Repurposing: A Cosplay Journey

IMG_4023Hello, all! Been a long time, hasn’t it?

Like a lot of people who sew, I have a lovely collection of garments that just don’t work. Sometimes, as in the case of one full-length, forest green peasant dress that I unearthed a few weeks ago, they are the result of a baby seamstress first figuring out technique and design, and not thinking about – let’s say, long-term wearability.

This dress was made for a 4-H sewing competition as part of a cosplay Time Lord outfit. Before cosplay was cool.

It struck me that peasant-style tunic-dresses are in, so I made a plan to repurpose the long, mostly useless dress into something fun and functional for (mostly) everyday wearing.

 

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Here’s the sketch I drew to convey the idea I had for the alterations to my sisters: Trendy off-shoulder with shoulder straps, high waist, straight skirt, and a buckle to allow a cosplay option.
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First, I cut out about 15 inches between the waist and the skirt length that I wanted. This turned out to allow too much for the bodice, so I shortened that by a couple more inches.
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I cut the sleeves into a cap-sleeve length, and used the fabric from one to bias-cut the shoulder straps and buckle loop.
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A tuck here, a seam there, a generous application of elastic, and voila! The dress turned out very cute and wearable, just above knee-length and perfect for summertime. The buckle, by the way, came off of some old pair of sandals: Never throw away anything! (kidding)
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With the skirt buckled up, it takes on an elven, cosplay look. And looks amazingly like my original sketch! (love it when that happens)

Perhaps I will edit this post to include a photo of me modelling this – with the waist cincher!

I love repurposing one garment into something totally different! A red plaid Highlander skirt has become one of my favorite dresses; and my pretty, princess-y Easter dress this year used to be a hideous ’90’s affair of pleats and sailor collars. But I forgot to document the process!

I hope you are inspired to try some repurposing this week ūüėÄ

-Abigail

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

 

OK, this blog post will not be about pumpkin spice anything, sadly. But it is all about Autumn, and there’s nothing more autumnal than pumpkins, pretty golden colors, cooler, crisp air and apple cider.

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I never can tell if Autumn is my favorite season of the year, but it certainly is one of the prettiest. It seems like there’s always something new and amazing to see.

This Autumn and Winter, I look forward to trying new soups and combinations of nuts and dried fruit.¬†Also, hopefully we’ll get to check out some pretty places around here, to see¬†the¬†beautiful colors.

It occurred to me that the three of us, Abigail, Hannah and I have a nice selection of¬†Autumnal things on our shop, and I thought it would be fun to put them together to see¬†how they’d look.¬†When you think¬†of this time of year,¬†one of the first things that come to mind is the colors the leaves change to. And we have¬†a beautiful selection of golden, brown and red.

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If I’m not mistaken, this is Hannah’s latest beautiful hat to arrive on her shop –

her Wool Slouchy Hat, which looks so Autumnal it’s amazing!

This is the sort of hat I like to imagine wearing out in a cool, Fall wood, maybe on a lonely path with no sound but the falling leaves. This sort of hat makes me think: adventure! which is essential at this time of year.

Hannah mentioned she was annoyed she didn’t have more Autumnal things on her shop, but she has several wonderful paintings that seem very Autumnal, including pumpkins and sunflowers.

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Continuing with the idea of the outfit – although I’m not sure it would match – is my Plaid Three Tiered Skirt.

This skirt also seems adventurous to me, though not in the same way. The hat has nice dark tones, while the skirt is an unexpectedly light orange and beige. I also included piping in the side seams, which gives it a slightly more constructed look.

I think this skirt would be great for a day out and about, preferably out and about to see lots of leaves changing colors, squirrels, corn mazes and maybe a trip to Starbucks at the end for Рwhat else Рa Pumpkin Spice Latte.

But an Autumnal outfit isn’t complete without………………

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Pumpkins!

Here’s Abigail’s latest introduction to her shop, her Halloween Ephemeral Earrings!

These earrings are absolutely wonderful! Again, I’m not sure it will technically work with the skirt and hat, but you have to admit, the colors look really nice and Autumnal together.

OK, I was hoping to show you all of our items, but that would get too long. So, I’ll just have to include one more photo of¬†Autumn in New Mexico

shades-of-autumnAnd I will include a nice slideshow of some more of our Autumnal items.

You have to keep in mind, however, that this is only a summary of our Autumnal collection.

I think I’m finished, although¬†I will hopefully do something for Thanksgiving. However, both Abigail and Hannah have lots more to see, and lots more coming, so keep an eye on our shops to see what we have this Autumn. In the meantime, here’s a slideshow!

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Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of Autumn. We’ll probably have to do a few blog posts to show the Bosque in Autumn or maybe the Sandia mountains in full golden glory.

So…. Pumpkin spice. It seems to be everywhere. Tomorrow we will have Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats, which I am looking forward to. What’s your favorite Pumpkin Spice thing? Please share

Sarah

Heading into Winter

Running a shop, even if it is online, is good for me. It makes me plan for the future a little more.

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I decided to make a few items that are…. well, gift-able. The kind of thing it’s easy to get someone, because you know they’ll probably like it, but at the same time it’s not a huge phenomenon. Probably cheap. A little seasonal. Cute and different.

However, I have to admit, I actually had the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in mind when I made my latest listings.

We went to the Balloon Fiesta a few years ago, and I remember distinctly that it was much colder than I expected. Early October doesn’t tend to be that cold in New Mexico. However, when you’re getting up before the sun is anywhere near rising, it’s quite chilly, and some nice hot chocolate is in order.

img_1675That’s exactly what I had in mind when I made a couple Winter Headbands – one pink plaid, pictured on the left, the other black.

Sometimes you want something that will warm you, but you don’t want to go all the way and wear a hat. I thought these would work perfectly. They’re flannel, so very nice and cozy.

I had an interesting time designing these. The pink one was supposed to have elastic in the back, but what with one thing and another – I chickened out. Hopefully next time. I thought adding a flower would complete it nicely. I think it has a nice rustic, lumberjack (except for girls) style.

img_1695The second Winter Headband I made was interesting to take pictures of. It’s very, very black!

This isn’t actually the first¬†time I’ve taken pictures of it. A lady on Etsy asked me to make a couple Seatbelt Covers¬†out of black flannel. I had enough left over of this wonderfully soft fabric to make something else. So, I managed to get a headband out of it.

It’s such a dramatic, simple color, I thought I should go for a very classy look, with white buttons sewn on one side. It should look really nice in a snowy setting!

img_1696This turned out to be¬†a strangely difficult project to finish. It was just one of those times you’re tired of working on something, no matter how interesting or simple it is (as these headbands ought to be)

However, I am super pleased with how these turned out. They have a lot of promise, and there are so many options, so hopefully I’ll be making more to put on my shop.

I also think these would work really well for the Balloon Fiesta! It’s really crazy there, so it’s kind of nice to have something that will fit snugly, but doesn’t get in the way.

Here is a link to my Pink Plaid Winter Headband on my Etsy shop…

And a link to my Black Winter Headband.

As for what you can expect on my Etsy shop in the next couple months… well, I’m still thinking about that, unfortunately.

I think I’m going to go on working on some gift-able things, including more headbands and fuzzy things.

As for actual Christmas items, I’m definitely still thinking about that. However, I would love to hear what you think I could do for Christmas! I invite you to leave your ideas in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you!

Sarah

 

Burlap and Autumn

I just realized I haven’t done a blog post about my latest listing! So, here I am to show you the first of my¬†Autumn¬†items.

IMG_1509¬†¬†I was just about to get some different Autumn fabric, which I wasn’t really sure about. Then I caught site of some interesting burlap, with Autumnal happiness written all over it:

Autumn, Harvest, Fall Time, Give Thanks” as well as leaves and sunflowers.

I decided there was no better time to explore the craze of burlap than fall-time.

I was pretty sure of what I wanted to make out of the burlap Рeither pillows, unusual wreaths, table runners, bags or even banners. I decided to go with pillows. I almost went with square accenting pillows, since the pattern is definitely square. Then I decided it would be fun and different to do round pillows.

IMG_1514So, I found some nice contrasting brown fabric and cut out three Autumnal pillows.

I have to admit,¬† I really like the way they turned out. They’re kind of elegant. (and, unfortunately, the photos don’t do them justice! I¬†just couldn’t quite get the angle right)

So, I pulled out a¬†little of our¬†fall d√©cor – scarecrows and some ribbon –¬†and¬†took some photos.¬†The pillows really seemed to pull it¬†together. It added a bit of proper, furniture-ish decoration, which apparently we lack.

This is only my first Autumnal item for my shop. I thought I’d have tons of golden leaves and fat pumpkins running around in various forms, but I’m not sure that will happen. However, coming up for my shop: a skirt, a possible front door banner thingy and an Autumnal looking bag!

For the time being, here is my Burlap Autumn Pillow!  I invite you to take a look.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sarah

Friday Featured Thread: Social Media

I didn’t really expect to feature too many threads from the Etsy forums, but in this case I thought this thread ought to be featured. Although, right off, I should say you should just check out the thread for yourself.

The very nice Etsy people occasionally do Q&As on the forums, and this time it was all about using social media and all that confusing stuff. This time around I realized I could ask my own question, so I did, and got a wonderful answer. So, I’ll feature the answer Jessica, from Etsy, gave me, among a few others.

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Basically, I asked what would be the best way to attract attention on social media, and how to get people to look at your products.

I loved the answer she gave, and it has truly inspired me:

“…I would suggest thinking of your social media presence as an extension of how you view your brand. Social media is a great way to tell a broader story about your creative process: what inspires you? What makes your products unique? If you think of your social posts as telling a story about your work, you may find it easier to come up with posts (rather than just using social media to ‘sell’ your product)…”

The next question, and answer, I found very helpful was from Michelle, owner of the Etsy shop Trendy Hedgehog. She uses Instagram, but they have apparently made recent changes that make it harder for people to promote their business. I was interested in this question because Hannah uses Instagram, and I’ll be trying it soon too (really, I have set up an account!)

The answer Jessica gave was: “…Look at the posts you’ve done to see which ones have generated the most engagement (likes and comments) from your followers. You can use tools like Iconosquare to help determine your most popular posts. The more your followers engage with your posts, the more likely they are to be seen. By know what draws the most attention, you can do more of the same type.”

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The next question, from the owner of the Etsy shop StoneLush, was also related to Instagram. The question was if there was a place that could keep track of which hashtags work best for likes/followers. The answer was as follows:

“…You can research the popularity of hashtags on Instagram by going to the Explore tab, type the term in the search bar and selecting tags. You’ll see the number of posts associated with that hashtag under each result. You could try this for each category you use…”

Iconosquare was again mentioned, so I guess this is something I should check out.

I took a final look at the questions, and found one I have been wondering about. This one is from REupped (which I sadly could not find)

The question was whether or not discount promotions and coupons worked on Etsy for drawing business, and which social medias would allow coupons and giveaways. Here’s the answer:

“Many sellers have found success using coupons and giveaways to driver up traffic and sales in their shops. You can post about discounts and giveaways on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social channels, and there is no fee to do so. You may find this Seller Handbook helpful, it’s full of tips for boosting sales with coupon codes.

I found these questions I highlighted helpful, especially since social media isn’t really my strong point. So, I’m off to check out a few of the things mentioned here, as well as look at the thread again.

Again, if you’re selling online, like we are, I’d definitely suggest you take a look at this thread. It’s long and helpful, and totally awesome that the Etsy people – as I always refer to them – took their time to do this. There was a whole team of them helping out in the case!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I’ll probably be back pretty soon to show my latest creation, soon to appear on my shop, or else talk about quinoa

Happy Friday!

Sarah

Medallions and Paisley Flowers!

I can’t believe it – I almost forgot!

I made a couple new listings recently! They’re different (again) since I’m still trying to figure out what works.

il_570xn-1020771522_pf0eI’ve been meaning to try seat belt covers, but for some reason never got around to doing it.

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I got a wonderful gift card for my birthday, and with it, among other things,¬†I got half a yard each of blue-green fabric and pink flowery fabric, both flannel.

I always imagined making the seat belt covers out of regular cotton. But my Mum very sensibly pointed out that something softer would feel nicer. So I took a look at the flannel fabric.

Fortunately, there are a lot of very fun, beautiful flannel fabrics. There’s a lot of variety, including puppy paws, which attracted my attention. For the time being,¬†I like the pretty medallions and flowers.

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These were really fun to make, and they’re very soft. I managed to get five out of the fabric I got, which seemed like a good amount for a test.

I can’t decide which one I like better, but I think I like them equally.

I love the pink and blue one, on the right, and it reminds me of a garden, or just something flowery.

The blue and green one I just think looks cool –¬†like a pool in hot summer or, as I mentioned in the description of it on my shop, it looks like a tropical beach. I actually looked up tropical beaches, just to be sure of the description, and the colors are surprisingly the same!

Here’s a link to my Blue and Green Medallion Seat Belt Covers. And a link to my Paisley and Flowery Seat Belt Cover. I invite you to take a look

So there we go, and I got it out before Saturday. Barely.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Sarah

 

 

 

Me and My Necklace and Shoes

Today I can get to a blog post I’ve been looking forward to for a while. A couple weeks ago I took some time off from my shop, just so I can plan my burn out rather than have it overwhelm me when it’s most inconvenient. So, I worked on a couple very different projects, one of which took much longer than I expected, but is thoroughly rewarding.

IMG_1354In the process of taking pictures for this blog post, and while I was finishing the second project, I had to take pictures of some other stuff, so this will be a very photographic blog post! Very eclectic, but I always enjoy these. On the left are a few of our very own zinnias – some of my favorite flowers now – which happen to match the fabric below. There’s a little less orange, but, as you can see, it matches wonderfully!

And here is the first project! I’ve had some left over fabric from Bangladesh, which¬†is just too special to leave around, so I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. Suddenly, it occurred to me that it would be perfect for a fabric necklace scarf, because it’s crazy, light and¬†there wasn’t really enough left over to do anything else with it!

So, with only a few days before my week off, I made a quick study of fabric necklace scarves- and I think I want to keep going with them.

You can see the original piece of fabric, which looks like a strange baby (or Buddha)¬†and a nice close-up of the fabric. In the bottom left corner is a collection I had of my pieces, including some interesting silver rings. I decided I wouldn’t go with that, however, because it might be too much and I felt like they didn’t match. The largest picture is, of course, the final version, with pretty leather braids (which I did not do). Hannah nicely twisted the three fabric sections, and one has the same leather braid twisted with it. I love how it turned out!

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On the right are some yummy spices I roasted for dinner yesterday. I included it because, like I said, I took lots of pictures while I was finishing my second project. So this picture represents the passing of time.

I finished the second project last night and I am wearing them now. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the process.

I’ve seen some cute Summer slippers (I don’t know if that’s an official term) and been wanting to make some for a while. I finally gave it a try!

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I made several changes, including having the rick-rack on the outside (because I forgot to put it around the edge) and elastic all around the edge instead of just in the back. Mummy even let me use some official slipper soles!¬†They are just a little too small, but they’re so comfortable I keep forgetting to take them¬†off!

Of course, even though this was a week off, I can’t help but test both these projects to see if I’d like to sell them on Etsy. Please, tell me what you think!

And that finishes the two projects I worked on a couple weeks ago! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and look forward to my next week off, at which point I will have fun working with my burlap canvas. I will definitely feature it on a blog post!

Now for a short bonus, since this has ended up being a what’s been happening with me lately blog post:

I sold one of my pink girls dresses on Etsy! I am especially pleased with this because the lady wanted a couple adjustments, so it’s officially my first custom order!

Apparently she has a tall almost-3-year-old so she wanted the dress lengthened. There were several possibilities, including adding a midriff and/or band, making a new dress, adding a contrasting ruffle or adding lace. I decided on the last option, and I really like the way it turned out! I also made a small lace flower to go with it, detachable, but I forgot to get a picture of it.

And that’s what been going on in my life recently! How about everyone else?

Next up: August is just around the corner, so it’s time for Autumnal and Christmas preparation! I agree, it’s too soon, but I’ve heard rumor there’s Christmas shopping on Etsy!

Thanks for joining me for this adventure!

Sarah