(this post contains affiliate links. Thank you!!)
So, I've been recycling denim jeans for a while now. I'm working on creating a website, but for now the etsy shop will have to do. I'm selling in three galleries and the response has been fantastic! I'm always looking for ways to make my denim more interesting and I stumbled upon the idea to add circles to my jacket and bags.
I started out cutting all the circles by hand, with a cardboard template and scissors, but you know that got old fast! Then I found these OLFA Rotary Circle Cutters and I thought I found what I needed to cut all of my circles! Nope. That too got old, and my fingers got sore. I tried many different hand held and automated cutters with frustrating results.
Finally, I tried GO! Baby Fabric Cutter . THIS was the equipment I was looking for. I still use the GO! Baby for the circles because I have two dies with various sizes, but as they get dull I will upgrade to the dies for the Accuquilt Studio Fabric Cutter.
Yup, I purchased the Studio Cutter. I had to! I use strip cutters with the Studio Cutter. It has enabled me to use up my scraps much more efficiently and cut down on the time I spend processing the jeans.
I can get the GO! Baby to cut through two layers of denim and sometimes three if I stack it correctly. The Studio Cutter doesn't even notice four layers. I do have a Star Die and a small Flower Die for the Baby as well. They haven't gotten as much use yet, but I know they will. I also look forward to trying different styles as my business grows.
The Accuquilt.com website states "You may use the output (i.e., the cut
shapes) resulting from the use of the die shapes Accuquilt licenses from
third parties, as well as the output resulting from the use of Accuquilt proprietary die shapes, for any commercial or private purpose". I LOVE this. Not only does the company acknowledge that their cut shapes are usable for any commercial or private purpose, they make it easy to find the information on their website.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
One of my biggest barriers to success is my product photos. My products do great in their brick and mortar locations, but online the photos are the single most important way for customers to view what they are looking to buy.
I made a couple purchases to increase my ability to take better pictures. I made my own little photo room. (affiliate links, thank you!)
First a backdrop. I use an old white sheet on the floor when I need to get a bigger view.
I sewed a casing in the piece I purchased, put it over the roll it came on and attached it to the ceiling with wire.
I also purchased a low cost kit with lights, stands and umbrellas. I did have to purchase brighter lights and they came with a diffuser, so I'm not using the umbrellas. I suggest you purchase the most expensive set up you can afford.
Photography Photo Portrait Studio 600W Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit by LimoStudio, LMS103
Photos can still be a struggle, but I think I have upped the quality with a small cost. Here is a photo of my unisex recycled patchwork poncho that is currently in the etsy shop.
Just so you know, I'm *not* good at photos. I only recently even got a smidgen of understanding about how lighting works. You can't sell online if you can't show your product in a good light. Watch videos on youtube, read a book on it. Get Adobe Photoshop Elements 15 and The Photoshop Elements 15 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) to go with it. Learn all you can, I am. It hurts my brain sometimes, but its worth it!
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
As I've written before, I've been told, "Do one thing and do it well". My one thing is sewing. All sewing. For me, for others, hand sewing, quilting, teaching, you get the picture. I'm all over the place.
A little over a year ago I rented shop space. Its been a super choice. It gives me the opportunity to get back to sewing after all of my former sewing spaces at home were filled up with my 4 children. They are the joy of my life, but I'm only human. I needed this time for me badly.
Along with reestablishing sewing work from a couple customers from before kids, I've gained some great new customers. One in particular has pushed me creatively in a way that is new. I've done a lot of work for artists who are using clothing as a way to display their artwork. There have been weavers, fabric painters, dyers, embellishers, etc. Even though I'm back in the sewing chair, I have to be careful that I don't take on more work than I can do. After all I do still have 4 lovely children to care for. A way to add quality sewing is to pursue my own creativity.
Enter denim. I've been playing with denim since about 2007. I started with yardage, but quickly realized how much waste there was in denim blue jeans that no one wanted to wear anymore.
I'm having tons of fun sewing, but I'm not focused. I've been listening to free youtube videos like Renae Christine and Jane Hamill. A lot of it is a peptalk and things I know are my weaknesses. But, I learned that I'm doing "hope marketing" and need to focus on developing a line. It is really difficult. I write a bunch of stuff down, following rules that I've heard and suddenly I'm thinking about pillows, Tshirt skirts and menswear.
So back to the focus. I'm different in the sense that I'm going to sew. I'm not looking for a manufacturer. I also can't work full time or hire anyone until I personally get my ducks in a row. Its a life changing experience in discipline. Myself, my time, learning and applying new things to what I know and actually listening to the advice I'm getting. Marketing is WAY out of my comfort zone. I'm a happy girl just sitting in my sewing chair.
I'm also purchasing and perusing marketing and organizational materials. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! (affiliate link!) is one that I have found useful. It talks about making your perceived weakness your selling point. This can definitely work in my case. I started making the seams on my denim clothing on the outside because no one could tell by looking at it that it was recycled/upcycled jeans reconstructed into an entirely new garment. This can be an exceptionally positive selling point if I just say it out loud.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
I was born in the Seventies. Upcycled wasn't a word. Spell check still doesn't like it! So What am I doing? I want to say Recycled Denim Clothing. Where is the line between recycled and upcycled? I feel like upcycled started with adding elements to an existing garment, I've done this successfully and don't have a problem with the label in this instance.
But, what about the other garments I make? I like neat and finished garments, I've already adjusted this by putting the seams on the outside so it can be better determined that something is recycled. I like it, it was a good choice brought about by listening to what my customers were looking for in their clothing.
I completely deconstruct the jeans, make fabric, and then cut out and make new garments.
I completely deconstruct the jeans, make fabric, and then cut out and make new garments.
I am (now and for the past couple years) so very inspired by Natalie Chanin. I first found out about her work when I was looking for hand sewing books to share with a co op class. Its kinda ironic, because she is dedicated to preserving hand sewing techniques and I'm sewing by machine, as fast as I can. I sometimes think I'm going to sew something by hand, but I get impatient and it never happens.
I've been looking for and found some information online to move my business to a more professional level. It is all stuff I know. I guess I'm really gonna have to listen now. No more hope marketing.
I'm getting off topic! Recycled is what I think I'm doing, but what do my potential customers think I'm doing? If they are going to find me, I need to use the proper terms. Its something that I'm working on. Things take time around here. Four little boys take up a lot of my time. It will happen a little slower than it should. I'm getting ready to write down a business plan.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
I'm having a sale! 30% off all items in my etsy shop now thru November 30, 2015! Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY. I'll be adding more skirts this week.
I've been working hard sewing for others, so I haven't made too much for the shop lately. I like sewing for others because its easier than being creative on my own. I do have a new customer that is challenging me. Having to be creative in my contract sewing is not how I'm used to working. Its difficult and I'm not doing as well as I would like. I'm not sure if it will work out, even as I am hopeful.
No matter what, this experience has changed me. First off I realize that what I am making with my denim is art. Wearable art. Next, I'm learning to be more brave. I've got some new ideas that I can't wait to get out of my head!
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Things are coming along. I have most of the machines at the new shop. It isn't a fancy space, its a work space and I couldn't be more pleased with it!
I will move the machines around as I need to for each job.
The Bernina 950. I've got it set up for free-motion embroidery. I need to get a video.
The denim room. It even has a door, so I can close it when I need to get other things done!