In typical SOMP fashion, a friend of mine has inspired a new design. Kristen emailed me to see if I could make a set of those cute little hook and loop reusable snack bags. Today I tested my design theory, and if you ask me, the end product turned out okay! Kind of makes me want to go eat a handful of cereal in the car.
I wanted to share what one customer, Brooke, had to say about the set of bridesmaids clutches I made for her. I promise, I have not paid her to say this.
I ordered custom clutches from SOMP for my wedding and they turned out better than I could have hoped for! Jen did an amazing job on them, and she was so sweet, speedy, and helpful throughout the entire ordering process. All other should be jealous because my wedding party is going to have the coolest favors ever. If you're looking for high quality custom work, stop looking, you found it right here. Just don't order too much because she'll need time to complete the other orders I make! ;)
Thanks for that, Brooke! And best wishes for your big day!
Last Thursday I made a super summery custom large tote for a writer friend of mine, Ginny. She picked my favorite fabric of the season, Alexander Henry's Avedun and Anemone. I added a snap flap to the front--a nice touch, especially with this print. Ginny and I had a wonderful time catching up, thrift shopping, and beading in Medina.
Yesterday, since I am fresh out of zippers that match (never fear, 200 are on their way soon--and let me tell you, if you need zippers, Jennie of Zipit is the woman to talk to!), I made 2 more large totes: another Avedun and Anemone and a Cherry Blossom (photos soon). To top off a morning of sewing, I had lunch with my dear friend Cathy at the Pine Tree Barn: holy delicious chicken wrap, Batman.
The most exciting news for the last 2 weeks (the most exciting SOMP news, anyhow) is that SOMP will soon be featured on Heartsy--an awesome promotional endeavor! Shoppers will be able to purchase vouchers good toward any item in my Etsy shop. I will keep you posted on the date. And if you're unfamiliar with Heartsy, as I was until maybe 3 weeks ago, it is a super cool site dedicated to providing deep discounts on handmade items of every stripe. Currently I'm stocking up inventory for that event as well as my biggest craft show of the year, the Summer Market.
Also exciting here at SOMP is my new pencil bag design. I have been tossing around this design for probably a year or more, and tried a version of it in EVA plastic, to no avail (not yet, anyway). About a week ago, I was pleased that the latest version of this idea went from mostly concept to prototype in under half an hour. My son wandered into the workshop. "Want to see what Mommy made?" I asked, and held out the pencil bag--a black and pink floral / polka dot fabric combo with a clip at the top. "Ooooh," he said, and emphatically, "thank you!" And that was that. He wore it to the playground and hauled it to the sitter's. I know for a fact that it holds at least a dozen pencils. He loves the thing, and I love that he does.
The guy at the machine shop had good news for me this morning! We (as in, my machine and I) were in and out in under half an hour, which was awesome. I didn't know whether I'd have to leave the Singer there or not, which could have slowed me down: in the midst of things yesterday, I checked in with my other machines and discovered that the Husky and the Euro Pro both are quite under the weather.
As it turns out, the needle breaking problem I've encountered with the Singer has everything to do with what was going on with it yesterday. The needle slamming into the plate (obviously) is not good for the machine! A little hammering and buffing to the plate were all it needed to get the thing sewing perfectly again. I am so relieved. Maybe melodramatically so. ;)
There's a magical time in the life of a bag maker when the energy is high and the ordered chaos slides into just plain chaos: all the boxes are out at once, a thin coat of tiny threads coats the whole floor, inventory is accounted for and tagged, custom orders are being filled, and... the sewing machine breaks down.
So most of that is magical. This post was originally going to be about that plain chaos, the insane productivity my workshop has seen this spring. Today definitely added a "Part 2" to that story!
This spring HAS been kind of magical. I've met a bunch of inventory goals I was aiming for, plus I have 2 really exciting new designs (the Grande and the Clutch) that will debut at their first show on Saturday. This morning I packed everything I could pack--I even condensed boxes, packing smaller bags inside larger bags. I finished price tags and inventory this morning, an easy but LONG task. This afternoon, during this sabbath from the rest of my household tasks, I planned to crank out a custom order or two.
Part 2. Just then my sweet Singer--the very machine I spoke so highly of in my last post--refused to sew a seam. It was the weirdest thing: I made a strap, same kind of strap I've made hundreds of before, and then I did some zippers and top stitching which turned out fine. Then things went all wonky: all kinds of knots on the bottom side of the fabrics. The good news is that those stitches are coming out very easily, as they were never in that thoroughly in the first place. The bad news is that I have to spend these precious hours ripping seams and diagnosing my formerly easy to read machine's problem. Some online tutorials suggest the thread is threaded incorrectly or that the tension is off. I shall keep you posted. I think I'm going to wind some new thread and try a different needle. Perhaps that breaking needle problem is deeper than it seems...
This is an exciting time, though. I am feeling really ready for the show on Saturday. I've never done a sketch of my booth set up before, but I did today. And I have a new stand for my Zippies, which should be cool. It's the brainchild of my husband Kyle and me, a brilliant PVC / turquoise duct tape / hose strap contraption.
I'm off--wish me luck!
Thursday is Sewing Day. The kids go off the sitter's house to play, and I have full clearance to spend the whole day stitching. It feels ridiculously indulgent, as many good things do (dessert, grad school, etc.), but it's fabulous.
It's hard to gague productivity on Sewing Day, short of breaking out the stopwatch--a move that seems over-vigilant and definitely not in line with the whole guiding philosophy of Seat Of My Pants, which is to fly by the seat of my pants. So we'll just go with this: yesterday was a good day. I made 6 Clutches, two Grandes, a couple Mini Fobs, and a Zippy Classic. (It seems like there were about 4 hours of just contemplating fabrics, but I think I'm imagining that.)
My first macine, a Christmas gift from my mother in law Jane in 2001: American Standard Husky. An amazing (and if you ask me, beautiful) machine.
Ah, the memories: I learned every basic bag making technique I know on this machine. I think it is cool for so many reasons: it weighs almost as much as one of my kids, it is designed so simply and so beautifully, it sews so delicately, and while it was made in Taiwan (maybe in the 60s or 70s?), American Standard is a Cleveland company--44111, just one zip away from my old neighborhood. Cool! Sigh.
Why sigh, you may ask. Well, when one is learning to sew on a vintage machine, it's possible that one may grind all of the important gears down to nearly nothing. I'm almost positive it was several layers of tres heavy canvas that did it... maybe I should have known better. So, sigh. But I have not given up hope for this sweet machine, and I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to part with it.
Machine numero duo: The Euro Pro Shark. The Shark was another Christmas gift from Jane, and let me tell you, this thing lives up to its name. It will sew through almost anything. I love it for that. When I sew with my Shark, I always think about those old infomercials about the kitchen shears that will cut through cans or bones. Quite a quality to have in a sewing machine.
Machine 3, the Stealthy White. My mom Becky is a serious thrifter, and she ran across the super cool, very old sewing desk and bench (see photo above) and grabbed it up for me. I needed a desk, badly, and this one was perfect. Inside is the most incredible cast iron White I've seen. It has that smell of decades to it, and it also has an old spool of turquoise thread wound on what appears to be a styrofoam spool.
Because I don't want to burn my house down, I haven't plugged this baby in: among other things, including rubber wheels, a deep, deep clean and overall tune up, the White needs new wiring. But it is a thing of beauty, there's no denying that.
I mean, come on! Obviously people were able to sew with this at one point, but HOW? It's so STINKING BEAUTIFUL! How did they stop oogling the hardware long enough to get anything done??
Okay. Here is Machine 4, my sweet and lovely vintage Singer Merritt. I met her this winter in the middle of ice storms. She has the strength of the Shark and the delicacy of the Husky, and she's easy to read, for the most part.
...for the most part. We're still working through the breaking needles thing.
But she's a good machine. We've had a super productive first spring together.
There you have it! The SOMP Machines.
by the Seat Of My Pants...
the stories behind the bags and beyond.