Honestly, I'm not sewing all that much this week. I've been in planning mode most of the week, having a "show hangover" for most of Monday after a terrific Yarn Crawl event. Ask other artisans--"show hangover" is a thing. I lost track of how much coffee I've consumed the past few days.
What have I been working on? Some side projects, plus a lot of sewing in the planning stages. Here's a peek.
The photo above is a close-up of the embroidery for my new Lil Rhody bags. I would show you a finished bag, but they are all sold out at the moment! I plan to spend part of break next week sewing more, not to worry.
Samples for a Seaside Sewing Summer Camp at the Newport Library. I'm really looking forward to teaching this camp with my pal Emma the first week in August.
Fabric shopping for Selfish Sewing happened this week. I'm planning a whole blog post about Lorraine Fabrics in Pawtucket--it's a local gem not to be missed. Lotta Jansdotter fabric for $2.99/yard? Yes please! The fabric above will become an Esme top from her book Everyday Style.
More Selfish Sewing fabric for another Washi Dress. See my last post about how terrific sewing with this pattern is.
A gift for a certain Maryland family member. I haven't completely decided what the final product will be yet, but I'm thoroughly pleased with the embroidery kit from I Heart Stitch Art.
Pillowcase kits. These are for a big donation the Sew Easy to Care Youth sewing group will make in a few weeks. All hands on deck to bust out as many finished pillowcases as possible, so I took a few home to sew up. It's hard not to smile while sewing for a charity.
Navy blue linen blend, my last piece of fabric from this week's Selfish Sewing shopping trip. These will become Owyn pants, also a pattern from the Everyday Style book. The patterns are so easy to follow, and so far the two garments I've made are quite flattering. I'm looking forward to making lightweight cropped pants for summer. We had snow last week, but I *know* summer will be here soon. Right??
This fabric is destined for a set of reusable book bags for my son's classroom. I'm very excited about this project, and will be sure to share more as I get to work.
What are you sewing and planning to sew these days?
What are you working on this week? Here are some of my works-in-progress.
Above--wet bags, aka swimsuit bags. It may not be beach weather anymore, but lots of kids take swim lessons year round. A wet bag is a must!
A drool-worthy new magazine, Simply Moderne Quilts and Crafts. I just picked this up today at Barnes and Noble and oh my goodness it's gorgeous! The quilt inspiration is endless. It was quite pricey ($17.99), issue #2, published in France (then translated and printed here in the US), but I have a strong need to support good print magazines when so many have fallen lately. I haven't read through all of it yet, but can't wait. The cover quilt is simply stunning.
Goodie bags in progress!
A new digital sewing pattern is in the works--I'm rather excited about this one. Those who are familiar with my earlier days, consider this a blast from the past, but the DIY version.
Something just for me. I've set a lofty goal for myself in the coming months to expand the handmade section of my wardrobe. This will be a simple A-line skirt.
What's on your cutting table? (not to be confused with a filmmaker's cutting floor...)
Have you ever had one of those days that started strong but quickly fizzled? Started a project you were confident would turn out great, but turned to crap without notice? That was yesterday.
I've been trying to develop veggie applique designs for the produce bags. The early versions (now sold) worked out well, but I wanted to move away from felt and use all cotton fabric.
Yesterday I was cruising right along. Beets! Tomatoes! Carrots! Sweet Peas! What variety I would soon be able to offer in my shop.
Only one of those ideas worked, everything else did not look anything like the picture in my head. Let me show you what I mean...
When you set out to be productive and have confidence you will meet success, this type of fail can zap an entire day's worth of motivation. I didn't even want to do non-work tasks after this.
Today is another day. At least I have a carrot design that works! Back to the sketchbook for the other veggies. One produce bag-related success I did see yesterday was the idea to bundle bags into sets. I have a special packaging idea planned that I hope to have ready in time for next weekend's Harvest Fair.
Have you had any creative setbacks lately?
Each September feels like a new year to me. Something about the beginning of a new school year means so many other new beginnings.
This fall I am introducing new designs I've been working on for the past few months. Sustainability has been lacking in my business operation. Green, Eco-friendly sustainability is the core of Dancing Threads RI, but I mean something different. How consistently can I provide a product to my customers?
For a few years now I have wanted to separate myself from the fleeting availability of fabric lines. This has led me in a meandering way to design my own bags with appliqué. Let me show you some examples.
I'm still building the complete product lines with all the possible appliqué designs, but soon you will have choices of appliqué at checkout through Etsy.
Designs I have thus far:
You can see they focus on nautical, knitting and produce--the three most popular types of fabrics my customers like. I'm working on building a library of designs that I will have available in person for taking orders. I also am happy to entertain custom designs (an additional fee will apply). Some of these products are available now, but most have to be photographed and listed, or are still under construction (there are only so many hours in the day when raising even school-aged little ones!). If there's something you would like to see, please let me know! Send me an email, Facebook message, or leave a comment on this post.
Check out the new bags in person at the Norman Bird Sanctuary Harvest Fair Oct. 3-4!
What I'm working on this week:
Gift bags are making a comeback in my shop and fair booth. Right now I have some fall-themed ones in the works that will be great for Halloween goodie bags and Thanksgiving hostess gifts.
Increasing the sustainability of my production process. Any crafter will admit that there is a LOT that tends to be thrown away. I'm working on minimizing that with a few new ideas I'll talk about more in detail soon.
A new product: Dopp kits. So far I have just one in my shop, but have several more planned. It can be really tough sometimes to come up with gift ideas for the men in our lives. Am I right???
New product ideas are always kicking around in my head. Not sure that I want to say too much about this one because I was ready to chuck it out the window earlier this week. I think I'll give it another chance, but maybe not until after the New Year. I need to sit and let it stew a while longer.
What are you working on this week?
Here are some of the things that I am working on this week. Not shown is all the craft fair planning, the extremely helpful feedback from product testers (thank you so very much!!), wholesale order planning, and what takes a large chunk of time this part of the year: my garden. Most crafty types seem to also appreciate good, healthy food, so I don't think I'm alone in having a large vegetable garden. We managed to have quite a productive plot last year, but this year I am expanding even more. Digging is my main source of exercise these days!
Mesh Produce Bags (mermaids would be great for beachcombing)
Product Design--circular knitting needle case?? In this photo I'm figuring out how to make an accordion-style fold.
Wet Bags (and a fire truck crayon roll)
Teapot Cozy--special gift
There are a few things I've shown as works-in-progress in past posts that I have not yet finished. When a customer order comes in, that gets top priority and I often stop craft fair/design production. There are many gifts that have gotten shelved (never made the bunny bowling game, but there's always next year), or are on hold while I figure things out or fill orders. I tend to procrastinate gifts, but I almost always (bunnies being the exception so far this year) finish them on time. I won't work late at night on business sewing, but I've been known to stay up late finishing a gift the day before it's given. I never claimed that my process made sense, but maybe you're able to appreciate the lack of inventory in my Etsy shop or my inability right now to have inventory on my shelves to offer through Facebook. There's a lot of juggling going on over here, so if you like something or want a product, but in a fabric you don't see, just holler. You'll be added to the queue, for sure. Have a wonderful Wednesday!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.