I’ve been enjoying doing some drawing, linocutting and screenprinting to design fabric for bags. The only problem is that its fun and takes time which has resulted in less sewing time!
As ‘Craftee Fox’ I make bags, purses and other accessories for sale but I do really enjoy making clothes. I make them for myself and my children. I try and make my daughter a dress for her birthday, and after complaints from my son that I never make anything for him, have made a shirt for either Christmas or birthday. As well as these special occasions I had the chance to make my daughter a bridesmaids dress and helped a non-sewing friend to make herself a dress for a wedding that required African fabric (green dress photo). The pink skirt near the end was originally a dress made from tiers of fabric so I took off the top tier and sleeves.
Of course, you don’t need a reason to make clothes, so have made them ‘just because’. Here’s a selection of some of my makes, I may post more when I find other photos.
In January I re-opened my Etsy shop. I had first opened it in 2013 but had no idea how to use it and after a few months stopped doing anything with it – and had no sales. This January I thought I would give it another go and stumbled across a great group on Facebook called ‘Etsy Resolution’. Led by group of experienced Etsy makers we were given weekly homework, plus a couple of seminars on building our businesses and learning more about who our audience is. I must admit that doing Craftee Fox alongside a 4 day a week job means that I don’t seem to have time to think about my audience or growing Craftee Fox, but I did learn more about how to use Etsy to sell.
As well as learning more about’search engine optimisation’ (SEO), the importance of tags and titles, the most enjoyable (and difficult) was photography. Clean photos look good on Etsy and there is a real skill to taking them – one I haven’t mastered yet, but I hope I’m getting better.
Since January sales have been up and down but I know it can take time to build up sales and have been excited to send goodies,including bespoke ones, internationally. I am continuing to do markets and had a really fun day at this years Walthamstow Garden Party as part of the E17 Designers group – now there’s a group of talented artists, designers and makers!
So apart from playing with Etsy I have continued to sew. I often think I should be more focused with what I make but then I enjoy the diversity and playing with so many different fabrics. Below are some of my favourite makes, including a bag with leather handles – South African shweshwe one side and upcycled denim jeans the other. Of course, I continue to make brolly bags! I’ve also been making some clothes, so I’ll post that soon.
Christmas has been and gone, although with a week left of the holidays, I’m still very much in relaxing mode after lots of sewing pre-Christmas. This year my focus was on sewing for markets as I knew I had some markets close together and wouldn’t have time to re-stock in-between. Orders were quieter this year, which is a mixed blessing, as working 4 days a week leaves little time for sewing, and balancing making stock for markets or orders can produce a little stress (to say the least). This year I’ll see whether I can build up stock for markets AND get more orders AND be more organised.
Here’s a few of the items I made for markets and orders. The tartan stocking, upcycled from a skirt, was a particular favourite of mine and of course, there were elephants for the tree again! I made a few sets of covered notebooks and matching pencil cases, which make perfect presents, and the brolly bags sold as well as ever.
As ever, if you see something you like just send me a message.
A while back I was clearing out my son’s wardrobe and found a few pairs of trousers that had holes in the knees. Instead of chucking them out I’ve cut them up to make bags. There isn’t enough fabric to make them into a bag on their own, so I’ve used the fabric in pieces, like I often do with my bags, and teamed it up with new fabric. I’ve been very pleased with the results and also love that you have ready made pockets to add to the bag. I’m now on the hunt for old trousers and am looking carefully at my son’s current jeans. Here are the bags…..
Hopefully customers will like them and find them fun and funky. The denim with blue fabric and denim with flower fabric sold quickly, so I hopefully the others will go in the markets that I have coming up.
I’m loving this oilcloth change bag I made recently. Made to order, its a messenger bag with lots of pockets. Vital for a change bag. As well as an outer zip pocket on the bag, there are two pockets for bottles and a larger pocket in the front. Inside are lots of pockets too. The problem is remembering where things are. To close it has two sets of magnetic snaps – one for full and the other for very full!! Versatile yet pretty. Perfect.
This bag isn’t oilcloth, but was also made to order as a change bag and came with a change mat and pouches to carry wipes and nappies.
All bags were made to order and range from £35 – £55, depending on fabric and size.
On Saturday 7th June I shared a stall with another crafter at Old Spitalfields Market, in London. I was excited about attending such an established market, and had no idea how much stock to make or take. I spent many, many nights sewing, with a focus on handbags. While it meant sewing every night after coming home from my day job, I became engrossed in making bags, and designing news ones. By the time the market came, I definitely had enough stock! Sadly, the day didn’t go well and I know it wasn’t just us, as I spoke to other stall holders around us and they said it was a quiet day and that people weren’t spending. It rained in the morning, and was sunny in the afternoon. I don’t think it was our products that meant we didn’t have sales. There were times when there was no one passing our stall, and while we had interest it wasn’t as much as we had expected. I made three sales all day (two fox sock toys so making more of those!), which just covered the cost of the stall. Oh well, better luck next time!
On the plus side, I did manage to make a lot of stock, which can now be used for other markets, or to sell online. So here are photos of some of the new bags I’ve made lately.
This next bag was an order made for a customer who wanted a bag to take to the allotment. Made in ripstop, its waterproof and can be put down anywhere!