Thursday, April 17, 2014

First 2 weeks of College Art

Changes have happened as I have started attending Community College. I am taking Business and Art. YAY!

I won't bore you with the business side much as it is still a bit over my head. Instead I bring back Sketchbook Friday!

The first project was a Self Portrait Collage. We were encouraged to bring in magazines, scrapbooking paper etc. I took in a Simplicity Pattern Catalog! I started out by just tearing out any pages that appealed to me, laid them out, then went back to the pile and found more. Much staring at images happened and then I had my rough idea.

The background is a textured white paper, I rubbed colored pencils over it to highlight the motifs.
The the "skirt" area was made from torn green photos, mostly trees, but there is the Aurora Borealis and some moss in the lower left too. I chose to tear out these pieces for a rougher look than just cutting them.

The figure you will notice is from Simplicity 2890 Civil War Corset by Kay Gnagey


Then I cut out a bunch of words that popped out at me and started arranging them. Happy accident with the first layout attempt, the words made phrases, so I tried to make them all work as phrases. I also tried to stick to a more blocky text rather than cursive, but that didn't always work as I was running out of time.

Here it is finished and installed in the hallway, I have art on display!

A larger image of the phrases is bellow the cut, as is my second project.
Blogger Tricks

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A NEW Direction


I am taking my pattern line in a new direction. This change was brought about by some feedback and instruction that I recieved this month.

I took a couple of workshops through my local Score location covering many topics from How to Start a Business to Social Media Marketing. It was a lot to absorb in a small amount of time and many days I returned home with a brain that was turned to mush. 

By the end of the last workshop I had decided that my market, was actually two markets: Historic Costumes and Plush Toys. While there is some overlap, I am willing to bet that most of you who are reading this fall more into one camp than the other. While I had debated with myself periodically for years about this issue, I never really wanted to separate the my work into two categories, because frankly it means more work for me, I have to have two of just about everything in order to have the two pattern lines. I also never came up with a name for the soft toy patterns I liked.




That is until the other night, after the last workshop on marketing.


Introducing Sew Pandi



I am moving all the plush and craft patterns over to Sew Pandi, also any modern styled clothing would be featured there.

Corsetra Designs will remain for the corsets and historical costumes.

There may be some cross over too, only time will tell what I accomplish.

One of the biggest reasons for this change is to control my image better. If you Google “Corsetra” a good percentage of what you will get back (that is in English) is directly linked to me. However Corsetra.com is NOT me, and I would recommend against visiting the site.*
If you Google “Corsetra Designs” you will get references to me exclusively.

I intend to market my corset patterns to the historical costume community, and many of those in that field do not overtly sexualize the corset, knowing that it is just another aspect of the whole package.

Doing an image search for corsets on the internet can be a dangerous place, many images will not be considered safe for work/children . This NOT good for a line of soft toy patterns DESIGNED for children!

So with that in mind I have decided that Corsetra Designs is not a good name for the toy patterns. I LOVE the name, and my logo and that  is not going anywhere. The Skeleton Corset Pattern is still going on, and will be released this Spring/ Summer. 

What does this mean for YOU, my followers? Well it means you now have a choice, and having choices is good! You can now choose to follow Corsetra Designs, or Sew Pandi, based on your interests. I have already duplicated my social media outlets, so you can follow  Sew Pandi on Facebook, and Pinterest.

I will be moving over  the toy and doll posts to Sew Pandi from here, so those posts will become links to the content on Sew Pandi

For the rest of April I will be duplicating some info on both outlets,  staggered on different days, so hopefully I won’t annoy you.

I learned some of how Facebook works in the Social Media Marketing workshop. I will be implementing some new techniques. I can tell you that the algorithms that Facebook uses to determine how many of your fans it will show your posts to is complicated. certain times of day work better, the more people who see the post, the more it will show them to others. The more YOU like a post and otherwise engage with that page, the more you will see that page’s posts. So if you like a page, engage with them! Just like a real-life relationship between friends, if you don’t do your part to be there for your friends, the less likely you are going to be friends for the long term. It doesn’t take much to “Like” a post.

I will be releasing a BRAND NEW pattern over on Sew Pandi later this week, I hope you come follow the website and the Facebook page.


*They appear to sell cheap corsets, most likely made over seas, probably by very low paid workers. Having never owned a mass produced corset, I would guess that any corset bought from these type of places will not hold up well to wear, and likely be uncomfortable. I am a big fan of custom made corsets if you are going to wear them.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Felt Celery

With Saint Patrick's Day coming up on Monday I decided a quick sewing project was in need.
To show my geek pride, I settled on a felt celery pin.


Here is what you need to make it:
My Pattern
1 sheet of green felt
Thread to match
Hand sewing needle
Pinking Sheers
Pin back or Safety Pin
Optional: Freezer Paper

Here is how to make it:

1. Download the PATTERN and print it out.

If that link doesn't work for you, try this Craftsy link!
For best results print the pattern directly on to freezer paper. 

If you don't have freezer paper that will work in your printer, just trace the pattern pieces on to freezer paper. 
If you don't have any freezer paper, carefully pin the pattern to the felt.
2. Cut out shapes, DO NOT use your good fabric scissors to cut through the paper.
3. Peel off Freezer Paper
Please note pattern has been modified since this example was made up.
 4. Pink the ends of the leaves with Pinking Sheers.

5. Stack pieces from largest to smallest

6. Stab-stitch down the center, then come back filling in the spaces, this is called a Holbein or Blackwork Stitch.
Stab Stitching is done with the needle held at a right angle to the fabric being stitched, unlike running stitches where the needle is woven through the fabrics. The difference becomes noticeable when the fabrics are thick, such as with several layers of felt. the running stitch will have varying distances, but the stab is always the same.

7. Stitch the outer edges, pulling then flush with each other, this will cause the natural curvature seen in real celery. Stab stitch up and then back down.









8. Repeat for other side

9. Stitch halfway between the center and outer edge, creating the channels seen in real celery to form on the back.
10. Repeat for other side.

11. Attach pin to back of celery just bellow the leaves.



12. Wear with your favorite Doctor Shirt.

Also makes a cute addition to any play food set, just omit the pin!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Something RIGHT in the world

Today I received and e-mail from Doll Artist Yve HooSon concerning a pattern I had made back in 2010.

Yve was concerned that my pattern was being shared illegally on the internet and contacted me, I had listed my e-mail in the pattern, to make sure that it was okay to share this pattern with others that were interested.

I can't tell you how happy it made me to see someone concerned about the legalities of a pattern floating around on the internet, and secondly, that people WERE sharing it!

It isn't much of a pattern, more of a template, since I do not know much about woodcarving, I couldn't write instructions, but I was able to get the shape I desired from a skilled woodcarver who had never done a period doll before.

You can check out the post about the 18th Century styled Wooden Doll Pattern here.

A Wooden Doll in the 18th century style

Some years ago I wanted a wooden doll in the Queen Anne style and contacted a woodcarver through Etsy to create one for me. Then other projects got in the way and I haven't gotten back to her to finish her.


She is missing arms because the upper arms are to be made of cloth.

I had to create a "pattern" for the doll and decided to share it with the world at large. But I have never shared it here!

So here is the PDF that I created with the "pattern" so you can make you very own wooden doll in the 18th century style, and have fun dressing her!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Skeleton Corset: Jan/Feb Update

We have finally gotten some snow here in my area, unusual for us that it has come so late. The children are wanting to go out and play, but we have so little time between school and household chores that we haven't managed that yet.Hopefully they will get their chance this weekend, I have been instructed that I will be staying inside with my tea trying to get over this cold I have.

I have been making progress on the Skeleton Corset, though I have little to show for it yet, most of it has been in my head and written down, no sewing yet. I still haven't found the right fabric.

 In my last post I mentioned that I was procuring photos from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I am sorry to say that I am not getting photos. They didn't have any and new photos were not a possibility. To say that I was disappointed upon hearing that, is an understatement, the chocolate stash was decimated!

But the upside of this is that I am not spending several hundred dollars on photos and thus the pattern, when it comes out, will be more affordable.It also means that I am not waiting on photos for several weeks, pushing my work late.

 I have also been going over sizing of the corset pattern.


You see, just increasing the size of the zone waist and bust/hip bands will not produce a good fitting corset, the spacing between the verticals gets too great.

So I have come up with several size ranges, each with a different number of verticals. The size ranges overlap a bit so that some wearers may chose between 2 size ranges (having an odd or even number of verticals.) To determine this I thought long and hard about how close/far apart the verticals should be and then worked out in even increments how the size ranges should be.
I am working on the smallest size range first (the one that *I* am on the larger end of!) and will work my way up to the larger sizes.

My goal is to have this be a very customizable pattern where you choose the pattern based on your measurements to get the best possible fit. This is going to take some time, but I promise it will be worth it!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Skeleton Corset Pattern: January Progress Report

Slowly I am making progress on the Skeleton Corset Pattern.
Unlike original designs, such as my craft patterns, Historical Costume Patterns have many more steps in them, most fall under the category of research.

For this project I have spent several hours reading modern books, Antique books, Patents, Museum Descriptions, etc...

Historical Patterns can also be more expensive than an original design, especially if based of an antique garment or original antique pattern. You may be lucky enough to have been gifted it, but if you are serious, chances are high that you would have purchased it.

You need to handle the garments carefully to take patterns off them, and old paper is easily damaged too. Storing those items safely is also an investment, but one worth doing.

Along your path of research you will likely run into a roadblock and call out to your fellow enthusiasts. Sometimes they will have something right at hand, other times  they will remember something months later and inform you about it. Networking with others is valuable and I can honestly say without the help of a few key costumers I wouldn't be doing this now.

I purchased the first Skeleton Corset over 4 years ago. FOUR YEARS! Since then I have purchased the second, received help and research from others (I live on the wrong coast!) and waited with baited breath for the Metropolitan Museum of Art to get more photos up.


I believe this pattern will be my most expensive to produce. Not only have I purchased 2 antique corsets for a few hundred dollars each, I am also procuring photos from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for my research. I wouldn't be surprised if the final cost of items purchased to produce this pattern goes past $1,000! I STILL have to source a good fabric to make reproductions out of as my 2 Skeletons are not made of herringbone coutil, the commonly recommended fabric for professional corsets today.

So on top of the normal pattern making, grading, photography and instruction writing, there is a lot more work put into a historic pattern, which is likely WHY they are some of the more expensive patterns out there! I will try to keep my pattern prices low and competitive, so it may not be including all the possible variations.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Custom Plush Pattern Making

Do you have an idea or even a drawing, and you want to turn it into plush?

Do you know how to sew, but can't seem to wrap your brain around how to make that 2D drawing into a pattern for a 3D plush?

I am gifted with a brain that translates 2D to 3D well, especially after years of studying dolls, plush and patterns.

I will create for you a PATTERN for you to create your creation in fabric

 Pricing STARTS at $50 on Etsy, some additional charges may apply, read the full requirements HERE



Here is an OLD example from 2004. My young cousin filled a couple of pages with drawings of aliens. I took those pages home and created this Alien and his spaceship for my cousin. I wonder if he still has it?























The spaceship's vinyl top buttoned on in case it needed to go into the wash. It is supported by cable ties in the solid sections, helping it to keep it's shape. Two zippers on one section allow access to the cockpit.



 


















The pilot's chair swivels on a doll joint and has elastic straps to hold the pilot in place.






















Once again you can start the process of having your design become a hugable plush animal or doll by checking out this listing on Etsy

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Facing Challenges

Early last year I asked what pattern people would be interested in seeing released.
The Skeleton Corset pattern won, which didn't surprise me.


But what did I do next?

NOTHING!

Oh I thought a lot, read some, and blogged about various market research topics. I made very little progress on any of those patterns that were in the poll.

I went through a dark spot, then came summer, school was out and I find it very hard to do anything really work-like while the children are around and underfoot.

I eventually found a group of soft toy designers and interacting with them light a fire under me. I released 2 patterns last year, neither of them were planed more than a month before their release. I didn't see them coming.

But I put myself and my work out there, I have learned from those two craft patterns how to make a better pattern, how to format it, test it, market it, and more.

I was again reminded by someone in my "cheer squad" that the Skeleton Corset is wanted as a pattern, and so I again turned my focus on that. I took stock of what I had, what I needed to do, I made a list, I shared it for accountability. More time spent thinking in private followed.

I have been wanting to produce the Skeleton corset pattern for almost 4 years now, why did I keep avoiding it, it seemed so large of a project, I would work some, then get stuck, bored, distracted, and it would still be there.

Then one day, I was on Pinterest (you can follow Corsetra Designs here) and I saw a skeleton corset that I hadn't seen before.

Low and Behold, the Met has more of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection up online.
First I went through a state of happiness and excitability, yes I had more research, I love research.
Then as the hours past I started to have, what I can only describe as a mild panic attack. I decided to put the computer to sleep and went out for a walk to burn up energy.

That evening I realized why I had that reaction.

I had been HIDING from this project, hiding behind some little roadblocks, of which these photos were one.

Now that the children are back in school, I am buckling down at working on the pattern, slowly but steadily, i have so far come to a few conclusions:
  • There are several variations, I have narrowed them down into their similarities and differences, I hope to offer all of them, but am focusing on the most common version first. (which is NOT the 1869 in my collection)
  • I am thinking of offering up the main pattern, then add-on variations, and also the whole collection in one big group. The releases may be at the same time or staggered.
  • I will be making up a few for myself and those nearby to test the pattern before I have others test it.
  • I WILL be testing this pattern, so keep an eye out for a testing call.
  • I hope to get this in testing before June, since I now know from last year that summer is a slow time for me.
So I will be working on the Skeleton Corset pattern this year, but don't be surprised if a craft pattern comes out before the corset, they tend to be a bit quicker to finish!

Monday, December 30, 2013

End of 2013 Post

As we wrap up the year, I thought it would be good to go over what has happened this year.

Top 5 posts of 2013

The top blog post of 2013 was the End of February post  where I talked about the poll results and the direction I was hoping to be headed. Funny that 10 months later I am in the SAME position, sick, needing to organize my sewing space, and start on those projects! 

Introducing the pattern poll was a very popular post, which isn't surprising as I posted a link to it on several forums.
 
I posted a who series on pattern formats, but this post on  (paper) Pattern Covers was very popular. I took a look at other patter types in other posts

With slightly less views was this entry on Pattern Envelope Backs.

In fifth place for view numbers was the post where I announced which of the two corset patterns won the poll. The Skeleton Corset came in first place, in case you didn't know.



Now for the 5 least popular blog posts of 2013, Have you seen these? Why not?

The very least viewed post, when I created an image for sharing about the pattern poll.

Balancing Steps was the post right after the introduction of the poll. In this post I talked more about where I was at than any creating happening.

Food, not Sewing, yes I blogged about cooking once, I am not much of a cook, so there will not be many of these posts at all. This was also the first thing I made from something I pined on Pinterest. I eat Gluten Free and this is still a recipe that I use on a regular basis.

My most recent post has not had many views, likely due to the holidays and the fact that not many would be interested in making a pair of wings for a purchased stuffed pony. I am pleased to report that even though Making Twilight into an Alicorn is not a top post of the year, my Child is very happy with it an that is all that matters.


Spiral Ornaments on my Tree had only a handful of views,  Probably due to the holiday season. It was only my second pattern release.


Well Here is to New and Better things in 2014, I think I need to go tuck myself back into bed now.