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Saturday, 23 September 2017

A business adventure


I haven't blogged for a while, but it’s been a busy summer for me on the sewing front. At the beginning of the year I had this idea to digitise the children's wear sewing patterns I've designed and open a little Etsy shop selling the digital patterns, just to see what would happen. Well, the idea has spiralled into a much bigger thing than it ever started off as.


The first challenge was working out how to go about digitising the patterns I had already created in hard copy. After quite a lot of research I enrolled on Lauren Dahl’s online Pattern Workshop course to learn how to make Adobe Illustrator and InDesign do what I needed it to for sewing pattern design. I’m pretty geeky, so I quite like learning to use new software. Even though I wasn’t completely new to them, it just takes so long when you’re learning and have to look things up all the time. The process of scanning, tracing, grading and testing just took so much longer than I thought it was going to. But printing out the tiled PDFs that actually fit together and worked was just the best feeling ever!


I really wanted to make sure the instructions I created were clear enough for people to follow at home without someone there to show them. I know what it’s like when you’re struggling to get your head around unclear sewing pattern instructions. I love the way the modern indie pattern labels like Tilly and Buttons and Sew Over It approach instructions, and wanted to make sure I got that right. I’ve been testing and refining the instructions, and hope to complement them with some video tutorials before too long.

Coming up with a name was tricky. After lots of playing around with children’s literature themes, my hubby came up with Sew Me Wear Me (a take on the ‘Eat Me’, ‘Drink Me’ labels from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). I’d like my patterns to take the sewer and the wearer on new adventures. I really liked the name and it stuck.


Designing a logo was definitely beyond my skill set, so I got in touch with the very lovely Georgina Westley for her help with the graphic design. She not only came up with the logo, but also branding, business advice, technical support, general encouragement, cups of tea and general loveliness. I am so grateful for all her help with growing and shaping the idea.


Although I wanted to sell the patterns through Etsy, I knew I’d need my own website too. As I had access to the Adobe Creative Cloud software I thought I’d give Adobe Muse a go for that. Another new software package to learn. I’m always overly optimistic about timescales, so I thought I could pull that together quite quickly. Turns out getting it right takes quite a lot of time. Using Lynda.com tutorials has been great for this, and their 30-day free trial has come in very handy. I’ve also had loads of useful feedback from brilliant friends and family who have given up their time to help me out. Thank you!


Making sure the patterns worked before putting them up for sale was very important, so I recruited a gang of willing and very helpful pattern testers to help me test out all the sizes and instructions. I got loads of useful feedback and am still working through it all. Hopefully the patterns will be so much better for going through the testing process.

I wanted to get some good photos of the made-up patterns, but again I knew professional photography was beyond my skill set. I had help from the very lovely Sheree B, who took all these gorgeous photos for me in her home studio. Getting the samples made up in one weekend before the photoshoot was an almost Sewing Bee-esque feat of sewing endurance. A few late nights and lots of coffee required!



So, I’m aiming to open my Etsy shop and make the website live next weekend. I have a busy week of final amends ahead of me! There’ll be an exciting competition as part of the launch too. I’m bursting with ideas for new patterns, other products, video resources, workshops. It’ll be a busy year ahead to make some of these ideas come to life. I’ll be keeping my social media channels up-to-date with the latest developments, so follow me if you’d like to know more. I’d love to know what you think.

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Happy sewing x