Pretty Packages

When you break it down it seems quite straightforward:

  1. Get an order.
  2. Make the item (if not already made).
  3. Ship item off to buyer.

However, with almost 300,000 active sellers currently on Etsy (and a substantial number on the internet in general), it’s increasingly important to take a few moments and examine the third and final step.  A few minutes is all it takes with each order to ensure the packaging is up to par or exceeding buyer standards.

In this consumer driven online marketplace, ATTENTION TO DETAIL IS PARAMOUNT.  The way you package your Etsy orders for shipping can be the single deciding factor in a customer coming back to you for not only another order, but several orders.  With scores of competitors making similar items you can use your packaging to set you apart from the others.

One of the most important things to do is develop a signature packaging style and stick to it for continuity.  Use colors that are relevant to your Etsy shop — I use black and white–as coordinating colors will stick in the buyer’s mind.  For fairly cheap you can also customize business cards, note/thank you cards, return address labels and stickers to match your theme.

After you establish your packaging style, follow these important tips to ensure premium packaging.

  • Make sure your items are in tip top condition.  With clothing items make sure all loose threads are clipped, the fabric is neatly pressed and there is no lint or hair (pet or human) stuck to the fabric.
  • Wrap items in materials that will not transfer color/ink to your items.  Newspaper might seem like a fun way to “upcycle” but the ink will rub off on fabrics if the weather is humid or the package gets wet.
  • Tie your packages with ribbon.
  • Protect items from the weather.  Use waterproof polymailers or put wrapped package inside a seal-able plastic bag.
  • Use pristine packing materials whether new or previously used.
  • Keep in mind your buyers if using upcycled/recycled packaging components.  Some buyers prefer new packaging materials when purchasing new items; buyers buying upcycled materials might prefer upcycled packaging.
  • Tuck a hand-written note, a business card and possibly a discount code in with the items.
  • Include freebies if you desire, making sure they match the theme of your shop.  Pens and magnets make great add-ons and work as fantastic marketing tools.  Don’t include soap/heavily perfumed items if you sell edibles, fabric, clothing or anything else that could absorb the scent.
  • Write out labels as neatly as possible or use your computer to print them.
  • Put a copy of the address inside the package for international packages.  Domestic packages would benefit from this as well, but I will admit that I don’t always include a packing slip.  This is on my list of things to improve upon.
  • When taping packages closed or labels on the package make sure there is no hair stuck on the tape.
  • Add a shop sticker to the outside of the package to catch the attention of anyone who handles it.

 

This is what my packages look like before going in a polymailer.

 

 

My hope is that the recipient will be excited to open it when it arrives on their doorstep!

Free E-Book!

Learn How to Sew With Your FREE Sewing Basics eBook from Sew News Magazine!

 

 

Whether you’re learning how to sew and just want a few sewing tips or are a seasoned pro, it’s always helpful to have an overview of sewing basics. With this free eBook from Sew News, you’ll get the refresher course you’ve always wanted. From learning to fix sewing accidents to sewing gorgeous pleats, these four sewing guides are sure to come in handy for creating beautiful sewing projects.

This FREE eBook provides step-by-step sewing tips to help you learn how to sew, including:

  • Fixing sewing accidents, such as repairing a tear or ironing mishaps
  • Learning how to sew the perfect seam
  • Customizing the fit of a garment with darts and pleats
  • Creating bound buttonholes for easy-to-wear garments

Happy Reading!

A Stitch Tip

All of my items are topstitched for durability and to make them look professional.  Sometimes this means sewing through layers and layers and layers of fabric.  Also sewing over some very thick seams where the fabric comes together at the sides.  Even though my machine is fantastic it often struggles to feed all of that material evenly when I’m sewing.  This can sometimes lead to uneven stitches and a loss of that professional look I’m trying to achieve.

Two weeks ago when working on some flowergirl dresses I had a total “ah-ha!” moment.  After a year of making these dresses regularly I’d never thought of a simple solution to sewing that many layers of fabric.  Out of nowhere it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Those same dresses were used to show you how you can use binder clips instead of pins to hold your fabrics together.  I’m going to cheat and use that same picture to partly illustrate today’s tip as well.


In the photo you can see the amount of fabric I’m sewing through — in this case a double layer bodice, the main skirt layer and the underskirt.  Four layers of fabric with two of them being heavily gathered which adds to the bulk considerably.  I sew these together with my serger and then flip the seam up towards the bodice and topstitch.  Flipping the seam upwards like that means adding another 2 layers of fabric to sew through.

Instead of fighting to get the fabric to feed evenly, why not change my foot to something that is designed to feed fabric evenly?!  Seriously, sometimes my brilliance is astounding.  😉

Voila!  I realizes the perfect solution is to swap out my regular sewing foot for my quilting/walking foot.  It takes less than a minute and look at the beautiful, even stitches it creates!

The topstitching through numerous layers is the row on the very left.

 

Now I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this solution earlier.  Happy stitching!

Friday (Sewing) ‘Fess Ups

No, not “Mess Ups” or any other carefully selected phrase you’d like to rearrange “fess” into.  Today is all about confessions here at Stitch To Stitch — a cleansing of the sewing room and a peak into some of its/mine strange inner workings.

  • I put pins in my mouth when I’m pinning pieces together.  There are at least 2 different pin cushions in my sewing room and I rarely use them.  Recently I read somewhere (I can’t remember where) that putting pins in your mouth like this is one of the cardinal sins of sewing.  Oops.  I guess I should work on that, huh?
  • I actually hate to pin pieces together.  I avoid it whenever possible so I love, love, love using my serger.  The pressure from the feed dogs is strong enough that I rarely have to pin fabrics together.  I typically only do it when I’m sewing a piece that I’ve put gathers in, onto a flat piece so that the gathers stay in place.
  • Pattern pieces are my nemesis.  I hate cutting them out, I have piecing them together.  I prefer patterns that start as easy geometric shapes I can cut with my rotary cutter and ruler.  Hence my love for quilting.
  • All of my sewing is self taught.  I’ve never taken a class, never sat down with someone who actually sews to have them explain what everything does (tensions, etc.).  Thank heavens for the internet and online videos when I’m having trouble with my machines or need to figure out how to do something specific such as shirring, mitering corners and french seams.
  • When I sew, I love to have music playing.  Not softly in the background as an accompaniment to the whir of the machines but instead as loud as my little iPod can handle to fuel my creativity.  Since most of my sewing is done now when the kids are sleeping (and our house is not equipped with sound proof walls) I’ve had to turn the volume down a bit.
  • And lastly, one of the most embarrassing of my confessions, is that I wrote this post on February 22 and somehow never published it.

Saturday Pattern Sharing 3/19/11

Why buy one when you can make it instead?

Baby Car Seat Cover Tutorial

 

Even though the weather is turning nice in many parts of the country, we still have plenty of nasty days ahead.  Sometimes you just want to keep baby covered when he/she is sleeping peacefully.  Or you want to keep all those grubby germs at bay.

No matter what the reason, head over to Make It Do to grab instructions on how to make your own cover.  Thanks, Calli for the great tutorial!

Fabric Reference Cards

I was flipping through my latest copy of  Sew News the other day when I came across an ad that caught my eye.  It was for a handy set of reference cards to help you estimate how much fabric  to buy for patterns.  What a great idea!

 

 

  • Each plastic card is the size and thickness of a credit card. The set of 6 cards is held together with a spiral ring. There is a title card, and then separate cards for dresses, skirts, pants, jackets and tops.
  • The main table on the front of each card lists minimum, average and maximum fabric requirements, broken down by clothes size and fabric width. The minimum is the smallest amount of fabric that was called for by any of the hundreds of patterns that were used to build this table. The maximum is the largest amount of fabric that was called for by any of those patterns. And the average is the average amount of fabric. Aside from the choice between minimum, average and maximum, you use this table pretty much like the table on the back of any pattern envelope.
  • Also on the front of the card, the “Safety Margin” table helps you decide how much (if any) to round up from the average number printed in the main table. How safe do you want to be? To have enough fabric for about 75% of the pants patterns out there, you only need to add 1/4 of a yard to your average, but if you want to cover 75% of the dress patterns, you need to add 1/2 yard.
  • Finally, the sketches on the back of each card are designed to give you an idea of what type of outfit you could make with the minimum, average or maximum amount of fabric listed in the table. The 2 average sketches (and 2 mins on the pants card) are just different styles with the same amount of fabric. The 2 maximum sketches are different – one shows the largest outfit for narrower fabric and the other shows the largest outfit for wider fabric. The dotted lines represent shoulders, waist, hips and knees. Look for trade-offs between length and fullness.

Right now there are only 2 sets of reference cards available for purchase — Women’s Clothes and Plus Sizes.  I can’t wait until  the Children’s set is ready for sale!

Put Away Those Pins

During my pregnancy with Baby Girl (and with Big Girl too), I walked around sporting a PICC-line in my left bicep to keep myself out of the hospital due to dehydration/malnourishment.  For some reason pregnancy just doesn’t agree with me but that’s another story…

This time my OB wanted to make sure that my risk of clotting was low so he ordered blood thinners.  Not only did it mean purposely sticking myself with a needle twice a day, it meant being very aware and careful of all pins/needles I was working with on sewing projects.  The tiniest little pin prick meant the possibility of having to scrap a customer’s project and start over due to contamination.  So I came up with some clever ways around using pins.  (And you all remember how much I really dislike having to pin pieces anyway…)

Binder clips!

 

 

They hold the layers of fabric together really nicely.  They work on multiple layers of fabric (and gathers) where pins struggle to slide through.  They don’t leave holes in delicate fabric. AND they don’t hurt nearly as much — although they still do a little — when you step on a stray that makes its way off the table.

The Newest Addition

It’s like Christmas in March here at Stitch To Stitch!  I can’t wait for the battery to charge so I can start playing.

On the plus side — the charging battery means I have to sew (instead of playing with the new camera) while the girls naps.  It’s a win-win situation.

Saturday Pattern Sharing 3/12/11

Patterns for creating clothing for the favorite little boys in your life seem to be harder to come by than patterns for little girls.  I know that I’ve struggled again and again to come up with cute ideas for boys clothing for the store (especially when following CPSIA guidelines, which is another post for another day).  So I was really excited to see a tutorial posted on I Am Momma – Hear Me Roar showing you how to turn a t-shirt into an fabulous spring jacket.


 

The Big Girl is a fan of hoodies herself, so I’m adding this to my constantly-growing-never-shortening-to-do-list.  Without mentioning it to her of course or I’ll have a dainty voice constantly reminding me that I haven’t made her jacket  yet.

Happy sewing!