Thursday, 24 April 2014

How to Add & Sell a Pattern on Craftsy

After I started my Craftsy store, they sent me an email to show other people how to do the same thing. I can't see any reason not to, so I've copied and pasted the sample blog post to here. : )

(This post contains affiliate links which means I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)

In addition to wonderful online courses and craft supplies, Craftsy also has an independent online pattern store that lets anyone upload and sell downloadable e-patterns with no fee!

How do you add a pattern to Craftsy and start your pattern store? It’s easy!

1. Make sure you have a Paypal account. All pattern transactions happen through Paypal, and Craftsy requires that you have a Student, Premier, or Business account in order to sell patterns.
2. Put your pattern in .pdf format. You can’t upload any patterns to the online pattern store unless they’re a .pdf file format, so if they’re currently saved as a Word doc, .jpg, or other file format, you must convert it to a .pdf before you upload it to Craftsy.
3. Include a photo. All patterns must have at least one photo to accompany them, but you can add up to five photos. Colorful, interesting photos tend to work the best for catching our members’ eyes!
4. Fill out the pattern description. We will ask you some basic questions around your pattern making it easier for Craftsy folk to find your pattern and know what your pattern is for. Make sure you have info about your pattern handy for this step.

For more information on how to sell a pattern through Craftsy, or to get started, visit Craftsy today!

Shop Indie Patterns

I'm going to try to build a good business with PDF patterns, and it would be great if you did too. The more people buying indie patterns the better, and I say that as someone who has retailed patterns from one of the Big Four and I know how draining it can be to a shop-keeper's profits. At least with Indie patterns you know the money is going to the person who did the work, and no-one is losing out.

Craftsy is also a great platform for your patterns. I've had more downloads of the Sailor Dress Pattern in the past week than I ever have on B****St**e. I think it's because having the widget on my blog gets more traffic to it, and people go to Craftsy to find indie patterns. I got 29 downloads on Craftsy on the 25th April! I was so surprised! : )


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The delights of starting your own indie pattern company

Yesterday I uploaded the Sailor Dress Pattern to Craftsy (as you can see on my new widget down the page), and I got an email this morning saying that I'd already had 7 "sales" (quotation marks because that pattern is free UPDATE: The pattern is now £2 to download). It's quite a thrill, you know, to get real results from my pattern making and designing. After that little success I think I can probably at least make some extra pocket money from having my own independent pattern company. While I'm in university I'll call it Student Designer to go with this blog. *I think I can do this!* : )

One of the great things about this is that I already have everything I need to start. Here's a photo of my "studio" (my room):

When I'm working with adult-sized patterns I have to borrow my brother's desk to extend mine. His is identical to mine except it's blue where mine is pink.

To store my rulers, I hang them on a curtain hook. The software I use is Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

To get things done I have to do to-do lists and not demand too much of myself. I'm going to have to do just one design for this project because, with the extra work of digitising, marketing, selling, writing sewing instructions and doing a photoshoot of the design, there is no way one person can do any more than one design in a six week module. I was rather overambitious before. : I will get all this done on time. I will.

Upcycled Cap-sleeve Tee

Now, before you read any further, guess what this tip is made from. I want honest opinions now. : )

9 Great Things About this Project
  1. Quick to make
  2. Easy to fold into a drawer or suitcase. The two-piece Peter Pan collar and squarish shape of the tee mean that you can easily fold the top into quarters and put it neatly away.
  3. Super-comfy. This one is made from a nightie and is so comfortable it’s amazing!
  4. Stylish and fashionable. The simple vintage look is very much in vogue.
  5. Adaptable. Its simple styling means it can be make up in various prints or plain fabrics, and extra seams can be added as style-lines.
  6. Versatile wardrobe staple. Depending on the fabric choice, this style can be worn to just about any occasion.
  7. Minimal fitting. If you have a pattern that fits your shoulders and neckline
  8. Little fabric (mine was made from a nightie that had worn out at the seams and edges).
  9. Good for beginners. The most complicated thing in this project is the collar, which can be omitted if you would like a plainer tee, or mastered with careful attention.

7 Upcycling Thoughts:
  1. The new product must not look upcycled (unless that’s your point)
  2. Co-ordinate you colours. If you’re combining fabrics, the easiest way to make the new product look shop-bought is to use fabrics that harmonise. How often do you see a RTW garment made from just one colour?
  3. It really helps to use a well-drafted sewing pattern, unless you’re one of those lucky people who can just fluke all your sewing projects. : ) I altered my close-fitting block to make a dartless t-shirt pattern. I don't know if the same method that I used would work for someone over an A-cup, but it seems to work fine for me. If anyone asks in the comments, I'll do a tutorial on how I did it, but one thing I noticed is that because t-shirts drape and stretch, they will look really loose if you use the "close-fitting dress block" that is meant for wovens. It's surprising how much looser the look. I also did a cap-sleeve adaptation as shown in Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear, and a Peter Pan collar as shown in the same book.
  4. Treat your project as if you were using expensive fabric. Take all the care to sew and press properly and neatly that you would were you using expensive fabric. The point of upcycling is to give an old thing a new lease of life, but that life will be dreadfully short if you are embarrassed to wear the garment out of the house.
  5. On the other hand, upcycling can be a good opportunity to make a toile. You can even toile the upcycling project if you have two identical worn-out things. For instance, my top was the second attempt because the first one didn’t work out (learning curve), and I had two nighties that had worn out at the seams and edges.
  6. You can easily knock-off RTW clothes, and this way you’ll be doing so ethically:
      • no sweatshops
      • made in England
      • New-from-old = not going to the tip.
  7. Upcycling is also a good opportunity to practise working with unfamiliar fabrics and techniques. I am not very experienced with knit fabrics, and even less so with combining them with wovens. I learned a few things by making upcycled t-shirts.

10 Things I’ve Learned With this Project

  1. For vertical seams on not-too-tight tees you can use a plain old straight stitch, but maybe a bit longer than usual (3-3.5mm)
  2. Shoulder seams need to be stayed by having non-stretch tape stitched with them.
  3. Hems should always be pressed before stitching.
  4. A walking foot (or something similar) should be used on stretchy bits like hems to prevent an unwanted lettuce leaf effect.
  5. Facings should always be used when you sew a collar on because it makes it easier to sew, and gives a neater end result, plus you can add a label to the facing and make it look really professional.
  6. Pressing is even more important when using stretch fabrics than when sewing just wovens. It makes your garments look so much neater.
  7. You will probably need to hem the collar and facing down because the fabrics are so different.
  8. When drafting the neck facing, use the shoulder seams from your block, not from the cap-sleeve pattern, or you’ll have to dart out the extra fullness afterwards.
  9. The hem-allowance should be 0.5cm deeper than the stitching’s distance from the fold even when you’re using a twin-needle hem. The extra can be trimmed after if you like, but as jersey doesn’t fray, you don’t have to.
  10. You should measure the new neckline and make sure that you can get your head through. I can just get my head through this neckline, but another centimetre’s neckline width at each shoulder seam would have been nice.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

About Bokeh and Depth of Field

I am learning photography. I'm not quite obsessed (yet) but I want to get the kind of images BurdaStyle magazine has. And I want to get it with my camera (I will not buy a DSLR yet, I will not buy a DSLR yet...). I'm pretty sure that it's largely to do with skill and composition, so I'm gradually working on that. (My Sony RX100ii has an auto framing mode which is helping me to learn about framing and composition by showing me how my photos can look better by cropping etc.)

One of the things I want to achieve in my photography is bokeh (blurry background). The things that affect this, according to the Internet, are sensor size, aperture (f numbers), and distance.

Now, I realise that DSLRs will give you much more bokeh than any compact camera (with the possible exception of the full-frame Sony RX1 which costs about £2700 and I'm not paying anywhere near that), but I find that I can get good bokeh with my new Sony RX100ii sometimes. Of course, I wanted to find out why I was getting better bokeh at sometimes than others. I knew it had to do with aperture (how much the camera squints), and distance from the camera. Last night the phrase "depth of field" finally hit home and I realised that it's about relativity.

To demonstrate for yourself how depth of field affects bokeh, hold out your index finger in front of you and focus on it as you move it towards an object that's in front of you, and then towards your eyes. As you move your finger towards the object, the object will come more into focus, and as you move your finger closer to your eyes, the object will get blurrier (that's bokeh).

This is what happens in photography. The better your sensor and lens, the more pronounced these effects will be because your camera has better eyesight. If you try the above experiment while squinting, you'll see what a difference quality of camera and lens makes.

The bigger your subject, the greater the distance will have to be between it and the background because the camera must be farther away from the subject to get the whole thing in the frame. The reverse is true as well: macro shots have great bokeh because there is very shallow depth of field, i.e. the subject is close the camera, so the background is far away compared with this distance. 

I think there must be a ratio for this, but it will vary from camera to camera. I think on mine, the distance from the subject to the background must be at least four times the distance from the subject to the camera to get good bokeh. 

Here are some images that demonstrate the idea, and that I took last night when I was figuring bokeh and DOF out:

Above you can see how the closer the usb stick is to the camera, the blurrier the tissue gets.

Above, you can just see how the closet I am to the camera, the blurrier the printer and books are. It's not as pronounced in these images because the distance isn't very big compared with me.

It also helps if the background has bright lighting with different colours, like if you're standing in front of a backlit tree or some fairy lights. You'll have to Google image for that though.

I'll add more about photography as I learn it and actually understand it, but I can't say that will happen very regularly! : )


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Module 7 Begins: Independent Study

This module technically starts tomorrow, but Beth (our tutor) uploaded our module guide today to i-learn. We all have ideas about what we're going to do, and have been thinking ahead since we were told about it at the beginning of the last module. Basically, we get to make up our own brief. Mine is quite an ambitious one: pop-up sewing pattern company. I think I can do it, and I'm already a bit ahead because I developed the concept for my first pattern collection and collected the research images for my sketchbook on Tuesday night after I watched The Great British Sewing Bee.

The concept is The Secret Garden Tea Party. I want to make a collection of 3-5 patterns sized for little girls aged 3-6 years old. I know it's not a large age range, but I've only six weeks on this module, counting Easter break.

I've written my brief now so I'll take it to my tutor tomorrow.

I've just been looking at our Development Diary brief. We have to keep an A5 diary/journal and document all of our progress including: photographs, design sketches, illustrations, colour samples, fabric swatches, and stuff about any trips we make as part of our project. It sounds a lot when you think of it all at once! And all of that has a word limit of 3000, with leeway of 10% either way (careful word-counting will need to be done as I go along).

The "learning outcomes" are the grading criteria. Each module had different ones, and each brief within the module may have different ones. The Development diary brief requires that we use the skills we've learned so far in a "range of media to articulate ideas and concepts within the independently-conceived and generated, tutor approved fashion and clothing design project", mesh different inspirations etc. into the design project, and relate our design projects historically or contextually (to make sure we make good use of what we learned in module 5: Historical and Contextual Studies).

The other part of the module is the practical one: design or make. Of course, I'm technically going for both. So I need to make:

  • a research file
  • an A3 sketchbook: 10+ pages with images, fabric, annotation, draping on the stand, designs, drawing inspiration
  • A3 Design book (this is the "scruffy book" for coming up with ideas)
  • A3 Final Design board: designs, techs done on Adobe Illustrator, fabric, inspiring imagery
  • A3 mood board: images that sum up the collection
  • Pattern folder: content page, labels, master pattens, final patterns, all in clear wallets
  • Toiles with linings and made to a high standard
  • Final garments in clear dress bag(s), labelled with name and course
As you can see, I have a lot to do and the earlier a start I get, the better. Oh, did I mention, the patterns have to be clever and push my limits? Pattern Magic will be coming off the bookshelf again. : )


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Assessing my own work

As part of this module I have to assess my own work and professionalism. In a nutshell I'm not impressed with myself, but the grades I got on my last module were the proverbial kick up the backside and I can see that late nights (doing my work I might add) and late mornings catching up on my sleep do not work for me. I am one who needs to work with the rhythm of nature. I also need a routine -- chaos is so unproductive.

Anyway, as I'm likely going to be self-employed after I graduate (and my next module will be practice anyway) I'm being a one-woman-band on this project. I'm doing my own designing, pattern-cutting, sourcing, photography, modelling, and presentation work. That's a lot of hats to wear but I want to get a lot of skills. Even if I end up working for someone else I ought to have at least a basic understanding of what the other people in the company are doing so that I can communicate and work better with them.

Therefore I'm learning photography. I've bought a Sony RX100 II compact camera. I know it's not a DSLR or even a 4/3rds, but it does enough for me to shoot some (hopefully) professional-looking photographs of my work. I've got to learn about composition and lighting and all that, but my new motto is "one thing at a time"; I can't do everything at once and I'm not going to try -- I'd just go crazy!

The way we're doing this module (when we're at the college) is to do our CVs etc. in the morning and our competition work in the afternoon. I find this way of working better because I concentrate on the task at hand and actually get work done. In a way, it's like colouring in one section of a drawing at a time instead of trying to colour them all in at once with different coloured pens. You can see how much calmer and more efficient that would be!

At the end of the module...

The other thing I have improved on (and will continue to improve upon) during this module is concentrating on what I'm doing. It's really the only way to get anything done. It's easier for my mind to wander when I'm on my computer because Google is only a click away, but I just have to do what I'm supposed to do instead of Googling other interesting things. : )

I also find to-do-list-writing helpful for concentrating the mind. You can look at your list and think "well, I can get at least these two things done" and then find that you can get some more things done as well (depending on the tasks of course).

As I'm working as a freelance pattern cutter now, I have set aside Saturdays to work only on that. The other six days of the week are for my coursework. This allows some flexibility for course-related work experience. This coming Saturday (the 12th April) I will be working on a fashion show in Beverley though, so my freelance work will have to be on Sunday this week.

I'm also beginning to feel more professional by organising my branding and my employment packs, and learning to do photography. Being able to present a professional image really boost your confidence, but must, of course, be backed up with actual efficient work. : ) There's real pleasure in being tidy and productive, you know!

It has occurred to me that when photography and styling join forces, they are more powerful than politicians. The images in adverts and the media, I think, have more influence over our conscious and subconscious decisions than any amount of 5 minute "vote for me" adverts before Emmerdale. It really fascinates me and motivates me to learn more about photography and styling. It will really help my next project look professional.

The last part of "the journal"

This post will be the last in this series (sigh of relief). I know it's not been edge-of-your-seat kind of stuff and thank you very much for sticking with me. It's really a way of submitting my work for uni, so you're actually seeing part of my homework. : )

Saturday, 5th April 2014

Hand-in day is Tuesday and I have a few things to do prior to that. I have to:
  • re-do my illustration again
  • organise my case-study file
  • complete my New Look work experience report
  • update my blog (just this bit)
  • print tracing paper page
  • bind sketchbook (do this on Tuesday)
  • write links blog post in a PDF or email them to tutor
  • Employment Packs
Thankfully, these are mostly small jobs. The illustration will take the most effort/time. As today is Saturday, I have been working on Camilla's pattern, and I'll do the module work tomorrow and on Monday. I have ordered a garment bag but it wouldn't have got here in time even if I'd paid for express delivery, so I got free delivery and it will come by Thursday. I'll have to leave the dresses in my portfolio box until Friday.

Sunday, 6th April 2014

Today I have mostly sorted out my file and done my illustration. I must get the rest of my tasks completed tomorrow. I'm also looking into illustrating as a career option, but I don't think I will choose it ultimately. I'll research it, but I think it will be better as a side-skill.

These blog posts are evidently boring; I think I've lost a follower! The next one I type will be the last in this module, and it's just as well if it's effecting my ratings negatively.

I think this module has just opened up a part of my brain/mind that deals with branding. I'm glad because I shall need it for the next module.

Tuesday, 8th April 2012, half-past midnight

I've got most of what I wanted to do done. I haven't got my CV content improved, or at least I don't think I have; I'll only know as I apply for jobs and internships. I really wanted to work on my employment packs, but I think that will take time that I don't have just now. I have, however, found some interviews with independent pattern designers for my career research and done a job spec for that career. I have also moved some of the hand-written notes to computer format and printed them so they look better. I'd better get to bed now -- I have to be up at 6:50am! : ) Good night.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Module 6: Journal Continues again

29th March 2014

Yesterday we worked at New Look in St. Stephan's Shopping Centre in Hull. I was a "model" which really means that I worked as a shop assistant while wearing the stock (with the tags on). : )  My trend was Tropical Surf. I think I did a good job of adapting the look to be "me". I suspect I'm not suited to a retail environment. It's fine except for the customers, (except that makes it boring), at least in Hull. I don't sound like a Hulldener and I don't think that goes down well.

30th March 2014

As Saturdays are now for my free-lace work I spent yesterday doing that, and today will be busy indeed. I have too much to do to get it all done today, but I'll try to:
  1. finish my dress
  2. print off some business cards
  3. begin my illustration
The dress will take the longest to do because it's mostly hand-sewing to do now.

[That night]
I really need to be more efficient. I haven't even finished embellishing the dress (I had to re-sew the sequins as the design was not symmetrical). Oh I have so much to do tomorrow. I have to improve my concentration/interest in this project -- quickly! I've been distracted with photography. It's taking over. I'll have to put everything in a drawer when I'm working. "Out of sight, out of mind." I'll have to put that to good use.
  • To do lists on the wall
  • Curtains over the bookshelves (calico will do)
  • Camera and Kindle in drawer
  • Plan each module with calendar.
My room feels cluttered, and I'm tired. I'm going to bed. (Written at ten to one the next morning.)

31st March 2014

During breakfast I'm trying some different illustration styles to be more diverse.

5:29 pm
I have done three more illustrations and will as Beth which she thinks is best tomorrow. I still have to finish my sketchbook. I hope I can get the hand of sketch-booking by the end of the course. Maybe I'm over-thinking this, but it is so non-verbal and ethereal that it's hard for me to grasp.

9:10 pm
Tonight I have the following to do:
  1. finish sketchbook
  2. design board
  3. print some business cards
  4. customer profile
I simply won't complete all the task, but I can at least do number 3 and some of number 1.

-- I did them all! : D