Friday, March 28, 2008

Sewing, sewing, sewing

This is why I LOVE my job. I’ve spent the last few days ankle deep in yards and yards of wonderful new fabric, pulling together the samples that will be used to sell my new line. I will admit that this love fest also includes the stress of dealing with deadlines, constant interruptions, and an unbelievable amount of hours at the sewing machine, but all-in-all, I wouldn’t have it any other way….. ok, in my fantasy world there would be a machine that photographed the finished quilt and printed out the proof read instructions. I would want them complete with illustrations, delivered right after I finished the project. Then I could go on to the next item, but lets face it, they can’t figure out how to put an entire spool of thread in the bobbin area of our sewing machines, my “instruction writer” isn’t going to be invented any time soon!

Instruction writing is a necessary evil. I think I write above average instructions. I get lots of compliments and our pattern line sells very well. Not all of our customers agree. Everyone makes mistakes (including me) but I still find it funny when people take the time to call and tell me that it is “impossible” to make the item featured in our pattern. Impossible? How can it be impossible to make the item that is photographed in real life on the front cover of the pattern? Doesn’t the fact that it exists in the photograph confirm the fact that it IS possible? I will admit that my finding the accusation of “impossible” funny isn’t the best approach to solving the problem. Once we get past the existential theory of existence I can usually talk them through the problem. Nine times out of ten it is because they “assumed” one of the steps without actually reading the written instructions and did something the way they have always done it. Quick fix, problem solved. I understand completely, I may write instructions, but I am the absolute WORST at following them.

I wanted a fun tote bag sample for the Lindsay Collection. Another shop owner suggested I try the “Schlep Bag”. Here's the photo of mine. I think this would make a great shopping bag! If you are "going green" you may want to make several of these to keep in your car.
The schlep bag suggestion came with the warning that I was to download the free pattern from:
and NOT under any circumstances just Google “schlep bag” for a pattern. It seems that there are several versions and not all of the instructions are well written. The pattern illustrations look a little weird, but I have to admit I did enjoy making the bag! No, I didn’t follow her instructions exactly; I told you I have issues in that department. I made some simple changes. I inserted cotton webbing in my handles instead of batting. This is a large roomy bag (the bottom is 10 inches square) and I think filling it up would stretch the batting handles to the point where the seams would pop. I also lined the pieced strips with flannel and added some simple quilting lines for texture. I have to question her materials list, she notes that you will need 2 fat quarters of each color. Huh? You need 4 squares that measure 8 inches. Last time I checked our fat quarters were plenty large enough to cut 4 eight inch squares.
Back to "work"!


Anonymous said...

Karen - I have used many of your patterns and the instructions are the best I have ever used. You definitely earn an A+ in that department as well as everything else you create. Bravo to YOU!

Anonymous said...

Karen ~ Your instructions are incredible by comparison to some I've used ... and wasted gorgeous fabric on because they were just plain WRONG. When I approached one designer via e-mail to point out an error (thinking she would want to publish a correction) her arrogance of "how dare I question her because SHE was the designer" completely stunned me. Anyway ~ thanks for being diligent in that area ... we do appreciate it! Job well done.