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Day 58 – I made a shirt! Well, almost.

I did it! I actually made something with my sewing machine that I am proud of!

back shirt front shirt

I finished a shirt! Well, almost finished. It needs buttons and button-holes still. I’m waiting to complete the button-holes because I’ve never done them before and want to do some practice before attempting them on something I intend to wear to work. I am learning!

But, for reals, guys, I am super proud of myself for this one! It fits the way I like my work shirts to fit (just slightly too big, for comfort reasons, although this could use another inch of length – surprise), the fabric is phenomenally comfortable (Japanese cotton) and the pattern was actually easy to follow. I wish I had taken a close-up shot of the sleeves because I am most proud of those. I’ve never done sleeves before and they look perfect, if I do say so myself.

This may actually be something I could list on my etsy store. It didn’t take too long (about 4 hours for my first attempt), but the fabric is a bit more expensive than I like to pay per metre. But, the bird pattern! The birds!

So, let’s do some math. How much do I have to sell this bad boy for?

$16 (cost of fabric) + $2 (cost of buttons) + $16 (my time) + $7 (shipping) +$1 (etsy fees) = $42

Now the big question:

 

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Day 33 – Why did I think I was a size 14??

Buying clothes is waaaaaay easier than sewing your own. Hopefully in a year I can say the opposite, but right now I’m frustrated. I measured myself, compared the measurements to what the pattern said and cut my pattern. I don’t know why I didn’t question that the pattern said I was a size 14. For those of you who don’t know me personally: I’m skinny. I got my father’s height (6’0″) and his family’s speedy metabolism. The sizes on the pattern only go to 16. Why did I think I was supposed to be one of the bigger measurements for this piece when I often wear a small or medium? I must have turned off my brain for this one. 

I figured out that I made the wrong size when I finished the top half of the dress and tried it on. Just way too big. So, now I have to re-cut those pieces and trim the skirt pieces I haven’t sewn yet before I can continue sewing. I’m annoyed but, on the bright side, the piece I have finished looks pretty friggen good. I have positive feelings about this dress. 

In other news, I went to a 50% off sale at Fabricland on Saturday to celebrate one month of writing this blog. You wouldn’t know it, but it was BUSY in there. Once I had my fabric cut I had to wait in the register line for 30 minutes listening to old ladies talk about how old they were. It was awkward. 

I bought 3 meters of this gorgeous polka-dotted green fabric(that I have no plans for but couldn’t leave behind), a few new spools of thread, a zipper and an eye-and-hook kit. I only over-spent by $10 this month. 

The budget is probably the hardest part of this project. Some of my spending is categorized as “hobby” (my own clothes, gifts) while some of it is set aside to grow the store. I’ve decided (with some convincing from Adam) that I need to make sales before I can purchase more supplies. I don’t want to sink all kinds of funds into this with no gain. We still haven’t figured out a set budget per listing but having Adam to talk to about how much I should reasonably spend is awesome. I’m not sure I would have self-restraint if he wasn’t helping me. I need sales to justify spending more.

Speaking of sales, I have two new items I intend to list. I haven’t mentioned them here because I totally forgot I could make them and that people would want to buy them!

The first item I’m listing is actually being commissioned by one of my sisters (my other half, really), Gaby. She makes these extremely cute headbands for babies. Seriously, once they are listed you will want to buy one for every pregnant woman you know.

The second item is on the baby theme as well. I can knit these really cute baby tuques. They are multi-coloured and so soft and crazy fabulous.The last one I made was for my niece, Mabel, over a year ago so of course I don’t have any of that yarn left and didn’t have the forethought to save the pattern either so this one will take a bit of effort to prepare for. I’m excited to be making things that I can do while watching tv again. Watch out, Ru Paul’s Drag Race: I’m about to watch all the episdoes. 

Sooooom I have officially finished the first month of this project (Happy One Month Anniversay, self!. Let’s evaluate how far I’ve come:

1. I’ve officially opened my store and have a very small amount of traffic. 

2. I didn’t quit writing this blog. This may seem like a small victory but I’ve been known to quit things pretty quickly. I’m actually quite enjoying this process and the challenge it’s been providing.

3. I have about a million ideas for new items to list in my store. 

4. I have secured a camera connection and will hopefully be taking better photos of my products by September. 

5. I’ve learned so much about being an entrepreneur and couldn’t be more excited about this journey. 

6. I am so much better with my sewing machine now than I was a month ago. I just need a cover now to keep it from getting too dusty on the off days. 

7. I’ve learned just how supportive my husband is. Adam is the greatest person to bounce ideas off and has a level head when it comes to details and keeps me in check when I think I need to spend all kinds of money on all kinds of supplies. Thank you, honey, for not letting spend our bill money on fabric.

8. Turns out my family have been waiting for this to happen. They all have requested things to be made. I’ve never had so many requests for crafts in my life. 

9. People actually read this blog and are interested in what I’m doing. This is a new one for me. I’ve never been one to be in the spot light intentionally. It’s been a strange month of bragging about this project to everyone and switching gears into bringing the attention to myself instead of others. It still feels rude to me and kind of prideful but I’m working on it. 

I’ve got 11 months left until my deadline. Here goes nothing!

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Day 27 – My Patterns Arrived!

When we got home from work last night I was so excited to see a large brown envelope sticking out of our mailbox! It looked as though the mail carrier could only shove a corner in the mailbox to make it stay. But, I didn’t care if it looked cramped: they were here!

So, I can finally start making some clothes! I forgot how much work was involved in a fresh pattern. So far I have only cut 6 of the 10 pattern pieces I need to make my new dress. It doesn’t help that I inherited these extremely shaky hands from my father. Thanks, dad. The constant vibrating makes it really difficult to cut the delicate tissue the pattern is printed on. But, success! I haven’t ripped a pattern piece yet!

Hopefully tonight, after softball, I can get some more cutting done! And maybe even start sewing! Here’s hoping! My goal is to have this dress finished within the week.

How does this apply to my etsy shop? It doesn’t…. yet. I can’t sell my clothing for a reasonable price yet because it would take me too long and the cost wouldn’t justify the time spent. Adam says it would be ridiculous for me to think that I could open an etsy store, start sewing again for the first time in years, and sell well-made clothing right away. I hate when he’s right.

In the meantime, I have a whole list of ideas to sell:

1. Baby swaddlers with initials embroidered on them. Made from 100% cotton muslin. Mothers I know swear by these, especially when they are rather large.

2. Adam really wants me to embroider closed eyelids with eyelashes on the sleep masks. I might make one and force him to use it. 😉

3. Small home decor. I’m working on an embroidery piece right now for my brother and his wife that will say “Home is where your stuff is”. Sell it with a frame to hang as a house warming gift?

From the research I’ve been doing about etsy, the most successful stores are the ones that have over 50 listings. I better get to work if I want my items to sell, I guess. How am I ever going to come up with 50 things to sell? I can’t just list 50 different colours of sleep masks.

Send me more ideas! I love feedback and I love stealing your intellectual property using your ideas with your permission!