Thursday, 31 March 2011

Saying thank you and being grateful

It's important to say thank you sometimes and today I'd like to say thank you to someone I met through Facebook. She's an inspiration in that she's fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Research by asking fellow crafters to donate items for fans on the facebook page to bid on.

My new friend's original aim was to raise £500 for Macmillan but it's grown really fast and now her Facebook page has over 500 fans and she's more than passed the £500 mark. The new goal is £1000. 

The motto for the page is:
Make a difference, Make someone smile , Make today matter
I think that this pretty much sums up the goodwill that the jewellery makers, crafters and most recently writers (signed copies of books have been donated) have demonstrated in giving their time and handmade crafts to such a great cause.

As if that wasn't enough, my new friend has also recommended a place for me to approach about having a crafts stall. Turns out I was approved and I hope to have my first stall in April. Again, this is thanks to her.

So thank you my new friend for being an inspiration to so many crafters and makers and for providing a platform for people to donate and raise money in aid of such a good cause. And thank you for being so positive and helping me with my own new business.

Why not become a fan today of Make for macmillan on facebook and be a part of something very worthwhile for a really good cause.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

How do I start making my own clothes

I was listening to a conversation the other day between two 20-somethings on the train on my way home. One of them was complaining about how expensive dresses she liked are in the shops and her friend suggested that she make her own and they both agreed that they'd ask their Mum to show them how to sew.

It got me thinking, how do you learn to sew or make clothes if you don't know much about it to start with?

First of all, get your tools together. You'll need a sewing machine, a pair of sharp fabric scissors, some tailors chalk, pins and a tape measure.

1. Go to your nearest fabric shop and ask for an easy sew pattern. My experience is that Simplicity or Burda patterns are easy to start out on.

2. Read the back of the pattern and use the description to establish what you need to buy. 

3. Buy a bit of extra fabric (just in case you have beginner accidents) and don't forget to buy some thread to sew it with!

4. Take it all home and if it's cotton fabric, wash it and dry it before using it! Why? Sometimes it shrinks after the first wash.

5. Cut out your paper pattern pieces (top tip, dont cut them to your size, leave them at the largest size and that way you'll be able to re-use them for someone else). Lay out the pieces on the fabric as described in the instructions.

6. Pin them on and cut them out. Make sure you have some tailors chalk to draw on darts or other markings. 

7. Get sewing.

It's that easy. 7 steps and you can have a new dress, shirt, skirt or something else. Start simple and then move on to something more complicated later on.

Useful links for fabric

I hope that this was a useful introduction for someone asking the question, how do I get started with making my own clothes?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Facebook thrills

So today, I was looking at Facebook and feeling quite pleased with my 117 (or 118 it always seems to fluctuate for some reason) fans.

I started my Emma Barrett Designs Facebook page a couple of months ago and initially a few friends signed up (hooray for friends who want to support you but I always feel like it's nice of my friends, but if I'm honest, kind of expected too). Come on, admit it, friends are a given for anyone's facebook fan page.

So whenever, I get a complete stranger becoming a 'fan' on facebook I get a thrill. Someone likes me and likes what I do? How absolutely amazing is that!

One day I had a woman in the USA become a fan and post some friendly, positive comments on my wall about the things I make. I was so excited for the rest of the day. I felt thrilled that someone so far away from London would be interested in what I do.

Perhaps the cynics among you would say, 'she only liked you so that you would like her page back'. So what? We're both winners in that scenario and if she looks at my photos, reads my posts and perhaps makes a comment now and then and continues to be a fan, then that's just peachy with me.

So, make my day, become a fan of Emma Barrett Designs today. Click on the facebook link to the right of this blog and think about how happy you'll be making me feel. Such a little thing for anyone to do to express their liking for my makes but such a massive boost to someone starting out with their own company. Thank you lovely facebook likers.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Weekend prep

Well, I've had a really busy weekend. I made bunting.

Here's EBDesigns top three tips for making bunting.

1 - Make yourself a template and use it every time you cut out a shape.

2 - Use cotton fabric and interface your shapes to stop them going floppy.

3 - If you're really confident, make them double sided so that when they flap in the breeze, you get a flash of another colour. It looks very pretty.

Bunting is a really easy way to decorate a garden or a house for a special occasion or just because you fancy brightening up a room. In my case I decided to hang the bunting on the stairs.

But you can also put it outside.
EBDesigns bunting has another added twist in that it's not only reversible but it's also customised. You can decide what colour and what order your bunting will be. Thanks to the addition of little buttons, it's all up to you!
I feel quite smug about my clever bunting. Remember everything I blog about is made by me and is available from my website. See you soon!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Establishing a stall

I thought I'd start to keep a kind of diary about how Emma Barrett Designs is going. The reasons for doing this is mainly because I want to be able to look back at all my efforts to get EB Designs off the ground and feel like I'm getting somewhere each work or even each day. If you write it down and it's out there in the world, it makes you accountable! So, I'm making myself accountable, if I want success I have to make it happen.

So my focus this week has been on two things. Making better use of twitter, I'm a tweeting novice so I've been learning how to do it and now I've got some followers and I'm following some people and organisations. I feel like I might get more exposure for Emma Barrett Designs. My other area this week was to try and get myself a stall or stand in a craft fair. Again this is about accountability. If I have a place where I have to be on a certain date it forces me into action and there are no excuses not to create some stock. With the help of a friend, Clare, I found out about Merton Abbey Mills in Colliers Wood. I spoke to the organiser and was approved for a stall whenever I want it! Then, today, through another friend, Anita, I secured another stall at a charity event in May. It's called 'Putting on the Blitz!' and theres a facebook page for it, if you'd like to know more. So, now, I have a LOAD of stock to make for both events and I'm a little bit scared by this.

A busy weekend ahead but also a positive weekend too.