Tag Archive | Purchase

In The Right Place, At The Right Time!

img_1127I am rarely in the right place at the right time. I am usually a day or two or an hour or two off the mark, but not this time. This time I was at the right place at the right time for an awesome sale at Joann’s Fabric. Despite my continued vows of purchasing no more fabric, I decided to shop this sale and I am still super excited about the deals and savings that I got, so let me tell you the story.

It was my day off and I was running some errands, when my phone chimed that I had a text.
The text was from Joann’s Fabric telling me they had a special offer just for me. Usually, I ignore these texts, but I was waiting in a line, so I decided to actually read the text.

The sale was for $20 off a $50 purchase of any regular or sale priced purchases from 4:00pm until closing that day only.

img_1136Wait a minute, that was an awesome deal!

$20 off of a $50 purchase is very close to 50% which is half price. I quickly pulled up the Joann’s app on my phone and searched the current ad. And there it was, 50% off licensed prints.

YES! 50% off the regular price plus an extra $20 off at the register? Lets go shopping! I would have no problem spending $50.00. And what made this sale even more sweet was that I was already in town and it was close to 4:00pm so it would be no trouble to swing by and pick up some beautiful new fabric to add to the stash!

img_1150I made the husband come to Joann’s with me. I also made him download the Joann’s app and coupons on to his phone. I figured that he needed to take advantage of this awesome sale as well, didn’t he? We headed down the licensed print aisle and quickly filled the cart with bolts of fun Peanuts and Star Wars prints. We then headed to the cutting table where I made a pile of bolts for the husband and a pile of bolts for me that would add up to just over $50.00 each.

Since I had instructed the husband on what and how much to have cut, I wandered off to the fleece while the husband was getting his img_1159pile of fabric cut. I found some licensed no-sew fleece blanket kits on sale for $9.99. There were several Peanuts and Star Wars blankets in the piles but I had already selected the fabric for my $50.00 purchase, so I would not be purchasing any no-sew fleece blanket kits this time.

After the cutting of our fabric purchases was done, we checked out and headed for the car. As I was reliving the savings I had just gotten again to the husband I was bemoaning the fact that I had not got any of the blanket kits. That was when the husband surprised me by saying “Well, go back then.” What?!? Go back and buy some more? What about the coupon? I only had one coupon! I looked on my phone and the coupon said it was still valid so I turned around and went back in the store.

img_1120I picked up 5 blankets and one package of dollar stickers to add up to $50.00 and headed for the register. I held my breath as the sales associate scanned the coupon on my phone. The register took the coupon and sold me my 5 blankets for $30.00 making them $6.00 a piece. What a savings! I was beyond excited! I hurriedly headed to the back to get 5 more blankets for the husband to purchase, but the husband stopped me.

Ok, ok, he was right. I had just purchased a ton of fun fabrics and now 5 blankets, and that was enough for today.

img_1141Ever since this experience, I have more carefully read the texts I receive from Joann’s, but none have been for the fabulous savings I received from that particular text that I got at the right place at the right time.

But now instead of reading more texts and planning my next fabric shopping adventure, I need to get busy sewing all of the fun fabric I purchased from this sale. So, stay tuned to see what fun things I make from all of it!

Until then, sew forth and sale on!

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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.

img_6542

 

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!

Bad Habits – Cutting Corners And Skipping Steps

'Gee, I don't know. Can I see this in another mirror?'

I did something that I have not done in at least 15 years. I went to the store, picked out 6 pairs of denim pants in my size, took them to the fitting room, tried each pair on, selected the pair that had the most acceptable fit of the six, then purchased that pair of pants. This experience got me thinking about several things.

First, why was I buying Ready To Wear (RTW) pants?

As you can tell from the recent slow down in the frequency of my blog posts, life happens, and the only sewing that I have been able to do recently is a little mending here and there. Thankfully I knew quite awhile ago just when these life changes were coming.

life-change-aheadBecause of that I took the precious little sewing time that I still had left to make myself a couple of new pairs of work pants, but I did not get a pair of casual denim pants made before my time ran out. At the time, this was fine. It was still summer, and I was wearing shorts on my days off, but it’s starting to get colder now, and I need long pants to wear most days. Because of this I had to make a decision, either quickly whip up a pair of denim pants cutting as many corners as possible to save time, or to head to the store to  purchase a pair of denim pants. I choose the later.

My  first thought when I decided to purchase a pair of pants instead of making them was the famous minion refrain ”WWHHAATTT?!?” “You’re a seamstress! You have the tools, the fabric, and the notions! Get your butt in there and sew yourself a new pair of pants!”

'I knew there was part of the pattern missing!'

But, with the very little time that I had available to make the pants, I would have had to cut every corner possible to get them done in time. I would not have washed and pre-shrunk the fabric. I would not have finished the seams properly or completely, and I wouldn’t hem the pants to the proper length either. I would have just rolled the hem under and hope that it stayed with a quick ironing or a big safety pin.

This lead my next thought to be, “Is this really the way you want to sew something? Do you want to do a poor sewing job just to get the item done in the time you have available?” The answer was easy for me. No! I did not want to wear a pair of pants that were sewn that way!

deadlines-1p2cpw7There was a time long ago when I first started sewing that I sewed only for the end result, regardless of how poor of a job that I did. When I first started sewing, my mom, who is a advanced and skilled seamstress, trying to encourage me, would say, “Oh, it should only take 30 minutes for you to make that t-shirt”, or “You’ll have that dress whipped up in an hour.” She was trying to let me know that sewing was fun, quick and easy and, in no time at all that I would have a finished wearable item.

But, I misinterpreted my mom words at the time! I made sewing a timed event. When it took me 2 days instead of 2 hours to sew something, I figured I was a failure and that I was doing something wrong, so to compensate I would try to sew the item too quickly, cut corners, and skip steps to complete the project in the allotted time.

02d0fcf10d4a027a72e27973cf29abc7My goal was only to get the item finished in the proper amount of time. When I finally figured out that every sewing project did not have a deadline, and that I could take the time that I needed to complete a project properly, I enjoyed sewing a lot more. Sewing became fun and I began to enjoy the process, plus my finished items were of a much higher quality and they wore a lot better.

Another reason that I was willing to cut corners and skip steps to get the finished item completed quickly, was that when I was first starting to sew I grew tired and bored of a project. I just wanted it to be done and over with so that I could start on another project. I would often say “I should really unpick this and sew this again, but I’m not going to. I will just do better on the next project.” I quickly learned that when I did this, I was not pleased with the finished item, and I was not enjoying the sewing process at all because I knew I could have sewn it better.

SLIGHTLY Irregular Designer Jeans.

So, when it came to going back to poor sewing habits just to complete a pair of pants, I decided that I would rather use the little time I had to carefully sew a few seams on a current project, or thoughtfully plan a future project, or, if I just needed to sew,  I would just make a baby sleeper or two. For a needed pair of pants though, I would just see what the Ready To Wear world had available for me instead. I would leave the poor sewing in my past.

Hopefully, life will change again soon, and I will have more sewing time available to me in the future!

Until then, sew forth and enjoy the process on!

Behavioral Economics

make0016IMG_3913I stopped buying fabric remnants at Walmart a while back now because the remnants at Walmart are only discounted 20% off. When the price of fabric at Walmart used to sell for less, it seemed like the remnants with the 20% off discount was costing very little money at all. So, even if it was a little less or a little more than I needed or not quite enough for what I had in mind for that specific project, it was easy to purchase them anyway.

But, when the price of fabric went up at Walmart, the extra 20% off the remnants price just didn’t seem like it was that much of a discount. To me the remnants cost still seemed to be expensive in my mind. It made you stop, think twice and look carefully instead of just tossing the remnants in your shopping cart without much thought about the cost.

IMG_3908IMG_3909Now it does matter to me if the remnant is too little, too big, or doesn’t quite match what I had in mind. The illusion of saving more or getting a deal on the remnant pieces just isn’t there anymore, so why not get exactly what you want and need cut directly from the bolt?

Recently while doing some shopping at Walmart for items other than fabric, I ended up purchasing almost every remnant my Walmart had. Why, you might ask? Let me tell you why…

My local Walmart was prepping for it’s inventory, and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time for once. All of the remnants in the bin had been marked down to clear them out before their inventory. Most of the remnants had been marked down to a half of the 20% off price. That was about a 70% savings off the regular cost. Some of the remnants were not IMG_3910IMG_3911marked down quite by half and a few were marked down more than a half. Regardless of whether it was more or less, the remnants were a great price and I did not hesitate toss almost all of them from the bin into my cart. I think the only thing I left in the remnant bin were a couple of pieces that I definitely knew I would have no use for, like a small piece of vinyl and some cheap fleece.

I hauled my treasures home and I have had a great time sorting and matching the pieces with other fabrics in my fabric stash and creating a sewing project for each piece that I purchased. I am so excited about the remnants that I purchased that I’m not even planning on storing these remnants in the stash. Instead, I want to get them sewn up right away.

So, I guess that is my cue! I had better get busy sewing! Winter is coming…

Until then, Sew Forth and Remnant On!IMG_3917

Look WHOO’s Here For Thanksgiving!

IMG_2840
As I made my list this year of the many things that I am thankful for, I decided to include my fabric stash in the list.

YES! I am VERY thankful for my fabric stash!

Like a fine wine, it is a place for my fabric to age and rest until it is time to be sewn into something wonderful. It seems that the fabric I buy HAS to spend a certain amount of time in the stash to age and breath before I can use it.

That was not true for this fabric though…

Joann’s had a doorbuster sale on holiday fabric. At 60% off, how could I not buy some? Sitting on the doorbuster deal shelf was this cute Thanksgiving owl printed fabric. When I saw it, I knew I wanted a shirt made from it. So, I bought enough fabric to make me a typical shirt with it. Off I went straight home with it to the sewing room, bypassing the stash completely.

DSCN3819I pushed all of my other sewing projects aside and got started on my new Thanksgiving shirt straight away!

This was a very odd feeling for me…

Here I was ready to prep and cut this fabric within hours of purchasing it, and it had not yet spent its allotted time in the stash to properly breath and age. I blame the recently made Snoopy shirt for this reckless use of fabric on my part. After cutting and sewing such a precious fabric as the snoopy fabric, why not try using another recently purchased fabric?

I started the construction process by pre-washing the fabric and I am so happy that I did not skip this step.

This fabric shrank. A LOT!

DSCN3820I could still get my shirt from it but there would be little to no scraps remaining when I was done. After washing and ironing the fabric, I pulled out my collarless button front basic sloper pattern and the cutting process started.

Knowing that I had just enough fabric to make this shirt, I tried to cut carefully, but I did not cut carefully enough. I cut two right facings, and I did not have enough fabric left to cut a left facing. Since the facing on this shirt will not be seen, I thought about making the facings from a different fabric, but as I fiddled with the scraps of this fabric that was left, I determined I could cut the left facing from the scraps if I put a seam across the middle of the facing. Once again, since the facings will not be seen, I decided to try the seamed facings first. If it looked bad or was bulky or messed with the buttons or buttonholes, I could always cut out some new facings from a different fabric.

DSCN3821So with that, I began the process of sewing it into a finished garment.

The sewing of this shirt went smoothly. I have made this basic sloper many times without problems. When the shirt was completed, you would not have known that I had to piece the left facing together. The seam did not add any bulk to the front of shirt and it is in between the third and fourth button so no one will know it is there but me.

IMG_2870The shirt wore great as I gobbled down turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie in it on Thanksgiving Day.

The shirt is very comfortable and I have received a few compliments on it.

So with that I will add one more thing I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I am thankful to have a fun Thanksgiving shirt for one of my favorite holidays. I am also thankful that I did not make this fabric spend a year or two in the stash before sewing it up into this shirt.

I have wore it all month long now and with November nearly over, I can’t wait for next year just so I can wear it again!

Until then, sew forth and gobble till ya wobble on!

McCall’s M6274 – Puffing Up Again – Part 2

DSCN0884With the pieces of the top cut out, it was time for the sewing to begin. I did not follow the pattern guide as closely this time as I did the last time. After sewing the shoulder seams, I made the gathers for the puffy sleeves. Next, I sewed the gathered sleeves in flat instead of setting the sleeves in as the pattern called for. I guess I was not as careful this time about matching the stripes as I cut out the pattern, since these stripes do not match as well as the purple stripes did. Perhaps it had nothing to do with my cutting or matching skills, but more the fact that these strips are larger than the previous purple ones and that’s why I did not get as good a match. I am not completely sure why the stripes did not match as well this time. I will have to look into this further. I need to sew more stripes to perfect my matching techniques.

DSCN0663The facings at the neck were not a problem to sew. Holding the top up after sewing on the facings, I could tell right away that the alterations to the neckline and shoulder seams were good. The top was already looking so cute, and it was going to fit so much better than the last top I had made from this pattern. The next step was the hemming.

DSCN0888I used my double needle to hem the bottom of the shirt for some added detail. I added a row of double needle stitching to the neckline as well to hold the facing down in place. The last hems were the sleeves. As I hemmed the sleeves, I decided I would like a cuff on them. Now was not the best time to change the design of the sleeves though. The time for that was back at the altering and cutting steps. If I wanted a cuff on the sleeves, I should have cut the sleeves longer so there was fabric left over to make a cuff with. But since I had not cut the sleeves longer I twisted and folded the fabric until I had made a cuff. I not going to say how I twisted and folded the fabric to get the cuffs to work since it is not my best sewing job, and I don’t plan to use this method of cuff making again. After making these cuffs, I used the double needle to hem them up.

DSCN0889The last step to complete this top was to sew the buttonholes and buttons. Like last time, I decided not to sew a full buttonhole but to just sew the button permanently to the epaulets and the sleeves as a non-functional decoration.

With this top now all done, I once again miss having the little neighbor girl around. Without her to wear my alterations, I don’t know if the altered shoulder seams and neckline are a good fit. But by looking at the top, I know the alterations are better than the last one I made, just as I knew that the previous shoulder seams and neckline would be a problem. And with that, I have officially decided that with my new alterations, I like this pattern and I will be making it again.

Until then, sew forth and puff on!

McCall’s M6274 – Puffing Up Again – Part 1

Puff PatternPatterns were on sale again at Joann’s and as I studied the McCall’s web site and wrote out my shopping list, my thoughts turned to a previous McCall’s pattern M6274 that I had purchased during the last sale. It is a girl’s top with puffy sleeves. As you may remember, I have made a top from this pattern and the puffy sleeves turned out great. They were just adorable!

P1030750What wasn’t adorable though, was the neck line. I did see the little neighbor girl wearing this top and as I feared, the neck hung over her shoulders. She had to keep pulling it up. I then knew that if I ever made that pattern again, I would be altering the shoulder seams and the neckline to fix the problem. So, why not just make that pattern again and fix the problems with it since I had found out the results from the wear test? I own the pattern already and it’s just sitting in the closest, and I do love the puffy sleeves of the pattern. So, rather than purchasing more patterns to just live in the closet, I decided to use one that I already had and make the alterations it needed to make a wonderful girl’s top with puffy sleeves.

DSCN0873I started with the alterations to the pattern. I pulled out my child’s sloper pattern from Kwik Sew’s Sewing for Children and I laid M6274’s front and back pattern pieces on the front and back pattern pieces of the Kwik Sew’s basic t-shirt pattern. Taping extra pieces of plastic to the top of the M6274’s pattern pieces, I traced out new shoulder seams and a neckline based on the Kwik Sew’s pattern. This neckline would be finished with a facing, but I did not cut out separate pattern pieces for the facings. Instead I just used the newly altered front and back pattern pieces to cut out the facings. With the pattern alterations made, it was time to cut it out.

DSCN0876Since a striped fabric worked well the last time I made this pattern, I picked another piece of striped fabric from the stash for this top. When I cut out the sleeves, I debated about cutting them longer but in the end, I followed the length of the pattern. I did cut the epaulets slightly longer. Why you ask? I don’t really know why I thought they needed to be longer. If the sleeves were not any longer, why did the epaulets needed to be longer? In the end, I had to cut the epaulets back down to the original pattern size. I worry about my thought process sometimes. At least I was thinking ahead, or at least trying to think ahead so I didn’t run into problems further into the project.

Next up, the sewing process.

Until then, sew forth and puff on!