Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New photos and pattern making updates

I have continued to experiment with my new photography equipment.  I finally have come up with something that I like, and I spent last week redoing all my photos in my shop!

I'm very happy with this new style.  I've always wanted to evoke a mood when people come to my shop, and ever since I moved my sewing machine to my photo spot that had the best natural lighting, I have struggled to come up with a new style. I feel like I have finally made it!  I also have been paying more attention to my non-Etsy site lately, and updated the photos there too.

In pattern news, the more research I've done, the more I realize I need to do before I can release my patterns! I'm currently taking an online course on pattern-making and I'm about to make the plunge and purchase some computer software to help me start.  I have no idea how long the actual process will take me.  I had nice ideas of releasing my three most popular clutch designs simultaneously, but that may be too ambitious.  The nice thing is that people are already asking me to be testers. If you are interested, just let me know and I will add you to the list.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New color swatches

This weekend I worked on a project I have been wanting to do for awhile.  It involved a lot of photography, editing, and tediousness, but I'm happy to have created a new selection of color swatches!
To compare, this is what my swatches looked like before.

 I think the new graphic does a much better job of comparing colors to each other and hopefully is clear.  I found the best results by photographing 4-6 at a time and editing them together before cropping into the correct size.  That way I got the correct colors in relation to other ones. 

In other news, I bought a new photography studio setup.  I bought a little mini backdrop stand, which is awesome, as well as a white backdrop.  I have another backdrop coming in the mail for me to experiment with.  I also bought two softboxes.  I like the light they give off.  It's diffused and easy to change around. I'm still experimenting with light direction.
 Here is an example of a picture with these lights.  I like this one a lot.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Looking for sewing pattern testers

I have slowly been preparing my patterns for publication, and the first of my patterns is almost ready for testers!  I am just waiting on a scanner so I can scan in the shapes for pattern pieces.  I've already sent this pattern to my first tester, but I had to send her dimensions only, so I'd like to have the scanner before I send it out to other testers.

 This barrel-style clutch with flap is my first pattern. This is my most popular purse and I am happy to offer it as a PDF.
 It can be tricky because you have to sew through several layers of interfacing, including double-sided fusible peltex, the heaviest interfacing.  I use two layers, and that can be finicky.
So if you are interested in being a tester for this clutch, please let me know.  Leave a comment with your email or email me at toriskabags (at) gmail . com
I already have written my patterns instructions for three other styles, but I need to take pictures and edit those before offering them.
 Some of my supplies are expensive to buy unless you buy in bulk, so I am willing to send my testers a frame and squares of interfacing to make things easier on them.
 I have never written or sold patterns before, so I'm really hoping to have 5-10 testers for each pattern before I publish them on Etsy.  I'd like testers who have experience in testing patterns and/or sewing purses. Most of my patterns are not suitable for beginners, but are still not too difficult.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bombshell swimsuit pattern

I decided this week to make myself a new swimsuit.  I made my last one from a self-drafted pattern. It turned out well, and still fits, but because it was the first suit I made myself, it has a few issues.  The legs gape a little, the halter straps aren't quite long enough, and it covers the front but not the side of my bust very well.  So I decided to purchase the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern that I have had my eye on for awhile.  I did a lot of research--read the Sew-a-long posts on her blog, searched blogs on the internet, and read the pattern thoroughly before beginning. These are the two pattern options:

In my research, I realized that very few bloggers who posted pictures of themselves made the larger sizes.  Also, none of them are that short!  I wondered how much I should shorten the pattern, which is made by someone who is 5'6", while I am 5'1".  I ended up shortening it only 2 inches.

Going into the pattern, I knew beforehand that I would make a couple changes. First off, no matter how much people raved that this was a "modest" suit, there was no way I would be as modest as most of these other bloggers.  Either I would spill out the center of the plunging halter, or out the top of the maillot.  I planned on making a couple modesty adjustments.  Also, I wanted more support, so I knew I would be inserting foam cups at the least.  I wanted to use an old bra for its underwirse, but I'm still nursing, so none of them fit.  I just went with the cups.  I had plans for using boning, but once I was making it during the baby's naptime today, that went out the window in favor of finishing it quickly.  I figured the halter would be more supportive, so I chose that view, and I made the triangles larger so they could cross over.  I also put them a bit further back on the sides to eliminate the side boob problem of my last bathing suit.  I had the idea of using white buckles on the straps for some contrast.

After I put together the whole polka dot body, I tried it on.  The suit was horribly short!  I have a pretty short torso, so I was pretty disappointed with that part of the pattern.  I ended up adding a five-inch band to the top, which doesn't really show with the polka dots.  So--wow!  I probably could have just added four inches, but I wanted to make sure I had enough.  If I make it again, I'm actually going to have to add a couple inches to the length.

The finished suit looks really nice.  One advantage of following an actual pattern is that it tells you how to sew a swimsuit correctly, especially with the seams!  My last swimsuit doesn't look nearly as polished.  My husband thought this looked store-bought.
 When the suit is actually on me, I'm not sure how flattering it is, but then again, how flattering is anything going to be when I'm at a weight I'm unhappy with?  I lost all my baby weight months ago with hard work, but now I've stopped working as hard, and well, you don't lose weight unless you work!
I cropped out my legs, which are my least favorite thing to show off.  The back view is also not super flattering in the picture I took.  Overall, I think I'm happy with the end result.  My husband thinks it's cute.  My baby likes to grab the halters and yank on them.  My kids think it's super cool.  I wouldn't mind trying view A, though I would extend the neckline higher and definitely have more support then just foam cups.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Progress of Purses

I had no idea how much time had passed since my last blog entry.  Looking back, it perfectly coincides with the advent of my third pregnancy.  Nine months of that misery, followed by six months of life with this bundle of cuteness:

 and I've finally resumed normal business.  After finishing a brand new diaper bag for myself last night that I will be using as a prototype for purses for my shop, I started thinking about all of the diaper bags I have made for myself.  Today I emptied out the closet where they are all stashed and took pictures of them before throwing most of them away.

1. This was my first bag, messenger style.  I found a tutorial online and tweaked it a bit.  I had not yet discovered interfacing, but the bag isn't very floppy because I misunderstood the kind of vinyl used in the tutorial and used some clearance upholstery vinyl for the interior. 

 It stunk for ages! I liked this bag, but found it hard to find my stuff.  Also, I tried to have it close with magnets, but they weren't strong enough, and it was a pain to not be able to close it properly.
2. I designed this purse myself.  It is pretty and has plenty of pockets, but absolutely no interfacing.  It's super floppy, but has cardboard as the base!

3.  This next bag remains one of my favorites ever.  I used an online tutorial for the pattern, though added a zipper. This bag is actual leather.  I had a leather coat that was too small for me, so I took it apart and had the perfect amount of leather for this bag. 
 I used an old cargo skirt for the interior and incorporated pockets from it on the inside.  I loved this bag, even though it was still a bit floppy from no interfacing.  I used this purse until the leather gave out on one of the straps and it wasn't easily fixable.
4. Next, my Ameribag-inspired diaper bag.  I borrowed my mother-in-law's Ameribag, made a pattern, and created this bag.  I really loved it. 
 It looked nice and the fabrics were pretty.
 The inside has pockets up the wazoo.  However, I used really thick interlining but didn't interface the fabric, and so the seams were thick and the fabric was thin and ripped out easily.  Also, by this time I was cloth diapering my second child and toilet-training the oldest, and this bag didn't expand at all.  Unbelievably, it just wasn't big enough!
 5. I fell in love with this blue tweed fabric and was determined to make a purse out of it.  This diaper bag was fun and the handles are nice and soft.  The light color got dirty very easily, and there are a few construction things I didn't like a lot, but in general this was a great bag.  But eventually my oldest and youngest were both out of diapers, or at least didn't need them very much.
 I started using a cute small diaper bag that was gifted to me with my first child, then finally moved on to using just a normal purse again. I know I made another diaper bag (6.) sometime, but it had too many problems and I threw it out.
6.5. Oh, and here's the purse I carry when I don't want my whole diaper bag.  It's big enough for my kindle, wallet, phone, keys, and not much else.  It was a prototype for my shop too, but I think I never actually made any for the shop!  Whoops. 

7. Of course, the third baby was reason enough to pull out my diaper bag designing skills again.  I was determined to make a backpack-style purse.  This one converted from a backpack to a shoulder bag.  By now I've figured out interfacing!  This purse was fun and used really cute fabric.  However, I didn't make the straps long enough, and when I tried to fit everything in it, there wasn't enough room.  This purse never was used.

 8. I made the previous purse while in my final week of pregnancy.  After realizing it wouldn't work, I designed a purse and made it, all in one day!  I ran out of brown fabric repeatedly, so this purse uses four different solid brown fabrics.  I liked the idea of this giraffe accent fabric, but in reality, this purse doesn't have the classy factor I wanted.
 I've used it for six months, but I'm tired of it and when I started having purse designs pop into my head for a new purse, I ran with the idea.

 9. Which brings me to the bag I finished last night.  This thing is a little beastly.  It's fairly wide.  In my head it would droop a little more and the extra fabric would fall into nice pleats and draping.  However, it wasn't working as well when I used actual fabric and interfacing like it did with my first run-through.  I also picked some lightweight vinyl for the inside to make it wipeable, and that fabric, while convenient, doesn't hang and drape.  I had to take this purse apart and put it back together with pleats in different places and corners sewn differently and the bottom eliminated.  I was relieved that it was salvageable, and now that it's complete I love it.
 The inside fits everything.  There are special places for my wallet and kindle on the inside, and zipper end pockets on the outside for my phone and keys. Also, those end pockets are big enough for bottles or sippies.  I don't like obvious bottle pockets, because I don't want my purse to scream "diaper bag!", so I try to hide the bottle pockets now or put them on the inside. This purse is large, and I foresee that being annoying at times, but the nicest part is that it hangs beautifully and the weight is distributed really well. 

 I will tweak the pattern more before offering it in my shop, but I fully plan on making more.  I love seeing my progress through the ages.  I'm also happy to be offering something besides clutches and wallets in my shop.
Me and my Tardis phone and my bag that can fit the baby as well as her stuff. :]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rockabilly purses

I love creative customers!  And this one was a great one to work with.  She decided on seven different purse designs, most of them Rockabilly inspired.  This was the concept collage we came up together.
I knew the hardest purse would be the one with the sparrows.  I was fairly confident that I could come up with something on my new Silhouette Cameo.  My ideas were to either use vinyl as a stencil and paint on the sparrow, or to use heat transfer.  This is the free sparrow vector graphic that I found online.  Adam (my husband) and I both have limited vector abilities, but our combined efforts worked well.  Adam simplified the graphic, and then I figured out how to make it compatible with the Cameo software. 

 Here is a progress photo of the purses.
 And after several miserable attempt at cutting out a sparrow, I finally figured out the vector program and got this to cut out successfully (with only a little hiccup on the tail from a lump in the vinyl).
 I experimented with both fabric paint (fail for several reason, mostly that the vinyl really liked being stuck to the glitter vinyl), and heat transfer.  I had to be really careful to not scorch or melt the glitter vinyl.
 Sewing a couple layers of glitter vinyl is tricky, so sewing these purses wasn't a walk in the park.  I'm really happy with the final order.
 Some close-ups.

I think my customer will be happy!