Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Learning to sew

One way that I'm going to attempt deal with the issue of most clothes not fitting me correctly off-the-rack is that I've signed up for an adult ed sewing class through a local community college:

I realize that it will likely take some time and practice before I can wear anything that I make in public, but I love the idea of being able to make something to fit my weird proportions. Even better if I can make the exact pattern that I want in the exact style that I want!

So far, we've had two classes, and we've learned about basic sewing tools, how to read a pattern, and how to lay out a pattern over fabric. We'll be using our sewing machines for the first time in the next class. Our "class project" will be to make a pair of drawstring pajama pants.

I have to admit that I got so excited about sewing that when I saw that Yardage Town (a local fabric shop) had easy Simplicity patterns on sale for $1.50 each, I picked up four of them (one for the class, three for me):
I'll be posting more about my sewing adventures as they happen...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What people buy vs. What I wear

One thing that has been really surprising to me about my limited time on etsy is what has sold in my shopt vs. what is still sitting there (and in some cases, what has been sitting there for months). In most cases, the pieces that are selling are fairly different from the pieces that I've made for myself and wear frequently.

For example, I love vintage glass beads. I have several simple necklaces that I've made with pre-WWII vintage glass beads. I've paired these with pearls and/or crystals, and I think they're very cool looking--a nice mix of retro and modern. I love the one pictured above with the brown beads and the pearls. It's a great length and neutral enough that it goes with almost everything...and yet, a copy of this necklace has been sitting unsold in my shop for two months.

Another piece that I love and wear but that seems to have received a lukewarm reception is my paua shell pendant necklace. I sold a similar one a little while back--after it received a ton of views but took a while to sell. I have one that I made for myself and I think it's really striking, so I decided to create and list another one. The jury is still out, but so far, it's received a decent (but not great) number of views, but no "hearts" yet. (An etsy "heart" means that someone has marked an item as a "favorite."

On the other hand, it seems like most of the sterling silver chain necklaces that I've made have sold. Also, anything made with opalite generally has sold quickly. Now, opalite is very pretty, but I'm surprised that it's as "hot" as it seems to be. I do have a sterling silver chain necklace with little garnets that I made for myself a while back (there's a similar necklace in my store), but it's such a "fancy" necklace that I only wear it when I'm dressing up for something. In fact, many of the necklaces that I've sold I would consider to be too "dressy" for everyday wear.

Maybe it's just my personality and the fact that I tend to focus on practicality in my own wardrobe and accessories than anything else. It'll be interesting to see if my sales trends change at all as the holidays approach in a few months.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Summer of the dress

They're everywhere this summer: dresses. In every women's clothing store, Old Navy ads, and pretty much every fashion article you see, the big "must have" right now is a pretty, feminine summer dress.

I love dresses, but most dresses don't love me. After having lost nearly 75lbs over the past year and a half, I want to be able to wear the new summer dresses. However, I'm short (5'2"), and have a very large chest, and trying to find a dress that fits me properly and is flattering is nearly impossible. Everything in Ann Taylor Loft currently has tiny little straps and really wouldn't look good on anyone with a larger bust than a B-cup. I'm SOL there right now.

A dress needs the following characteristics to make a dress wearable or preferably flattering for me:
  • Straps. Real straps--not little tie things. I need straps that I can wear a real bra under.
  • Can't be too low cut. Not everyone needs a free show, and I spill out of a lot of the current wrap-style and kimono dresses. Granted I could layer with a tank top under there, and some dresses are intended for this, but it's still frustrating.
  • Fitted waist or some sort of tie belt. Because my chest is the biggest part of me, most of the time, for me to get clothes that fit in the chest, they're way too big everywhere else. Yes, I could get things tailored, but it would be nice to occasionally find something that fits without needing it.
The frustrating thing is that now that I work from home most of the time, the freezing office air conditioning is no longer an issue for me, and I'd love to be living in sundresses this summer.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be making a series of posts highlighting some of my clothing sources that I've found that work for us gals with large chests, but who aren't necessarily large anywhere else. Enjoy!

Relax. Don't do it.

For the first time in weeks, I actually got to have a calm, relaxing weekend this past weekend. Between my car accident and having been crazy busy with work (including having to do some QA stuff at 10:30pm after the last episode of the Sopranos last Sunday), I feel like I've pretty much spent every waking moment either running around or doing chores. Today, I took a "me day". I went to the gym, watched the Padres kick some Cub butt (we won 11-3), made a new necklace, bracelet, and a pair of earrings for my etsy store (I'll be posting these in another week or two), and am now tv-slumming with Celebrity Fit Club and am about to give myself a pedicure. As much as I hate David having to work most weekends, I think that this was a much needed "recharge my batteries" sort of weekend for me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Introducing Etsy

As I mentioned in my first post, I recently started selling my jewelry designs online. I found a really cool web that allows you to set up your own "shop", and listing fees only cost $0.20 and you're allowed up to five photos. I tried selling a few pieces on eBay a while back, but I didn't do very well, and the fees quickly started to add up because I wanted to include multiple pictures, etc. So far, I think I'm doing pretty decently on Etsy. I've noticed that my sales tend to come in waves, and I'm still trying to figure out why certain pieces sell right away and others sit there unsold with hundreds of views.

I've got a sampling of some of my designs in the sidebar of this blog. To check out everything else, you can visit my etsy shop:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Long time, no see...

It took me a bit longer to make my second post here than I had intended. I was involved in a major car accident last month (walked away with scrapes and bruises, thankfully), and my car was totaled, and pretty much all of my free time was consumed dealing with insurance and car shopping crap. I'm glad that it's over.

Of course, now that I want to get "serious" about creating, working out, and just getting my life back in general, I've been completely swamped with work. The software company that I work for just released a tool that's a collaboration with Adobe software, and it's had me putting in some long hours and time on the weekend. We just released it...and I've got some clean-up/catch-up stuff to do, and I'm hoping that life will get back to normal after that.

One thing that I'm excited about...I'll be hitting bootcamp class tonight at the gym, and I'll be bringing David, my boyfriend with me, since the gym is running a "bring a guest for free" promo this month. My awesome, awesome personal trainer (who also runs an outdoor bootcamp--more on that later) is subbing in for the regular bootcamp instructor tonight. I'll be getting a much-needed butt-kicking in class, and I'm really looking forward to it.