Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moving...

Ok, I got impatient and too excited about my move to Wordpress and (aside from the gallery page) I have it up! You should be able to go to www.jaimejohnson.com, which will forward you to www.jaimesews.wordpress.com. Let me know what you think!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Transitions & Tech Speak

Well, ever since I decided to stop doing dressmaking/alterations, I have received a call or email almost every day asking me to do all kinds of various projects!! I have also had an unexpectedly good time saying, "no" for once! Apparently the word is out now because the requests have died down. I really feel a burden has been lifted and I'm looking forward to my new phase of business.

To prepare, I've been thinking of all the things I want or should get in order. I (finally) bought a new computer that should last me several years. The last one we had was on it's last leg. In fact, since we moved all the files over, my husband's been deleting things from the old one and defraging, but it still acts as though it has molasses for guts. I really want my pictures to be better, so I thought about getting a new camera. A friend of mine recommended this refurbished Nikon D40

I'm completely in love with it, but will have to save up as the computer wiped out my funding. :)

Then, as I was looking through the Storque's articles on pricing and trying to find a better, more organized way to do my business finances, I got an email from Etsy in my inbox chalked full of small business helps. One of them is called Outright, and it is a free online way to track your business expenses and income in a Schedule-C friendly format. Not only that, but you can view charts and graphs tracking your profit, expenses by category, and more! It's very basic, but pretty nifty and just a neat, clean way to organize your finances. I would still need a spreadsheet to track sales tax and my budget categories, but if when tax time comes I have all the right info in the right place with outright, it will be great. I'll have to let you know come tax season. :)

I also posted a while back about how I had gotten my website up and going again. I mentioned I had been reworking the websites at my job (here & here) and had learned a new way to do them using wordpress.org. Well, in an effort to keep my overhead as low as possible, I've set up a regular blog on wordpress.com to see if that can be a solution to combining my blog and my website using domain forwarding and free blog hosting. Wordpress blogs allow you to have a static front page, and about me page, and then a separate blog page, however, it does not let you post your Etsy mini or other javascript. I think it might make a good compromise for now, until I get some regular sales going to justify paying for web hosting. I won't reveal that now, since it is no where near ready, but just know that I will be switching to wordpress in the next few months...

As far as current sewing projects, I finished my son's Halloween costume and showed it to him with pride. He responded, in kind, by running away and saying "no." Not in a forceful way, but just mater-of-fact-like. I chased him and tried to put the hood on and he proceeded with screams. LOL. I'm trying to think of ways to get him to like it and if I can get him to put it on, I'll post pictures. It really turned out cute!

I am also still trying to finish up Kim's skirt (the one she asked me to make from part of the dress that didn't work out). Since I know what she really wants is knit, and lining and Georgette are not knit, I went ahead and bought her some new fabrics. I figure I'll just use the satin, lining and Georgette for a little girls party dress some time in the future. She also wants me to create a top for one of her other store-bought dresses, but I'm not sure I'll take on that project.

All that to say, I'm kind of excited to have given myself the holidays off - no craft fairs or high Etsy sales expected for lack of inventory, no more weddings and alterations - just finish a few projects and then to sew through my fabric inventory in search of some inspiration and fun. If you have an Etsy (or otherwise online store), what are some can't-live-withouts for you??

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kara's Bibs

Here are the bibs I made by Kara's request - finished and off to their new home! :)
Thanks so much!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bibs & Costumes

Well, Kim's daughter's wedding was tonight and I haven't had any phone calls! lol. She ended up finding 2 ready-made dresses she liked so I altered both and left the rest up to her.

Though Kim is not the reason I'm about to make the announcement I'm going to make, the whole situation reminded me of why I've considered several times getting out of the bridal business and turning my focus more to my Etsy store. With Etsy, you can create something in your own time and list it for sale. When you do bridal sewing and clothing alterations, you're paid first and have the work to follow (along with deadlines!). So, my husband and I have decided it's best that I finish up a few dresses I already agreed to and then spend next year stocking up my Etsy store (and hopefully making a few sales too!).

In the mean time, I will be finishing some boys bibs this weekend for my friend Kara in some blue and brown fabrics.

The other project I cannot wait to jump into is my son's Halloween costume! Last year I totally blew it and he ended up wearing a too small duck costume my friend found at a yard sale. (Boo!). Since then, my boy's taken a great liking to his stuffed Monkey. So I figured it was only appropriate for him to be a Monkey for Halloween. Here's the pattern I'm using, minus the monkey's hat and vest (although maybe we'd make some money if people thought he was one of those performing monkeys...hahaha).
I hope I'll have time to put all the love into it that I want to. I really want this year to be better than last! (Not hard!) lol.

What projects are you working on for Halloween?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kim's Dress...is no more...

This is a first for me...

I have made wedding dresses, bridesmaids, other special occasion, and casual wear for many customers, but this is the first time I have been unable to produce a garment my customer liked. After making a practice garment, the dress, and then another practice garment, I think that the style was just not working out as Kim hoped it would and being that we are only weeks away from the wedding, she has gone shopping and found several dresses that she likes that we may be altering. So, has this ever happened to you in your sewing endeavors?

I feel like this should be in the fashion graveyard like on Project Runway - lol! "One day you're in, the next day, you're OUT!"

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oh Boy!

Well, I haven't been blogging as much as I hoped lately - mostly because I've been working on Kim's dress. After a wonderful preliminary fitting, I made up the garment, only to find out that there were several changes she wanted to make. This necessitated playing with a muslin some more so I've made a new muslin of the bodice/sleeve/collar and am set to meet with her tonight for another fitting.


Another thing I've been working on is my website/domain name. I already own the domain name "http://www.jaimejohnson.com/", however, I was having trouble pointing that domain to a site I had set up through http://www.weebly.com/. Since it was a free site, I wasn't able to get very good help or a remedy to my problem. So, I went looking for inexpensive hosting. I had paid for hosting last year, but after doing my business taxes, I realized it probably wasn't the best use of my money. However, I was made aware of a very reasonable hosting site, http://www.zipa.com/, where I have opened an account and re-established my website.



However, I am also learning away to use WordPress.org to create websites at work. Once I figure that out, I think I may switch over since I can have my website and blog all in one place. After Kim's dress and one other I've already committed to, I am going to set aside custom work for a bit and give my sewing energy to my Etsy store. Being that my business will primarily be on the web, I want to have a more professional web presence. I think switching to WordPress will help me do that.

What about you? Do you have a blog, website, third-party online store or some combination? Where have you found to host your sites and what do you use to build your webpages?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Love Being Sneaky!!

So a post or so ago, I showed you what I made from some Fat Quarters I made with my winnings from my friend Becky at Rebecca's Rags...Well there's something I didn't tell you, and boy, how much fun I've been having!

Click here to get the rest of the story...

Other than my sneaky shenanigans, I've been working REALLY HARD on Kim's dress. I've got the top done and the skirt most of the way done, BUT - when I went to attach the center sash/cumberbun, it fit the top but not the bottom. So I need to cut another one so the two pieces join happily together to make the dress complete. I'll post pics when I've done that.

What are you sewing?