Tag Archive | Dress

COGS and COSTS

img_4652-1I was recently presented with the opportunity to sell some of my amigurumi’ s and children’s clothes and blankets at a farmer’s market. Most of the venders at the market were selling produce but there were a few craft vendors so I decided to join them. I would like to tell you about my selling experience and what I learned from selling my wares.

First off, I do not want to start a crafting or sewing business. Crocheting and sewing is my hobby. It’s what I do with my down time to relax. But, with that said, supplies are expensive. Yarn and fabric cost money. So, I decided that I could sell some of my amigurumi’s and children’s clothes to help pay for the supplies to make more.

img_4645I have thought several times before about selling some of the items that I have made, but every time I looked into the cost of doing so, I stopped there. I could set up an online Etsy store, but with the many amigurumi’s already being sold on Etsy, would I ever sell anything? Plus if I did sell something could I charge enough to make enough money to cover the cost of the store and shipping costs along with the cost of supplies to make the items? I could sell my items on eBay, but once again, after paying eBay and PayPal fees plus the cost of supplies would I make any money doing that?

Over the years, I have thought about selling some items at craft fairs, but once again, the cost of the booths stops me. When I asked how much a booth would cost at most craft shows, I was quoted between $75.00 and $125.00. That was too much for me. I did not believe that I would sell enough items to even cover the cost of the booth at those prices, let alone the cost of supplies.

img_5484You will notice that I never include the cost of my labor to make the items in my questions above. I learned long ago if you make around 50 cents an hour for your labor to make your crafts, you are doing quite well. Because of that I didn’t bother trying to include the labor portion of my cost of goods sold into the equations above.

When I talked to the manager of the farmer’s market, she said the cost would be $10.00 for the spot for the season plus 12% of my profits. That did not seem like too much to me, plus rather than laying out money up front, the cost was based on what I sold.

img_4647If I sold only a little, then they only got a little of what I sold. This sounded great, but, of course, there was a catch. I had to have my own tables and a canopy. I did not already have these things, so I would have to purchase them to be able sell at the farmer’s market. Luckily, I found both folding tables and a canopy on sale, but the cost was still about $100.00.

This initial startup cost almost stopped me from selling at the farmer’s market but after some thought, I decided that these were useful purchases, and could be used for other purposes other than for selling at the farmer’s market. Folding tables are always useful and nice to have on hand, and the canopy could be used in the back yard for holidays and family events. Plus, if I sold multiple weeks at the market, that $100.00 cost could be spread out over several weeks of selling.

img_4648Of course purchasing the tables and canopy was only the first step in getting ready to sell at the farmer’s market. Next, I had to figure out my COGS or the Cost Of the Goods I was selling, and then based on that number determine what I wanted to sell each item for. I decided to price my amigurumi’s based on size, complexity, and cost to replace the supplies to make the same amigurumi again. The clothes and blankets were harder to price but eventually, they were priced based on style, embroidery, and size.

Since this is my hobby, I did not calculate the cost of my time to make the amigurumi or the clothes. If I had added the cost of my time into the price, I would have priced myself out of the market and no one could have afforded what I was selling. So, luckily, I was not expecting a wage from my wares.

img_4649Selling at the farmer’s market was not easy or fun for me. I knew that I could not just sit on a chair by my tables of goods and people would walk by and throw money at me. I knew I had to sell my items which meant selling me, the creator.

Why would some one pay good money for what I had made?

I had to show and tell them why they would. I had to tell stories about my item’s creation. I had to express my love and concern that each of my amigurumi have a good home. I had to make small talk and entertain my potential customers and hope that my efforts were not in vain, and that someone would be interested and buy my goods.

img_4650This was very difficult for me. I had purposely over priced my items a little so that I could bargain a little with people, because everyone loves a deal! So, when it came time for people to get out some money to pay me or they seemed to not really be interested in what I was selling, I would offer them a lower price. This ended up not being a good selling practice, and it did cost me some money.

I really struggled with this, especially before I had made the first sell of the day, or when too many people had walked by without showing any interest in my goods. I can’t say that my selling techniques improved much over time, but luckily the husband was with me and he helped to keep me in check as well as to help with the selling of my items, especially on the rare occasion that I had multiple customers at the same time.

img_4651I learned very quickly that my amigurumi’s caught people’s attention and they would stop and look and sometimes buy, but that they had no interest in my handmade children’s clothing and baby blankets. In all the weeks that I sold at the farmer’s market, I only sold one blanket and one child’s shirt (which was sold at a deep discount).

I sold at the farmer’s market for a couple of weeks, and each week I sold a few items, but I decided that it was not for me. First, people did not come to the farmer’s market to buy a teddy bear or a little girl’s dress. They were there to spend their money on fresh tomatoes and peaches. What I was selling was an after thought for them. Next, I had to spend my precious days off selling my items at the market.

It was a full day event since I had to be there early enough to set up the canopy, tables and my goods before the market opened and I had to be there until the market closed. Then I had to carefully pack back up my goods and take down my tables and the canopy and haul it all back to the car. It ended up taking the whole day. The day off that I needed to take care of other things was spent trying to sell a few items. I was a little discouraged by this experience and did not think that I ever wanted to sell my items again.

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But wouldn’t you know it, opportunity knocked again…

I was asked to be the monthly featured artist at an art walk for one of the downtown stores in old town. It was just one evening for a couple of hours so I decided to do it. I arrived at the store an hour before the art walk started, and I set up my tables and displayed my wares on the sidewalk in front of the store. I was not really in the mood to sell to people, but I knew once again that if I wanted anyone to buy my items, I had to hawk my wares.

img_6541This time though, I did not cut any prices quickly and I did not care if I sold anything since there was no cost involved other than my time. At first, no one seemed to be interested in my items and I hadn’t sold a thing. After an hour or so, I commented to the husband that I doubted that I would sell anything this evening.

But shortly after I made my comment things started to change. More people started to arrive at the art walk and more people were interested in my amigurumi’s (Once again though, no one even looked at the children’s clothes and blankets. I did sell one child’s shirt, but this time not at a deep discount.)

img_6539I once again talked to the people who stopped to look and I sold my items, but this time I let them fall in love with my amigurumi’s and pay me my asking price. I did bargain with a few people but I felt better about these sales than I did at the farmer’s market. I believe it was because I had a better and more receptive audience for selling at the art walk. The people who had come to the art walk were interesting in seeing something fun and unique. Plus, I was much more relaxed about selling.

img_6540When the night was done, I had sold more in the couple of hours at the art walk than I had the several weeks at the farmer’s market. I felt better about the experience and I decided that I could sell my wares again but I would be very selective as to where and when.

But, before I can sell anymore amigurumi’s, I have got to get some more made. Between what I sold at the farmer’s market and what I sold at the art walk, my collection of amigurumi’s is now quite small. I would not feel comfortable doing another display of my wares until I get some more amigurumi’s made.

So, with that being said I had better get crocheting! Stay tuned to see what fun things I make next!

Until then, sew and crochet forth and sell on!

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Why I Sew Kid’s Clothes

IMG_0016“So, how many children do you have?” I am frequently asked.

“None” is my reply.

This of course always leads to the next question, when the conversation is about sewing, “Then why do you make so many clothes for kid’s?”

Its a reasonable question and I will give you 3 good reasons why I sew so many kid’s clothes even though I have no children to wear them.

P1030369The first reason is my casual style, and that of the husband’s. I wear mainly shirts and pants/shorts. I basically wear 3 styles of shirts. A t-shirt, a collarless v-neck shirt (a baseball shirt) and a collared camp shirt. I don’t wear dresses or skirts regularly.

P1030399The husband wears tab front knit shirts and on the rare occasion a button down the front shirt both with pants and shorts.

So, over the years I have sewn many shirts and pants for both myself and the husband and I have our basic sloper patterns for these items fine tuned to perfection.

Over the years, I have varied the basic slopers with small changes to the designs, but basically it is still the same pattern I have sewn for us for years now.

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So given this, how could I learn any new sewing techniques and expand my sewing skills by just making these same tried and true patterns over and over again?

How could I learn different seam finishes? How could I learn about sewing with different fabric varieties like fur and pleather?

DSCN0533Why would I waste my fabric and my time to make myself a dress or skirt that I would seldom if ever wear just to learn sewing skills and techniques like gathers, pleats and linings?

There are no pockets on my shirts or the husbands shirts, so where would I learn to make different pocket styles?

There is no bias tape used in the construction of our clothes, so where would I learn to make and sew items with bias tape?

 

The answer to many of these questions for me is by sewing clothes for children of course!

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It has been my experience that kid’s are very forgiving when it come to their clothes.

They don’t care if the fit isn’t quite right. As long as the colors and designs are fun, they are willing to wear the item.

So, while I have been learning some great new techniques and skills while making the children’s clothes, even if it isn’t perfect in the end, I still have a usable item that a child will love to wear.

DSCN4123Plus, just how many shirts can I and the husband have with Snoopy or Mickey Mouse on them? I have so many fun embroidery designs and fabrics for fun kid’s clothes that I would probably never be able to use if I didn’t sew for children.

And how could I not sew and embroider up some of these great items for some children to wear and enjoy?

 

Reason number 2 is practice. You could also think of this as making mini muslins.

I wouldDSCN3413 like to make me a spring/fall polar fleece jacket. I want it to have a collar, a zipper, multiple pockets, and for the jacket to be fully lined. I have already purchased the fabric that I want this jacket made from and I have a basic jacket pattern to use as a guide to sew this jacket for myself.

But, I felt that I was lacking in the skills to sew this jacket. Skills that I need to be comfortable and confident using such as working with polar fleece, sewing pockets, inserting a zipper, and lining a jacket without a pattern.

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To remedy this lack of skills, I started out by making some smaller kid’s jackets and vests. I could learn and practice the skills that I needed to make my jacket by practicing first on the kid’s jackets.

I would waste less fabric if it turned out all wrong and I could repeat the skills that I needed to by practicing them first on the kid’s jackets.

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If you are a reader of my blog, you know that is exactly what I have been sewing recently.

I have made several kid’s jackets and vests. And in the process I have learned how to finish fleece seams, and I have learned to sew several different pocket styles, patch pockets, side seam pockets, welt pockets and others. I have practiced inserting zippers and sewing different collar styles.

And, more importantly, I have learned how to line an unlined jacket without using a pattern.

DSCN3898I now feel much more confident about cutting into my expensive fabric to make my jacket and in my ability to successfully sew my jacket together now that I have made all of these kid’s jackets and vests first.

In fact, I only have just a couple of more sewing skills that I want to practice and perfect on a couple of more kid’s jackets before I will finally be ready to make my jackets.

So stay tuned later this fall, as I might just be wearing a stylish new jacket (or two or three)!

Reason number 3 that I sew children’s clothes is that sewing clothes for kid’s is really FUN!

P1030564P1030560I enjoy sewing! A LOT! I really enjoy focusing my time and attention into the creative process and completing a functioning and fun item for someone to wear.

It does not matter if that item is for me, the husband, the house, the garage, or a kid, I (for the most part) enjoy the steps of making that item.

Plus, I enjoy learning. I learn from each sewing project that I make.

And, yes, sometimes what I learn and learn again, is patience!

As I mentioned in reason number 1, I have a lot of fun fabrics and embroidery designs that neither I nor the husband is ever going to wear, so for me anyway, it is just fun to sew and embroidery these fabrics and designs into clothes for children to wear.

DSCN3537DSCN3986As I mentioned in reason number 2, I made the kid’s jackets to learn and to practice the skills that I needed to make my jacket in the future, but each of the kid’s jackets or vests was very fun to design and to sew.

I learned from each project and for the most part I was pleased with what I made and what I learned in making them.

In other words, I really enjoyed the journey, from start to finish.

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Lastly, I really love to make something from nothing. I love to take the scraps from mine or the husband’s shirt and to make something from them for a child.

 

In doing so I feel like I am cheating or beating the odds somehow. I was able to take something that was useless, scraps that I could not use to make something for myself or the husband from, and was able to make a functioning, useful item from them.

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DSCN0389This is extra fun to do when I get to stretch my skills by using my creative process to make the scraps work in almost any situation.

So, that in very long form is my answer to question of “Why do you sew so many kid’s clothes?”.

With this complex of an answer to a simple question, you’re now probably afraid to ask any other questions, but don’t be.

In my own way, I will give you an answer that might be longer than expected, but enjoyable to hear.

Until then, sew forth and ask away!

Creative Determining – Part 2

DSCN3986DSCN3987To begin the the sewing process of the Snoopy peplum top I started with the peplum first.

Since I was not going to line the peplum, I wanted to hide all the seams as much as possible, so I sewed French seams to piece the peplum together.

 

This was not difficult, just time consuming with a lot of ironing in between seams. I did a simple 1/2 inch hem at the bottom of the peplum to complete it.

Sewing the bodice was next. I decided at the last minute to add the yellow sleeves to the top. I like the yellow sleeves but as I snipped the curve of one of the sleeves I caught the lining and so I had to do a little mending. Luckily, the mended spot is on the inside of the top and cannot be seen from the outside. It should not affect the wearing of the top.

DSCN3998DSCN3989After gathering the peplum, I sewed the peplum to the bodice, making sure to line up the seams as much as possible. I serged this seam to finish it, rather than covering the seam with the lining and doing the stitch in the ditch seam.

The serged seam looks fine and saved me the headache of doing the stitch in the ditch seam.

 

I probably could have used the practice sewing the stitch in the ditch seam on this top, but sometimes just sewing the easy and simple way is fun too. And it’s much less stressful too!

With that, the little girl’s peplum top from the leftover Snoopy fabric scraps was completed!

DSCN3995DSCN3994The top is just adorable and the multiple seams in the peplum are really not that noticeable with the gathers.

This was a fun sew.

It is always fun to make something from nothing and to let the creative side flow to make it work.

Unfortunately, now that I have used up all the Snoopy scraps, I have at least a hundred projects that have raced through my mind that I could have made using the scraps.

Having said that though, I am not disappointed at all that I used these Snoopy scraps to make this top and at least they were put to good use!

Until then, sew forth and determine on!

Creative Determining – Part 1

DSCN3986There was no way that I was going to throw away any of the precious Snoopy fabric scraps left over from my new Snoopy shirt. The scraps really were not large enough to make anything with, not even for a child, but I just could not bear to throw them away. So, what to do with these scraps beside stack them on the edge of the cutting table and stare at them?

Recently, I have seen several little girls peplum tops that are just adorable and I have wanted to make one. So, looking at the Snoopy fabric scraps, I decided to see if I could squeeze a little girl’s peplum top out of the pieces. The size of top I would make would be determined by the dimensions of the scraps.

DSCN3813I didn’t really have a pattern so I turned to the internet for ideas. The first style of peplum top I found had a circular peplum. This was out of the question. The scraps I had to work with were absolutely too small to cut a circular peplum from. The second style I found was a gathered peplum. Hmmm. I might be able to make this work with the scraps.

DSCN3985Now, how long should the peplum be versus the length of the bodice? I saw a variety of bodice and peplum lengths from long bodices with short peplums to short bodices with long peplums and many hi/low peplums in between while I was searching. Once again, I would need to let the dimensions of the scraps determine the length of the peplum and the bodice and the scraps would also determine how full the gathered peplum would be.

DSCN3999Still not having a pattern, I pulled out my favorite little girls dress pattern as a guide. Based on the size of the largest scrap, I determined that I could get a size 4 bodice front and back from the scraps as well as have a few pieces left over for the peplum. I quickly picked some yellow cotton from the stash that matched Woodstock for the lining of the bodice.

To make the peplum, I squared the remaining scraps of Snoopy fabric I had and found that I had two pieces approximately 6 inches tall by 12 inches wide and 4 pieces that were 6 inches tall by 6 inches wide. (Actually, one of the 6 by 6 inches pieces was only DSCN39965 inches wide, but I could work with that.) With a lot of seam work, I determined that I could make these scraps work out for the peplum. I would sew the two 12 wide pieces together for the front of the peplum and sew the 6 inches pieces together for the back or the peplum.

I would not be matching any of the designs in the Snoopy fabric. There was certainly not enough scraps for that, but luckily with a gathered peplum, the non-matching designs as well as the many seams that I would be sewing would just be gathered in.

Excitement for this project grew, as I saw my almost useless scraps become a little girls peplum top!

Stay tuned for the sewing of the little girl’s Snoopy peplum top.

Until then, sew forth and scrap on!

It A Trap (ezoid) Skirt!

DSCN2926When I found this trapezoid scalloped edged girl’s skirt pattern on the internet, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the scraps that I had leftover from my minion shirt. The combination of the minion fabric, the banana fabric and the blue fabic had made for a fun shirt and it would definitely make a fun skirt too.

I was excited to get sewing but I knew that I had to start with a little math before I could take the first stitch.

Yes that’s right kids! Your teachers WERE RIGHT about the using math outside of school thing! Imagine that!

Since I was sewing empirically here, and not making this skirt for anyone in particular, so no particular size, I had to calculate how big I could make the trapezoids versus the amount of scraps that I had.

DSCN2554Luckily I’m not afraid of a little math, so after a few calculations, I found that I had enough scraps for a girl’s size 6 to 8 skirt, making the trapezoids 3 inches at the top and 5 inches at the bottom and 15 inches long. And as per my calculations, I would be cutting out 18 trapezoids in total, 6 from each of the three different fabrics and that would use up all the scraps I had.

I first cut myself out a trapezoid pattern piece and then I used it to start cutting. I tried to cut as accurately as possible so that all the pieces fit together nicely and would be even.

DSCN2717Cutting out the pieces took some time, but sewing the trapezoids together took even more time, plus each seam had to be pressed after I sewed them. I sewed each trapezoid from the bottom to the top to keep them as even as possible.

After the trapezoids were all sewn together, I used the skirt as my pattern to cut out the lining for the skirt. The pattern only called for only a small strip of lining to be used at the bottom of the skirt to make the scalloped hem, but I decided to fully line to skirt. This would take care of finishing all the trapezoid seams, and it would keep the girl’s panties from showing through the thinner minion and banana fabric and eliminate the hand stitching the pattern called for at the hem from only using a strip of lining.

DSCN2718Cutting the lining caused me a few moments of anxiety because of the amount of fabric needed to cut the lining. The skirt was made of scraps so really no large or useful sizes of fabric were used, but when the trapezoids were sewn together, they formed a circle skirt, and cutting a full lining on grain for a circle skirt did require a real size piece of fabric.

In fact, cutting this lining pretty much used up all the yellow lining fabric I had purchased on sale a while back. I was sad that this lining fabric was now all gone. It had been a great piece to turn to when I needed a lining for the little girls dress I had made. But, the husband comforted me by reminding me that there was now one less piece of fabric in the stash and that now I could go and buy more lining fabric. And who doesn’t love to go fabric shopping? Not me, that’s for sure!

DSCN2720With the lining all cut out and the its side seams sewn, placing right sides together and matching the hem, I sewed around the hem. At this time I cut out a cardboard circle to use as the pattern for the scalloped hem. I traced the circle onto the skirt, matching the seams of the trapezoids and the stitch line at the hem. After tracing a scallop on each trapezoid, I carefully sewed around each scallop edge. Trimming and snipping around each scallop was the next step followed by turning the skirt right side out. It was now time for a lot of pressing to the skirt hem.

DSCN2727Once the scalloped hem was done and pressed, it was time for the waist band. I had planned to use 3/4 inch elastic in the waist, so with a few more calculations, I cut the waist band from the blue fabric 2.5 inches wide and long enough to go around the top of the skirt. With right sides together, I sewed the waist band to the top of the skirt, serged the edges and pressed it towards the top of the waist band. I then serged the top edge of the waist band and pressed it over about 1/4 inch. I then folded and pressed the waistband over and stitched in the ditch to finish it off. I left a small unsewn portion to insert the elastic. I also added a small tag to the waist band to denote the back of the skirt from the front, although this skirt really does not have a front or back.

DSCN2723After the waist band was sewn up, it looked short, too short to fit 3/4 inches elastic into it. I am not sure where my calculations went wrong but I should have cut the waist band wider. I debated about unpicking the waist band and cutting a new wider waistband, but the thought of unpicking all the serging was unbearable, so I decided to use 1/2 inch elastic instead of the 3/4 inch that I had planned on. The 1/2 inch elastic fit into the waist band just fine and I think because this skirt is for a younger girl, the 1/2 inch elastic will wear fine too.

DSCN2725To determine how much elastic to use in the waistband, I measured the length of my finished skirt of approximately 15.5 inches. Looking at a chart I had downloaded off the internet, I cut my elastic 25 inches in length. 24 inches for the waistband and 1 inch for sewing it together. This length of elastic plus the length of the skirt meant I had made approximately a small size 8 skirt.

This worked for me. I do not think an eight year old girl is too old for a minion skirt. If I’m not too old for a minion shirt then an 8 year old girl is certainly not too old for a minion skirt. Perhaps I am just still young at heart!

DSCN2734I decided to do a decorative top stitch around the scalloped edge of the hem of this skirt. I think the scallops were sewn fine before I did this, but because this is a play skirt, and I am expecting it to be worn while running and jumping, a little extra strength at the hem certainly won’t hurt.

I think that this skirt turned out to be just adorable, and I am excited for a young girl to wear it and enjoy the minion and banana fabric as much as I have enjoyed making it!

This skirt has also given me one more option to use up my scraps with and I will keep it in mind that next time I am debating about what to do with a pile of scraps.

Until next time, sew forth and trapezoid on!

Hello Kitty

DSCN2341I debated about it a long time, but I finally decided to crochet a Hello Kitty for a coworker/friend of mine. She just adores Hello Kitty. I have seen a couple of patterns for Hello Kitty during my internet pattern browsing and they all look very cute. So I picked one that I thought my coworker would like and got started on it.

DSCN2280The pattern that I picked has Hello Kitty in a dress with a scarf and of course the bow on her ear. The red dress and scarf gave the Hello Kitty a Christmas type of vibe, so I thought about changing the color of the dress and omitting the scarf, but the husband liked the red dress and the scarf so I decided to follow the original design and colors of the pattern.

I started with the legs as I like to do when I am crocheting an amigurumi. In this pattern the legs and body are crocheted as one piece. I followed the pattern and the little feet and legs came out so cute, but when I got to the body and finished crocheting the body’s last row, something was not right. 

Where was the rest of the body? I re-read the pattern again. No, I had not miscounted. This short stubby piece on top of the legs was the body. I debated about adding more rows but then decided to crochet the other pieces and see how it all looked before I started modifying the pattern.

DSCN2157The arms and ears were crocheted next and then I got started on the head. Crocheting the head took some time and concentration. It took a lot of counting while crocheting. When I finished the head it looked so funny and misshaped to me. I wondered if I might be in an alternate universe or something where everything that should be right was wrong. 

I was beginning to have second thoughts about completing this project, but I decided to press on instead. After a lot of debating and the husband’s help I got the eyes inserted and then I started to stuff the pieces.

IMG_1787Stuffing the head presented another challenge. It would have been easy to overstuff the head and make it round but Hello Kitty’s head is flat like the rest of her body. So, I had to stuff the head with enough stuffing that it was full and firm but still flat which was very unusual to me. 

When I finally got all the pieces stuffed to where I liked, I laid all of the pieces together on my cutting table. I was not pleased with what I saw. The head was misshaped and it looked funny with the short stubby body and the long legs. At this point, I really wanted to abandon this project and move on to another project, but I had too much invested in both time and yarn in this amigurumi to quit. So I soldiered on.

DSCN2350As I started to stitch the pieces of this Hello Kitty together, she finally started to come to life. Her head did not seem as misshaped once her ears were actually stitched on to her head. And her body was not as stubby once it was stitched to her head and it was even less stubby once I had crocheted her skirt to her body.

At this point, I did deviate from the pattern. I wanted to crochet her bow instead of cutting one from felt. I followed the same pattern I had used previously to make a bow tie but I made it smaller. With some red yarn, I chained four then crocheted 3 in rows till I had the desired length I wanted for the bow. I then folded the ends to the center and stitched them together. Because of the smaller bow, I did not crochet the center piece of the bow but simply wrapped the red stripe with white yarn to make the bow.

DSCN2273For the scarf, I did not count how many chain stitches I started with. With some red yarn, I chained until it looked like the right length around Hello Kitty’s neck and called it good. Next I crocheted once around the long chain, then slipped stitched around the edge with white yarn. I think both the bow and the scarf turned out very cute. As I stitched them to Hello Kitty, she took on a personality and came to life even more.

Stitching on Hello Kitty’s whiskers and glueing on a pink round felt nose were the finally touches to complete this Hello Kitty.

DSCN2352Even though there were multiple times I wanted to tuck this project away with other UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects), I am glad I did not.

It the end, she turned out to be very cute I think!

I gave my coworker her Hello Kitty and she thought it was adorable and that did my heart good. 

It made be think about the UFO’s I still have tucked away. Maybe with a little more work, they could turn out to be as cute as this Hello Kitty did. 

Maybe I had better pull them out of their hiding place and see.

Until then, crochet forth and Hello Kitty on!

Simplicity 2907 – Hong Kong Kitty – Part 3

DSCN0598A Hong Kong seam is made when you finish the edges of a seam by covering them with bias tape. It sounds simple enough to do, but there are always new sewing lessons to be learned every time you try something new and this time was no different.

But first a note to myself, make sure and cut the skirt pieces with a larger seam allowance to accommodate the bias tape. This gives you room to sew the bias tape on and not affect the circumference of the top of the skirt.

DSCN0570Two lessons that I learned about applying bias tape from the construction of this dress were to make sure and watch which side of the bias tape you’re working on and to watch which side of the fabric the bias tape is going to fold to.

DSCN0574Lesson one, remember the advise about making one side of the bias tape longer than the other while ironing the bias tape? And remember being careful to do just that as you ironed? Well, use that to your advantage when you’re sewing the bias tape on. When I started to sew the bias tape to my first seam allowance, I did not think to make sure I was sewing the shorter side of the bias tape first. By making sure that shorter side of the bias tape is sewn down first , that gives you the longer side to fold over. This gives you the little extra fabric on the back side, making it easier DSCN0575to catch the bias tape as you stitch in the ditch on the top side. When you stitch the longer side first and then fold the shorter side over, not only is there not the extra fabric but you are short fabric from folding over the longer side. Once I figured this out and sewed the short side first and then folding over the long side, the sewing on of the bias tape became much easier.

DSCN0577The second lesson of watching which side of the fabric the bias tape is folded to came when I added the the bias tape to the hem. When I sewed the bias tape to the seam allowances, I sewed it to the top of the fabric and then folded it to the back. After stitching in the ditch on the top, I had a nice clean finish on top and it did not matter if my seam was a little wavy on the back side. After binding the seam allowances of the two seams of the skirt, I had plenty of bias tape left over so I decided to use the remaining bias tape to finish off the hem of the skirt too.

DSCN0602But, since I did not remember to think a couple of steps ahead and see what was going to fold where, I sewed the short side of the bias tape to the inside of the hem. This meant I would be folding the longer side of the bias tape to the front of the skirt. Even though I had remembered to sew the short end first, I had not thought about what side the bias tape would be folding to. At this point when I stitched in the ditch on the inside of the skirt, the wavy part of the seam from catching the bias tape would be on the top side of the skirt in plain view. And the nice clean finish would be on the inside where no one could see it.

DSCN0601To fix this I could unpick the bias tape and sew it again, this time to the outside of the skirt and fold the bias tape to the inside. Rolling my eyes at the thought of unpicking all that bias tape, I thought of another plan. I would not finish the bias tape with a stitch in the ditch seam but sew a nice even edge on the top of the folded over bias tape. This way I would have a seam on the bias tape but it would not be wavy like the one I had sewn from the opposite side. The inside part would have the wavy seam instead. This worked out just great! My seam on the bias tape side is nice and smooth and even, but if you look inside you will see a seam that hits and misses the ditch between the bias tape and skirt. This is fine with me. It looks great on the outside and it still looks acceptable from the inside, and I did not have to unpick a single stitch.

DSCN0600Because I had attached the buttons and button holes while completing the bodice of this dress, the last step was to attach the skirt to the bodice. At this point I still had plenty of bias tape left so I decided to use it to finish this last seam attaching the skirt to the bodice too. Because this seam is inside the dress, I did not care which side had the clean finish and which side had the wavy seam, and using the bias tape did give the seam a nice beautiful finish. Note to myself – keep bias tape and Hong Kong seams in mind for finishing seams where a serged seam would be exposed.

DSCN0605This dress turned out so adorable once it was completed. I love the true camp collar and how much easier it was to sew than the collar the original pattern called for. With the changes that I made to this pattern, I will definitely be using this pattern again for future projects. I also love the Hong Kong seam of the skirt as well as the bias tape hem. I learned many sewing lessons from the construction of this dress, especially regarding the making of and the applying of bias tape. I hope some little girl will enjoy wearing it.

Until next time, sew forth and sew on.