Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sharing a Supplier

When I started make clutches for my Etsy store, the biggest problem that I had was finding the supplies. The frames had to be purchased from suppliers in the Far East, as did the recommended glue. In November of last year, though, a U.S. Etsy shop opened up that is really worth a mention. Winn, a work at home mom of 3, opened up While Baby Naps, and she sells nickel free metal purse frames in 4 sizes, and a couple of different styles.

And, she now sells the Gutermann glue that is recommended to make your bag like the professionals do. I initially resisted using that particular glue, but after trying several others with mixed results, I finally am sold on it. Winn sells the glue in different quantities, and they are all shipped by U.S. priority mail, so you will get your order fast.

Why am I telling you this? Well, if you are a fellow sewist, and would love to make your own clutch because, well, you know you can. Go visit While Baby Naps and buy one of her kits. She sells just the patterns and instructions or you can buy a Complete Kit. That's the way I learned (with one of her competitor's kits before she opened up), and you'll discover with just a few hints, how easy they really are.

And of course, if you don't want to go to all that trouble, you can just order a clutch from me!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Vogue 8575

I have been dying to make this dress for a couple of months now, and the timing was finally right, i.e., no more wedding activities. Plus, it is so darn hot here in Atlanta, that a flowy, knit dress is just the right thing. I think I've mentioned before that I haven't done much sewing with knits in my entire sewing career, so I just want to share some observations I made while making this dress.

I used a needle specifically for knits, the Schmetz Jersey Ballpoint 80/12.

Sometimes I used a straight stitch, and sometimes the stretch stitch (#9 on my Bernina 440). For the majority of the seams, I used the walking foot. That seemed to work the best, and I think the stretch stitch should probably have been used for any seam with stress (i.e., most of them).
 That picture is of the walking foot, in case you're unfamiliar with it.

I only made one alteration to the pattern, and that was to add 1-1/2" down the center of the front and back skirt piece. In other words, the pieces were cut on the fold, so I just moved the entire piece 3/4" away from the folded edge. I just wanted a bit more gathering for tummy camouflage. Since I made the sleeveless version, I discovered later that I hated the way they had you hem the armscyes, which was just to turn it in and make a narrow hem. Mine looked floppy and homemade, and since the back was too wide there anyway, I used the bias tape method, just guesstimating where I wanted the top of the shoulder to be. Not terribly precise, but it worked for me.

After stitching each seam, I serged the edge for finishing. I think it makes it look more like RTW:

Finally, I had the devil of the time with the hem. Any hints for hemming jersey? I tried serging the single layer edge first, and that was a disaster, and luckily I stopped after only about 10". I ended up then trying to press down 1/4" to finish the raw edge, and pressing is pretty impossible. Next I just eyeballed the 1/4" and stitched it down. Then I folded it up 5/8" for the final hem, and pinned extensively. Still, it looked like it would shift all over the place when I pulled out the pins as I stitched.

I remembered reading this post recently by fellow sewing blogger, Carolyn, and pulled out what was probably a vintage roll of stitch witchery, inserted it between the folded up hem and the dress and pressed. Yay for stability! I then used a twin needle (any tips for using those?) to achieve the RTW cover stitch type hem.
The top row has some skipped stitches, and I'm thinking when I threaded it I should have threaded both spools at the same time. Lazy me just threaded the second one on top of the first. Any thoughts on that? Of course, no one will know but me (about the skipped stitches, that is)!

This dress is SO comfortable. I need to make another one, maybe with short sleeves, and that may be all you see me in the rest of the summer!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Etsy Shop

I don't really talk too much about my Etsy shop or the goings on of my Etsy friends, but I have a shop (actually 2) and sewing is definitely involved! One of my blogging friends, Julia, posed a question about Etsy shops, and I decided this would be my answer to her question.

Julia asked: If any of you have an ETSY shop, what do you think? Is it profitable, worth your time and trouble, etc....?

So, what do I think? I really love having my shop. It's not particularly profitable, but I make enough to buy more fabric and supplies. This year, I might actually make a bit more. (I'm afraid my accounting skills are on the weak side, much to Roland's dismay.) What I really love about it is the friends that I've made through it. Now, if you want it to be a viable concern, then it certainly can be, and there are lots of sellers that have been able to "quit their day job". It takes a lot of work and dedication, and constant promotion. That's the part that I don't really like.

Enough with the boring part of Etsy (can you see why mine is not particularly profitable, lol!)... my 2 shops have evolved since I started 2-1/2 years ago. My original shop, Down the Street Creations, is now the location to find my mom's baby quilts, some vintage items, and some random accessories. My main focus is now at Jenna Belle Designs. I love making these little clutches, and I especially love making the custom monogrammed clutches. It is so fun to work with the clients, and I have sold them to brides, Derby attendees, and for proms and graduations.

 This picture is just half of an order for a bride that is getting married in August. She wanted different colors for each bridesmaid, with different styles of monogram to fit their personalities. It's such a sweet and thoughtful gift for her girls, and it has been so much fun working with her. Oh, she's getting one for herself, too!
As for those Etsy friends, I'm part of the greatest group of talented girls. When you visit Etsy, search the term dailychallenge for a glimpse of their talent. Not only do I consider them friends, but I also frequent their shops. I'll try to share some of my amazing purchases in future posts.

I'm not really sure if that answers Julia's questions, but feel free to ask me more about it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pack Those Boxes, Woman!

Really! I have places to fly off to...

Well, it appears a wedding veil does not make very good wings.

But it does look lovely!
I'm afraid that's where my pictures end, and the professional photographer's will have to take over. In the meantime, the wedding gifts are still arriving at my house, and yes, sweetie, they are being carefully packed up for their journey to Nashville.

And here in Atlanta, life is slowly getting back to normal. But perhaps someone can tell me what you do with two large wooden letters covered in fake hydrangeas.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

It's Time...

... to let the wedding festivities begin!

Guests and bridal party have begun to arrive. Bridesmaids hosted a shower today, and now they are off painting the town red at the bachelorette do.

Pictures will be popping up now and then, but my camera is upstairs right now, and that's where it's staying.


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