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September 08, 2020
Can you believe it is already September? It seems as though when the weather cools, people begin to revisit their indoor hobbies. For some of us, that hobby is sewing! It is DIY project season, and a lot of you will be breaking out your sewing machines (if you haven’t already during COVID). I wanted to share a bit more about my sewing process and how Sugarboy's came to be in honor of National Sewing Month!
My grandmother attempted to teach me to sew when I was in elementary and middle school, as she made all of my clothing when I was younger. However, it was a failed attempt as I did not share her love of sewing. I returned to it when I started Sugarboy’s, as the cats LOVED the alpaca fiber I was sorting for processing; they could never get enough of it. That is how the Paca Pet Pouf started!
I have two Janome sewing machines. I did a lot of research before purchasing and noted that Janome makes machines for every skill level, and it is very user friendly. I bought one and then the second a few years later, as the device needs servicing every two years. That way I’m never without at least one machine.
I almost always sew in the morning or early afternoon, typically on a holiday or weekend. If I don’t abide by this, mistakes happen, and that just slows everything down.
My cats are usually involved in the process, “assisting” regularly. I like to either listen to music or have the TV on in the background for white noise.
I’m very much a visual person and cannot easily see something go from one or two dimensional to three. Sewing has helped with this a great deal since it requires construction for a finished object, most of which are not flat.
I also see parallels to the construction of knitted pieces, where the finishing is the difference between something that’s just okay to a masterpiece. I have learned to take my time and not rush to the finish line.
I typically sew with cotton fabrics because I prefer natural fibers (just like yarn). Still, customers have requested waterproof items for pet bed covers, so I’ve learned how to sew with “sticky” or “slippery” fabrics, that is, materials that tend to stick to surfaces or onto themselves.
Tip: Painter’s tape has become my new best friend when I’m working with them, as you can’t use pins to hold the fabric down to seam or you will puncture the waterproof seal.
Early on, I chose fabric prints I’m drawn to, and once I got my website up and running, I quickly realized that I needed a broader selection of colors (I favor blues and purples). What’s funny now is that that purple is underrepresented, so putting it back on the menu is on my To-Do list.
It’s also hard to tell what colors/prints will sell, as there have been fabrics that become customer favorites, and I rushed to buy all I could find. I even bought fabric from Hong Kong since that was the very last of it, and that particular print always sold out when I used it. Customers don’t realize that fabrics often go out of print after just one season, so sourcing it can be challenging.
Tip: I recommend that when you find a print you love, buy two if available! I typically list items as the last ones or out of print, so customers understand these have limited availability. That’s also why the website has the collection “Going, going, gone.”
We are proud to create locally sourced products that are sustainable, eco friendly, and purchased from other small businesses in the US and Canada. Check out our food safe cosmetic bags that hold your belongings and dog treats while you are out with your canine friend.
All product-related photos by Rebekah Feng Photography
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