Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Makes Me So Special?

I've been browsing the job ads on Craig's List to find side projects like I always do. If you ever look in the section with all the seamstresses it's quite overwhelming.

How are you supposed to choose a person to work on your projects? Every range of sewing ability and type is represented from the lady who still mends "by hand or by machine" to the lady who only wants "production sewing (no one-offs)".

It's hard for me to call myself a seamstress sometimes because that's really only part of what I do. Out of all the skills I have, all the things I make and do the thing they all have in common is me. What makes me so special?

I am a young seamstress and one of my biggest challenges is having to convince people that I do indeed know what I am doing. I worked with a very skilled teacher learning basic and complex alterations in a little shop. Before that I was sewing at home on my own making all kinds of things that I needed. Even before that I was reading and reading anything sewing related that I could get my hands on.

I know what kind of seamstress I am and what kind I am not. I've tried and I've tried but I am not a robot; I just can't for the life of me crank out a ton of look-a-likes and not hate my life. I don't know why. I can't do it with card making or chopping vegetables either! It's just not part of my chemical makeup. I've decided it's not worth trying to figure out anymore but instead to see it as a skill. I don't have tunnel vision! Ta da!

I can troubleshoot on the spot. I can figure out how to make something out of nothing. I can lie to myself about my abilities and make things I've never made before. I can think ahead and plan my steps. I can document the lights out of my work so that it can be reproduced. I think that might just be what makes me special.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just a Peek

Single Sided Satin Ribbon Bows
Being a Dianne of All Trades is not without challenges. One of the silliest problems I have is remembering to take pictures of all the neat things I get to make and do.  Fortunately, for this post at least, I have scoured my hard drive to locate pictures of some of the various projects I have made. I could categorize them but what fun would that be.

This is a set of bows that I made for a lady making party hats, I think. I bid for this job via the internet. She sent me a sample bow and all the materials and I made them all up, packed up the box and sent them off. I don't remember how many or the per piece cost. It was a relaxing project that I probably did while listening to General Hospital.

Secret Pocket Cuff and Earrings Set
 Another project I bid on via the internet was a custom bracelet and earrings set for a bride. I made the ear wires myself with a platinum head pin. The bracelet is cuff style made of silk dupioni and has an invisibile zipper sewn in to make it be a secret pocket! I love secrets and pockets!

The beads were a variety of quality stones that I loved picking out from one of the best bead stores in town, D&I Beads. I could spend years and many pay checks in that store and I don't even bead that often. I would always find myself in that store after a long day at work to soothe my soul with the pretty colors lining the walls full of strings of beads.

 One of the most difficult things for me to resist is a fun project even if there is no pay involved. I have "accidentally" done free work more times than I can count for a variety of reasons...oops.

However, this project was for a charity gallery and auction supporting breast cancer awareness and research. I used a bra that I was about to toss away and the rest came from my stash. It was a really fun afternoon project.

I have more pictures of this piece from different angles so maybe sometime I'll dedicate a whole picture post to this decorated bra.

One of my goals is to learn to make a bra from scratch just to say that I can. Every woman is a hard fit and how neat would it be to never have to shop for a bra again!? It would be awesome. That's how it'd be.

Bird Cage Cover
This is one of  those projects where I know I didn't make a profit off of it but I just had to do it; How often do you get a chance to make a birdcage cover?  I don't have a shot of it in action because it is for a birdcage and I don't own birds or a cage.

I drafted the pattern based off of a photograph of the cage and dimensions that the client provided me. The client chose the fabric patterns but I pieced them this way for funsies.

It slips around the cage and ties shut with fabric ties. The whole cover is serged and lined because I can't leave well enough alone.

Reasons I didn't make $: Too well made/ too much time, fronted $ for fabric and didn't include shipping in the cost. Live and learn. In the end, I have now have a "Bird Cage Cover" patch to add to my sash.

Sweets Swap Stationery Set
I made this set of stationery from my notebook doodles for a craft swap on Craftster. I scanned all my drawing and outlined them using Photoshop to color and create the layouts.  I made  envelopes, gift tags, stickers, note cards, blank and lined stationery. I think the digital files exist somewhere on my old computer. Must go look for those some time...

I love paper crafting like this <3 I just got a new printer for my birthday and I am hoping to get time to get back into making print items again.

Greece in Iowa
This is one of my most favorite projects. I'll have to do a whole post soon about this bedroom make over I did for my aunt who lives in Iowa. Super low buget, high impact, fast paced...all my favorite challenges :)

I managed to squeak two whole walls full of drapery out of her old sewing machine and I repainted her dresser set. It was a really great way to spend a vacation. I'll have to make it out there again to check up on the room and *ahem* get some squeeky cheese.

 That just barely scratches the surface of all the kinds of work I've done but now I am tired. The trip through only a few folders of my computer and many miles of memory lane has exhausted me greatly. I will continue to sift through my millions of poorly named folders to find you more of my oddities when my strength and brain power return.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Professional Goals

I started a journal awhile ago where I wrote about my professional goals, short-term and long-term. The short-term list was easy to fill out and included things like preparing my sewing room, setting goals for making products (financial & time), materials and equipment that I'd like to purchase, creating a product inventory and locating places to sell my products.

My long-term list was short, not even a list really; I want to become financially self reliant working at home by making my own products to sell. I didn't really figure that I would need a mid-term list...

So I guess my new journaling goal is to develop smaller steps to reach my overall goal of becoming self employed. How on Earth will I pull knowledge out of my unknowing mind? Stay tuned...