Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Marigold dress, a quick an wonderful sew

Pin It If you look at my posts from two years ago, you will see that I frequently raved about the wonders of Melissa at Melly Sews and the owner/designer of Blank Slate Patterns.  I have been impressed with her from the beginning and I feel special bragging rights (though none if it has nothing to do with my skill) that I was one of her first testers.

Well, there was a time period where I was not sewing much and just not having a need for her patterns and I have not sewn a Blank Slate pattern for a while.  Well, that recently changed.  I needed a dress for Easter and had grand plans to use one of my fancy new Burda Style patterns.  I love Burda Style but they do tend to need more time to complete and I was loosing time fast.  So, I decided to change my plans and sew the Marigold Dress that I had been wanting to have on my list but not yet gotten around to deciding what to do with it.

Gertie Hirsch cherry fabric



The Marigold was so fast and so cute.  I asked myself, Why?  Why had I stopped sewing Blank Slate patterns?
Gertie Hirsch cherry fabric


I really liked the fit.  I normally wear a small but my measurements put me squarely in the medium so a medium I made.  I think I will lengthen the bodice by an inch next time because I want the elastic to sit a little lower.  But other than that, the fit was perfect.

Gertie Hirsch cherry fabric

The fabric was last year's Gertie Hirsch fabric made for Joanns.  It is a light weight chambray with little pink cherries.  Too cute.

Gertie Hirsch cherry fabric



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Friday, April 29, 2016

My First Craft Bazaar!

Pin It I have been sharing with you some of my research and work on figuring out how to sell some of the stuff I make.  Making is very much ingrain in me.  It is part of who I am and I have been sewing and crocheting as a creative outlet and a stress reliever for many years.  Making for others was quite a challenge.

home goods and decor


I needed to approach the process differently.  Instead of creating simply to please me, I needed to also incorporate thought about what would please others.  Since I sew for a pre-teen girl, this is not an entirely new concept, but the scale in which I thought certainly changed.

Being that this was being advertised as a 'spring' bazaar, I thought I should make the colors quite light and spring like.  I also was drawn to fabrics and yarns that had elements of the new Pantone colors of the year; serenity and rose quartz.

home goods and decor


My oldest daughter got in the act too. She made some bag charms out of her collection of beads and small plastic animals.  She actually sold two and when we have a garage sale later this year, she plans to set of a table with her charms to see if she can sell more.  She of course gets the money from her work.

I intended for the aprons to be my main items.  But I ended up only making six.  They still were my most expensive item and they certainly are pretty.  I used my dress form to display one and I think that did class up my booth considerably.

home goods and decor


Surprisingly, the baskets were the items that I had the most fun making.  I found it to be incredibly soothing to continually stitch around each basket.  Work has been quite stressful and this was the perfect way to relax in the evening ... it did not even feel like work.

home goods and decor


My mother even sent me a few things that she thought would round out my display.  She made quilt pieced snack mats (a mini version of a place mat for a cookie and coffee) and some micro-bowls (a 100% cotton fabric bowl to place your dish in for a quick re-heating in the microwave; a bowl shaped hot-pad),

home goods and decor


So how did I do trying to sell all this loot?  Well OK.  I did not have a lot of traffic to my table, but I did make a few sales and a lot of people seemed genuinely interested.  And frankly I had a blast just chatting it up with the people walking by and the other vendors.

So what now?  I am not exactly sure but I had enough fun that I am sure that I will figure out another way to sell my goods.  Of course I will let you all know once I have figured it out.

***UPDATE:  Well, I had been prepping to open an Etsy shop but was a little nervous about being ready so I didn't yet commit.  But hours after posting this I decided to jump in so I now have an Etsy shop.  I will be taking it slow, but who knows what will happen.  I will at least learn a lot.


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Thursday, April 14, 2016

If you make an apron, you will have to price it

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On my last post I shared that I am, for the first time, going to try to sell some of my homemade items at a craft bazaar.  The whole idea makes me quite nervous but also excited to see what will happen. So after years of hearing "you could sell this" and blowing people off, what changed?  Well, during the church's holiday bazaar last fall I donated an apron that I made for a raffle.  In doing that simple donation, some people talked to me about selling at the next bazaar.

This was a holiday apron I made.

It was sort of like a "if you give a mouse a cookie" sort of thing.  If you give a bazaar an apron, you will want to make more to sell...

Really?  well, that is what happened with me.

So I bought some fabric and made some aprons.


These were actually the first thing I made for the bazaar.  The baskets came next as they were a fun idea to add to my table.


I bought fabrics in the same coordinating fabric line.  I don't know if that was such a good idea because it limited my variety.  But they are pretty.

So after making the aprons, I needed to figure out pricing.  This is hard.  It is actually one of the reasons I never sold things.  The thing is, people are used to buying things that are made in third world countries and do not really want to pay for things made with an American wage.  Also, since I am not a business working in large scale, the best I can do is use a coupon to buy my supplies; I do not get the price advantage of bulk purchases.

This is my favorite!

I read several articles to help me figure out a fair price for my work that will still make my item attractive to local shoppers.  Etsy actually has several blog posts on this topic.

There are different ways to evaluate this also.  One that is simple is to take your material costs and multiply by 3.  This is so easy.


But another is to take your material costs and add (your hours multiplied by your wage).  This makes sure your time is properly accounted for.  But if you are just starting to make a particular product, you may not be very efficient and the customer should not pay for you learning to make something.  You can account for this by making 10 items and averaging the time made for each item.  You will be faster on items 9 and 10 then on 1 and 2 but that way they all have the same price.



But what if you do your work while watching TV or riding in the car?  Well, then the cost X 3 is probably the better price equation because you are using your 'free time' and not dedicating your full attention to the product and may be less efficient.

So if you give an apron, then you have to sew a bunch to sell.  And if you sew a bunch to sell, you have to price them fair for you and fair for them.   ... and if you price your aprons you will want to make baskets...




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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Baskets and Sales Tax

Pin It Hello there!  It has been a long time since I have posted here.  I needed a bit of a break.  I still post at Sew Cool for the Tween Scene once or twice a month and definitely am still reading other people's blogs and enjoying seeing everyone's creativity.

So why am I writing this?  Well this month I am doing something a bit different for me.  I have been sewing and crocheting for a long time but it is almost always for my family or for the occassional gift.  Lot's of people say "you could sell this" but I really have never believed them or I don't think I could sell enough to really make it worth my while.  I did not really want the pressure of a business.

BUT, and you knew the "but" was coming, our church is having a craft bazaar and the fee to participate goes to support our youth and children's programs.  So, I thought I would make some stuff and then sell them at the bazaar.  And since I have a limited profit motive at this time, I figured any profit I make, I can give over to the church in addition to my table fee.  How's that for motivation?

So, I have made some random stuff that I am not sure will sell but has been fun to make.  And I have learned some things about a hand-made business so that I can be all legal for my one day show.  I thought I would share some of my 'product' and some of those lessons this month on the blog because who knows, one of my 10 readers may just want to know this stuff.  :D

The first thing I learned is about sales tax.  Nebraska, where I currently live, has a 5.5% sales tax and some municipalities have an additional amount.  I looked to see if craft bazaar or hobbyist that occasionally sell things are exempt.  Alas, they are not.

"The Nebraska Department of Revenue would like to remind sellers making sales at craft fairs, art shows, flea markets, trade shows, and similar events of their obligation to collect and remit sales tax on sales of taxable merchandise sold at these events."

But really, in Nebraska at least, it is not too hard.  Here, you fill out a Form 20 and apply for a tax permit.  Then, you will have to fill out a Form 10 to actually pay the tax.  I called the Department of Revenue and the lady that talked to me was super friendly and helpful.  And, they do not charge any registration fees!  Now, if this was going to be an ongoing business venture, she recommended registering as a business, but as a sole proprietor doing a small scale enterprise, she said it was not required.

So what am I selling?

One thing is crochet baskets.


I made several small ones out of blue merino wool.


And some out of man-made materiel.


I used this pattern ... and looked at several other free ones online and then adjusted them to my needs.

I know I like them and think they are a fun storage idea for small stuff.   What do you think?   If you can crochet, I recommend making a few ... if you can't would you buy one (not from me, but in general)?

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