Thursday, September 26, 2013

More Market Research and Holiday Planning.

I recently joined and online group for stuffed animal/plush/softies designers looking to improve/sell their patterns. It is still new, but so far the conversations have been good, kind, and helpful.

So I was spurned on to purchase a few patterns from popular designers, and am planning to make them up as holiday gifts. (with $ i made selling on etsy, no less!)

I then went on another free pattern download spree and have been looking at lots of patterns this past week.

Craftsy is a goo place to look for free patterns. they carry quilt, clothing, craft and toy patterns, as well as knitted and crochet and other goodies.
Modern patterns are not as confusing, most of the time.

In looking at all these patterns I learned a few things about myself as a PATTEN USER.

1. I like pretty first pages (covers) that DON"T smack of having been made in MS Word.
2. I don't care for step by step color photos.
3. I don't care for first page (cover) that is in landscape format, especially if it is the PDF in a portrait layout....

The reason WHY I like/don't like these things is that I PRINT OUT MY PATTERNS and then store them in sleeves in a binder.
1. is just an attractiveness/ professional-feel thing, and I know that I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but it is the first thing I see when opening the PDF, and my binder.
My first patterns were made in MS Word, and I am now playing around with other software to try and insert more personality/attractiveness.)
2. INK, it comes down to ink, which as we all know is money. I often don't print the pages, but instead read them on my computer. Now my computer is on the opposite side of the room from my sewing machine and if one is on, the other is off. Now I know many will disagree with me, but I see that I will NOT being doing photos for EVERY step, but just those that need it. I like B&W illustrations, and can do them for most things. Maybe I should look into doing both format for my customers? OPINIONS?
3. I know WHY patterns are done in this format, it is a common format for printed patterns to be sold in. and if I ever do manage to get my patterns in local stores I may just follow suit, but you won't find my PDF's done in that format.

I downloaded a lot of free patterns, discarding immediately those that were just a pattern page and few words on how to, or worse, a link to a tutorial. That isn't too helpful when you are just studying patterns, not actually interested in making the project.

Yes I did download several patterns that I will never make up, patterns for dolls, animals, quilts, clothes, even though I may not ever produce a quilt pattern, I can learn about what I would want my pattern to look like my looking at them.

Have you spent time looking at PDFs? what do you like/dislike about the ones you have seen?

I would recommend heading over to Craftsy and taking a look, keep the upcoming holiday season in mind, try something new.

Off to the sewing machine now, the fake fur is calling to me.

Market research is never ending, so don't expect me to stop posting about it anytime soon. :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Little Brony: Costume Planing

After talking with my children, the boys have decided that they want to be Ponies. My eldest was insistent that if his brother was going to be a Pony that he be a boy pony, so suggested Doctor Whooves which he liked. Then eldest decided he want to be the train driver pony
The Train Driver IN the train, not the Conductor outside the train.
We need to come up with a cutie mark for this pony, we think the engine will work well.

So I have already purchased fabric, left to right: Cotton knit, that I should try to dye for their shirts, Polar fleece for their hoodies, and twill for their pants. I believe I have brown fleece in the stash for the mane and tails. I also got an assortment of buttons for the pants and hoodies, I may need more but this was all my store had, will have to check other stores in area.

The sketched designs have already passed child approval.

Shirt is knit and I hope will feature a design that coresponds to the whole costume but can be worn on it's own. Thinking of the Train engine for one and a cute Doctor quote for the other.
Pants, I don't need to buy zippers as I have been saving them from pants that my children and husband grow out of. I reuse a lot of old clothes, though they rarely become more than mock up material.
Eldest is a skinny boy who has trouble keeping his pants up, the ONLY pants he can wear sucessfully are the ones with the buttonhole elastic in them to adjust the size, and overalls. I intend to use this in the pants, so that IF they survive to be grown out of, the next child can wear them. My children rarely use back pockets, so those have been omitted, but they do have to have pockets. I will be doing a double layer at the knee of the pants, as that is where they wear out the most.
On the sides there will be the Cutie Marks, yet another reason why the back pockets have been omitted. I am not sure if these will be temporary or permanent, so I think I will hand sew them on. They will NOT be made of felt, but cotton.


The hoodies, and I am going with attached hoods this year, will have the Ears and Mane permanently attached, they will button up in front and I will be altering the pattern from last year, adding in pockets in the front. The Hat, Scarf and Tail will be temporary basted on. The Tail may stay on, or it may come off, depends on how the children deal with them.

The Docto's Fez and Bowtie will be basted or pined on, and since I knew what cutie mark he has, I have shown in on the side. Cutie Mark will be a permanent fixture of the hoodie.
I will be making a felt sonic screwdriver too, probably more than one so each my children can have one, but there are enough variations for that!

So that is my plan, I have most of the Materials, next up is Pattern Alteration!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pockets for the Bed

It's important. A place for everything and everything in it's place. Especially when your space is small.
I mentioned in the post about my Bed Curtains that the current living arrangement for my family is living with relatives and all sleeping in the same room. It is tight and there is NO space for books or toys in the bedroom. (though my husband keeps creating a PILE of books beside the bed.

School just started and we were practicing several weeks ahead of the actual start to get ourselves back in routine. Kids are slow in the morning, so one of the common pieces of advice about getting them ready in the morning is to have they get their clothes set out the night before. There is no place for them to do that in our room. Yes there is a dresser, and they could put their clothes on top of that, but it normally is buried under the stack of books from my husband and the lonely sock bin. I just removed those from these pictures.

Instead I thought that I could make a set of pockets to hang over their headboards (yes the actually headboards are arranged at their feet, it was how things worked in our room, I will explain things later.)

I went through my stash of novelty cotton prints and while I had all the fabric for the pink one, I still needed to get solid blue and green for the boys.

First up is the Eldest's bed. His bed frame is home made (re-purposed posts no less.) and is currently attached to the shelf frame over his bed on the far end. In a room with so little floor space, all storage (extra blankets, towels and out of season clothes) must go UP. His bed is too low to the ground for any under bed storage.

He likes Blue, Red, Vehicles, especially trains, buildings and Dogs, so I had been collecting prints from the Traveling with my Pets line by M'Liss for a while. this was an opportunity to use them.

Next child has an Extensible bed from Ikea and has an under the bed drawer/bin for some clothes. Bears and Tractors are just right for him. Pockets are of differing lengths inside and outside the bed to accommodate mattress height.

Last child also has an extensible bed from Ikea with a draw bin under it. This one required an actual pattern to be made because of the curve. The other two were done by just using measurements.

I LOVE these extensible beds from Ikea, they are twin width but you can set them shorter, they are currently set to their shortest to allow us to have some room to walk between the beds. The reason that the headboards are near their feet is so that they can have drawers under their beds without the third leg, which supports the bed in the middle, being in the way.

The tall dresser between the boys' bed is half Husband's and half Eldest. The dresser between the youngers beds is mine, the other large dresser is the kids' Most of Hubby and mine's clothes are hanging on the wall next to our bed behind the curtains. I also hang some on the wall between Daughter and our's bed, which I removed for photos.

As you can see from the floor plan above, which I made when we were trying to find a better layout for our room many months ago (I LOVE CAD!), there is just about 2 feet of walking space between all beds, the best we could do since we determined our children would not be safe in a bunk bed just yet. There is a laundry basket, for clean clothes, that lives between our and Daughter's bed, and a laundry hamper, for dirty clothes, that lives at the end of Eldest's bed, another laundry hamper is in the bathroom of course, and then there is always a pile of socks under my husband's computer table.....

Now the children haven't quite gotten into a routine of putting the next day's clothes in their pockets, but at least they have the option, and I USED SOME STASH! with 2 children at school, I foresee a lot more sewing in my future.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hallows Thoughts

It is September and the Children have started school.

I am still not used to the idea of NOT having my boys for 6 hours, my daughter seems bored, and I don't know what to do with my time. I know that with time I will get a good routine down, but right now it just feels odd.

September, so close to October. October = Halloween. Halloween = COSTUMES!!!!

So I find myself asking the children ever so briefly what they would like to be for Halloween. The boys will need some sort costume that they can put on at school for the festivities. (They can't wear the costume all day.) and it wouldn't be fair to leave the girl out so she will need something as well.

I am thinking of finishing up the Rainbow Dash dress I started for her birthday and still haven't finished.
 It is a 3-piece ensemble, dress, jacket with wings, hat. Oh and I made matching shorts as well. It isn't finished because some child mucked with the settings of my serger and I couldn't get it back in synch in time for her B-day.

So I have a plan for one child, even though she keeps saying she wants to be a kitty, and I remind her that she was one last year.

I so far have not gotten an idea out of the boys, and am thinking that once they see their sister is going to be a Pony, they may want to be one too. I think I could convince one to be Doctor Whooves, seeing we are Doctor Who fans of many years (3 is my fave) but I don't really have another male pony that they would want to be and am concerned about sending them dressed as a female character. I will if it is what they want though, and I think they would be cute. Out of all the Mane Six, Rainbow Dash would be the easiest for a little boy to dress up as, but that is already taken in our family. AppleJack would be a good choice too an happens to be one of my boy's favorite Pony.

Then *I* want something new and shiny to wear. All this thought of costumes is so much fun I start to feel left out.

But then the cynic in me asks "What is the point?" We will not be trick-or-treating, the children cant eat anything they would get, and I only some of it, my husband less. We are not likely to be invited to any parties, so why should I bother dressing up?

Last year's costumes worked out well, the children have used them as clothing and enjoy their hats very much, it was a win. a bit of a cop-out for a costumer, but a win. I had them finished ahead of when they were needed, they were loved and USED more than once. In fact my daughter is now sporting the shortest hair of my children since she found scissors, so I expect her to be wearing hats quite a bit in the upcoming months as it gets cooler.

Then I think of those UFOs I have. I am especially thinking of the Codex I started when my daugher was a baby (it was nursing friendly no less) but I ran out of time and ended up whipping up a gnome hat and being a gnome with my daughter and husband.
You can see the Codex staff my husband made me is quite shiny! That is my default ren dress by the way, LOVE it!

So Codex has sat in a box for almost 3 years, I should finish it. (Take out the nursing access if I can.) Then I will have something to wear to the local comic and Sci-Fi conventions! Yes that's it.

It is @&$# Halloween, I SHOULD dress up, it is part of the costumer's creed is it not?

Now to get that sewing space back in order.....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New School Clothes

School starts in a few days here, but my family has been getting ready for weeks. We are now waking up and getting ready on schedule, all the school supplies have been gathered up, and some new clothes have been purchased.
My middle child asked for a shirt with Applejack in her hat on it. now most My Little Pony shirts are rather girly, either pink or purple or in a girl cut.
So I set about to make him one. I settled on using Fabric Crayons.
This is how it turned out
And a close up. I think it looks artistic on that heathered fabric.
Then my elder son, not to be left out, asked for a train with ponys riding it.
This image took more time to just find and create, but here is the front of his shirt.
 This design begged to go around the body of the shirt, so that is just what I did. it was hard to get the color in the seam.
And the back of the shirt
I decided to not stick with the pony color scheme of mostly pink, and indeed I found one image where the engine was blue, this would be more suitable for a boy's shirt.
The pony heads are about the size of a coin, so they were hard to do in crayon since it doesn't do detail very well.
 I put Applejack and Rainbow Dash in one of the coaches. (Yes I know I did dash's mane wrong)

This design goes about 3/5 of the way around the shirt. I decided against joining the train tracks around the rest of the shirt.
In order to do a design this large I used three sheets of paper, and cut out the car in front so that I could easily piece it together.
I did learn that I need to put the designs further into the paper, not on the edge, and you can see why in the pictures.

They will likely wear these shirt on the first day of school.