Craft Saturday Review – what I learned from my first craft show

 

 

I had fun getting ready for Craft Saturday. I made a bazillion things to take (too many), made myself a coat tree with about $8 worth of materials, made myself a nifty sign, priced and packed up all my stuff. The show was fun, despite the cold (outside and inside – I just couldn’t get warm), the small crowds, and the incredibly dark and dreary surroundings. It was very well-organized – kudos and thanks to Danelle and Joe, who do all the work to put it on. I’ll definitely be back.

I did also learn a lot from my first craft show experience.  I share that here, in the hopes that it helps someone else.

  • Do a trial run. I taped off a booth in my dining room, set up my table, did some arranging and rearranging. But I did forget that I’d have a lamp, and I also had already packed away some of my items, so when I arrived to set up at my actual location on Saturday, things were a bit different. I mean, it wasn’t a tragedy, but I wish I’d done a full-scale trial run.
  • Bring a buddy. I didn’t have a buddy for this event. I mean, Randy has to stay home with Wally. My mom can’t be out in the snow. My friends all have small children and are understandably reluctant to leave their families on a weekend. So I was all on my own for the afternoon. Got a little boring. I couldn’t really get up.
  • Bring a project. Not only was I able to knit to pass the time in between visitors (it was really really slow at times), but many visitors commented favorably on the knitting. I also found that people were likely to stay and browse longer if I merely looked up, said hi, made a comment about whatever they happened to be looking at, and then went back to my knitting. I was available if they needed me, but not staring at them. This also meshes well with how I like to shop. If the booth owner ignores me, I’m more likely to stay and browse than if they’re just staring at me while I check out their stuff.
  • Less is more. I had waaay too much stuff. I was actually just being optimistic. I left many things packed away, but I wanted to bring them in case I sold through the stuff I set out originally. ha ha. But still. way. too. much.
  • Labels and signs are important. The things I had labeled (I made little tent signs with a short description and the price of similar items that were grouped together) were the things that got looked at. The things that didn’t have signs did not get looked at.
  • Provide a logical progression through the booth. I lacked that, but many other booths had a good logical progression. I’ll have to fine-tune my set-up for the next time.
  • If you bring a mannequin, be sure to bring some clothes for her. I have never forgotten a shirt for Miss Inflatable, but I did this time, and she looked a little inappropriate. I was embarassed for her.

I did make money. I made back my booth fee as well as the cost of the materials for the coat tree, plus some. I think it was a success. I’ve taken note of what sold and what didn’t and am already planning some changes for next time.

Those of you who came out – thanks for braving the weather and the bad forecast! Those of you who didn’t – maybe we’ll see you in March??

Tutorial: Easy Child’s Cape

Easy Child's Cape

Capes for children (or adults, really) are so easy!

1. Get your fabric. Measure your child from his shoulders to the floor. Get that much fabric.

2. Now, cut it. Lay the fabric out as shown in the diagram and cut where the red line is. Don’t worry about being too precise, you’re just rounding the corner a bit.

3. Hem. Hem the three sides that are curved.

4. Gather the top. Set your machine to the longest stitch length possible and run two rows of stitching across the top (unhemmed) edge. Pull on the threads to gather the top to whatever length you want. Arrange the gathers so they are even across the length.

5. This step is optional, but I find it makes things easier. Using a zigzag stitch, sew over the gathers to lock them in place.

6. Get or make yourself a length of bias tape about 8-12 inches longer than the top of your cape. Leaving lengths of bias tape on either side for ties, sew the tape to the top of the cape, hiding the messy unhemmed edge inside the bias tape.

All done!

Super Easy Patternless A-Line Skirt

Sometimes you just feel like a simple skirt with nice, clean lines. And you don’t have a whole lot of fabric. This easy skirt is perfect! You’ll need two times the length that you want for the skirt. (So if you want a skirt that’s 25 inches long, you’ll need 50 inches of fabric, or about 1.5 yards.)

Fold the fabric in half, with the selvages together. Then fold it again so the cut ends are together. You should have four layers of fabric, with a big fold at the top, selvages on the right, two single-layer folds on the left, and four cut ends at the bottom.

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To use even less fabric, you can use the fabric’s width as your length, then you’ll only need enough to get around your hips plus however much more you want for fullness at the hem. If you’ve decided to go this route, when you first lay your fabric out to fold it, the selvages will be at the top and bottom, with the cut ends on the right and left.

Once you’ve gotten the fabric folded, sketch out your skirt. Or, if you’re like me, live on the wild side, forgo the pen, and start with the scissors! The important part is the waist – measure your waist and add 2 inches, then divide by 4. This is the hot pink line in the drawing. The other two lines are pretty forgiving – the purple line should be as long as you want the skirt plus a few inches for the hem. The blue line just goes from the end of the purple line back to the fold.

You’ll also want to cut yourself a waistband – I like to make it about three inches wide and as long as my waist measurement plus two inches.

Now sew the two panels of your skirt together, right sides facing of course, using 1/2 inch seam allowances. Leave room on one side to add a zipper. Sew in the zipper, then sew on your waistband. Add a button or snap on the waistband. Hem. And you’re finished.

These skirts usually take me about an hour, all told.

Now, I have a very uncurvy frame. There’s about ten inches of difference between my waist at its narrowest and my hips at their fullest. If you have a curvier figure, the straight side seams of this skirt might not be flattering on you. In that case, consider cutting the side seams with a bit of a curve to match your hips like this:

I particularly like this pattern in a vertical stripe, because the way it hangs makes the stripes look like they angle in on the sides.