Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oh, no. What did I do?

So a current order of mine is for a pair of baby shoes. The shoes are for a (now) 4 mo. old baby. It's the first time I had to go smaller on my pattern so it was quite an adventure.

At first, I was a little bit hesitant to make shoes for a baby. After all, what does a baby really need shoes for? As they don't walk, shoes don't really serve much of a purpose other than keeping feet warm. In my mind socks can serve that function. Although, recently, I've come to a new conclusion. I recall that many moms are bothered by the lack of ability baby socks have to actually stay on the baby's foot. I have experienced this myself. I've heard several people say they've put shoes on their babies solely to keep the sock on. Here's the way I see it now: if a shoe is required to keep a sock on, at least it can be a soft flexible shoe that will not constrict growth or movement. This function is served well by my soft-soled shoes and therefore, there is a rationale to make them that I can live with. Call me strange, but keeping with my ideals with the products I make plays into maintaining my integrity. But I digress.

In any case, I set out to rework my pattern, this time for a smaller foot. What I developed should have been a shoe that measured 4 in. to fit a baby with a 3.5 in. foot. I measured everything out and very carefully drew out my pattern to maintain the exact size differences that previous patterns had given me. When sewing the shoes I was diligent (as I usually am) about maintaining consistency in my seams, etc. When all was said and done, I had created just about the cutest little shoes I had ever seen. Then I measured them. Yeah, they were 1/2 in. too short. I have no idea how that happened. That's not a small amount when we are talking itty bitty baby shoes.

So, it was back to the drawing board. I used some (more) scrap fabric and leather to make another pair of shoes just to check sizing before I made the final pair for my order. The second pair came out the way they were supposed to. Kinda. The larger pattern I used was supposed to make a 4.5 in. shoe (even though it was the "next size up" from the other one). The shoe turned out to be 4.25 in. I'd throw in the towel, but these shoes fit my little one who is close in age to the baby who will wear the shoes so I figure with the time that has gone by and the fact that babies grow, the shoes should fit. I'm going to make the pair the mom requested (with the fabric she requested), cross my fingers, and hope for the best.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes!

So, I recently have been working on an order for more shoes. Nothing terribly exciting, well, having the order is exciting, but the actual shoe making part is nothing new. I did use some new color combinations and a few different new fabrics. The biggest change is that I have "upgraded" to a stiffer interfacing on the top piece so the fabric should be sturdier and wear slower. They are still a fabric shoe so they will wear faster than an all leather shoe, but hopefully, it will add a bit more stability. I'll have to ask the recipient of the shoes if she notices a difference between these and the ones she has previously ordered. Here are the pictures:

Black & Brown Stripe/Chocolate
New top fabric option
introduced August 2011
Green & Khaki Stripe/Chocolate
New heel fabric option
introduced July 2011
Special order fabric selection

Friday, September 2, 2011

Now Available: Burp Cloths!

With my new-found "joy" of sewing, I got inspired to make some more items other than the shoes and taggy blocks to add to my product line. I wanted to make some burp cloths. At first, I was considering embellishing prefold diapers (and still may at some point), but I decided to make the whole thing (or things) from scratch. I opted to make them in the same style as prefold diapers but sew them completely on my own as well as add embellishments.

My first go at making the burp cloths was not nearly as easy as I thought it would be, but they did actually come out beautifully. I chose cotton flannel material since I had seen several commercial burp cloths made from flannel and it's a nice soft baby friendly material - especially after washing. My first selection was an adorable jungle/safari flannel material that I had used for some taggy blocks. Jungle/safari themes are so popular for babies today that even if it doesn't match a nursery set perfectly, it can still coordinate. I opted to offer the burp cloths in pairs of coordinating cloths. This first pair includes a solid jungle/safari material burp cloth and a green burp cloth with the jungle/safari accent. The project was certainly a test to my sewing ability; however, I truly think I proved how my skills have improved over the years.

My next step was "packaging" for sale and deciding how I wanted them to look. I opted for securing them with a simple ribbon and attaching a tag. The last thing a recipient wants is a lot of material to deal with and packaging with less waste is easier for everyone. I am so excited to add more designs and currently have materials for at least three more pairs of burp cloths. I hope potential customers love them as much as I do!