90. the one with the very important business of pricing

when i first started making & selling my work, years ago now, i found pricing a fucking nightmare.
on all the helpful websites, there was the formulas of: this plus that, plus a decent hourly wage. and then you times by something and then double it. complicated mathsmaths.

there were the lovely friend-colleagues & customers who understood that i didn’t learn free motion embroidery off of a youtube video one day – that i’d actually been sewing since Ago, plus i’d suffered through an entire degree at Embroidery University.
they thought i should charge more. <3

but there were also the Angry People who insisted that by not obeying the law of mathsmaths formula, by under-charging, i was doing an evil disservice to everyone who’s trying to earn a proper living from making. i was reducing its worth. *tut*
they thought i should charge more.

<tbf, they’re probably doing something a lot more commercially viable than me.
because show me the person who will pay £324623mathsmaths x2 for a handmade embroidered bookmark, and i will show you an emperor with no clothes who probably doesn’t read paperbacks anyway>

it was all SO CONFUSING and i tried all manner of combinations of advices.
but, finally, after all these years, i have it figured out! …or do i?
AND IT’S SO SIMPLE! …or izzit?

this month i’ve been scribbling & fiddling, updating some old designs; like these fancy zombie ladies with their fresh florals for spring 2018.

floral zombie applique

^ as ever, when it came to actually cutting out all the teeny tiny bits, i realised i was being mental. it took a good 5 hours just to get all the microscopic parts snipped & in place ready for stitching.

then each little lady took an hour to embroider, with all the stop/start of the intricates. roughly one bobbin per beauty. that is a lot of stitching-metres.
floral zombie free motion embroidery

but it didn’t matter because IN THE ZONE,
being ON FIRE

<… that night, 3am: shoulders & neck ACTUALLY *on fire* from Too Much hours of best sewing angle contortion-ry… morphs into migraine…. delirious kicky-feet fever dreams…
what was i thinking oh i hope i still have time to make bunnies for easter maybe i’m having a stroke god i’d kill for a cup of tea right now why am i visualising the floor plans for a house i looked at on right move yesterday maybe i should start charging for materials what if i AM having a stroke what was the name of that guy who was in that film we watched  … 
lose sunday & monday lying on the couch with a migraine hangover and very closed eyes. >

tuesday: right. back to work!
bookmarks. and wtfpricing.
so far, each one has taken… rounding down… approx. 3 hours. “SO FAR.”
and what even *is* minimum wage these days? mine should be less because pyjamas and netflix. but also, mustn’t forget commission, listing & selling fees…
what if i price them at £15? that’s like £5 per hour. ish.
that seems like a fair price for a special bookmark?

it doesn’t take long to make up the finished item, so i’ll just disappear that half hour(ish) from my mathsmaths formula.

free motion embroidery bookmarks handmade

^ as ever, when it came to actually pinning, backing, cutting, measuring, sewing, trimming, turning, pressing, topstitching, pressing again, i realised i was being a mathsmaths-stupidstupid. Y, it only takes an hour to make up a couple… but i was not making “a couple”.

another 2 bobbins and a day later…
handmade embroidered bookmarks

18x beautiful and/or very spesh freehand embroidered bird / sheep / zombie textile bookmarks all ready to be photo-ed & listed for sale. once i’ve decided about prices.

birds zombie sheep bookmark.jpg

i still don’t have a fucking clue what i’m doing.

***edit: bookmarks are available here fiona t.


85. the one with the mummies

mummies “the journey”
**as always, this is not a “how to” or a tutorial so please do NOT share on m**$*%effing pinterest. thankyouplease :) fiona t mummies mar14

for a while there,  i had to take myself off into internet-seclusion due to ongoing personal kerfuffles.
i find that just sitting in front of the telly, “not working”, is usually the best time for coming up with new ideas. and with no orders or other projects going on at the moment, i was able to keep playing and tinkering with these until they were just as my brain had described them to me.

i’d doodled some veeeery rough ideas back at the beginning of the year… for valentine’s day, mother’s day and easter… never knowing if i’d find time to develop them further
initial idea mummiesterrible drawings

(i’ve sneaky-pixelled out the easter things ^ just in case i get to them, and the valentines day pandas – which i was super happy with – are long gone. i never even blogged about them because there are only about 3 hours in the day at the moment)
red valentines panda
romantical valentine’s pandas

the next stage when i’m making something new, is endless fails.
if i was sensible, i would just draw the detail onto fabric with biro while i work on shape & construction (thus saving all of the cutting, sticking & embroiderering hours).
but i’m 1. not sensible, and
2. unable to visualise things exactly until they are right there in my eyes & in my hands

mummies product development
lumpy long legged fail mummies

after that stage, it’s back to the drawing board.
many, many times.

mummies redraw
super technical final drawing

next i build a “rough copy” that i’m happy with…
first mummyfirst mummy 

*whispering* at this stage i sometimes like to confer with my art-friends.
“is this rubbish? i think it’s funny and good but what if it’s rubbish? is it a crap idea? …and should i go with multi coloured bandages or keep it traditional?”
it’s good to have a small, trusted group that – for just 18p! – will give you honest feedback & suggestions before you unleash potential insanity onto the internet :)

next, i spent a fun day ruining my best pyjamas in the pursuit of the perfect hand dyed corpse colourdyed mummies50 shades of grey-blue (or, 8. 8 shades of grey-blue)

and then just 4837457989 hours later, presto! 4 dress rehearsal mummies embroidered, sewed, stuffed ‘n wrapped!
fiona t mummies mar14_2

kerfuffle circumstances allowing, i’ll be starting work on a small batch of these this afternoon so that they’re ready in time. of course, mummies are for life – not just for mother’s day.
**edit: there are still a couple available here

81. the one with the zombie snowmen – giveaway (closed) + winner

i don’t normally make anything christmassy for my shop – this is mostly DENIAL that the year is almost over – but i fancied doing something really traditional this year…
embroidered zombie snowmen

zombie snowmen.

i’d been tinkering with a few ideas (i hope i have time to develop some of the others… by christmas 2016 maybe?) but i went with snowmen. in truth, mainly because i wanted to knit some cosy miniature hats and scarves for them :)

i don’t draw much anymore, so my sketchbooking is really basic, and i’m always thinking ahead to what i can realistically do & within a certain time frame. (i’d like to work with real carrots & weave my own fabric from unicorn fur for eg, but things need to be affordable at the end. and not be made out of rotten vegetables i suppose.)

sketchbook snowmen

as soon as i’ve sketched a vague idea, i like to just jump straight in and make the thing,
simplifying or adding detail, making notes and adjustments as it develops.

cutting & sticking

… the problem with being impatient like this starting without a proper, fully tweaked pattern, is that if it doesn’t work first time all that labour intensive applique & embroidery time is wasted. sometimes i’m lucky… sometimes not.

free machine snowman

free motion heart

this is the unpredictable part of handmade that i both love and hate – even when i think i have it “just right”, i never know what’ll apear when i turn ’em.

“you’re like a beautiful freak emerging from a calico chrysalis”
zombie turning

these are all destined for the bin. product development:fail snowmans

no blog post would be complete without a picture of the anakin dog – here she is keeping her nose out. the fruit bowl is the safest place for work that occurs outside of my sewing room.

after knitting 78346535674378563478 teeny tiny hats and scarves, each one was carefully handwashed (i do wonder what the neighbours think about my washing line) so they don’t smell of apples.

zombie hats & scarves

and then the best bit: dressing my little zombie snowmen up in their winter outfits :)

3 zombie snowmen

very limited stock available here (they’re £28 + £3 p&p for a set of 3), but for now…

*** GIVEAWAY ***
so, it would appear that i never grew out of playing dress-up with my dolls.
i also still love colouring in and cartwheels.
what childhood thing do you still love to do? or wish you could still play or do?
don’t be embarrassed, it’ll just be between us – no one else will know, honest.

the winner will probably be chosen at random by a senile border collie.
competition closes on friday, 18th october at 12 noon.
and i’ll announce the winner right here, as soon as possible after the draw.

thanks and good luck!

***EDIT friday, 18th october:

56. the one where i sew my finger

subtitle: the one where i learn the difference between


and down

i’ve been (saying i’m) going to take a little break from sewing for ages – just to give my fingers, wrists, hands, shoulders, neck & eyes a good rest. the first 3 months of the year are usually pretty quiet selling-wise, so i’d planned on it being then.

but then january
fiona t jan 2013

and february
fiona t feb 2013

yesterday afternoon, i was LITERALLY working on the VERY LAST THING!!! when *suddenly*

fb first aid 01

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luckily,fb first aid 03facebook is great in a first aid emergencyfb first aid 04

fb first aid 05


fb first aid 06

readers of a sensitive disposition should look away now

gruesome sewing injury