board of gift wrapping ideas, there is some fantastic ideas there, some of which were impractical to do in the middle of a craft fair ! However I was finding myself drawn to the idea of using Kraft paper.

This was my first attempt which I liked, but realised the ribbon was from my stash and I wouldn't be able to get any more the same, also it is very wide, so wouldn't look right on smaller parcels (phone cases etc)

This was my final solution, I have the gingham ribbon in 2 widths so I can use it for large and small parcels, I have also now added the snowflake punch to make it a bit more Christmassy, but could use the Butterfly punch above if you wanted it non-Christmas. I'll be charging £1 per parcel for the gift wrapping.

What do you think ? Do you pay for gift wrapping or is it something you would consider doing in the future ?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

More sewing and fabric

The sewing machine has been on the go again this week - I have made a new line and made some ipad covers, with an oilcloth outer and soft cotton lining, softly padded with wadding - these ones just need buttons adding for decoration.

I have also had a trip to the local fabric shop and got some lovely new lining fabric - watch out for these as bag lining over the next few weeks  -I am just about to go and cut out a few today.

I will be at Altrincham Vintage market this Sunday selling my bags, it would be lovely to see you there

Thursday, 11 October 2012


I have not got my first stockists - Local creation is a local art gallery/retail space which allows local crafters to display items -

I have left them a selection of my bags and cases today, it is a lovely space with some amazing products, well worth a look around.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Craft Fairs

I've been thinking a lot about craft fairs and markets recently. With a family and a husband who works weekends, any free days are very special so I need to make sure that any fairs which I attend are good value in terms of sales etc. My last 2 fairs have been less than successful in terms of sales, which really knocks your confidence as a maker - there is nothing as sould destroying as spending all day (often in the cold) manning a stall, being polite to customers and then after several hours packing up most of the same stock you unpacked with such high hopes that morning !

Every time I do I fair, I get up on the morning very excited and load the car with a mixture of excitement and aprehension, Once I find the venue, its then a hunt for my table and a quick look round to see who is close to me - Is it someone I know ? Are they selling similar to me ? Does there display look better ? Then the doors open and we all wait with great expectation - will there be lots of customers ?

The customers start to come in and pick up items on the stall (this is the point where I wish I was psychic !) Are they looking to be polite ? Do they like the item but think it is too expensive ? Often they don't make eye contact, is this deliberate because they don't want to be bothered, or are they just thinking about something else ? I always find it really hard to know if/when to speak to a customer and assess if they are the kind who just wants to look in peace or they prefer a little input (I hate a hard sell so won't do that). When I get talking to customers I love to hear feedback about my products and have adapted designs etc when I have spoken to people so this on its own is a fantastic reason to do fairs.

One of the other good things about going to fairs is that I have met some amazing crafters while doing them, and really feel that I am starting to get to know a few people who I have done a couple of fairs with. I also find that lots of people will take a business card, and I have had a couple of orders on the back of this - maybe with more to come when Christmas comes around. I also find it is great to chat to other stallholders about other events, everyone is more than happy to pass on details of which events work for them, and who to contact, which is really useful when you are just starting out.

So I am going to continue doing events and have got several booked in before Christmas along with a list of others which I need to sit down with a diary to try and work out if I can do any more. I hope to see you at one of them.

I would love to hear what you like about Craft Fairs/Markets both from attending as a customer and as a seller.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Social Media

Well I sat down to tidy up my website last night - just wanted to take off some sold out items and do some simple tidying up - ended up changing the colour and template ! It is still a work in progress as I wanted to change the buttons to make the whole thing more streamlined, but to do that I need to use html - may as well be swahelli !! After teaching myself I can make the button look nice but not link to the website - a little more work and I should have it cracked and then I can add the buttons to the blog too.

Anyway it got me thinking, how many people use all the differant forms of media - I found buttons for sites I had never heard of ! I use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest regularly so that's nice and easy. I also have a Linkein and Google + account which I got after reading it was one of those things I 'should' have but I have never had chance to look at them properly of figure them out (would rather be sewing !)

So what accounts do you have, and more importantly use regularly. What buttons do you like to see on a website or Blog and is there such a thing as too many buttons - would love to hear your thoughts on it to give me something to think about as I continue trying to figure out html.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Fabric Labels

I have been trying to work out the best way to add a fabric label to my bags and thought I would share the things I have tried. 

I bought these many years ago for putting on knitted items which I had made, they work fine but I wanted something with a bit more impact.

 I got these ones from an ebay sellar, they work really well as they can be folded over to sew into the seam, but you have to use a stock image and I wanted something more personal.

I found loads of differant ideas on Pinterest and saved them all to this Board so you can see all the directions, so I won't go over them again.

I first tried using rubber stamps and Stazon ink on Cotton Webbing which took ages to do and it was quite hard not to get the ink from the edge of the stamp on the webbing as you can see above.

Next I tried some iron-on transfer paper and made my own design in Word - it was quite a simple design and worked ok on both webbing and gosgrain ribbon. The main thing is to remember to reverse the image before printing. 

I then got my new logo and wanted to use this for labels, again I printed it off the computer using transfer paper from crafty computer paper who have a fantastic range of transfer papers, again you need to remember to reverse the image before printing as above. I then cut the page into lots of individual squares and tried to iron them on !

As you can see the image is quite dense and doesn't work very well on the cotton webbing as it has too much texture so it was difficult to get an even label.

Next I tried gosgrain ribbon which was a little better but still not as even.

Finally I tried satin ribbon and found this much easier to get an effect - I have tried it on narrower and wider ribbon and both work well.

The wider ribbon can be folded over and sewn into the seam as above, this one is a little close to the seam so I just need to get the hang of spacing. I've also played with sewing the narrower ones on in differant ways, it tends to pucker a little and catch on the transfer if I use zig zag all the way round, but if I just straight stitch across each end it seems to look a little better.

I plan to try another couple of the ideas on the pinterest board - there is an interesting idea which lets you print direct onto fabric using freezer paper, I also plan to order some fabric from Spoonflower and will get some labels printed from there too - I will update you when I have tried these methods.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Zip Purses

These little Zip purses have been great sellers

There is also a tutorial here for how to make them yourself - here, but one of the best thing has been listening to peoples suggestions for uses. I originally made the purse to keep my earbud headphones in, heres some other suggestions.

Coin purse
Dummy holder
To keep on keyring with car park change
On dog lead with clean poo bags in

Would love to hear your suggestions for these handy little purses

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Altrincham Vintage Market

Feel like the Blog has been a bit neglected of late, school holidays and the arrival of guinea pig hutch which needed some renovation work (Pictures to follow soon!) seem to have all had a big impact on my time.

I was at the Altrincham Vintage Market on Sunday, the weather was great and I was in the main market this time, which had a lovely feeling about it, the DJ playing the music was great ! I am hoping to book some more dates in for this market, need to check rotas etc. The market was fairly busy and I did well with sales.

I am feeling much happier about my stall now, I have got new tablecloths which I am much happier with, still need to sort out some better display boxes etc, I bought a vintage vanity case at the weekend which I will reline and use for display too. 

Would love to hear your thoughts on the display.

I am doing my first school ladies night on Friday night - not sure what to expect but looking forward to it.

Now I need to go and teach myself SEO and how to establish a database, my sewing machine is calling but needs must !

Monday, 21 May 2012

Pricing ?

I finally made a bags for myself this weekend

with matching pink spotty lining, 

Internal pocket trimmed with ric rac (sorry not the best picture)

Now here is my dilemma, I love my bag and will use it loads BUT because of the cost of the frame, if I was to make them to sell, then they would cost around £35 each (not properly costed yet), which is expensive for a bag. I can't get the frame (or many supplies) wholesale as I am not in a position to buy enough stock to qualify. So do I just accept that I make expensive (nice !) bags or try and get cheaper quality items. 

I use cotton webbing for some of my bags handles which I feel is much nicer than the cheaper alternatives e.g Jute, but obviously makes the bags cost more. How far do you take it, I would feel really uncomfortable selling someone a bag made with inferior materials, but am aware that people have less money at the moment. At present I am sticking to the quality materials model as I am still selling bags but am very aware of how much I have to charge for them. I guess it is a never ending conundrum.

How does everyone else do it ?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Homemade Heaven

I did another Craft fair at the weekend, this was a lovely fair in Hale, with lots of people, I did ok with Sales and sold lots of little gadget and zip cases, but not as many of the bigger bags but I have found in the past that I often get emails regarding bigger bags in the few days after a fair,

I tried a different tablecloth (no spots !) - I like the cream cloth but think the embroidered cloth made it too 'busy', however I did notice most of the other table had white or cream tabelcloths, I think I may try to get some beige fabric for the table as then it would reflect the colours in my Blog and website,

I am still loving my hanging rail for the bags, although still need to fight the impulse to put EVERY bag I have in stock on it, although they will go on it gets a little cluttered.

This is my new display case - I rediscovered this case in the cellar and after a good clean, I lined it with fabric and added the ribbon to hold the lid in place, I need to change the lace at the bottom as it is white and I think cream would look better, it is also a bit short, so need to get to the shop for a longer piece.

I have also made a name plate from fabric, to co-ordinate with my new lovely logo - I think I need to make it bigger. I also made some oilcloth bunting for decoration, although now considering making it to sell.

All in all I had a great time at a lovely fair with a great atmospher (live music and a tea room), so have booked for the November fair.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Earbud Case tutorial

I've been making these cases for earbuds for a while, they are are also really good for spare change etc as they can be clipped onto a bag etc. I make mine out of oilcloth as I like the strength of the fabric and it holds it shape really well, you could make them out of any fabric but you may may need to line the cases or use interfacing to give the case some shape. You can see how this pattern developed here

Cut 2 squares out of the oilcloth - I cut my squares 10cm using a pinking rotary cutter as I like the finish, but its not essential as oilcloth doesn't fray. The zip is a 4" zip

Sew the 2 squares onto the zip as shown, lining the second one up with the first one

It should look like this when you have finished.

Clip and sew 2 sides of the square - leave the zip closed while you do this and leave the side closest to the zipper open

It should look like this when done, with the zip partially open

If you want to add a ribbon tag with either a trigger fastener or split ring, then now is the time to do, you will turn the case inside out so place the ribbon tag on the inside of the case as shown and hold it in place with a clip as shown (Oilcloth shouldn't be pinned, but if you don't have wonder clips you can use paper clips or binder clips)

Bring the zip seam across to the clip holding the ribbon tag and clip it in, this will give you the shape of your case.

Sew across this seam - take your time sewing across the zip to make sure it stays in place, trim ends of zip if needed and cut loose thread. You can also trim the corners to help it sit better.

Turn inside out and admire your lovely new case.

You can also buy finished versions of these cases on my website

This is my first tutorial so let me know what you think and I would love to see pictures of any you make.

As seen on

Friday, 27 April 2012

New bag style

I've been working on a new bag design - this was my first version 

I then made it again in a matt oilcloth and took the pleats out of the body of the bag so it has a smoother line

They are both lined inside and have a slip pocket, I will have them with me when I go to Homemade Heaven in Hale in May - they will cost £25 each, I will see how much feedback I get from them and then maybe make some more !


More Dressmaking

I have manged a bit more dressmaking this week - my daughter chose this fabric herself and I finally got it made - just in time for the rain !

She was very pleased with the dress but I did the one thing you shouldn't do with a pattern and just went off her age rather than getting the tape measure out. Luckily due to the style of this its not a problem - the top is long enough to wear as a dress this summer and she can wear it with leggings as a top next summer - means she will get loads of wear out of it.

The matching hairband is a hit and I can see a few more of those being made !

This was the pattern I made it from - I didn't bother with the ruffles on the shoulder straps as she wasn't too keen on them. The pattern was fairly easy to follow, although I managed to miss cutting one piece out, still not sure how I managed that but there was plenty of fabric so it wasn't a problem

Here is a hint for storing your dressmaking patterns - the A5 size Zip bags which you can get at office suppy shops are the perfect size for storing patterns, it meant I could put the pattern piece I wasn't using for this item back in the paper envelope which storing the ones in use in the plastic wallet for easy access, then when it is all finished I can just put everything away in the plastic wallet.

I also stapled a sample of the fabric on a piece of card along with the size and which view I made, as I know that next time I come to make this top I'll forget what I made so hopefully this should help.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Please excuse our appearance !!

You may have noticed a few changes on the blog - my friend is working on a fantastic new Logo for me and I am playing with the background etc on the Blog just to get a feel for the new logo, it is still a work in progress so you find we look a little differant each time you come back ! Would love to hear any of your thoughts and watch this space for the finished version.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Fabric Buying

I have got lots of lovely new fabric this week - at the moment I just keeping looking at the lovely pile, but starting to get some ideas of what I plan to make with it all - here is a sneek peak of the fabric.

My Husband was in India last week, my sister in law sent me some lovely Indian fabric back with him - I'm seeing evening bags, but still thinking about it. 

Next I have finally managed to get my hands on some gorgeous Amy Butler laminated cotton, I ended up having to get it posted to me from America but it was worth the wait, I love the prints, as it is laminated cotton rather than oilcloth it is a much softer fabric with more 'drape' so looking forward to see how it works.

I found this oilcloth in a shop called Cherry tree in Knutsford, it was the only roll of fabric they had but I fell in love with the print and had to get some, seriously considering going back for some more !

Finally I went to my local fabric shop and bought these lovely fabric to use as lining on various bags.

A fair selection of new fabric - so much for my pledge to try and use up some of the fabric I had before I bought any more !!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Altrincham Vintage Market

I was at Altrincham Vintage Market yesterday, the sun was shining so it was a lovely day, I did ok, from speaking to the other stallholders, it was a quiet day generally, they have just started having some stalls in the indoor market which is where I was based, think a few people didn't realise we were there. However it was a lovely place in the sunshine and right next to the cafe (which was open!)

Think I'm getting better with the stall now

Mainly due to my lovely ebay rail to hang all my bags on 

Which meant I could keep my table a bit clearer, I still need a banner for the front of my stall but hope to have a logo soon, so just waiting for that first.

I met some lovely stallholders, the girls from The Knotted Flower and So Satsuma, there were plenty others but I forgot to pick up business cards so can't add links. I have just got the list of the next fairs in Altrincham so will sit and look at them along with husband's work rota and plan to book another date.