Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Oh, Hello 2016!

So, did you have a nice Christmas? We decided to shut the shop for the week between Christmas and New Year, which was an excellent idea! Both Sarah, my business partner, and I have been working really hard bringing the shop together and anyone who has ever worked Christmas in retail will tell you, its hard work.  The rest was very much needed.  Dave and I had a friend stay with us over Christmas, Leonie currently lives in Edinburg, but is from Germany.  We met her on our summer holidays, in the USA.  We carefully planned out a week of festivities (Christmas dinner, church, family visits) and relaxation (film days - Sisters, Trainwreck, Man Up and Pitch Perfect2- and country walks.)  Just how I like my Christmases.

Of course, now we're right in to January.  Time stands still for no man (sic).

I've got high expectations for 2016- we've had a great reception to our shop opening in 2015, including three lovely write ups in our local newspaper, and hope that our hard work continues to pay off still this year.  I'm spending a lot of time working on our website which will be launched properly at the end of the month.  Plus I'm taking up some of the teaching of beginners workshops, which I'm exited by, and rather nervous about too.  

With all the business of the last 6 months, I have managed to accumulate a nice list of makes to share with you.  What I haven't managed to do is record my projects as I've gone, so now I need to try and remember what I made, and when.  Because of this, I'm just winging it, and will share old projects intermingled with newer ones- they're all exciting after all!  

Here is a dress I made just the other week!

I made this Coco dress by Tilly and the Buttons for my up coming holiday to Berlin.  It's made with some gorgeous, soft ponte roma from my shop because I need some warm, comfortable clothes for walking the city streets in 2degree weather!

I let Dave book the holidays this year.  We're also going to Iceland in September. (Brrr)

The pattern is such a simple shape, which I really like.  And it comes together so quickly, I've now made two dresses and a top version of Coco, with two more tops in the pipe line.  I'm making so many because I'm actually teaching a class on in later in March! 

I'm looking forward to picking up some workshops, but I also feel like I'm just getting the hang of business basics, so don't want to split my time too much.

Monday, 2 November 2015

View from the Shop Floor

So, I've been asked to update you all on my life and current adventure of opening a haberdashery store over the last couple of months.  Well, for starters it is awesome! I love our space in the city centre, we have an amazing range of sewing machines set up, ready to go when ever I need one and I have had so much fun curating the range of fabrics and kits and habby and stuff that we have got! I get to talk to people about sewing on a daily basis, we are seeing other peoples love for sewing blossom as they try it for the first time.  I'm making stuff all the time for workshop samples, we get to tell people how awesome we think the independent pattern companies are... The list goes on! 

We've spent months, gathering all the things we love to use in sewing, from beautiful cotton fabrics, to buttons and ribbons and threads, from patterns from our favourite designers, to kits for kids and adults.  It's basically the shop Sarah and I wished was in Leicester, so we've taken it upon ourselves to  open it! We still have the haberdashery round the corner from us which has been there for years and years, which we aren't aiming to compete with so much as compliment.  And there are the market stalls and John Lewis for fabric options.  But we wanted to fill in a gap we saw between the bargains on the market with the high prices of John Lewis and offer something a little different.

On the other hand, though, man, is it stressful! It took me weeks to figure out how to do the most basic accounting; we have days where no one walks in because it's raining and everyone is taking shelter in the high street shopping centre (which is not even a 5 minute walk from us); we get sent the wrong things in orders and have to negotiate contracts with big wholesale companies; we have displays to make, and we have kits to put together, and customers to serve and classes to teach and social media to update and samples to sew and washing up to do, and all the other things which are necessary for running a business.  I'm not complaining, please don't think I am- I know how lucky I am to have this opportunity! It's knowing that which encourages me to work hard and balance my time between the fun things and the necessary things.

But, when it all overwhelms me, I stop, take a look around and remind myself that this is mine (well, ours).  And it'll only work if I do. And at the end of the day, I have an amazing space, filled with beautiful things ready to be used, created and stitched.  I love it, even when the invoices make no sense, even when I don't see a customer all day, even when the accounts are stupid and I hate them.  I love my job.  

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Pyjama Days

Colder days a here, again (Booo!) I hate the cold weather! On holiday in the USA this summer we had temperatures up to 40*C and it was lovely! I mean, you couldn't do much in that heat, but I don't want to do much in the current rain drizzle we have here in England now! 

One sure fire way to feel better about the cold and wet is new pyjamas! I love pyjamas, I have a dozen different pairs, some handmade, some RTW.  They are made for jumping into after a hard day for maximum cosiness while watching a film with your honey, or wearing while sewing, wrapped up with slippers and a dressing gown. Pyjamas for the win!

So, earlier this month (as time just keep slipping by me) I made up a pair of pjs for myself and my husband, Dave, on one of my days off.  They are both made from the same, super simple patterns that came with one of the GBSB books that my colleague at work had already traced off- yay! (I hate tracing of patterns)

For his, I used some brushed cotton from work, as requested.

And for mine I used this cotton lawn I picked up on our travels in the USA.

I had one request when we went to Chicago to meet up with friends from our Uni days, 'Please take me to a fabric store!'  I dragged all seven of them in to the fabulous, tiny fabric shop, which was piled high to the rafters with rolls upon rolls of fabrics.  It was quite a mission to find some I actually wanted and then it was a challenge to narrow it down again after I did!  In the end I bought two lengths of fabric- two meters of this sleepy snoopy and one meter of an amazing cotton duck/twill with a classic american breakfast food print! Yay!

I should have got 2.5m of the snoopy though, I ended up making cropped pyjamas as I just could get full length ones out of the two meters.  Even considering my little legs!  Never mind, while they aren't as cosy as the pjs I made for Dave, they can sit pretty until spring and I'll wear them through out my favourite seasons instead!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Here I Go Again

Hello guys, 

I’m trying to get back in to the habit of blogging regularly again, because I’ve really missed it over the chaos of the last few months.  Not writing my blog has meant I’ve not really done much reading of other peoples blogs either, and that has made me sad.

The shop is all up and running, we’re in our first full week of trade, and we’ve got some classes booked up already, so I’m super excited.  I’m really enjoying being able to set my own pace of working and feeling confident, despite having the succeed/fail challenge lay right on my shoulders.  We’re at a point where we can open and start selling (thank God!) but there is still a huge long to do list, and most of the fun stuff is already done.  The plan for this week is admin, admin and more admin.  But then next week I need to work on some kits to sell.  We’re thinking pincushions, aprons, bunting and small bags.  Obviously, it can grow from there.  Yay! 

But, I don’t want to bore you silly with work talk, and I do want to keep this blog as my own, personal Dressmaking Diary, so I promise, while I will talk about work from time to time, you will not see any adverts or promos here.  For that stuff you can go to our business blog at craftysewandso.com.

I’d better start catching up on my summer makes, eh? :D

Here are some quick photos of a dress I wore to my friends wedding in August-

Its a Cambie Dress made up in a cotton lawn, worn with a petticoat for fullness (which was awesome and fun to wear!)  Look!

I've also worn it at work last week for Frock Friday, which we are starting each week.  We want to show off  our beautiful selection of fabric and patterns so will be wearing something particularly nice each friday.  Its so nice being able to set out own rules about things like that.  I am really enjoying self-employed-ness, just don't ask me about Sage Accounting!

I'll be back next week, promise!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Oh, Hello There!!

Hey my lovelys!

How have you been doing? Well, I've had a seriously busy couple of months.  Alongside full time work, I've been to Spain with my sister, on a USA road trip with David and Soul Survivor Camp with my youth group.  Oh, yeh, also I"m starting a business. WHAT?! Oh, yeh, that's what I said.  

In September, we are opening a new haberdashery and workshop space for all you seamstresses out there. I'm going in to business with a lovely woman called Sarah, who has been teaching sewing workshops in Leicestershire for the last two years, and I'm coming in to lead the retail side of the venture.  We've picked ourselves an awesome property in the city centre, and we're opening on the 18th of September.

This has been my dream for a couple of years now- I had a slightly longer time frame in mind, but when opportunity knocks!  I am so excited!  

We've been working hard, planning exciting workshops to put on, buying a shed load of gorgeous fabrics and talking to haberdashery suppliers to bring you the best quality products we can find.   We're also selling Brother sewing machines AND we're going to stock sewing themed gifts and kits and all manner of lovely things.

We're also designing our workshop space, throwing a open weekend event (which you should totally come to!) and booking in some exciting sessions with sewing teachers.  It's all come together really quickly, and there is still a tonne more work to do, but I couldn't be happier. 

So, go, check out my new website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and stay tuned, because this is the beginning of something amazing!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Life Lately #9

May started off on a bitter sweet foot- the first of May was one year since my dad died. So that was crap.  But I also took my driving test one that date this year, which I passed, finally.  This was my sixth time taking the test, and it's nerves that have got me in the past.  I can't describe the emotions I went through when the test instructor turned to me and said I'd only accrued one minor.  In celebration, we opened a bottle of champagne and I spend the rest of the day with my sister.  I know dad would have been proud of me- he optimistically bought me my first car when I turned 17 and would have loved to celebrate with me.

Shed loads of fabric- sorry, not sorry.  There are pieces in there that are for non-selfish sewing though; like PJ's for Dave and a sundress for my sister.  I also bought some new notebooks from paper chase- I'm old fashioned and love making notes, writing lists, doodling and journalling.  I'd ran out of note books, which honestly doesn't happen often, so stocked up.

*some of these are old notebooks, too*

It was my birthday!!!  Dave bought me cake which came in the post, we ate a yummy dinner at a favourite restaurant, I got given money which I spent on new shoes and a kindle and I spent the day making things.  I'd call it pretty perfect.  I also made a dress for the occasion, which I wore out to dinner with my family, you can read more about it here.

As well as my new Kindle, I got some paper books for my birthday- see above about being old fashioned. I can't wait to dig into these, but I am still working my way through the ones I got given for Christmas.  I'll be taking some of them on holiday with me though, so I'll probably get through a lot of them then.  I do read a lot on holiday.

I spent an afternoon hanging out with a friend, enjoying a bit of a crafternoon, as it were.  I cycled there, which, other than a small spattering of rain, was lovely.  Whenever I cycle I think I should do so more often!

Well, Dave's done all the painting (I was tempted to write 'most of' there, but I should probably be honest with you and avoid getting into trouble when he reads this), but the attic is finished!!!  We've been aiming to get the attic done since we moved in, and it looks fantastic now it's all painted.  shortly after we'd finished we moved the office furniture in and out cat thinks we've make her a bed room.  Dave also loves it, and I think it's awesome too.  It's lovely to have another room finished in our house.

We spent last weekend visiting one of my best friends in Lincoln; they've just moved in to their new house so we swung by to admire it and catch up.  I drove there, which was fun (read; scary as heck!)  And if you think we've moved fast, decorating etc our house, since November when we moved in, you should see theirs! New carpets through out and they've painted, and they've only been there a month! Super impressive.   We also saw Pitch Perfect 2- which was aca-mazing.

And, right now, we're staying in a nice hotel up need Leeds to the wedding of one of Dave's old friends tomorrow.  The drama of getting tomorrow off work was nightmarish, but I did, thankfully and we're enjoying spending some time up this end of the country and exploring local village and towns.  

It's been a busy month- this is the edited down version.  Now, I'm going to finish my wine and go get some sleep.  

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