Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can I get your opinion?

I am trying to work on updating the look of my pattern covers. Obviously there is a lot involved including photography, editing, design, etc. I am certainly not an expert in any of these areas but I feel like I do a good-enough job to get by for now.
Anyways, what I am battling with is whether to use images of just the garments or garments on a model. After doing some research, it appears that different designers go different ways and there is not really a right or wrong.
Ideally, I want my covers to appeal to customers searching for patterns on etsy and also in their local sewing shop. I would love to get an opinion.What do you think? Do you have a preference? If you saw the two, which is more appealing?
(Yes, this is a new pattern and will be in the shop in the next couple weeks!)
In addition, do you think that all the patterns need to have the same appearance or could some have a model and some have just the garment? I would love to hear all the feedback you can give me! If you are more comfortable emailing instead of leaving comments, you can email me at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Who says you can't sew for a little boy?

My friends and family know that my daughter, Emerson, is a huge inspiration in my sewing and pattern designs. When we found out that we were having a boy this time, so many people responded with something along the lines of, "sewing for him will not be nearly as fun as for Emy".
Everyone knows that clothing for boys is much more "standard" than for little girls. Boys run around in rompers, shorts and tshirts while little girls can get away with all kinds of ruffle-y goodness. That being said, when we found out we were expecting a boy, I could not help but gravitate toward beautiful blue fabrics. I decided that instead of completely giving up on sewing for our son, I would try to make some baby items for him.


A nursing pillow cover using this pattern.


Throw pillows for the bed in his room. You can easily do this with this tutorial.

Plenty of burp cloths

Nursing covers using this pattern.

A diaper and wipes case using this pattern.

A lovie blanket with his monogram. You can learn to applique like this here.

A baby sling using this pattern.

A changing pad cover using this tutorial.

A personalized sleep sack.

So, if you know someone or are yourself expecting a boy, don't lose inspiration. There are plenty of sweet things that you can make to welcome him into the world.
Do you have any great sewing projects for boys? If so, please share!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I spy: etsy goodies!

As many of you know, we are expecting a little boy in just a few weeks. We just finished the nursery (you can see it here) and I thought it would be fun to show you some of my favorite etsy finds that can be found inside.
Cotton Cupcake Shoppe: Oh my word! This is so adorable in person. This is definitely coming to the hospital with us!

A Simple Impression: I think this is a fun way to include the name without the traditional letters hanging over a crib.

Stitches and Smiles: I can't wait to see our little guy in this!

Fancy Prints: This ABC print is hanging above the cib. I absolutely love it. The shop owner can customize the color combination to match anything that you want. She also has a matching numbers print.

So, if you are looking for a baby gift, I can personally vouch for each of these shops. They do great work and produce quality products. Enjoy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tips for Etsy Success: Branding

I get asked all the time for tips on how to start a new shop and promote and increase business in an existing shop. I have compiled a list of tips that worked for me that I am happy to pass on to those that ask.

Since many of you are etsy shop owners yourselves, I thought it would be fun to share these tips, one at a time, as a kind of mini-series.

Before I begin, let me start by saying that in no way do I think I know everything about etsy or business. I know that I don’t. Many of you have shops that are more successful than mine and you will probably think my tips are very elementary. These tips are truly for shops that are just beginning or struggling or just want a fresh evaluation. I do consider myself fairly knowledgeable because of my academic background (I have a BS and MS in merchandising), business background (I have over 5 years of experience as a buyer for a major retailer) and etsy experience. That being said, let’s get on with it!

Tip No. 1:  A look at branding

Why are major retailers so successful? Because they brand themselves!

The first step in branding is developing the “heartbeat” of your shop. What is the common thread that will run through everything? What feeling do you want customers to have when they come into contact with your product? What is your shop’s personality? Most of you already know the answers to these questions. If you don’t, then think through these things before you go any further.

Once you know what your shop’s personality is, then you need to realize that Etsy customers want unique handmade items, but they still want it to be professional. The more professional your shop appearance, advertising and shipping presentations are, the more success you will have. Period.

When your shop looks pieced together and un-professional, your sales will reflect that. It may cost a little money upfront, but your sales will reflect it in the long run. When I started Noodles & Milk I spent money (through an etsy shop-there are tons that do graphic design) on having professional shop designs made. Based on my needs, I chose to have the following designed: logo, banner, avatars, business cards, shipping labels, web ads, clothing labels and hang tags. Don’t order branded supplies that you don’t need, but think through your business process and at what points you come into contact with your customers and make sure each of those points has a branded image to present yourself with. The investment is well worth it.  

If you can do the web designs yourself, great! If not, don’t use something shabby or half done, find someone to help you create the perfect design.

In addition, I decided on what I wanted my packaging to look like and I ordered supplies wholesale- colored wraphia and tissue paper for me. Once my packaging supplies came in, I played around with orders until I had a uniform way that all orders would be packaged. I wanted to make sure that when a customer received an order from me, they would appreciate the packaging as much as the custom product.

Branding is not just the appearance of your shop, but a consistent image and feeling that you portray throughout everything that your customer sees- your blog, facebook page, shop, packaging, advertising, etc. I am not saying that everything has to be matchy-matchy, because that would be just plain boring, but that your different outlets should resemble one another. They should have the same feel and vibe running through them so that customers “know where they are” and are not confused.

For your reference, some of the shops that I have had success with are:

Shop Design- This is my new shop design. I used someone else for the old design, but they have since changed their shop name and I can't find them!

I know this article is just a tiny piece of the branding puzzle. It would be really hard to cover all the depths of this topic seeing as there are entire college courses devoted to this very topic. I just wanted to wet-your-whistle and get you all thinking like a marketing professional. What else can you do for your shops image? What branding tips do you have to share?


Saturday, July 24, 2010


Happy Saturday to you all. This morning I was treated to a toddler-free fabric shopping experience. The kind where I can wander and become inspired because my precious daughter is not chasing after me pressuring me to leave. It was lovely.
Here is what I came home with.

Aren't these fun? They are from the Blue Hill Party Dress Collection. I mixed patterns from several of the different colorways. Here is what the full line looks like.

This fabric was purchased with a very specific project in mind. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Changing Pad Cover- a tutorial review

Have you noticed the "projects" tab at the top of the page? If not, you should check it out. There are a bunch of cool tutorial links that are currently on my to-do list.
I had some extra fabric laying around that matched part of our son's nursery. Originally I was just keeping it with the intention of finding something to do with it later. Well I finally decided to use it to make an extra changing pad cover and got around to making one using the Prudent Baby tutorial. Overall I thought the tutorial was super easy and it was really quick to make (like 30 minutes quick) which is always nice.
In case you decide to tackle this project, I thought I would pass on a couple tips that I used while working through it.
-There are no seam allowances listed in the tutorial. I used 1/4" and that seemed to work fine.
-Personally, I found step 4 to be a little confusing. Here is what you are supposed to do: After you have cut out the 8-inch squares and unfolded the fabric, you will have 4 corners that look like this...

With right sides together, fold the two edges shown above onto each other and pin in place. You need to do this at all 4 corners of the fabric. When it is all pinned together, your fabric will resemble the shape of a basket liner.

The tutorial calls for a 36" piece of elastic. I found that my cover fit a little on the snug side so, I would recommend using a 38" or a little larger piece of elastic instead.

If you decide to use the tutorial and are happy with it, you should leave Prudent Baby a comment on their blog. It is always nice to get affirming comments on a tutorial- or anything for that matter:) Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Etsy spotlights

I love etsy. It is such an amazing community of people and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the shop owners and customers. The great thing about etsy is that even though many of us are in "competition" with one another, it doesn't feel like that. Shop owners are always willing to lend a hand or offer advice. It is just such a peaceful and inspiring environment.

Anyways, another great thing about etsy is that there is some seriously cute stuff to be found! On any given day I can spend hours just browsing for fun stuff. To narrow this spotlight down a little, I am just going to feature stuff offered by my super sponsors. Check out their craftiness!

Love, September birthday table runner. This would make the cake or gift table look so sweet!

Love, September table pennants. These are being featured in the September issue of Brides Magazine!

Pinkadot Tots butterfly clip set. Imagine how cute these would be on a baby girl!

Pinkadot Tots gumdrop hair bow. Love this photography!

Sew cute by Katie. I love baseball hats and everything with a monogram!

Sew Cute by Katie crab boxers. These are hilarious!

Honeyjane April Showers baby blanket. I love the vintage look of this blanket. Would make a precious baby gift.

LBG Studio owl softie. Seriously, how cute is this?

LBG Studio. I need this. Enough said.

Olives on a String Funky fresh rose clip. This would be precious on you or your favorite little girl.

Olives on a String pilot cap.This would make a fun baby shower gift.

Sew Sweet Stitches fascinator. This beats a plain headband any day of the week!

Sew sweet stitches cranberries and cream earrings. I love the vintage look of these.

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