mini pip · Project 365 · sewing

Project 365 Week Seventeen and Eighteen

I'm starting to lose track of the days. The weeks are flying by and some days I have nothing interesting but work going on. Life needs to slow down a bit. But here we are,

October 21st:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Started some new recycled bags. Something went wrong with the black fabric and the stripes ended up being too small to fit on the floral. Still figuring out what to do about it.

October 22nd:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Today was my first day of Refashioning Class. I made my way into New York and found the school, and eventually found my class. Taking this class makes me miss college but it also reminds me how far I've come in the short period since graduating. I would love to take more classes and really love taking only what interests me.

October 23rd:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Finished a few of the recycled clutches. Actually, they aren't finished because they need twist lock closures, but I ran out.

October 24th:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

These six fabrics are my favorites. The prints and colors in this collection are so stunning and I've been saving them for about 2 years now. I can't hold on to them anymore so I'm making new wrist-lets out of them.

October 25th:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

These next few pictures are really boring. I've starting working on the farm on Fridays since I haven't been scheduled in Hoboken. We were starting a new online project and needed product photos so this is one of the photos I took.

October 26th:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

This is what we primarily sell on the farm. Naturally raised meats.

October 27th:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Drew and I went out for dinner at the Madison. It was on the other side of town but it was a nice night to walk. Food was good, not great and service (our waitress) was worse than the food. I don't think I'd go back unless I had a real reason to. (Although the mudslide I ordered was delicious)

October 28th:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Every spare moment I got was spent sewing my costume.

October 29th:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

My first project for refashion class. This was a boyfriend cardi and a floral blouse from H&M. I love how it turned out.

October 30th:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Getting my accessories ready for Halloween. Glitter heels and glitter tights.

October 31st:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Happy Halloween! Rainbow Fish!

November 1st:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

November 2nd:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Out-take from a photo session on the farm. We had customer appreciation day today and had a great turnout!

November 3rd:

Project 365: Week seventeen & eighteen

Drew and I had our semi-regular Sunday date night. We went out for subs and they wrote "His and Hers" on the bags. I thought it was so cute!

mini pip · sewing

The Process of a Bag

I've had the past few days off from work, giving me lots of time to sew! My etsy store needs a little love. I haven't had a chance to get ready for fall so the shop needs to be cleaned up. I'll be taking down a lot of bags that are on there now to freshen up the place. I'm making a whole mess of new bags and here's what I've been working on so far.

I've been wanting to make some more of my recycled clutches to prepare for the holiday selling season. Here's a little peek at the bags I've made so far:

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I'm used to sewing cotton. Cotton is incredibly easy to sew, even with multiple layers and interfacing. The recycled clutches use upholstery fabric, and two layers of a heavier weight interfacing meaning that it is harder to work with. My machine doesn't like it and I usually break a few needles in the process. So after the struggle, I wanted my regular cotton back. I started on some new bags to give my machine a rest.

I didn't get to sew anything else tonight because I was prepping bags. When I tell people I sew, I don't think they understand that most of the time, when you are actually creating something, you aren't sewing. Maybe a seam here and there, but it is mostly prepping, pinning, cutting and ironing. The sewing part is just another step. Today's prep took hours. Literally from 2 pm to 8 pm. of tracing patterns, cutting fabric, and ironing. 

I've had this collection of fabric for over a year now, just wondering what to do with it. These are some of my favorite prints and I'm so sick of not using them. I think the colors are great for this season and even into winter.

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These fabrics are so fantastic together and I thought about turning them into my "patchwork wristlet" but it is so much work to make the patchwork and these prints are so great that I can't cut them up. So they are becoming just a regular wristlet. I'm doing a little re-work to the pattern but I'm really excited for these guys.

I love when artists share their works in progress and the steps that they take to the finished product, so here's a little look inside my work.

Since I have six fabrics, there are going to be three different bags. Each bag gets a print for the outer bag, and the lining. I have enough fabric to make at least four of each kind. So it's a total of 24 body/lining pieces, 12 "wristlet" pieces, and 24 pocket pieces. This photo is the interfacing step, where each piece gets ironed on interfacing.

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This step is very time consuming but totally worth it. The little bit of strength the interfacing adds makes a bag professional. I will be adding a heavier interfacing to one side of the bag because this wristlet needs it. Most of my bags do not need heavy weight interfacing, but every single bag should have lightweight interfacing in it.

This is where I left off for the night. All pieces interfaced and cut.Next step is adding the heavier interfacing to certain pieces then starting the pinning process.

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I've been sewing bags for the past few days so tomorrow I'm going to try to do more work on my costume. Depending on how long that takes, I'll be able to do more on these bags.

mini pip · sewing

Vermont Craft Show

Every year my family in New Jersey goes to visit my extended family in Vermont. It is the West/McLaughlin Fall Foliage Weekend. Events include corn mazes, running/walking the family "race" and cider making. I have not gone to Vermont in like, 4 years because of school. I can't go this year because of work, BUT I am participating in a new family event this year. Last year, the family had the idea to get a table at a local craft show. Any member of the family can make something to contribute and all the proceeds will go to charity. Because sewing is my thing, I decided to make a few items to send up to Vermont for the show.

I've been buying fabrics for years, even before I knew how to sew. I have a lot of older fabrics that I don't really know what to do with. It's not that I don't like it, I'm just not in love with it and need smaller projects to use with them. This was the perfect opportunity to use up some of these fabrics to help clean out my stash to buy new!

I decided to make coasters, tea bag holders and bookmarks. Bags take too long to make and I didn't have a lot of time to put these together. I might send a few bags along with these, but I'm still not sure.

Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip
Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip

Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip

Coasters sewn the same way I made my own.  Coasters are super easy to make, and while it is time consuming to add the extra stitching, it gives them a little something extra.

Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip
Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip

Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip

Bookmarks make a cute gift if giving a book for the holidays. I love giving books (and have a few on my list to buy as gifts) because there are so many options to choose from. They can be inspirational, motivational or just have fantastic photos to look at. These were also an excuse to add buttons!

Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip
Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip
Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip

Tea Bag Cozies! I made one for my mom last year for Christmas and she loves it, and it has a permanent home in her purse! Another cute gift idea for the holidays.

These were made for the show but I'm thinking about making a few for my shop. I have to start sewing for a show in November, but if I have some extra time, I'll make a few for etsy.

Vermont Craft Show: Mini Pip

Everything together. There are three products within each fabric choice. So a total of 9 coaster sets, 9 bookmarks and 9 tea bag cozies. I don't really know what to expect from the show or how much product to send, which is why I'm thinking about adding some bags. I know I didn't make a lot but there just wasn't enough time.

Please excuse the photos, I'm still trying to find a good spot in my apartment to take pictures. These were on the window sill in my studio. I'm really looking into a new camera. I accidentally dropped my Nikon and it can't focus very well now. If only I could buy a DSLR. One day.

mini pip · Tutorials

Making Your Own Craft Labels

If you follow me on pinterest, you'll know I've been planning this project for months. I have wanted labels with my business name on them for years, but have never found the right source with the right price. The past year has made it very apparent to me that it isn't just a want anymore but a need for my business. It isn't enough to have tags and business cards that can just be discarded when the bag is in use; my name needs a permanent spot on my bags.

I've been looking into custom labels, and while it is not hard to find a source to make them, it is rather expensive. I've seen websites with custom labels ranging from $50-$100 for 100-200 labels. To me, that cost isn't worth it. I would rather take that money and use it for fabric. Of course, the more you purchase, the lower your cost, but I'm not at the point in my business to buy 5000 labels. My taste could change over time, I want flexibility.

I've researched some "make your own custom label" options  (the one below is a fantastic option from Patchwork Pottery) and while there are great ideas out there, I've found the solution for my own business.

Patchwork pottery label

After my research, I decided to make my own labels because it would drastically reduce the cost, and most of the supplies are re-usable for other projects. In this post I'm going to share my process and sources for my custom labels.

 

The Process:

Stamp name onto twill tape with fabric ink

Separate labels by cutting and use frey check for ends

Sew label into bag.

Easy enough right?!

 

Materials and Sources:

Custom Stamp:

talktothesun on etsy. I've blogged about this artist before, but have no problem repeating that this seller is fantastic. I was nervous because the stamps are made in Japan and I'm always more inclined to purchase from a small business in the United States because I want to support a more local seller. After looking on etsy at stampers, this seller was far better than most I saw. Again, there are MANY stamp designers on etsy, I fell in love with talktothesun's style and knew it was best for me (and at only $35 for a custom stamp)! 

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I was more interested in stamping because it lets me reuse the stamp for more than just labels. It also makes customizing the label very easy. I can change the color of the stamp with a quick switch of ink pads.

Ink Pads:

Versa Craft for fabric, paper, wood, etc. I did some research on ink pads and knew I wanted a fabric stamp pad so the ink wouldn't bleed through the twill tape. Not only did talktothesun sell VersaCraft , but I read some blogs also stating this ink was great. I purchased three different colors from JoAnn Fabrics online because I had one of their many coupons. (they are also on sale right now!) What I love about these stamp pads are the range of colors and the size of the pad. I bought Burgandy, Emerald Green and Spring Green because these colors will work well with my bags. I'm sure my color collection will be growing soon. The ink pad is only 1" but makes stamping simple because the stamp pad itself is raised so you don't hit the sides like on larger stamp pads. It also doesn't bleed through the twill tape!

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Twill Tape:

I debated on many different sources for twill tape and did many different "research missions" for a source. I was originally going to purchase from Save-on-Crafts but I found a much better source for what I was looking for. If you only need a few yards at a great price, definitely check out save-on-crafts, but if you are looking for more for your money: twilltape.com is your resource. This site has so many colors, widths, weights, all for fantastic prices. I purchased the Heavyweight Natural at 3/4". This bolt has 72 yards for $9.75. 72 yards. That's impressive.

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There are many reasons people purchase custom pre-made labels. Yet there are also many reasons to make your own. I know this process is very time consuming but it works for me. When I want to step away from my sewing machine, just relax but still do work, this is a great project. It's mindless so I can watch tv or hang out with Drew while still working on a task that needs to be done.

mini pip custom label

If this is a process you think would work for you, I hope my resources will help. I'm so excited to start putting labels into my bags and can't wait to give it that professional, but still handmade, touch.

mini pip

Getting back to business.

Going back to work has been taking a toll on me creatively. Whenever I get out early, or work later in the day, I just want to chill out with all those extra hours. I've lost a lot of motivation for Mini Pip because I've been so focused on doing well at work. Today was my first day off in weeks from both my jobs (Anthro and the farm) and I've been trying to force myself to get motivated. I've just been tired. But I know that the only way to get to where I want to be is to WORK.

Dreambuilding

{pinterest}

I've been pretty honest on my blog. I don't want to be a blogger that does everything perfect and nothing wrong. Because that isn't relatable. And that isn't me. I mess up, more than I really want to admit, but I'm learning. Mini Pip is not only my business, but it is my learning experience. I haven't been in business for decades, haven't made million dollar deals, my products aren't "flying off the shelves"…yet. This is my baby, 110% me, and when I make products, I'm doing what I love. Each bag is a little bit of me coming out in a piece people can carry. I want the owner to proudly say "it's handmade" when they get a compliment. I want people to fall in love with the prints and colors just as much as I do. I want the decision of which bag to purchase to be hard because they are all so beautiful. I think every artist wants this.

Sevenly

{pinterest via sevenly.org}

I write this post after a long day of thinking about working, trying to fight off the urge of wanting to nap, ruining my dinner, taking and editing photos, and counting down the days until Drew comes back home (a week and a half). I'm currently curled up on the couch, watching old episodes of Full House, getting mad at the neighbors for playing their music so the bass pumps through my living room and thinking. 

Flower-grow

{pinterest}

It's time to refocus. It's time to take my free time and turn it back into productive time. If that means drinking more coffee and sleeping less, that's what I'll be doing. I hope to blog more, and all the photos I've taken will be on etsy soon, so go favorite/follow my shop to stay up to date with everything coming up!

Hard work

{pinterest}

And if you are reading this right now, thank you. Thanks for finding your way to my blog and spending part of your day with my thoughts. I do hope you come back soon.

mini pip · sewing

Recycled Bag Collection

The first batch is finally complete!

Last year, I was given a bag of fabric swatches from a local furniture store (my mom knows the owner, who was super happy to give me the fabric). Some of the fabrics are really not my style, but there are many with such great prints that I wanted to see them be used. I kept the bag on a shelf in my closet, hoping to come back to it. A few months ago, the store owner had another bag of swatches to give me. Which made me think about the project all over again.

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about using a pattern I already created to make the bag collection. Then decided that wouldn't work and designed a new bag. It's a very simple design, made to fit the size of the swatches, and really showcasing the fabric (not the bag pattern). I also used a turn lock as a closure, something I've never worked with before. Without further ado…here is the collection! (Some photos were taken before the turn lock was completed)

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I know, I know, this doesn't really convey the size of the bag but in terms of measurements, it's 10.75" at the longest point by 7" in height. The inner pocket is large enough to fit my iphone with it's case. The opening of the bag is 8.25". It also has two layers of light interfacing and one layer of medium weight making it very sturdy.  

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I'm happy with this collection, the design of the bags, and the mix of fabrics used. These used about 19 fabric swatches, which isn't even 1/4 of the amount I received!

Thanks for looking! As always, I would love your thoughts so leave a comment and let me know what you think!

mini pip · sewing

Bowling Bags Aren’t Just for the Alleys.

A while ago I did a post on being inspired to make a bowling bag and one of my "June Goals" was to make a prototype. Earlier this week I made a pattern and a muslin mock up. Then a fabric sample, and a few days ago, made another.

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The original sketch, and pattern & the first fabric mock up.

And the newest version:

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I love the size of this bag, and am really proud that I put in a functioning zipper. I think I'm going to make a few more samples, just to make sure I get the pattern right (I might make the sides bigger). I'm also thinking about doing a mini bowling bag, but don't know if that's a little "old" (Dooney & Burke via 2000's). More designing to do!

Blog Everyday · etsy · mini pip · sewing

Day 11: Crafting Splurges, Organic Fabric

Today's topic is the biggest crafting purchase I've made. I haven't been too insane with my purchasing because I've been lucky to have been gifted many of the "big ticket items" I own. My sewing machine was my mom's, and my dress form was a christmas gift.

The biggest purchase I can think of was for my business. I bought 4 bolts of organic fabric from Monaluna. I'm not going to reveal the cost, but it was a large amount. I'm making aprons with the fabric, so I do expect a return on the purchase *I hope*.

Mini Pip-002

Mini Pip1

Mini Pip2

These are the aprons I've been making. I plan on doing another post on these when I list them on etsy, but here's a little introduction!

etsy · I really was a fashion major. · mini pip · sewing

The Patchwork Wristlet

I am so happy with my new design The Patchwork Wristlet. I designed this about three years ago, wanting to work on it but not having the time with school. The design has been stuck in my mind since I first sketched it out and a few months ago I finally made a mock-up.

 

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original sketch. good thing my mind remembers what I want.

 

I've mentioned before that I am NOT a quilter. I don't think I could have the patience for the amount of work that is involved in a quilt. This patchwork definitely took some time, but I've been making it in small batches, just enough for two bags at a time, which allows me to enjoy the process rather than dread it.

 

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work in progress photos-the fabric has a total of 9 patches across and 7 down.

 

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The finished bag. More photos and info on etsy.

AND in other news:

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The fabric and design for my new dress

 

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and my fabric from monaluna arrived! stay tuned for some new products!

 

wow. that was a long post. it is also making me realize how much sewing I have to do. more to come.