Not about Money. Other Reasons to Sell at a Craft Fair

Other Reasons to Sell at a Craft Market! Connections and Creative Fire __a happy stitch

{peg fairies by Sophi Karkeek}

Ack! It has been over a month since I wrote here! I always find it a little embarrassing when I neglect the blog. I do this funny thing where I talk in my head to you guys but don’t match it all up with pretty pictures and non-imaginary words and then lose track of just how long it has been. Silly brain parts.  I just finished up a holiday art fair and had a great time mixed with the usual bit of stress and mental wrestling.  I thought a lot about the financial benefits of a craft fair versus the other reasons I think you should sell at a craft fair and I thought I’d write it all out in case anyone else is pondering these same questions.

The past month has been so busy.  I know everyone can relate to that.  This time of year is intense, man.  For makers it’s even more intense because it’s often the most lucrative time of the year.  Imagine adding to the steep increase in holiday parties, family obligations, school events and gift shopping by having to create ten times as much as normal then promote and attend a craft fair.  It’s kind of insane. I’ve been having heart  palpitations for the last month and I only do one holiday sale! I’m sure other artisans have it much worse.

In the midst of my crazy, stressed-out, not-stopping-to-shower efforts I asked myself, “Is this really worth it?” (more…)

Wrap Up :: Thoughts on a Handmade Summer Wardrobe

Thoughts on a Handmade Summer Wardrobe || a happy stitch

I have a tendency to move quickly from one thing to the next but I really wanted to be sure and do a wrap up on my handmade summer wardrobe even though it is late October.  Originally, I wanted to jot down reflections so I could have a record of the progress I made toward my goal.  But, as I started writing I realized that I am also sorting through some conflicted feelings. I started the handmade summer wardrobe idea with a deliberate plan that involved assessing my fabric stash and finding the gaps in my summer wardrobe so I could make wearable items from what I have. I set out to make three dresses, three tops, two tunics, one romper, two pairs of shorts and a cardigan.  I ended up making two rompers, three pairs of shorts, three tops, one tunic, one skirt and a cardigan. Overall, I’m thrilled I could tick off accomplishments and am proud of some strong additions to my handmade wardrobe. Most are things I will wear (the tunic and ikat top being the possible exceptions).  It’s so neat and tidy as a little plan, isn’t it?

But, sometimes we create boxes to organize things and then we resent that we are sat in a box, you know?  I guess it is the push and pull of creative limits? As it turns out, I hated my self-created limitations and often found I was reluctantly dragging myself back to stick to the plan. (more…)

City Shorts in Double Gauze

Comfy City Shorts in Double Gauze || a happy stitch

Mmmm, double gauze is like the ice cream of fabrics. It’s a double layer of soft, light, sweet goodness and I have made myself a pair of City Shorts so my skin can celebrate this fabric as much as possible.  Truthfully, these shorts are really for lounging but that is all the more reason to focus on comfort, cuteness and scrumptious fabric. (more…)

Handmade Wardrobe Basics :: Thurlow Shorts

Handmade Summer Wardrobe Basics! Thurlow Shorts in Chambray -a-happy-stitch

A good pair of shorts is at the heart of any basic summer wardrobe and I was determined to make them.  I didn’t have a solid plan when I added them to my handmade summer wardrobe plan but I knew they had to be there if I was serious about making what I will actually wear. So here it is, summer is OVER and I am thrilled to show off two pairs of thurlow shorts…one in speckled chambray and one in olive twill.  Neither pair are traffic-stopping exciting to look at but I’m positively thrilled!  It was a sewing accomplishment to be sure with a good fit, functioning zipper, fitted waistband as well as welt pockets. If only sewing skillZ COULD stop traffic, right?!

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Ikat Tank Top

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Remember the accidental skirt? The one that was the bottom half of a hacked Sanibel dress? Well, what remained of the top half was calling to me and frankly, would not shut up.  My close and tearful assessment of the top was that it had three main complications, a) it was voluminous at the hem, b) I had made a lining that was a bit smaller than the outer portion so it didn’t lay straight, and c) it was too short.  You know, I’ll just come out and say it: the top is CROPPED and VOLUMINOUS.  I mean, what the what? Who am I? Is this Hot Topic?

I wanted to give up on this top and I put it on the dress form in the studio because I didn’t know what else to do.  It looked really pretty up there and kept inviting me to try get back together. I blame it on the neckline. I reached out to Instagram, as you do, and got lots of fantastic ideas (sewists are really the best people). Lots of people suggested adding a band to the bottom, Jess (coralbunnyandlo) even suggested adding a wide lace band for a boho look, which I thought was brilliant. And I tried. I really tried to make something like that work.  But, you know what? It wasn’t working.  I had the darn ‘too small lining’ thing going on and it kept making puckers. (more…)

Coral and Navy Datura Blouse

The Lovely Datura Blouse in Coral voile and Navy : An elegant sew! - a-happy-stitch_

Among the t-shirts and jeans and shorts and other standards in a closet is another, more exciting wardrobe basic…the dressy but not too dressy top.  It’s the top that does all the work for you; not requiring any extra effort from other items of clothing.  Know what I mean? You can throw it over jeans for effortless styling while running errands or put it on for a low-key date night or kid’s performance at school. It’s the “I have an everyday thing I’m going to that’s a little bit more than a mundane thing but not an exciting, over the top thing”.  It’s always been a bit of a closet unicorn for me. Easy to imagine but hard to find.

It seems, however, that my moment has come.  I have found my unicorn in this navy and coral Datura Top. This top is going to work-it-work-it for me.

The Lovely Datura Blouse in Coral voile and Navy : An elegant sew! - a-happy-stitch_

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Starry Pink Dress + a Skill Swap

starry-pink-dress-a-happy-stitch

It’s quite possible that hidden inside of most sewists is a desire to make dresses for little girls. I’m don’t even think it stems from a longing to put clothing on a small being.  It’s really about two factors with irresistible appeal, 1) little girl dresses look great in fun fabrics and 2) they don’t involve complicated fitting issues.  Basically, kid bodies are popsicle sticks and little girls look adorable in every print known to the universe.  Whether or not one gets to follow through on this perfect sewing storm depends on circumstance and for me the circumstances rarely arrive.  It’s the downside of having two wild boys.

I could feel the pull to make a girly dress getting stronger, though, when I received the Sundressing book and it was full of so much cuteness for little girls. So many cute dresses!  I hatched a little plan to make one for a friend’s daughter but didn’t realize it was going to turn into an all-around magical adventure.  My friend Sabrina is a super talented photographer and we decided on a swap…she would spend a few hours giving me a one-on-one photography lesson and I would make her daughter a dress.  What a win. I really want to improve my photography so I was thrilled she agreed.  All of these gorgeous photos are hers, by the way, I’ve not mastered it yet!  But, I’m really hoping that as I work with her, you will start to notice the difference.  By the way, don’t miss exploring her website, it’s stunning and heartwarming. (more…)

What The Hack? An Accidental Skirt

Ikat Woven Skirt with Pockets | a happy stitch

Hello friends. I’m not exactly sure how it happened but it has been nearly a month since an update.  It was completely unintentional but it turned out to be a ridiculously busy time; I had a birthday (41!) and my sister got married.  In fact, I was the officiant at my sister’s wedding. It was a beautiful honor to marry my sister to her incredible husband but I was really nervous.  I did manage to get through the whole ceremony without too many tears. Score!  Nobody wants a blubbering officiant.  I wish my recent sewing had been as successful as my words, but no luck. Instead, I present to you this accidental skirt. (more…)

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