Monday, December 30, 2013

Grading a 3 piece cup - Part 2

I really thought this would be an easy process for grading a single bust diameter into different bands. Boy was I mistaken. Because its 3 pieces and not 2, I couldn't even really refer to my book, except for how much the circumference of the cup changes.

I have now officially spend 7 hours on this today! And I found a little mistake from yesterday's grading, but it was only in the notch placement on the top cup. The walking and walking and measuring and measuring is about to drive me mad.

My only fear at this point is sewing one of each size. I am planning to create a full range of sizes from 28A through 50something. I figure I'll make up to what I have underwires for. If I have a need for larger sizes, I'll have to have some new underwires made.

I am seriously exhausted, but in the mean time I spent 5 minute breaks throughout the day setting up my new computer. Oh yeah, I got a new computer.

Its a touch screen one, but I am still having trouble figuring it out. I'm just opting right now to use the touchpad. And don't get me started on Windows 8. All I can say "What the hell were they thinking?"

Luckily I was able to get my student/teacher version of CS4 running on the new computer even though I had installed one of the programs previously on my other laptop. Maybe it reported to Adobe that I uninstalled it from the other laptop. Lets hope. I loaded the program and it accepted my key code, so I'm crossing my fingers for no issues.

Anyway, here are images of what I did today with my illustrator grade rules.





Sunday, December 29, 2013

Grading the 3 piece cup

I have spent the better part of 2 full days figuring out the grading for my 3 piece bra cup. I graded one band size for 4 cup sizes by hand last week. I spend most of yesterday determining that my measurements were not exact enough. I finished yesterday thinking I had corrected everything.

I had walked the interior seams of the cup and they all matched after many many changes. I realized when I left work that I had neglected the walk the outer seams with the band. Duh! Well, that took another 8 hours today. I am finally satisfied with my grade "rules" that I will begin grading other band sizes this week.

This is what my final graded 36 band looks like. If you can figure it out, go right ahead and be my guest to use my grade rules. I graded everything in Illustrator so I can make pdf patterns to print for classes.

I had started to write grading directions for this cup, but after the last 16 hours spent on this, someone would have to pay me lots of money to do that, or I would have to have a ridiculous amount of free time.

I don't think either are happening anytime soon so here you go.





Sunday, November 3, 2013

Things are taking off

Starting a new business is always a roller coaster. Ups and downs and upside downs. I keep thinking I know all I need to know, but things change like the seasons and every business is different than the one before.

I have lost count of how many variations I've had of my businesses. Clothing design, lingerie design, selling online, owning a store, running a showroom, writing books and starting a publishing business... to name a few.

This most recent incarnation of my business has gotten extremely exciting. The fashion design classes have been booked for 4 weeks. Not a full enrollment, but a steady stream of students. We actually have 3 classes booked for this week.

The store is still on the slow side, but the online sales have been steady and we launched our Amazon store last month. Both which are keeping the store running.

I am just really excited that my classes are being received well. That is all.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Organizing a disorganized state of being

That title doesn't mean a whole lot, except that I am finally trying to get the store really organized. I could be organizing for the rest of my life and it would never be to my liking. There will always be something out of place and without a place to go.

Right now I'm focusing on my office and getting that organized. Unfortunately when I "clean" an area, half the stuff migrates to another space. Then I need to clean that space, that random box of stuff either goes back to the original space or into another box hidden from view.

It becomes a circle, never finding an end to the cycle.

Today the circle gets a detour. I plan to get a filing cabinet to store all those random papers just sitting in piles around the store on tables, behind boxes and in binders.

Maybe I'll even tackle that box of random trims that just keeps growing.

But this is all leading up to my major goal of getting back to work on the pattern drafting book, completely unrelated to organizing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bra book update now available

I have been pretty sick the last few days so I have taken advantage of all the couch time to make the changes to the book. I haven't updated the ebook or physical book completely, but you can download this file. This incorporates all the major changes I have found that needed to be addressed.

If, in your own work, you have discovered other changes that you would recommend, please email me and let me know so I can review them and get those changes taken care of.

I am still working on the patterns. They take forever to do and I think I found another issue with the one I was grading, but thats because I didn't use the correct file. Ahh!

Anyway, I really hope this sore throat goes away soon. It is driving me mad!

BTW- Emily started something really cute today. Well, maybe not cute, but I found it interesting. She spends most of her day crawling around playing with things on the floor. On 4 separate occasions, she has crawled up to me, cried, and when I picked her up, realized she was telling me her diaper needed changing. Too bad she doesn't do that do David who is sitting across the room from me. And if she is, he must be ignoring her.




Monday, October 21, 2013

Life moves on whether we are ready or not

Despite my rough week physically, I had a relatively great week business wise. I keep trying to look at things in a positive light. One thing wasn't meant to be, so something better could come to fruition. I am going to concentrate on healing and building up my business. The rest will come as it comes.

Over the summer I looked into offering a Groupon to help people find out about my business. I was a little nervous about offering my services for "practically free," but I knew I had to make some sacrifices in order to spread the word. I have been a little disappointed by how Groupon works. They don't promote as they used to and I keep discovering new "fees" that they are tacking on. For a $45 class, they are selling it for $20 and I get $9.50. That buys me 2 gallons, almost 3 gallons of gas to get to work for 2-3 days.

I have sold 15 in a little over a month. Its not fabulous, but I'm scheduling classes now and only half of the registered students are coming from Groupon. What's even better is that every person who has taken a class wants to take more. I was only hoping for a 25% return rate, but a 100% return rate is phenomenal. It proves that my vision has merit.

I am actually really excited that I'm receiving such a positive response to what I'm trying to achieve. I will look back on this time in 5 years and say to my husband "Remember when I had that idea about starting a school? Well look at it now!"

Update on revised patterns/instructions for the bra book: I have regraded size 34 and 36 already and have done all the revised illustrations for the book. Because it takes forever for me to do everything, I hope to get the revisions for the book done by the first and hopefully have the patterns done around that time as well. Providing there aren't any other obstacles I would like to do a set of patterns for size 28, 42, 44 and 46. I tried doing them previously, but the shapes did not look right, so I never completed them.

I am still doing all 2 piece cups for the download, but I'll be experimenting on a 3 or 4 piece cup draft over the next few months as I have time. Time.....I often wonder how I can get more of it......Maybe get a babysitter.....


Thursday, October 17, 2013

A difficult post to share

For the past 5 weeks I've been wanting to scream from the rooftops "I'm having a baby." I shared the news with friends and family the day I found out, but I've tried to not get emotional about it because I have miscarried in the past.

The experience in the past was pretty terrible. We hadn't planned our first pregnancy, but we were excited. We only knew for a week before I lost it. The pain was worse than any period I ever had. I spent the night in the ER as I could not walk and passed out due to the pain. I felt ashamed to speak about it. I was terrified that I did something that caused my loss.

It wasn't until after we reached 12 weeks with Emily that I started to feel a little relief, but I was still nervous. I finally talked to friends about my experience. I wished I had spoken to friends when it happened, as I would have understood that it was very common, but just a taboo subject. In fact, 25% of pregnancies are lost due to miscarriage.

It took me a while to understand and comprehend that I did not cause it, although it was always in the back of my head that maybe I could have done something more.

Today I am having to relive that day. I am again lying down in pain and agony. I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that the child I was going to have will not be born. My ideal plan of my kids being 18 months apart will not happen. I have to wait even longer until I meet my second child. I will no longer be 37 when my next child will be born, but that's not really the point. I'm grieving for a child I never knew, a heartbeat I never heard and an ultrasound I never saw.

I know I will have my second child when it is time and meant to be. I love my daughter with all my heart and I will cherish our time together while its just her.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Busy Busy Busy

I have had quite a busy few weeks. I have finally created a draft I am happy with. I have been working on all the illustrations and new directions for the download (for current book readers). I have to test at least 2 different sizes to make sure the shapes and grading directions remain the same. This is where I might encounter a few hurdles.

I think I have some tiny alterations to make on the grading instructions, but my eyes started to cross after testing them for about 3 hours yesterday. It made sense when I wrote them, but once I put them into practice, I confused myself.

For the book, I drafted these patterns in Adobe Illustrator and had one confusing of a time grading them (also in Illustrator). I found a couple tricks to make grading easier in Illustrator, so I will try to do up a little tutorial on how to grade in Illustrator (which I'm sure you can also translate into other pattern drafting software).

As for the shop and everything else, its doing well. I have a Groupon for introductory classes, which I hope will bring in a few students, although Groupon has changed how they promote their offers. They no longer send out dedicated emails for offers, so basically I worked with them for over 2 months to have an offer sitting on the 12th page of a search in Groupon for things "near" Redlands.

The online classes are on a temporary hold - due to lack of time by my husband (my film crew). I'm working on bringing a few partners, but I've only had a few people express interest. I guess people aren't really sure what a co-op is in the Inland Empire. I guess its time for me to educate!

Emily is crawling all over the place, so its getting harder for me to take her to the store to "contain" her to my child containment area. She's been spending more and more days at the house with David so she can explore the whole house.

On another note- I am getting the shop a plotter printer! That means I can print out patterns for kits and for doing custom bras. Yeah- you heard it. I'm developing a set of patterns to do custom bras and bra fittings. Its going to take forever and a day to create a full range of fit samples for people to try, but I think I can do it. (Only 150 bras to make!) Maybe its time to train a small army of sewers. Wouldn't that be awesome? I could have my own bonafide lingerie sewing factory in the middle of the Inland Empire.

Reality check- thats a fabulous idea, but I don't see that happening in the near future.

Friday, September 27, 2013

And I have a new draft!

I made a few more changes and I'm very happy with my new draft, but give it some time and I'll hate it again. I made some modifications to the one I posted before, so I deleted that post. I will do my best to list most of the steps so people can try them out. I just don't want to write the book on the blog.

I am going to make a 3 piece cup, now that the cups fit me well I shall see if I get a little more support with the third piece.

Then I have to test grading the pattern. Oh what fun!

First you need to know what band size, underwire/size you wear and what the diameter of your bust is. To get your band size, measure your under bust measurement. Then take your chest measurement (above bust). Take the average number of the two and round to the nearest even number. That is your band.

Then you need the bust measurement. If you want to do accurate, you need to measure each breast. Measure from your center front where the breast starts, measure across to the other side where the breast ends. I have discovered that it does not matter if you sag or don't, this amount will not change. On a sagging breast, measure from the front (looking in the mirror) from where you start to see the breast definition (even if sagging), then measure straight across to the other side where you see the end of the breast definition.

Even with accurate measuring your bust size could vary as some women aren't symmetrical. Try a sample in the side you choose and the size above what you are calculating. The charts below can get you some info.




You need to get your wire diameter too.

Band Draft


On paper, using a ruler and a compass, draw a circle the diameter of the wire. Draw a box around it. To the right, draw a parallel line 3/8"-3/4". I used 3/8".

At the right side center, mark up a line 3/4" up on the line. If you use 3/4", go to the right 1/8" (as pictured- although I erased it in a step later because I used 3/8"), if you use smaller, keep the line where it is.

On the left, mark up 1" from the center and over to the left by 1/4". See Pic below.


I decided to split the ratio up on the band, so take your chest and under bust measurements and find 60% for the front and 40% for the back. (before I had just split it 50/50). Then take 1/2 of each measurement.


On the top line on your grid, mark from the far right out the front measurement in a straight line. On the bottom line, measure out the under bust front measurement. I had some complicated calculation in the book to figure this out and felt that could go away. Connect the two lines with a straight line.


Reduce your back measurements by multiplying the back amounts by .75. Square a line out from the top and bottom lines these amounts.


Then you just need to shape the neckline and waistline. At the side seam measure about 1/4" up. Under the circle, measure down 3/8" - 3/4" (depends on the elastic you use). I used 1/2". At the CF waistline, measure up 1/4".

To find the top of the side seam, duplicate the height of the center front bridge as the side seam. Half way between the CB and the side seam crease and find the strap placement. Use your curves to make your band shape. The Cb depends on the hook and eye tape.


New cup draft

Take your ruler and compass and draw a circle the diameter of the bust. Divide the circle in 4 equal parts and cut the top from the bottom.


On the bottom piece, cut down the center line but keep it attached at the circle. Open the top of the circle 1 1/2" and tape both sides down.

On the right side of the split lower it 10% of your bust diameter. Take your wire diameter, multiply it by Pi and divide by 4. Take that measurement and measure up the sides from the center slip with you flexible ruler.



On the left side, extend the line 10% of the diameter. On the lower right side, measure up 2.5% at the center point, on the left side, measure down 5% in the center and blend a curve from each point.

Before going further, measure from right tip to left tip to make sure it measrues the bust diameter. If it doesn't adjust it.


On the top right line, mark up 2.5% at the half way point. On the left side, measure up 5%. Blend and curve.


Now for the top cup. Start the top cup just like you did on the lower cup. Split and open 1 1/2". Leave the curve attached at the top. (The top and bottom have the same curve) Make sure to measure from point to  point to make sure it  matches the bust diameter.


Walk the lower cup into the band, then walk the top cup and mark where the cup hits the band.


Find the half way point from the far left side to the left side of the slit. Follow the half way point up from the curve 20% of the bust diameter and square across 1/2" to 1" depending on your strap size.


Blend and create your armhole and neckline shapes.

Finished.

Test and try!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sanity vs. Insanity

I sometimes think I am nuts by the level of perfection I can require of myself. When I wrote the bra book, it took me 4 months of trying different drafts until I could find one that worked with a variety of different sizes. I worked with a former student so we were creating and testing samples on two completely different sizes.

I am very happy with the patterns I created for the book, but now that I have different needs than before, I want to make the pattern better. When the book was being written, both me and my assistant had nicely shaped breasts that were not a victim of gravity.

I can no longer say that. I need a million times the support I needed just 2 years ago. Thats what happens post baby. After working with a client last week I realized my patterns didn't completely address this issue for the F+ bust. I decided to make myself crazy by making an even better draft.

I have made about 10 samples since Monday and I'm about to pull my hair out. Each time I think I have it and decide not to do half-assed samples, so I have been making beautiful sample after beautiful sample. This also makes me insane a bit. Why not make crappy samples? Because if its not sewn correctly with the proper materials I might pass up a good fit because of sewing. It kills me to throw them away when they don't work perfectly, but you've got to do what you've got to do.

I try to salvage many of the parts, but I'm not about to rip out a 3 step zigzag stitch or a micro straight stitch (because I forgot to change the stitch length after the 3 step). I know I am a perfectionist at the worst.

I have made numerous changes to my draft, but I always go back to my original and modify those steps. I think I have simplified the draft a little, but I'm going to do a few more beautiful samples before I post them up. The cup draft that I posted I am happy with, but I made a couple modifications since then. Once I am happy with my results, I will try to duplicate it to make sure I didn't goof on some math calculation (like I had been doing).

I will also post up a few charts in reference to the new drafts. I just wanted to keep you updated and know that the draft I published and the information in the book I still stand by, so for the select few that are freaking out that "the pattern isn't perfect," it will be alright I assure you.

I may even include different drafts in the book based on purpose (push up, holding or supportive as hell). The existing one covers the push up and holding, but the new draft will cover the "supportive as hell".

Have a fabulous rest of your week!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Experimenting with new directions

I can't tell you how many samples I made of the bras as I was developing the book. I had them coming out of my ears and had nightmares about them. And I'm still making them.

I wrote the book before having children and the directions worked and supposedly supported. Now nearly two years later I am realizing my directions and patterns aren't great for the saggy boob. I am developing a set of slightly altered directions which should give a little more support for the ladies who need it.

I'll beta test the directions here next week after I do a few samples for myself. I would love to get feedback on the changes. If they work a little better, I'll work on updating the book for a second edition as well as updated patterns. Grading some 100 patterns take time, so don't expect them to be done overnight.

I would also like to open up the conversation if there are any other changes I need to make to the book or sections to add.

I have a quick measurement comment about finding your correct bra size for sagging breasts. When measuring the bust diameter, it should actually be done au natural, sagging and all. Stand in front of the mirror, measure from the center where you start seeing the bust sag and measure straight across the chest until you reach the point on the other side where the breast starts to sag. That measurement on me matches the bra size I wear currently. I thought it was going to be difficult to figure out measurements for women post baby, but this worked on me. Does it work for you?

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

3 piece bra cup

It really is amazing how much I can accomplish when I actually have a list and print it out. Keeping my list on my computer causes me to check Facebook way too often. And that sucks up a day.

I finished the bra sample, but before I get to that. I made an oops. I forgot to add the seam allowance to a small section of the side cup.

Before:


After the fix:

I also moved my notch. I must have been half asleep or distracted by my kiddo. The seams walked almost perfectly. I think there was about 1/16" to 1/8" difference, so I didn't bother to fix it. I figure it worked itself out in my cutting and sewing.

Here is the finished bra. Yes, it looks like it could transport 2 large boulders, but then again, it does.

The apex of the cup seems a little pointy. It could be my sewing, but I'll double check my pattern and maybe remove about 1/8" off the apex point. I also wanted to try a different seam stitching over the cup seams. Instead of doing 2 straight stitches to stitch down the seam, I used a zigzag stitch instead.


I also discovered that one of my basic machines does a beautiful 3 step zigzag. I am now in love with this machine. I feel bad, because its not my grandmother's Kenmore. It was probably someone else's grandmother's Kenmore. I love vintage machines. They will probably outlive me and I am much happier sewing on a 30+ year old machine.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bra Pattern Making Modifications Part 2

I actually found a little time today to do some drafting. I really get things done when I follow my to-do list. I do have to admit that the first thing on today's list was cleaning the store and the stock room and it took me a good 2+ hours to do. 1 1/2 hours into cleaning, I moved one of the fabric poles and smashed a light in the stock room. That led to the extensive cleaning session.

Anyway, on to the drafting. I decided to take tons of pictures, so this might get a little annoying. I documented all the steps from start to finish. I sewed half the bra today. I'll finish up tomorrow with a picture of the finished product. This is a little tutorial of turning the 2 piece cup into a 3 piece cup with a little styling.

1. The first thing I did was make manila patterns of my base size in the 2 piece cup. I always use the 2 piece cup. That way it is easy to alter the cup to whatever design you wish.


2. Trace off the cup pieces on pattern paper using the grid of the paper to line up the cup grain lines. 


3. Alter the strap placement before doing anything. Follow my directions here.


4. I altered the apex point to position the bust more front and center. Follow my directions here. I am making the 36H. If you are making a cup up to an F cup, you might not want to do this. This move is for the plus sized bust so it will position the bust more in the center of the body as opposed to closer to the armpit. I have a bra that does it closer to the armpit and my ladies get in the way when I reach up in the cabinet for things.


5. The next few steps I played around with adding the side panel. Its kind of hard to explain what I did, so here is the series of photos I took. In this first pic. I thought I knew where I wanted the line. What I did was draw in the seam allowance of 1/4" and overlapped the seam line at both points. This removed some of the curve, but thats a good thing since you want more support here.


6. I changed my mind of where I wanted the seam line after I lined them up. I drew in the new line, but what happened was that the seam to the right no longer lined up on the seam line.


7. So I fixed it and moved the piece ever so slightly so the seam lines met.


8. I cut off the rest of the top cup and taped it back on the piece it originally came from. I separated the full side panel.


9. I reshaped the outer curve on the left side of the side cup. I made my markings in red. I also indicated where I would need to add seam allowance.


10. I decided to make a diagonal seam that goes through the apex. I cut off the piece on the top cup.


11. I basically need to merge these two pieces. I have one method in my book, but after reviewing it. It just is way too confusing. 


12. So I flipped the piece over and basically added it to the bottom cup. I lined up the cut line to the seam line on the bottom cup and they match almost perfectly. Because I lined it up this way, the seam allowance is included on the top of this cut piece. If you are confused. Stop, think about it and wait for it to make sense. I had to do this, twice.


13. I then reshape the curve on the bottom cup and cut off a piece to add to the top cut. Don't forget where the apex notch was. You should keep this.


14. I did the same thing on the top piece by flipping the pattern piece and taping it together. Basically this works because you need to incorporate the same volume you remove. Subtract from one piece, add to another.


15. Add seam allowance to the vertical seam only. I also added back my notches and added a notch to the side cup to line up the other two pieces. Voila- patterns for cup are finished. Now the true test whether I did good will be to make my sample. 


Stay tuned to see the finished sample. Plus I'll grade this pattern once I check that it fits right. I also want to do a little tutorial at some point about grading the cup when the seam does not go through the apex.

I also didn't address walking the seams, because these all lined up fine.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Inspiration after none

I know my next post was supposed to be the bra modification for making a 3 piece cup, but I still haven't taken those photos. I'll take those tomorrow when I go down to the shop. Today I want to comment on how a lack of being challenged can really disrupt inspiration.

I have been teaching at FIDM for the past 7 years and I can honestly say I loved the first 5 years, but parts of me dreaded going to work the last 2. I wasn't sure why my love of teaching fell to the side. I thought maybe it had to do with getting married, buying a house and having a baby.

Ok. Maybe those did have an effect on my motivation. Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to work with an individual creating her own lingerie business. We spent 5 days covering business and testing patterns.

I have to say that I learned a lot and I was the one doing the teaching. It had been a while since I had a dedicated student challenge me and try things they didn't know. I learned that being challenged was inspirational for me. I also learned that its hard for me to keep my focus when things don't go as planned.

A little history: Just a few weeks after I published Bare Essentials: Bras, I got pregnant. I lost my drive, maybe due to the 9 months of morning sickness, but I never got a chance to practice what I preached after finishing the book. I gained a fair amount of weight and made myself a half dozen bras, but by the time I finished each one I had outgrown it.

Besides the pregnancy, my students stopped caring, or maybe thats just how I saw them. None of them challenged me and after teaching the same class for probably the 100th time, I stopped feeling inspired.

I opened my store and studio so I could teach both new and old things, but most importantly, I wanted to feel inspired again. This last week I got my dose of inspiration. It was great to see someone getting ready to start their business. Because I've had my own businesses for years I occasionally feel burnt out and need "new blood" to get me back on track.

I just want to say, thank you Carla. I know you learned a lot, but you inspired me to follow the things I love doing again.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bra Pattern Making Modifications - Part 1

I have been working all week with a designer developing a lingerie collection. We made several samples of bras to see what size she actually wears. We have yet to find out which size. She came to me as a 34DDD or a 34F. We have tested sizes 34G, 34H, 34I and when those weren't working, I took her measurements again and went straight to the 34L. Still none were working well.

The 34L was to big, but then again, the 2 piece cup isn't meant to fit a lady that large. She has been wearing a 34F, so out of frustration, we took the 34G and made it into 3 pieces. But before we did that, we moved the apex point about 1/2" - 5/8" towards the center of the body.

This is a modification I've been thinking about for quite a while. I don't think the smaller cups need this change, but the larger cups need a little repositioning. And please feel free to tell me if it doesn't work for you.

For reference, we are using the basic pattern I have on my website. And I can't reiterate this enough - This pattern is not meant to be used unmodified. It is a basic shape to manipulate into a cup of your own design. I can't tell you how many people contact me to ask me why I don't have a picture of the style on my website. I have to email them to tell them it is an ugly style that is meant to be altered. Maybe I shouldn't phrase it that way, I lose the sale. But honestly I don't want people just making a fashion bra straight from this pattern. It is UGLY.

I traced off the 34G. Repositioned the strap placement (which was the first correction I listed last year and you can find it on this blog). Then found the new point for the apex. Moving this over I was able to remove part of the curve on the side of the cup and add a little volume to the center front of the cup. I marked the new cup shape in red. You could potentially do a little more, but unfortunately, you will need to do a sample to test the fit.


I then converted it to a 3 piece cup. I'll show those steps in the next entry. I neglected to take pictures because I have been racking my brain on another way to demonstrate it.

I can definitely tell you that removing all curve from the third piece on the side panel really helped the shape a lot. I will photograph steps today and get them posted tomorrow and we will even be grading the 3 piece cup, so I'll take some pics of those too.

Until then, I have to drink some coffee, which I have none of, so I'll be stopping at the Circle K at the bottom of the mountain again.

On another unrelated lingerie note, Emily, who is now 9 months old is going through bouts of sleep regression. I honestly think she wants and craves more solid food as her digestion has sped up with the milk and she wakes up hungry at night again. The issue with that is, I'm the only one who gives her solid food. David is slightly rejecting it and he's had her all week while I've been training.

And yet again another note- I'm quite affordable these days for lingerie or any type of training. $30 an hour or a full day for $250.

Well, chat later tomorrow.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I can't believe its September

Howdy friends. Its been a while since I've blogged. I'm hoping to pick it back up again more regularly. I have been working with a client all week teaching her lingerie design and entrepreneurship. She suggested I try to keep this up to help promote what I love doing, which is educating. But that's not just educating in lingerie design or fashion design, but educating in sustainable and healthy living.

I liked that idea. Now to just find the time to blog regularly. The issue is trying to find any time in the day to do something else.

Emily is getting big and tall. 9 months now. She's babbling all day and all night. She is wearing 24 month clothing and eating food off my plate.

The store has been a big challenge and struggle, I have to admit. I had expected to book at least one class a month and that hasn't even happened. The whole point of having the store was to teach the classes. So I've come to a crossroad. Do I stay or do I go?

I am weighing this heavily based on 2 factors that are facing me. 1. The online store is doing fabulous, but the brick and mortar isn't carrying its weight. 2. My father has been sick and I want to go east to spend some time with him and to let him get to know my Emily.

I've come up with 2 possible solutions. 1. Turning the shop co-op and making the incredible work space private for co-op members to create their own work. or 2. Closing up the shop in January, putting everything in storage and hiring someone to pack and ship my online orders.

I am leaning towards the first option. I used to be the connector up north, but now I have no connections down here. Who could I possibly get to join as partners?

Here is what I have come up with and feel free to pass the word around. I am looking for 8 people to be partners. Each person will be responsible for working the store front 3-4 days a month and each person would have certain responsibilities, whether it be marketing, web design, or just inventory management. Each person would have work space available, sewing machines and cutting tables to use. Each person would pay a little under $300 a month to be a part of this. The fee covers the rent, bills, advertising and equipment rental. At the end of the month, whatever isn't used, is redistributed to the owners as well as an equal share in store profits. Not to mention being able to buy anything in the store at only 10% above cost. That alone should attract people right?

The idea is that the more mouths that are talking about the shop, the more people will come in and make purchases in the store. I would even consider transforming part of the store to showcase the work of the co-op residents. What do you think? Would that be something you'd be interested in?


Friday, May 10, 2013

Just Trucking Along

I feel like all my updates on Facebook and Twitter these days are all Emily related. I've become one of "those moms." I'm sure I have people blocking my feed because I post so many pictures of the munchkin and share in all the new experiences she is discovering.

She has discovered she can grab things and has put both a lemon and an apple slice in her mouth. The look on her face from the lemon was priceless. She did enjoy the apple, although she's still too small to actually try eating it, but I'm sure that day will come very soon.

We have started to figure out a schedule with her being at the store, although I still have trouble getting her to take naps when we are there. She entertains herself quite a bit, so I can start doing things at the store.

I have a friend who has been down on her luck recently and we have invited her to come stay with us for a little bit while she gets back on her feet. The great thing is, she is a seamstress and loves kids, so that means I might actually get stuff done at the store in a reasonable amount of time. 

I have been teaching myself sewing machine maintenance, which is pretty cool because I have been purchasing "dead" sewing machines for the last year with hopes of resurrecting them. I have successfully resurrected 5 from the dead and they will be available for use in the sewing studio.

I'm hoping the sewing studio will be done soon. I really want to be able to offer its use. We have 4 large pattern tables already made and will have a total of about 12 sewing machines including one or two sergers. We have finally become partners with a dress form company so we will soon have dress forms in a variety of sizes for use in the studio as well as for sale.

There is really just so much I'm trying to accomplish with the queen of time suckage fussing in the background. I have been trying to actively photograph everything in the store so all merchandise will be available in the online store. That just seems to be time consuming and a half.

Lets see, what else? Oh yeah- we are going to be offering a summer sewing camp 3 times this summer for kids and pre-teens. And the most exciting part of it is, I plan on hiring 2 people to help me. One person for the classes and one person to watch the munchkin. I have always wanted to be an employer like my parents, and now is my chance to do it.

I have also been planning a few lingerie design bootcamps, which are week long intensives in lingerie design. These will be offered in September. The advanced bootcamp isn't on the books yet, but it will be planned for either October or November as a 2 week intensive collection development. 

Other events: I will be doing a couple sewing machine clinics where I will show individuals how to work their sewing machines, adjust the tension, change the needle and keep proper maintenance on them. 

OK. That was a lot of updates. Maybe this is just for my sanity, you know, writing it all down. The next thing I need to do is get the word out about the shop and all our offerings.

Visit us online at www.porcelynne.com or at our shop Porcelynne's Fabric Boutique, 1915 W. Redlands Blvd, #107, Redlands, CA 92373.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Store is Finally Open

Over a month after my original open date, the store is finally open for business. Doing things with a newborn proved more challenging than I had anticipated. At least at this point she is starting to entertain herself with toys and taking 2 hour naps at least twice a day.

I'm happy with how the store looks, but it is still lacking in a rounded selection of fabrics and supplies. The back room has been the evil step child of the shop. It's been the last thing on my mind.

We have built 4 beautiful 4x8 cutting tables on wheels and will begin the custom sewing machine tables next. I am refurbishing a dozen old sewing machines for use in the shop and I might even offer refurbishing old machines as a service of ours. My husband can make custom tables. Maybe we will do one for sale and see if anyone is interested.

I'm hoping to have the back room ready for classes around the first week of May. I want to have a grand opening party and also want to have an artist featured in the shop for May and June.

So many wants. I also want to sell enough and book enough classes to keep my doors open. I know, tall orders. All I would need to do is book 3-4 classes a month and the bills are paid for. Here's crossing my fingers.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time is flying by

These last 4 months have just flown by. My little Emily is getting so big. She is sleeping through the night and making all sorts of funny sounds in the hours she spends awake. She keeps smiles on our faces all the time. Her smile makes my heart melt every time.

I wrapped up the winter quarter at FIDM last week and don't have plans to teach any more classes there for the immediate future. It's nice to realize that I don't have to do that 2.5 hour commute at 5am for a while.

More importantly, we have been working on the store. The painting is pretty much all done. I have lots of touch ups to do but that can be done at any time. We started building the fixtures last weekend and I have to say that they look mighty good.

I've been ordering specialty corset making supplies as well as diaper making supplies. Yes, I am tired of spending top dollar on those gDiapers that she keeps outgrowing. I haven't sewn anything outside of school in over a year and I'm itching to do so.

I just want to be open already! Impatient, I know. I've actually arranged for a baby sitter for a few days this week so we can get more things done. Emily puts a serious damper on accomplishing tasks.

The countdown to our opening has begun. We plan to open our doors April 3rd and do a grand opening sometime in May when I am satisfied with the state of the store. Let's just hope people come to the store.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Getting closer to my goals

Ok, so I guess I wasn't really prepared for how much time a baby would take, but I'm getting the hang of it. Emily is going to be 6 weeks old on Wednesday. I go back to work at FIDM on Tuesday and have 2 classes in draping.

I've started getting serious about finding a space for my business. As much as I'd love to open a retail store front, I don't think it's practical, so I'm looking for an office space that can serve as a teaching studio and retail shop.

I've found a few locations right on the outskirts of the historic downtown Redlands that are much more affordable. I figure as my business grows, I can upgrade to larger spaces.

Today, after scouting out spaces and urban hiking with my baby, we came home and started to make space for me to be creative. Our downstairs area/walkout basement has been basically a large storage area for my stuff and other random things.

We cleaned up the space and moved things around, so tomorrow I will be setting up and organizing the space. I hope to start my next lingerie book within a week or so. I guess I'll just need to figure out juggling the baby and my creative self.

I'll keep you updated on how the juggling goes.