All Aboard the Entrepreneur-ship!

I have been thinking a LOT lately about working for myself, being my own boss. I was thinking that was the only way I would be truly happy. I want to be creative, but not get taken advantage of for my ideas and designs. I wanted to make my own schedule, and go where I need when I wanted to. I want to see sunshine and not be in a stuffy office all day. I want a day off sometimes and for it not to ruin my paycheck. So, I started to take my side business and hobby for sewing more seriously. I am going to sew and create bags out of re-purposed materials and join the craft fair circuit. It meets all of the criteria of the perfect job I was looking for! So with the inspiration of this cartoon by Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes,) I was motivated to follow happiness, and to quit my day job.

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My new office is my spare bedroom, which has been a craft room since we moved in, but now is my full time place of creative employment.

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I’ve read SO MANY of the Etsy articles on crafters that quit their day job, and it has inspired me. They all talk about how hard it can be financially, but I am confident that with the craft fairs, Etsy sales, and friends buying my stuff, it will work out.

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I can watch movies, listen to jazz, and talk to my fiancée, who is also working from home, in the back yard, as a gardener / farmer.

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I love to scour the thrift stores and antique stores for materials to use in my bag making, like aprons, belts, zippers, and rolls of fabric. A LOT will go to the craft fairs, but check my Etsy for new things.

Happy Dream Following!

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DIY Snap Cowl

For a while now I have loved these snap scarves from System63 on Etsy  and wanted to make one for myself. Recently a friend gave me some of her old leather scraps and another person gave me some soft wool and I finally had what I needed!

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System63 Has some amazing stuff. Perfect for fall.

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The inspiration!

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My scarf!

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I liked it so much I made 3 different ones. I would love to sell these on Etsy since I wanted to share my items, but don’t know if I should sell a mock up of someone else’s creation.

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Here’s one made with soft wool and cotton lining. All of the fabrics were given to me from friends, and the leather trim is actually a sleeve from a suede jacket.

I hope you can find inspiration from Etsy, or Pinterest and make your own creations! Happy Sewing!

 

My First Craft Fair

I’ve been sewing since I was old enough to hold a needle (safely) and always thought of it as a fun hobby. I liked to hand stitch doll clothes, then clothes for myself, (which got me made fun of in High School, but I didn’t care.) I made pants for a local vintage resale shop with fabric sewn into the sides of jeans at $5 a pair. I made simple circle skirts out of plaid fabric to wear with my vintage t-shirts in High School. I upgraded to using patterns by the time I was 19 making shirts and quilts. I made stuffed animals for relatives children, and wine bottle holders out of felt and hot glue. Then I started to make handbags and found my real sewing passion. These are not only fun, but you don’t have to sell them to fit one and only one person at a time. You can create what you want, use any fabrics you see fit and market your creations online. (Hello Etsy!)

So this 4th of July weekend will be the first time I take my hobby large scale, and do a Craft Fair. I went from having 20 or so bags on Etsy (as a hobby for extra money here and there,) to having close to 200 total bags, stuffed animals, leather cuffs and keychains, pillows, and framed art pieces. I talked to a friend a few months ago about a craft market in Door County, Wisconsin that she does with her and her husband’s garden supply and plant business. She said it’s so busy at this craft market / farmer’s market that her tent sells out completely. Tell you the truth, I saw dollar signs more than a good time, but I wanted to take my craft and share it with people. I love to take fabrics from thrift stores, like linens and curtains, as well as fabric samples from Interior Design and Upholsters and make something awesome from materials that would have otherwise been tossed. I like to create while lowering my carbon footprint.

So for months I’ve been reading articles on how to set up a craft booth, pictures on what makes a booth enticing, and what to bring with you for success. So much to do! Here’s my Pinterest board if anyone else is interested in this info.

For now, here’s a sneak peek at my inventory.

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The whales were fun to make, and were made with vintage  button eyes, and leftover materials from local interior design studios.

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With wedding season coming up, I thought I would do a collection of bridesmaid and bride clutches. The only thing purchased for this set was the zippers.

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Tagging everything was fun, plus I got to see how many things I really made. I didn’t realize the amount in inventory till I started putting price tags on it all.

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The little beanbag chickens were the fiancee’s idea. I think they are fun.

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These ricepacks are stuffed with rice (duh) and home grown and dried lavender and lemon verbena. When you heat them they will smell heavenly.

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Clutch inventory!

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More bags

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I’m using business cards as price tags. I got 500 from Vistaprints for like $10.

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I made a ton of large bags for farmer’s markets, the beach, or the gym. I love digging through the materials I got for free and finding ones that match and creating something from nothing. The one here is made from 100% repurposed materials from Interior Designers or yard sales.

I’ll post again with the results! Happy Holiday Weekend!

DIY Bag made with Shorts

Last year I was looking for a shortcut to not have to make pockets for insides of a bag. What has a lot of pockets that are already assembled? Shorts! Men’s bermuda shorts (or ladies) have 4-5 pockets and a lot of material to work with. They are usually neutral in color, or have subtle stripes. So I decided to buy a pair really cheaply, and get to work. First I needed to come up with a plan…

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I opted for a shoulder bag, big enough for a magazine or two, maybe a tablet, some pens, and whatever else. I wanted the back pockets to be the inside, which left me with the front pockets and extra fabric for the inside flap and sides.

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My measurements were 11″ tall x 8″ wide. I cut two pieces with the back side for the insides of the bag. I made the depth 4″, wide enough to put a cell phone in the sides of the outside.

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I also undid the hems to give myself more fabric.

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I got so caught up in making a bag I neglected to take too many pictures, but I didn’t intend to make a tutorial, just show the readers what you can do with re-purposing!

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I used the front pocket to make some storage in the front of the bag. Perfect for pens, toiletries, or anything really.

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I used a piece from the bottom for a side pocket, and the tiny pocket from the front on the other side. I even found a matching belt for the strap!

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The finished messenger! I had the blue canvas as a gift from a friend, and the leather was a scrap piece. The only thing I bought was the buckle. The button even came off of the shorts! The finished product is on my Etsy store. Think of all YOU can do with a pair of shorts or an men’s shirt?

Happy re-purposing!

Simple DIY For a Rainy Day

I know I haven’t blogged in a few days, (or weeks) and I need to get back on the horse. Looking forward to going back to school in the fall has me working a lot to save money and leaves me with little time for crafting. So I thought, what are some easy DIY projects that I could complete in an afternoon, with materials I already have? I found a few on Pinterest and wanted to share them with you so you (and I) can try them out!

DIY Basket

How about an easy DIY Dip Dyed basket? You can get baskets at the thrift shop for under a dollar and if you don’t feel like making a mess with a bucket of paint, just tape off a line around the basket and paint it on.

DIY abstract art

How about a piece of art to fill a lonely wall? You can get a canvas at a local hobby shop for under $10 and three colors of paint to mix and match for $1 a piece. Use a piece of parchment paper or tin foil taped to a flat hard surface (like a notebook or sketchbook) and mix and paint away! Or even lay your canvas flat, squeeze the paint on in little globs and mix the colors together. Have fun!

DIY bleach towels

This looks simple enough! If you don’t have the tea towels you can find some fabric at a thrift shop or hobby store for cheap. You can them hem the sides an inch a piece, making 10″ x 10″ squares and bleach your own pattern.

DIY Granola

Looking for something to bake, that’s healthy? I find every time I want to make granola I have just about every ingredient to do so in the cabinet. You can bake it long enough to make cereal or neglect stirring it too often and make chunks to snack on. I’ve made this recipe a number of times and always get great results.

DIY Fabric Box

If you’re itching to sew, you can make one of these little guys with scraps, old dress shirts (pockets!), or canvas. Use a stiff material to keep them from flopping, and add handles and make any size you want! Hang them from door handles, put them at the base of the stairs for things to bring up, or keep them in the kitchen for spices or tea bags.

DIY Scrapbook

I don’t know about you but I tend to keep scrap booking materials everywhere I go. Coasters, brosures, business cards, stickers, receipts, writs bands, and photos. This is a fun and easy way to keep them all together. You can use key rings and a hole punch to make your book at little to no money, if you already have the materials.

Happy Rainy Day DIY!

Home Made Sweat Shirt Re-Do

Some of you may remember the last post I did about a sweat shirt re-do I did about a year ago. I didn’t post a tutorial about it because I just saw an inspiration picture that I wanted to make, and went ahead and did it. Most people that left comments wanted a tutorial, and I went ahead and made another, trying my best to take pictures along the way.

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The finished product! I will show you how we got here. You need: One sweatshirt that’s too big for you. And a half yard of accent fabric. You can use any light weight cotton fabric. You also need 5 of the buttons you cover with fabric, you can get them at your local craft store.

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This is an unflattering photo of the sweater before, when I got it.

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Here’s a side shot of the sweater before. It’s a jansport and came from an outlet mall for about $15. It’s REALLY soft on the inside, so I knew I wanted to use it for this project.

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It took me about 45 minutes to take the pocket off carefully. There were a LOT of seams, and the entire bottom band had to be separated from the rest of the shirt. That’s ok, you’ll need it to be done for later. And save the pocket, I put mine back on later.

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This is Bogey. He loves to help.

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Yes this shirt is covered in cat hair. Yes I have a cat and he loves crafts, as shown above. So, the next step was to put the shirt on to figure out where to take the sides and the front in. The bottom band fit perfectly, but it was very flying squirrel like around the mid waist and armpits. I took some of the fabric from the front of the shirt, and separated it visually into thirds. I took it and folded it over onto itself to create a little seam, to later sew fabric into, and pinned it over. You can see that in the picture above. You also see where I took the excess side fabric and pinned it to know where to sew the sweat shirt to fit.

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You want to do the same to the sleeves. DO NOT pin right up to your arm. You will have a hard time getting into a sweatshirt that’s too tight. Leave yourself a little room You can always make it smaller, but not bigger. Carefully take the shirt off without poking yourself with the pins.

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Next I cut about a half inch over from where I pinned on the side. Do the same for the other side. You can omit from having to pin both sides by taking the piece of fabric you cut from one side and laying it over the opposite side, and cutting around it.

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I then looked at where I had pinned up the shirt in the front. I cut at the fold, (shown above) then once I had cut along the fold, I cut the sweater where the fold touched the other side, because I knew I was sewing it together anyways. When you’re done cutting those two slits up the sweat shirt, it looks like you have a really tall thin football shaped piece of fabric left over. You can keep the sliver of fabric that comes out after you had cut it and save it. I will tell you what for later.

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Go ahead and turn the sweatshirt inside out and sew the sleeves together.

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Cut a piece of your fabric you will use for the inside trimmings and cut a 1″ wide piece by the length of the sweatshirt. Lay it right side facing right side on the opening of the front of the shirt. You will end up tucking it in when you sew it together. I will show you.

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Starting at the top, sew the patterned fabric to the slit in the shirt.

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After you’ve sewn it all the way down, fold it inward, so you see just a little bit of the fabric. pin it to the other side of the front of the shirt. You can just overlap onto the raw edge of the other side. It doesn’t have to be neat from the inside, mine isn’t.

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Go ahead and sew the front shut again.

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I sewed mine from the bottom to the top, it was easier that way.

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Once I had sewn the accent fabric in, I went ahead and sewed the bottom band back together.

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This is the point where I put the pocket back on. I made the pocket a little smaller, and then put it on upside down, because the openings were bigger at that side once I narrowed the pocket down a little bit.

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Next I had to look at the hood. I wanted to line it with my accent fabric so I took that fabric, and laid it on top of the hood, and traced it. I traced two side pieces and one middle piece.

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This is what the top of the hood looks like from the outside.

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I sewed the three hood lining pieces together then pinned them into the inside of the hood so I could sew it around the brim, and the back.

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Sew it around the inside of the brim, being careful not to hit the drawstring, if your sweat shirt has one.

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It should look something like this when you’ve sewed the hood in.

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You’ll want to buy a 5 pack of buttons you cover in fabric. The set comes with a button cover, backing, and the mold and press to make the button. Follow the instructions on the package.

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Set your buttons aside.

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Remember that little sliver I told you to keep? Cut it into a little rectangle, about 2″ x 4″ and sew the edges under and stitch. You’ll be using this as a little top accent piece.

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Once you’ve sewn the rectangle’s edges over, sew it onto the sweater under the center of the opening of the hood.

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Next add your buttons and you’re done! I added one on the rectangle at the top, and then the other 4 along the side.

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Closeup of the pocket and side.

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Another close up of the pocket.

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No more bat wing!

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This is what the side of the sweat shirt looks like. Yes I’m not wearing make up, but hey, I had a craft day. Who am I looking fancy for.

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This is a close up of the top of the shirt.

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My hand fits in the pocket perfectly.

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I’m very happy with my new super cozy sweatshirt! Because I started with a large shirt, it’s long enough and the sleeves fit great, but it is now slim and flattering. I hope you are able to re-purpose some of your old shirts too! Happy sewing!