Saturday, October 24, 2009

Craft Fair

I participated in a small craft fair today, which I'll call a marketing test. It was a small show at my local YMCA, with a booth fee of just $25. Foot traffic was minimal as there was not a great deal of advertising. The best part of attending, I found, was meeting other crafters and talking about our creativity. There were many other first-timers there, so the camaraderie was nice.

I traded this brown rose bag with a fellow crafter for a beautiful beaded silver necklace and earrings. You can see an example of my hangtag on the bag. I opted to use simple handwritten cardstock tags. At Target, I picked up a two-pack of punches that included both the circle and butterfly punches. It turned out to be an easy and inexpensive way to make tags.

My product inventory was not quite as planned because my machine kept failing in the weeks before the show, with major tension issues and loopy stitches on the underside of the fabric. After trying everything - new needle, rethreading, adjusting tension, rethreading bobbin, etc.-I gave up (last night at 2 AM...arghhhh) It may be time to browse for a new machine :)

I was really discouraged to have such a small product offering (and a lot of unfinished items at home), but felt better after I saw the foot traffic at the fair. It is all a learning experience. I took a few of my larger totes and shoulder bags, kid-sized pocket totes, zipper pouches and two pennant banners. The larger totes got attention and compliments, but most people were not looking to spend much. Next time, I might make a less labor-intensive tote still using the bright, designer fabrics, that I can offer at a reasonable price. I took notes of items that people requested.

Here is my little display. This fair was small, so no one had large constructed booths, just tables. I spent a minimal amount, purchasing only the tablecloth and rack for the small totes. The other items are from my home. The larger totes are resting against two basket cubes from IKEA that I use in my sewing room bookcase. I turned them on the side, so the front side could prop the bags and the backside could hold my supplies (bags, blackberry, pens) out of sight. You'll never guess what I used to hang the kid totes....a free-standing toilet paper rack (Target again...and used specifically for this purchase...never placed in my bathroom!!). It worked great!

My super-crafty cousin purchased this tote along with a small zipper pouch for my first sale. Unfortunately in the stress of trying to finish product and fiddling with the machine, I didn't take any proper pictures once my new bags were finished. This is the first more complex bag that I have designed start to finish. The side panels and bottom exterior pockets with binding trim wrap around the sides of the bag. Inside I added a panel of pockets on each side and a key fob. I will definitely make more of these.

All in all, attending the fair was a good (learning) experience. Truthfully, I am relieved it is over and am ready to catch up on my sleep!! Talking with the other crafters has me energized to keep sewing and being creative.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another Kidlet

kidlet sewing pattern

I made another Kidlet today using Jennifer's tutorial. This one is for my sister who is expecting a little boy in November. For her baby shower today, I filled the Kidlet with a couple of board books, breast pads and lanolin cream, hand cream and lip balm. I hope she finds this useful for stashing all the little things that a nursing mom might need close at hand. The nursery colors are brown and blue, so I paired a dark brown cordury with brown and white gingham lining. I have been using more and more gingham for bag linings while using more modern prints on the exterior. For the pocket, I used various blue prints from my scraps, but stayed away from anything too kiddy, so the Kidlet will work well in rooms other than the nursery.

Two things I hate in bags are floppiness and wimpy straps. The first Kidlet I made was a little too floppy, so this time I used a heavier interfacing. This is the first time I have tried Decor Bond. It made for a nice, sturdy bag and pressed well, with no dimples, once the bag was turned right side out.