Setting Up a Business Plan.

I plan to go to the market some time in June. My friend, Eno, sells her things at Greenwich usually on a Wednesday and I’ve been there to help her set up a few times.  It’s really fun and she was my inspiration for selling my bows at Greenwich in the first place. We met a man, Kweku, who has his own clothes label that he prints and sells at the market as well. We were speaking to him once and he told me that he trades full time. I was totally inspired.

I’ve always been a creative person. Maths and Sciences weren’t my strong point at school. I’ve never been in paid employment (volunteering, yes, but no one wants to give me money!) and sometimes I wonder if I will do well working for someone else. We all know that jobs for graduates are on the low and sadly it looks as though the job market will stay the same when I finally graduate in 2014.

If there aren’t any jobs, why don’t I make one for myself? By 2014 I would have improved my technique, I can even set up my own website and online shop. Eno has offered to help me create a business plan and establish my pricing. I’m really looking forward to it. The best thing about this is that I can be flexible and fit in enough time for my writing as well.

And hopefully in the future I’ll be able to go on to clothes.

It took a while, but I finally know what I’m going to do when I graduate.

Sewing Online

So I made this bow fairly recently:

And managed to sew the outline for three others. Now the delicious fabric I used to make them is all finished! I went into Rolls and Rems the other day to get another couple of metres and to my dismay the basket of oriental fabric was gone. I had been worrying that such a thing would happen, but it didn’t make me any more prepared.

This is where the online sewing community comes in. I popped over to The Sewing Forum and asked for advice on what to do. The responses were complicated: I wanted to find the supplier to Rolls and Rems and seeing that not many shops would want their customers cutting out the “middle man” as it were, the method I would need to acquire the fabric was rather tasking. I wasn’t sure if I would have been able to do it.

Then a lovely user was able to identify the fabric I had used and showed me to an eBay seller that stocked the exact same fabric! It’s an oriental brocade print, apparently, and quite easy to get. I’ve ordered three metres of it : )

I also bought some African prints from Sakhi Fabrics a couple weeks ago so that I can make some ethnic-inspired bows. They’re really lovely….


When Are You Good Enough?

This is the first bow that I’ve decided to put up for sale. I’ve learnt a few tricks of the trade from mum, who taught me how to do an invisible stitch. I know I could’ve looked it up on YouTube or something, but there’s something about a mother passing on sewing skills to her daughter that I like …

I’ve made quite a few bows by now. Some of them are better than others but definitely not shoddy. It’s now time to start selling them, but I’m nervous. What if the buyer doesn’t like it? What if it looks too “homemade”? There are plenty of ways for me to sell my stuff: Etsy is a place that a lot of people on The Sewing Forum use, plus I subscribe to a few Facebookers who recommend that site. I also know that it’s not expensive to buy a market stall at Greenwich market; it’s shockingly cheap, considering the location.

But realistically, there will always be a better seamstress than me, but I would like to think people would like to buy my stuff.

With all the technology available, it’s easy for me to test the waters; break my duck with my friends, as it were. So I’ve uploaded a picture of my bow on Facebook for sale. If people are still interested and they’re happy with the purchase, I’ll start selling on Etsy and other sites, and THEN I’ll go for the market.

Wish me luck : )



The Photo that Started It…

It’s only Wednesday and I’m already excited.

I bought some nice fabric at the start of the week, as you know, and yesterday (Tuesday) I made my first bow. Just to try it out and get a feel for the machine. It didn’t take long to do, all in all about 40 minutes, but I was so proud of the bow that I took a photograph of it and uploaded it onto my Facebook wall, like so:

I could never have anticipated the response I received. People were asking me how many I’ve made, if I could make them one; they asked for prices and whatnot. I was so shocked! But very happy. I’m glad so many people liked it. I’ve already got three people who’re set on buying a few—one of these people wants to buy three! So this means that I really need to manage my time. The amount of hours I spend on the Internet could be spent studying, reading, writing and now … making accessories!

I made one more bow today similar to the one above and this one as well:

I don’t think I’ll be able to make any more tomorrow: I’ve got a lot of work to catch up on (which is why I’m watching Masterchef now instead of tomorrow), I’ve also got deadlines that are coming up, but hopefully on Sunday I can make at least three more.

Yay : )


Just A Tad More than A Walnut Whip…

…at £35. And a walnut whip is about 50p.

Sorry. London Olympics reference.

So I went to the dreaded Rolls and Rems and bought some lovely fabric for my accessories. Not following any patterns this time. I’ve looked at some of my cotton bags to see how they’re made. I think I can do that. But really, most of the fabric is going to be made for bows and neck ties, stuff like that. I’m planning to go for the lolita style, like these ones.

I’m thinking of going ridiculously big, though. For a few brave souls who don’t mind looking and dressing differently. But a lot of the crowds around Greenwich are into that stuff, from what I gather walking through the village during my lunch times.

I only got a few metres of a few designs, but they’re all along the same palette…

An Oriental-style print...

I forget what this is called, but I love it anyway

I almost squealed when I saw this!

Some lace, to really make it pop...

I’m going to need some mesh for some of the fabric, as they are very flimsy and floppy and I want the bows to have more shape and structure.

So yeah—-Looking forward to this. It’s nice to have a project on the go; some goals to attain.

(And I passed my driving test two weeks ago, which means that when I finally start selling my stuff I’ll at least have transport to haul my equipment to and from the venue. I’d hate to rely on a cab for that…)


Scoping for Inspiration

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated this blog. Very bad, I know.

There’s been a lot going on—the only creative thing I’ve been able to partake in is writing. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry and my novel is coming along okay.

The holidays started off in quite a mess; I had a French Oral exam and lots of assignments. I’ve also been given two different posts at my church so having meetings with the departments and sorting things out have also added to the steaks on my plate.

And dressmaking? The sewing machine is collecting dust! But d’you know what? I don’t care anymore—tomorrow I’m buying a shed load of fabric, as many as I can carry. All sorts, all the crap that I’ve always wanted to buy but have been too hesitant—I’m buying it all! I’m going to order a bust from Amazon as well and get back to making my dresses. These designs won’t be made if I just stare and smile at the sewing machine. Something has to be done.

Hold on! I could even start by making little accessories. Like bows, bags and ties and whatnot. Baby steps, Baker!

In a way, I’m glad I started this blog, because it means that people are actually expecting some results. Otherwise I may as well shut this thing down tonight.

I know that with practise and perseverance I can do this, and then I’ll be able to make some money off ’em, sell my stuff at Greenwich Market or even ….





So I ordered a book from Amazon–How to use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns by Lee Hollahan. It’s fairly straightforward and has a section at the back on how to make your own patterns. I’ve decided to start sketching s0me of the designs and working from there. Then I’ll need to start adding to my Dressmakers’ Toolbox.

In the meantime, I have a French Oral exam that I need to revise for and a few short stories I’m working on to send off to magazines.

Busy-busy-busy : D



Sewing Troubles

So. I think it’s time for me to admit I’ve been having problems with The Skirt.

Time management was never a strong point of mine and it was becoming increasingly hard for me to give quality moments to the skirt and my university workload simultaneously. I’m also a bit of a dunce when it comes to anything numerical. Patterns are HARD to understand–honestly! Even my mum, who made all of our clothes when we were little kids, looked on in puzzled bemusement when she saw the instructions for my skirt. And this was supposed to be an easy one!

I tried to do my own thing. I sewed this thing here, pieced that bit together there, and hoped for the best. And now the skirt is ruined 😦 😦 😦 .

[I’ll upload pictures of the mess soon]

All is not lost, however! There’s a nice little online sewing community that I found, The Sewing Forum. Lots of expert advice and kind dressmakers, novices and professionals and hobbyists alike. I’ve decided to enlist their expertise to help me mend the skirt and find ways to adjust it to my requirements.

Perhaps I should try making my own patterns? I’ve heard it’s easier–and more fun.


Understanding Instructions…

It’s been a while, right?

The haitus has been due to my lack of haberdashery activity over the past few weeks. Deadlines are coming up at university and I’ve been squeezing a lot of things into my day. The only free day I have is Thursday and that’s becoming packed with things as I prepare for Sabbath–which is now unbelievably early because of the winter.

Also, I’m sort of stuck on the skirt. I read the instructions wrong. Not too sure how and I’m still not sure what I did wrong, but it seems like I’ll have to alter it myself. The waist band has it’s own pattern but I’ve completely misunderstood how to join and sew that pattern to the rest of the skirt. I already know how I’m going to sort it out, actually–I think I have the resources lying around at home as well. I’m a quick thinker!

So fingers crossed that by next week I’ll finally have the skirt completed and I can move onto the next thing.

Ah, and happy Bonfire Night.



So on Tuesday I just got up and started my skirt. I had been putting it off because the material I bought was so lovely and I didn’t want to ruin it, but at the end of the day, my very first proper skirt wasn’t going to be perfect. It was bound to be rough around the edges and that’s all part of learning. Nothing was ever done by fretting about making mistakes. So rather than sitting around and staring at the fabric, I thought I’d get moving!

The fabric is quite heavy–I wanted it to be suitable for Winter, I guess. And like I said in one of my previous posts, it needs to match my very diva-ish, floppy felt hat that I bought for church.

My two-colour skirt. Don't worry if it looks big, it's supposed to hang in layers.


I'm not gonna lie; these seems look pretty professional...


...But the cutting surely doesn't!


I still don’t have any fabric cutters, pinking shears or tailor’s chalk, so this was quite a shotgun approach. It was so much fun, though! I have a friend who knits snoods and scarves and other things for a living–she always says that knitting is therapeutic. I reckon she’d feel the same way using a sewing machine. It’s exhilarating, actually. Once you get the hang of the foot pedal, the chug-chug-chug of the mechanisms makes it all feel like a train ride. Then you can make it go fast or sloooow and pretend that you’re in a race, or play Chicken with your fingers, seeing how close you dare to go to the needle…

Wow. This is how I get my kicks, is it? Okay.


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