The hardest part of setting up a craft business isn’t actually making the stuff, it’s making it economically enough that you can actually sell it to people! The main cost in most crafty enterprises is usually the labour: the time it takes you to produce the things you plan to sell. I’m in the process of working out pricing structures at the moment. I made these notebooks today with a stopwatch (well, OK – a phone) on hand to see how long it would take to make 5. Continue reading →
You know when your day was turning out great, & then suddenly a couple of little things crop up & it goes all rubbish on you? Yeah. It’s been one of those. BUT at least I’ve just finished the faux leather journal I’ve been working on, so I’ve something to show for it!
I picked up the faux leather in the remnants basket of Hickey’s last year, & it’s good to finally use some of it. The tie is just a few colours of embroidery thread plaited together. What do you think?
When my mother & I heard there was going to be a sale in Róisín Cross Silks, we knew there was no point denying it: we had to pay them a visit. We first discovered the place when my sister got engaged last year. Once it was decided we’d be making the wedding & bridesmaid dresses ourselves, silk was really the only way to go. Or so we convinced ourselves. (Honestly, how many times are you able to justify buying top-quality material like that? Who among you could resist it?! 😉 ) Judith, the owner, was incredibly helpful and didn’t seem at all perturbed by our 2+ hour rooting sessions in the shop. (We got what we wanted in the end & the dresses turned out beautifully.)
Anyway, to cut a long story short, when my mother and I returned to the shop for the sale and I found nothing I could really think of a use for on the shelves, I hit the remnants basket. And hit the jackpot. I found 7m (!) of printed silk for €40 (!!!), neatly folded and secured with tape. This is stuff that is usually closer to that price tag per metre! Naturally, I snapped it up. Let’s face it: it would have been morally wrong, as a home sewist, to do otherwise. Here is what it looks like:
It’s not quite as dark as this, & the grey has a sort of purplish hue. Isn’t it amazing? It drapes beautifully and feels like only 100% silk can: amazing. There are some minor printing flaws in a couple of places which presumably explains the reduction, but nothing a bit of careful pattern placement can’t overcome.
A new notebook or sketchbook can be a bit intimidating. Especially if it’s a really nice one. All those blank pages! What if you mess it up with a crappy drawing, or you have to cross out & rewrite something?! And so you (or I, at least) never really get around to using it all that much.
These notebooks are not like that.They’re cheap & quick to make, & so you won’t really mind if your drawings turn out rubbish & your writing is messy. There’s no pressure to be perfect when you open up one of these.
It’ll take you less half an hour to make a pair, once you get the hang of it.
I’ve just finished binding the second journal to its cover boards, so the pair is finished. Don’t they look great together?
I’ve definitely got to up my game, though – it took me far longer to make them than it should have. There’s definitely room for improvement in the execution, too. I’m hoping to buy a vertical plough for the studio so I can even off the page edges properly – a craft knife just doesn’t cut it.
If you’ll excuse the pun.
Now: what should I try next? Maybe a longstitched journal? Hmm. First, I’ll put together that tutorial: how to make a quick, cheap handsewn newsprint notebook.
I did something extremely stupid when I was working on these journals a few days ago.
I’d sewn both text blocks, made the covers and pressed them all under weight, and all I had left to do was attach the covers to the block with coptic binding. I started on the green journal with a two-needle technique, & no matter how hard I tried, I just could not keep the covers tight! Argh! So I decided to literally cut my losses and pulled out my craft knife to cut out the coptic stitching. And my hand slipped. And I cut the link stitching on the text block. ARGH! (It’s a good thing the studio is a detached building because I cursed at the top of my lungs for a solid minute.) What an IDIOT!
So… I finished the grey journal yesterday, and I got the text block resewn on the other one this evening. (I used a link sewing technique I learned from Molly Brooks’s exposed tape binding tutorial. I have ambitions to make an exposed tape bound book soon, but here I just wanted something a bit decorative to show off the new thread I bought this week.) The finished journal is covered in ordinary bookcloth, but the second, unfinished one is covered in real Irish linen, left over from a dress I made last year. It’s turned out pretty well! Here are a couple more photos: Continue reading →