This photo has been on my camera card for a while. This is an ATC I did for a spider theme on swap bot. Inspired by the cover of Anansi Boys (which I was reading at the time). Stitched completely free hand, I quite like it.
I made trousers! They’re the first pattern I’ve tried from S.E.W. Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp, a book that I should say I’ve had for a frighteningly long time (I brought it when I brought my sewing machine, many years ago) and although this is the first pattern I’ve tried (Wear Anywhere Yoga Pants), the book has been invaluable in it’s help in getting me confident enough to actually think about making trousers! It has a great getting started sewing section. It has a wide variety of patterns, not just clothing but also bags and home accessories and they grade each project by skill level (one, two or three cotton reels) and the trousers were an intermediate two cotton reels, for absolute beginners, they have things like cushion covers etc.
The trousers were incredibly easy to make, my biggest difficulty was more lack of space to lay fabric out for pinning and cutting, as I only have a very small table to work on and these trousers were the biggest project I’ve worked on so far.
The fabric is Amy Butler and it requires quite a lot, I ended up having to buy in total 3 1/2 metres, as I’d originally brought 2 metres and that wasn’t enough. I now have lots of odd bods of delicious stripy fabric left over, not that I’m complaining (I’ve already made a matching head band to go with the trousers plus used it to make something else). I was quite surprised at the costings of the whole project actually, the fabric used for the trousers cost, approximately, just £28, which is a bargain, considering I have been seriously eyeing up these Boden trousers for £55 and if I hadn’t made these, I could not guarantee control.
Although the Boden trousers are in linen and my trousers are in cotton. I had thought about trying the pattern in linen but was totally shocked at the price of linen, ouch! Almost twice as much as the Amy Butler fabric I feel slightly guilty about buying because I think ‘that’s’ expensive. So actually, if that’s the going price for linen, those Boden trousers are quite reasonable.
I will definitely make these trousers again, possibly in a plain fabric (please tell me these don’t look like pjs!), although decent, good quality, plain fabric seems quite hard to come by, at least at a reasonable price. I think this pattern would make quite nice maternity trousers to, as they’re quite ‘low slung’.
Anyone else watch Ashes to Ashes last night? I love Ashes to Ashes anyway but last night’s episode when Gene Hunt discovers there’s an informant in his team (I won’t say who, in case you haven’t watched it yet), wow that was powerful stuff. None of Hunt’s normal throwing people round the room, just deep, meaningful, measured silence. The scene in the interview room and then the scene as everyone left the office, some of the best TV I’ve seen in a long time.
Not writing - I can’t believe it’s June already, time has gone too quickly this year. Seems like yesterday it was Christmas and tomorrow it’ll be Christmas again. Girl Lacer is back at school and Boy Lacer back at playgroup, although only for one session this week as his playgroup is being used as a polling station on Thursday, so consequently, just as last week was a no writing week (although I did manage a tiny bit of research), this week will, in all likelihood, be a no writing week as well. Boy Lacer was at playgroup this morning, he’s currently not liking this heat, he was like that last summer, heat appears to be on his list of over-sensitivities and he was whingey on the way to playgroup this morning and I was thinking “Uh oh”, getting him in there will be tough today, specially as he hadn’t been in playgroup (obviously) last week. So we waited outside playgroup, the door opened and just inside the door was a giant play space ship, Boy Lacer immediately turned to me “Kiss mummy”, which is his way of saying “You can go now mummy, there’s a giant space ship and I want to play!”. So dropping him off was a lot easier than I’d imagined today!
Making trousers - I could have written this morning I suppose, but knowing there’d be no chance of a writing session on Thursday, I thought it’d be less frustrating to just not write today either, besides I had some trousers to make! This change in weather has really put the boost into my summer clothes making and as I’d thrown out my loose cool summer trousers last year, as they were getting too old and grotty, attempting to make a new pair was getting a high priority as I was sweltering in my winter cords, so I worked on those this morning. Tracing the pattern, cutting the fabric and zig zagging the edges took two nights (would have been one night but I ran out of fabric). This morning I joined up the trousers legs and then joined the two legs together. I just have the waistband to do now and hemming the ankles, if I work on it this evening, I may have a pair of cool summer trousers to wear tomorrow.
Listening to good music - One of the good things about sewing during one of my free mornings, is that I get a chance to listen to some music. My music choices aren’t normally tolerated that much by the kids and today I had a lovely time discovering two great albums on our Napster subscription.
How beautiful is the cover? Sea Sew by Lisa Hannigan.
Sunny Side Up by Paolo Nutini.
Now normally when I listen to a new album for the first time, I might like it, think it’s great, but it’ll take a few listens before I’m really in tune with it. Maybe it was the sun shining through my window today but with both Sea Sew and Sunny Side Up, the music did just sound so right, instinctive, like I’d heard it before but not in a generic sense. Two really great albums, will need an excuse to listen to them some more.
Planning my writing goals - So that’s what I’ve been up to but I’ve also been doing some thinking, some planning, on two fronts. On the writing front, as this half term holiday has shown, writing during the kids holidays is nigh on impossible, which means a good chance of no writing for the six weeks of the summer holiday and if I don’t work on my current project for six weeks, that will really hamper it, so I have a goal now, I’d like to have the first draft of my Egypt story finished before the end of term, I think I’m about half way through, so it’ll be tough but I might be able to do it. If I make that deadline, I’ll be able to rest the manuscript for the first two weeks of the holiday, where we will be actually on holiday and then I might be able to fit in some reading and editing over the next four weeks, so that’s the plan for that.
Planning for my Etsy shop - My other plan involves my thoughts for an Etsy shop, since my (only) client finished last week, I’ve been sorely missing earning money (even if it was only £20 a week) and although I will try and find some more clients in the Autumn, I need to find another form of income, as my book selling is pretty much non-existent at the moment (I actually donated some of my remaining stock to Boy Lacer’s playgroup this morning, as the first part of 5currantbuns three good deeds). By coincidence (great timing for all this thinking), I’ve been finding on my blog and twitter travels, some great articles about running Etsy shops, which reinforced some obvious points I’d noticed through trawling through various Etsy shops and brought to my attention things I hadn’t thought about. I have, for a while, when browsing through Etsy shops been fascinated by Etsy shop stats, you know the bit under the shop name, that gives ratings, how long they’ve been a member and how many sales and it seems that Etsy shops fall into one of two catagories, the shops that have been there for some time but have hardly sold anything, if at all and then there’s the shops that appear to be doing quite well and I’ve been trying to work out what makes the successful Etsy shop different from the not successful Etsy shop. Product choice is the obvious one, for example bags, now I quite like the idea about making tote bags, but there are an awful lot of people out there selling tote bags and most of them don’t seem to be doing tremendously well and the ones that do, there’s something different about their bags, I saw a great tote bag with an embroidered pig on the other day, the difference being the pig was divided up to show the different cuts of pork (unfortunately I can’t find it now, you type pig and bag into Etsy and you get 381 choices). And another point, which really hit home after some article reading, is photography, this makes a big difference to. So I’ve been thinking about what products to make and stock and how to photograph them. I think I’m going to concentrate for the moment on embroidered items (and the emphasis there is on ‘items’ as there are a lot of embroidered art work pieces on Etsy, that don’t seem to do as well, I think putting the embroidery on something useful will help) and as for photography, whilst I think with a bit of effort and some (unreliable) good light, I could do some good product shots at home, I have realised that I’ll be going somewhere, late July, where the product shots would be even nicer, my dad’s house in Wales, I can picture the product placement now lol. So the thought of doing some product shots, late July, has hurried my plans up for my Etsy shop, which I had planned for this Autumn, as I won’t be going to my dad’s again until next Easter. And then of course, there’s Christmas, I’ve been aiming to hold stalls at two craft fairs, one craft fair I’ve sold at, the previous two Christmas’s with my books and I’ve done quite well, I’ve also seen craft stalls there, do a lot better but I think the sort of stuff I’d sell there would be completely different from my Etsy shop, craft fairs for example, there is a market for tote bags plus a lot of smaller stuff, which if you were to slap a delivery charge onto it, would make it too expensive, but would be perfect impulse buys at a craft fair. The other craft fair will be a new one, at my kid’s school, so at least I’d know the customers.
So potentially all a busy second half of the year.