The Bag Challenge

I thought I’d share what happens when one of my ladies sends me a make they’d like to try.  In this situation my role is to work out what we need and where the tricky bits or shortcuts are.

And this one, was a doozy from “Sew Brilliant Bags” by Debbie Shore

Pretty isn’t it, and with some interesting materials I’d never used before, fusible foam anyone?  I used the picture to work out what it would cost for all the ‘extras’.  This is important because I have to have a budget for the workshop and anything above that the ladies have to buy themselves.  I would do this job for free but unfortunately I have 2 kids and a mortgage 😕

Once we agreed it was feasible I was *forced* to enjoy a good cup of tea and a lovely chat in a nice Tea Room so Beryl could lend me the book.  Yeah life is hard sometimes.

As soon as I started working on the bag I knew we were in trouble!  The workshops are generally 2 hours and this is where I was after that much sewing time!

Um, OK where can I save time.  I can cut a pattern, I can precut the foam and the base board.  Not much really in the scheme of things.  It is of course always quicker the second time having run through it once but I take my timing for guided makes from my first time.

I warned the ladies, but we’re always up for a challenge so we went for it.  Unfortunately we had to call time after 4 hours (pesky kids and their swimming lessons).   This is the stage we got to…

It’s hard to see but the handles and pockets are on, the zips in, but it needs a base.  The ladies were confident they could finish at home so we packed up and they left with instructions to keep me posted!

It’s lovely to work with people who are enthusiastic and like to challenge themselves.  And it is so worth it, this is Beryl’s bag followed by mine.  Showing yet again the impact a fabric choice can have on the end result.  Till next time ladies 👊

Business Plans, Bags and College.

Well variety certainly is the spice of life at the moment.  But I think that’s the joy of running your own business and not something I’m ever going to complain about 🙂

I spent most of my birthday talking to people about my future and where I see myself going.  From the nice lady at the job centre (my work coach), to my sister (my life coach), to the fabulous lady at Penna Outplacement (my business coach).  I feel like I’m bubbling with ideas and enthusiasm but it needs moulding into something more solid.  And that’s why it’s good to talk!

From Monday I’m attending Oldham College Sewing Academy (OCSA) where I’m hoping to hone my skills and learn the “professional” tricks.  I will also gain a certificate in Textiles and Fashion, which for someone almost completely self taught is something I’d really like.  A course courtesy of OCSA and the DWP, ta guys much appreciated.

And then in August I’m planning to attend a Self Employment Awareness seminar which I’m quite excited about because I’ll be able to mix with other people looking to start businesses too.   But also because I get to pick the brains of some successful and knowledgeable people.  I’m also going to be meeting the lady Penna have introduced me to who is going to help me with marketing, not my strong suit 🙁

And then on to September when I’m going to be on a Training and Education course.  I have been designing and delivering training for years but my workshops will be different as the focus will be much more about having fun.  As much as I loved this aspect of my previous job I have not met a single person on a SAP course who was there expecting to have fun (although I tried).

But in all the exciting things there’s the spectre of chaos, of time wasted, of failure.  Which is why, although it’s taking some time that I’d rather spend designing or sewing, I am working on a business plan.  I won’t lie working through HMRC expense claim regulations and doing product costing is NOT fun.  But at least I can see it could be successful, all it takes is hard work, a little luck and the continued support of my nearest and dearest.  Let’s do this!

Oh were you wondering about the bags?  I snuck in some sewing because how else can you cost if you don’t do a prototype?  So here are a couple from the “girly” range, they’re reversible shoppers for those who like a change every now and then.  And if you look really carefully (or scroll to the last picture) you can see my brilliant new labels from easy2name.