Following the dream...running a business as a stay at home mom, navigating the fashion industry, sharing resources, promoting like minded people and businesses

Friday, May 28, 2010

Can we thank WW1 for the mini skirt?

In honor of Memorial Day I am dedicating this post to how war changed fashion.  In times of war women's roles had to change requiring their clothing to adapt to their new roles.  Women took over work in the fields; enter stage left:  blue jeans.

With a shortage of money and fabric women were required to mend and make do.  Magazines featured articles on how to turn a pair of mans pants into a woman's skirt or how to make underwear from a wedding dress.  This is a trend we still hold on to.  Just google "reconstructed clothing tutorials".

Ever tie a scarf on your head?  This is another fashion trend that took off during war times when women had to work in the factories.  Long hair was a hazard around machinery.

So, can we thank WW1 for the mini skirt?  Well in many ways we can.  During World War I, thanks again to factory work, long skirts were a hazard.  So up came the hemline!  Well it wasn't that drastic, the skirts only came up to mid calve, but since then the skirt started it's gradual ascend up the leg.

So this weekend as you remember those that committed or commit their lives to keeping our country the land of the free and the home of the brave, pay a little tribute to the women.  It is the women that have and still hold down the fort while men are at war and by adapting to their new roles have paved the way for the fashion trends you appreciate today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Handmade Humpday: Fabulous Finds!!!

There is a lot I love about having a handmade business but lately what I love most about it is my new online community of people that make things for children.  Etsykids!  The talent out there is amazing!  Be sure to go to their web page and check out the summer shopping guide!  But just in case you don't click the link above here are a few fabulous finds from the Etsykids crew.

Talk about amazing and I want one of each!  These chairs and stools are awesome!!!  (Awesome in a yo yo gabba way if you know what I am saying.) 
Here are a few of my favorite stools.  Be sure to visit the link to see the chairs too!

These dolls are to die for!  Sure to be any little girl's favorite!

About MissBakerStitches:
I am a full-time Art Director for a national magazine. So I sit behind a computer all day long. I love that I can come home and sew. It is just another creative outlet for me that is stress-free. Another reason I love it is that I started sewing for my 18-month-old daughter before she was born. I got so many compliments on her dolls and clothing. One child can only use so much stuff. So now I can enjoy sewing for other people’s children and make some spending money doing what I love.

I am crazy about zebra and if you are too check out this shop!  Here are just a few of her wonders.  (She does a lot more than zebra so be sure to click her link.)
About DitsyBitsy:
My favorite thing about having a handmade business is that I am able to create unique items for my customers. Things that are not available in stores or anywhere else. It always makes me happy when they tell me that they love my work.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fabric Part Deux: LA's fabric district

LA Fashion District:   glitz, glamour, the place to be!!! 

Well one out of three isn't bad. 
(disclaimer, these pics are from google.  I had an 18month in tow so I didn't bring my camera...stay tuned for pics of my finds later in this post.)

While the fabric district in LA is not the prettiest place to visit you can find great fabric at great prices!!  For example...designer cotton for $5-6/yd, minky for $7-8/yd, Tulle for 50cents/ get the picture.  They have what you need at prices you crave!

A few tips when you go:
1a.  Wear comfy shoes, there is noone to impress here. 
1b.  Look like you know what you are doing or you will get the "tourist price"
2.  Stores specialize in certain things, and there are several that specialize in the same thing
3.  That said, do not buy at the first store you find.  Go to each one and barter.
4.  That said, No doesn't mean no.  Just start to walk away and see.  If you are being reasonable they will    give you the price you want.
5.  The more you buy the cheaper it is.
6.  They ship, and it still saves you a lot of money!
7.  Bringing your impatient toddler is not reccommended.  LOL

I have been going to the fabric district for 2 years now and it doesn't lose it's charm.  I love my vendors.  I love wading through fabric and hoping the rolls don't fall over and bury me.  I love how every vendor tries to sell you something you don't need because it's how you learn.  I love the hot dog carts that I never eat from.  And I love my finds!

This trip was for my minky and faux furs for winter outerwear 2010.  And for velvet for fall/winter clothing 2010.  Here is a sneak peek.

If you sew the fabric district should be on your to do list.  You will be glad you went.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fashion Friday!: All about fabric!

This week on a chat board a fellow seller asked if designer fabrics are worth the extra cost (to the seller and the purchaser).  It was a timely question because it was one I have been contemplating.  Just finishing my first dress collection I used all designer, Michael Miller, cottons. 

On the upside:  The prints are beautiful and unique, and the cotton is a heavier weight and feel nicer than most cottons found at the local fabric stores.  They also seem to shrink and wrinkle less.  You may want to consider the longevity of your product when selecting fabric. People buy products (and return to buy products) that last. And the designer cottons do.  Here are some of my selections for Spring/Summer 2010.

On the downside:  They cost twice as much as other cotton fabrics.  They are a little thick.
You can learn more about Micheal Miller Fabrics by following their blog

Now that I am looking to Fall/Winter 2010 and Spring/Summer 2011 I am exploring other fabrics. 

Stretch knits:  here are some awesome ones by Patty Young for Michael Miller click here to learn more

Cotton blends and stretch velour.  I want some knits that don't wrinkle and have a little stretch.  I found this vendor in Los Angeles.  You have to buy in bulk but they have a great selection!

Seersucker, this is a nice lightweight cotton for summer and you can get it very cheap.  Lots of seersucker available on  
Here is a darling little dress by sewsweetboutique:

and of course my faux furs for my outerwear collection.  Here are some from last year:

There is a lot of fabric out there, get outside the box and your local fabric store and explore and experiment.  Be sure to read up on fabrics before you buy.  Some require special cleaning, some shrink (a lot) like stretch knits, and some wrinkle like crazy.  Make samples in a few fabrics throw them all in the wash and see which hold up the best.  You want clothes that are easy to wear and easy to wash.

Happy fabric hunting!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Handmade Humpday:What to wear with that dress?

So today is now deemed Handmade Humpday! 
It is a weekly special that will inform you and inspire you!  Handmade ain't what it used to be...wait until you see the talent that lies in your own backyard (or at your finger tips)!! 

A few facts about Handmade items:
The quality is high because each item is made with care and pride.
The item is unique, won't find this at _____ fill in the blank with your favorite retail chain.
The item is reasonably priced.  Really!  I'll prove it to you!

In this post I will highlight some great items from my online Etsykids handmade community that coordinate with my dresses in my Etsy shop.   In addition I have asked the artist what they love most about running a handmade business.  Be sure to stop by their Etsy shops using the links provided to see all the great things they create! 

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

If you are still waiting on your daughters hair to grow in you will relate to why I love these clips.  Perfect for short hair and they don't slip.  Not to mention they are dah-ling and you get 5 for under $7! These would go great with any of my kangacoo dresses! Actually if you visit her shop you will find a clip or bow to match anything in your little one's closet!

I love the pink ones here with my Black Floral Suri Dress
These clips are made by Sunshineshoppe: My favorite thing about having a handmade business is creating new, fashionable products. I love designing new clip sets and love hearing feedback from my customers. I have many moms send me pictures of their little girls wearing my clips. It is awesome to think that something I created is bringing joy to another family across the country!

For a little girl sometimes the best accessory is a great toy.  Here are some little dolls I have fallen in love with!  I know you will too!
These dolls and many others you have to check out at her site are by peanutbutterbandit: What is your favorite thing about having a handmade business? I love the creativity and freedom it gives me. I'm the boss so I can take my designs in any direction I choose

Next up is not really an accessory to wear with my dresses (unless you call a little brother an accessory) but these onsies with ties are so cute and coordinate so well with my Marli dress I had to share!  Did I mention they are a steal at $7 each?

Goes so well with kangacoo's Zebra Marli Dress

Goes great with kangacoo's Leopard Marli Dress

These onsies are by Bellasweetboutique:  I feel my shop gives children's clothes that special handmade touch you just can't buy at the department store. I try to keep my prices reasonable, so that everyone can afford my clothes.

Speaking of my Leopard Marli is a splurge that would go great with it!  A girl needs her sparkles!  Be sure to check Dara43's shop for more colors and styles.

These shoes are by dara43:  I was a court reporter for 25 years and had too many back and neck problems, so at least with my home-based business I can work at home and it's less stress on my neck and back, although it's much more time-consuming. I have teen-age boys and a very supportive husband. I run this business solely by myself and have no help, so I have to be very disciplined. I work over 15 hours a day 7 days a week and my family has put up with me, so that's been a true blessing. I often tend to put my customer's needs before myself, and I have to start to find a balance and a happy medium, which I hope to in the near future.

That's it for this week folks.  Hope I've inspired you to buy handmade next time you shop!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Motherhood, running a home business, and fashion industry trade secrets...

"THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGING", reads my morning coffee mug.  It also has diaper pins all over it.  It is the perfect metaphor for both my life and this post.

These days I am changing more diapers since my swap from corporate America to motherhood.  Still, as all moms will attest to, I am working harder than ever.  Actually for me motherhood comes easy (my husband wrote this in my mother's day card and my eyes welled with tears).  I find myself patient in ways I didn't know I had in me.  I also can function on less sleep than I thought possible. 

With changing times in my career comes challenges to overcome.  The challenges in my life revolve around balancing my home business and motherhood.  Working at home so you can be with your child is living the dream some will say, but it has it's challenges.  Like trying to sew a dress as your toddler keeps stepping on your sewing foot.  Or making a sales call to a local boutique as your child pulls all the rubber duckies off the display and then throws a complete tantrum when you take them away.  At this point you turn back to the shop owner and say, "would you like to place an order?".

Then there are the challenges of navigating the fashion industry.  It is a small tight knit industry and people are all to often ready to share their successes but not any secrets of their success.  I am hoping to change that with this blog.  I have done loads of research and made many mistakes finding my way when it comes to fabric suppliers, finding manufactures, pricing, keeping price down while mfg in the US, line sheets, participating in handmade craft fairs, starting a manufactured line, finding a showroom, the list can go on.  I love this industry and learning my way but I would love it more with a community of people willing to share and learn together. 

So I will leave it at that today...if you are interested in:

- Being the best mom you can be
- Managing a home business with children underfoot
- Running a handmade area of your business
- Starting a manufactured line
- Learning and sharing more about the fashion industry

This blog is for you.  Please follow it for regular posts on these topics, interviews with industry professionals, product spotlights, giveaways, and more!