Three Quilts Sold, Two Holiday Gift Fairs and A Brand New Etsy Store

As you may have gathered from my last post, I have been mad-crazy-busy recently sewing up items for a Christmas Gift Fair. And now it’s all over I finally have time to relax and reflect on the experience.

In the end, I took part in two different Gift Fairs. The first one took place at the International Women’s Club of Lausanne, on a Monday morning between 9 and 12, and the second one was held at La Chatagnière, an international school near Geneva, on a Saturday between 11.30 and 4pm, where I shared a table with my lovely and extremely talented friend Chris of MalleyCat Designs.

To be honest, I didn’t have desperately high hopes of the first gift fair. I mean, a Monday morning in early December?! But as it happens it was jam-packed from start to finish, and I was so busy I didn’t have time to take a proper photo of my table, to look at anyone else’s stall or even to have a cup of tea. In the end, I sold more than I ever dreamed possible, including 3 quilts(!), had some fantastic feedback about my work, and, all in all, had an utterly wonderful time.

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Not the best photos, but you get the idea!

As for the second fair, Chris and I were reasonably optimistic of making some sales; there were going to be plenty of vendors and it seemed like a large number of people were planning to attend. But despite us both having had such a successful sale the previous Monday, this one really didn’t go that well. It seemed that most people were coming to socialise and have a drink with friends rather than to make a purchase. As it turned out, I only just broke even on the day. The two fairs couldn’t have been more different!

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Our table

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Some of my products…

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… and some of Chris’ products

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A selection of quilts for sale

Well, you live and learn, as they say, and here is what I learnt.

First and foremost, I absolutely loved making everything – I got to try out new patterns and new ideas, and, more importantly, to get re-acquainted with my stash! There have been times over the last couple of months where the floor of my sewing room was nowhere to be seen as it was liberally strewn with fabric I’d pulled out of boxes and cupboards to try and find that perfect match. Lots of old favourites were rediscovered and plenty of scraps and leftover pieces of quilt backing were put to good use.

Secondly, I really enjoyed selling my stuff, and chatting to people. I think I will be tempted to do some more fairs next year, but I also think I will do some more research before committing to any.

And finally, there seemed to be enough interest in what I made for me to take the plunge and open up a little Etsy store to sell my creations. Like these, for example :-)

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My Etsy store is called Pusscat Handmade, and you can find more fabric loveliness at

https://pusscathandmade.etsy.com

Please do go and take a look, and let me know what you think!

A Christmas Craft Sale Beckons…

Well, there seems to have been a bit of radio silence chez LPC recently. And for a very good reason! Not only have I been travelling – visiting Mum, weekend in Bath, day trip to Lyon – I’ve also been sewing away like a crazy woman.

Mais pourquoi I hear you cry! Well, a local group I belong to – the International Women’s Club of Lausanne – is holding a Holiday Gift Fair in early December. And I’ve decided to take a table to try and sell my wares.

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This is a bit of a departure for me, as, until now, I’ve never seriously considered selling what I create. Most of it is made for the sheer pleasure of creating something beautiful, and ends up as gifts for people close to me. What’s more, I’ve never actually been convinced that anything I make is good enough to sell. But a couple of things have recently helped changed my mind.

First off, I successfully completed my Fabric Fast earlier this year, during which I committed to not buying any new fabric for 6 whole months. And so, from January to June, everything I made came my stash. This not only made me feel Deeply Virtuous, it also made me really take stock of the yards and yards of beautiful fabric I already have and which I’ve been hoarding for Some Special Project Or Other. But I’ve come to realise that such a Special Project may never materialise. Or, if it does, I’m much more likely to buy something yummy and new. And this is because of another revelation from my Fabric Fast – over the years my tastes have evolved. Fabric that I bought, say, 5 years ago, whilst still very beautiful, just doesn’t inspire me like it used to. It’s just sitting forlornly in my cupboard, waiting to be used. And that makes me a little sad. Fabric should be enjoyed, not hidden away in a cupboard!

And so I resolved to use up some of these former favourites to make beautiful and useful items – not just quilts, but things like various-sized fabric baskets, tissue holders, bookmarks, bags – and whatever else I can think of! And seeing as I can only use so many of these, and only have so many friends that would appreciate them as a gift, the logical conclusion is that I should try to sell them, so that they can be used and enjoyed as the fabric gods intended.

Secondly, I recently attended Patchwork in the Peaks - a twice yearly quilt retreat, held by the lovely Ms E in the glorious French Alps. And when I was there, I made a new friend, Ms S. Now Ms S, like me, loves modern quilting fabric, and was, like me, hugely frustrated by the lack of said modern quilting fabric available in the local area. And so she opened an Etsy store to sell fabric that she loves (she currently has some beautiful Jeni Baker Art Gallery fabric for sale…) One of the evenings we got chatting about fabric in general, and fabrics we’ve grown out of in particular, and she suggested I look into selling off some of my stash on Etsy, which, she assured me, is nowhere near as complicated or expensive as I’d previously assumed. And so a seed was planted…

Finally, I heard about the Holiday Gift Fair, and it occurred to me that this would be the ideal opportunity to maybe try and sell some of my creations, and then, if it goes well, possibly open up a little Etsy store myself as well.

And so I’ve been creating… And here is a little snapshot of some of my Works in Progress.

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Noodlehead Divided Baskets

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Handy Little Fold-Up Pouches 

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Pocket Tissue Holders

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Reversible Twisted Fabric Baskets

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And last, but by no means least, Kitty Cat Tissue Box Holders, just like this little guy  – but in waaaay cooler fabrics :-)

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday...

Mum’s Birthday Quilt – A Work In Progress…

In 2 weeks time, it’s Mum’s birthday. And I am making her a quilt. A long-awaited quilt, I might add. And it looks like this…

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Now, Mum really wants a quilt. She started dropping subtle hints about 4 years ago, then over time the hints became increasingly pointed, until finally she got Mad Aunty Jean to call and casually mention Just How Much Mum Would Love A Quilt Made By Me.

But for one reason or another, I just kept on putting it off. I made her a lap quilt to use in her conservatory on chilly winter mornings, and she was over the moon with it. But I know that what she really, really wants is a bed quilt. And that project has been in the pipeline for quite some time…

Mum knows that a quilt will appear at some point. I think she’s secretly hoping it’ll be ready in time for Christmas (she thinks I’m making her a new knitting bag and knitting needle holder for her birthday). But as I shall be going back to the UK to see her for her birthday, I thought it would be a lovely surprise if I could finish it off and take it with me.

Nothing like piling the pressure on myself, eh?!

I kind of started work on it over the summer (well, I got as far as cutting the fabric out), but it wasn’t until quite recently that I actually started sewing. This involved piecing 42 blocks and 3 borders. Phew!

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22 of these blocks in pink and red, and 6 in cream and red…

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… and 14 blocks like this

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working flat out to try and get it finished, and – finally – I’m nearly there. The top is pieced, quilting designs have been marked, and it’s all ready to be basted and quilted. Now all I have to do is get my backside in gear and get started…

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I think I’ll be right up to the wire with this one, so wish me luck!

Linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Handy Little Fold-Up Pouch Tutorial

(I originally wrote this tutorial for the 2014 Q3 Finish-Along link-up, hosted by Katy over at The Littlest Thistle)

I’ve had a little fold-up sewing pouch for donkeys’ years, but I’ve rarely used it. I found it hiding away in a drawer in my sewing room a month or two ago, and when I pulled it out, it occurred to me that the reason it was languishing unloved in a drawer was because it wasn’t the right size for what I needed.

So I decided to make my own version that ticked all my boxes.

Initially I thought I’d use it as a take-along pouch for when I wanted to sew some hexies on-the-go, but I soon realised I could also use it as a little clutch for a night out, to hold travel documents and the like – well, you get the idea! I fiddled and faffed with the idea until I found something I was happy with. It fits my travel hexie kit, my iPhone and also my passport.

May I present to you a very handy little fold-up pouch!

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You will need:

  • 1 FQ main fabric for the outside of your pouch and the pockets
  • 1 FQ lining fabric for the lining and binding
  • Scrap of batting or fusible fleece 6 1/2” x 18”
  • 2 poppers (or magnetic clasps, as preferred)
  • 1 button, for decoration (optional)

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Cutting instructions

From main fabric cut:

  • 1 rectangle 6 1/2” x 18” for the outside of the pouch (if you will be quilting the exterior densely, I would cut it slightly bigger – say 7″ x 18 1/2″ –  and then trim it down to size after you’ve quilted it)
  • 3 rectangles 6 1/2” x 8” for the interior pockets
  • 1 square 6” x 6” for the interior pocket flap

From lining fabric cut:

  • 1 rectangle 6 1/2” x 18” for the pouch lining
  • 3 strips 18” x 2 1/4” for binding

Prepare the outside of your pouch.

Fuse fleece to the wrong side of your main fabric 6 1/2” x 18” rectangle, or baste the fabric to your batting. Quilt as desired – I quilted random wavy lines about 1” apart diagonally across the fabric.

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Prepare the pockets

With wrong sides together, fold each of the 6 1/2” x 8” rectangles in half along the 6 1/2” length to make 3 rectangles that each measure 6 1/2” x 4”.

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Press along the fold to form a neat, crisp edge, then top stitch along this fold, approximately 1/8” in from the edge.

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Attach the pockets to the lining fabric

Using a ruler, measure and draw 2 lines on the right side of the lining fabric, one 5” up from the bottom and the second one 9 3/4” up from the bottom. These lines will be covered by the pockets, so use a Frixion pen, regular pencil, whatever you have to hand.

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Take 2 of your prepared pockets and place them on the lining fabric, with the raw edges aligned along the lines you just drew, and the topstitched edges pointing down to the bottom of the lining.

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Pin in place and sew onto the lining fabric with a 1/4” seam allowance.

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Flip the pockets up toward the top of the lining and press towards the top of the lining.

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Take the third pocket and place it at the very bottom of the lining, aligning all 3 raw edges of the pocket with the raw edges at the bottom of the lining. Pin in place. Then align the sides of the other 2 pockets with the raw long edge of the lining and pin in place.

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Use a seam allowance of about 1/8” and a basting stitch of about 4.0 to secure the edges of all three pockets to the lining.

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Prepare and attach the pocket flap

Take the 6” square and fold it in half lengthways with right sides together. Pin the raw edges. Mark a gap about 2 1/2” wide in the middle of the long edge, which will be left unsewn for turning.

Sew both short edges and up to either side of the gap you marked, using a 1/4” seam allowance, and backstitching at each end. Trim the corners.

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Turn the pocket flap right side out through the gap you left, and push the corners out.

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Fold the fabric at the gap under 1/4”, and press the flap flat.

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Top stitch along each side and along the bottom edge of the flap; this will close the gap.

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Centre the pocket flap approximately 1/4” above the top of the pocket you want to have a flap. Pin in place and top stitch along the top of the flap to secure it to the lining. Pull the threads through to the back of the lining and tie them off.

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Add a popper (or other closure) to the pocket flap.

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Attach magnetic clasp (if using – if you’re planning on using a regular popper, skip this step)

On the outside,  measure up and mark a point 6 1/2″ from the bottom of the pouch, and  3 1/4″ in from either side.

On the lining, measure down and mark a point 1 1/4″ from the top of the lining, and 3 1/4″ in from either side.

These mark where the centre of each piece of the magnetic clasp should be placed.

Attach your magnetic clasp according to the instructions which came with it.

Assemble the Pouch

Place the batting side of the quilted outer fabric to the wrong side of the lining, and pin in place

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NB – if you are using a directional fabric, you need to line the top of the lining with the bottom of the outside of the pouch, so that when you fold it up, the fabric at the front will be the right way up. I found this out the hard way ;-)

Baste around all four sides with a stitch length of around 4.0 and a seam allowance of around 1/8”, like you did with the edges of the pockets. I used a walking foot because of all the layers. It will look like a complete mess, but the edges are about to be covered up with binding, so it doesn’t matter!

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Attach the binding

Sew the 3 strips of 18” x 2 1/4” lining fabric together end to end and press to create a single fold binding.

Attach the binding to the front of the pouch using a 1/4” seam allowance, then fold the binding over and sew to the back of the pouch either by hand or by machine.

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Fold the pouch up

With pocket side up, fold the bottom pocket up to meet the middle pocket, then fold up again twice.

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Add a popper to secure the front flap to the rest of the pouch, and add a decorative button if desired.

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Fill pockets with useful things and admire your handiwork!

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As you can see, I made several!

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So why not make it your own? Use up your scraps by piecing the outside (I made this one with leftover bits of a jelly roll)…

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… or piecing the pockets (I fussy cut my scraps of this glorious Tula Pink octopus fabric to do this)

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Make one without any pocket flaps inside (like my Tula Pink one above), or with several, or change the shape of the flap.

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The sky’s the limit, so why not get creating?!

LPC

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