Shop Slowdown

My apologies for it being so quiet around here! When life gets busy, my focus shifts to filling orders and I tend to let blog posts and new items fall to the wayside.  This isn’t very good business sense, I know, but when juggling a small business and two kids without any outside help, it’s the first things that I tend to let fall to the wayside.

There is an extra (special) reason too why Stitch To Stitch has slowed considerably this summer.  We will be welcoming another baby to our family in early November! Being pregnant means I’m working at a slower pace to deliver the high quality product my customers expect.

The next few months will see a continued slowdown as I gear up for the arrival of baby.  Shipping times are currently about 3 weeks out, unless a listing specifically states otherwise.  (Christmas pajamas are on their own shipping schedule, so please read each listing carefully when purchasing.)  If you need an item shipped sooner, please contact me before placing an order to see if special arrangements can be made.

Right now I’m planning on taking maternity leave for at least the month of November — shutting the shop down completely during that time; my hope is to have limited listings available early December for last-minute holiday shopping, and be back in full force by the first of the year.  So if you have items in mind you’d like to purchase for the holiday please do so early to ensure availability.

Thank you for your understanding and your support of Stitch To Stitch! I am blessed to have the amazing customers that I do.

Financial Fumble

My laptop quit on me on Sunday.  No warning, no blue screen of death, just complete silence.  I walked away from it mid-afternoon to go do some sewing work and when I returned it wouldn’t power back on.

We tried everything we could in the hopes it was an easy fix.  My hubby tested the power adapter/cord, the battery and the computer in general with his voltage meter to see if he could pinpoint a problem.  I followed every directions for a reboot/reset I could find on the internet.  Skipping dinner I even drove across town in the hopes my friend’s power cord would work to boot it up.  (We originally thought the power cord had quit working, thus draining the battery and not allowing it enough power to come on.)

Much to my dismay, my great computer “geek” ran some diagnostics yesterday afternoon and came back to me with the news I dreaded.  The motherboard was done.  Shot.  Toast.  With no signs of damage it decided to just up and quit, leaving me high and dry with no business computer.  All recommendations were to purchase a completely new laptop instead of replacing the motherboard in a machine that was already over two years old.  On the plus side at least the hard drive was still good so all of my data could easily be transferred to a new laptop.

To say I’ve been in a foul mood the last 40+ hours has been an understatement.  I get it, it’s only a computer and yes my data was recoverable.  Worse case scenario my husband and I go back to sharing the macbook (although this presents some challenges as all of the software I’ve purchased has been for a PC) for the time being. Last night as I drove home from the store with a spiffy new laptop on the seat next to me, the realization of why this has been so disheartening came to me.

I paid for the first laptop completely using Stitch To Stitch profit.  As I opened the shop in June 2010 I financed it using 18-months “same as cash”.  Each month I scraped together enough money to pay my bill, never dipping into our personal accounts for funds.  The goal of opening the shop was to become self-sufficient.  To fund my own sewing/crafting addiction, to be able to spend “fun” money on myself and the family, and to help out here and there with our household bills.  When the end of my payments rolled around I was ecstatic.  I was so proud to say I’d bought it with money I’d MADE from the business.  Over the last 6 months the business has continued to take off and do well.  I’ve made a couple of wholesale fabric purchases — we’re talking buying full bolts of material with minimum order requirements — and paid cash for them.

I felt like I was finally getting to where I hoped the business would be.  Making money.  Being able to spend a little money here and there without worry about having enough to cover basic supplies.  More importantly I was feeling like I was successful in this venture.  And now I feel like I’ve taken a step backwards in my financial freedom.  That I’ve hit a huge stumbling block, business-wise.  I know this is all part of the growing pains that accompany being a small business owner.  You have to account for the unexpected and roll with the punches.  It still stinks though.  It still makes you want to cry and shake your fists at the sky.  And something that seems as trivial as having to buy a new laptop can make you feel like you’ve been knocked back down to square one.

At least it wasn’t my sewing machine that decided to quit, completely putting me out of commission the last few days.  At least I’m in a place where I can go finance another laptop with their 18-month same as cash program again, but this time with more confidence in being able to make the payments.  It just means I need to work harder and be more diligent about driving my sales up to offset this new expense!  :)  It’s motivation to push myself to do even better.

Summer Is Sundress Season

While I love sewing all of the items in the shop, without a doubt, one of my favorite to put together is the super cute sundresses made using white eyelet fabric.  When they’re made as flowergirl dresses for a wedding it just makes me smile — knowing that my creations are going to take part in such a beautiful day.

Over the last two weeks I’ve had orders for 5 of these little cuties.  With each dress using almost 5 yards of fabric (between the top skirt and the underskirt layer) it means my sewing room has been a cloud of fluffy whiteness!  It also means taking even more care to not have anything in the room (especially dirty hands!) that could get the gorgeous fabrics dirty.

One of the aspects I love about the dresses is the ability to customize the ribbon detail at the bottom of the skirt.  While most customers order the ribbon in simple white grosgrain, sometimes I have one made to order with colors matching the wedding theme.

White Eyelet Sundress with Pink Ribbon Detail

The last order I shipped wanted light pink to match her wedding colors — super cute and perfect for a little flowergirl!

Happy Sewing!

 

Part-Time Assistant

With her big sister away at camp this week — and a new found discovery of how to climb the kitchen chairs — my smallest one has decided to turn Stitch To Stitch into a family business.  Right now she prefers photo editing, responding to emails/convos and the ever popular posting on facebook.

To be safe, every time I walk away from the computer I have to force it to hibernate/sleep AND shut off the (wireless) mouse!  She’s too smart already.

A Tall Order

Sometimes the hardest part is believing in yourself…

My Dad has one dress suit — one that my grandmother made for him YEARS ago.  As long as I can remember he’s had this suit.  As a dairy farmer he doesn’t have reasons to dress up regularly so it only gets pulled out for the typical need-to-wear-a-suit occasions.  This also means he doesn’t have a huge necessity to buy something new.  After who knows how many years the suit is starting to show its age.  Not to mention, over the last 10 years or so, we’ve started to jokingly give him a hard time about it and have encouraged him to buy something new.

I should also mention that my Dad is tall and thin.  Buying a suit off the rack is more difficult for him than most.  He needs everything really narrow through the chest/torso/waist while long in the arms and inseam.  Part of me thinks this is part of the hesitation in buying something new.  My grandmother was able to tailor this suit specifically to his frame.

A couple weeks ago I was back in the Midwest for a funeral and the suit came out of the closet.  When he was putting it back away he sincerely asked me if I could bring it back to Idaho and use it as a pattern to make him a new one.  My first thought was, “no way, no how! I don’t know how to make a suit.” 

I started thinking about all the detail in the construction and the pricey materials needed.  I started thinking about the struggles of working with slippery lining material and keeping my cool when keeping it in place for sewing.  All I could think was that I’m honestly not that good/experienced of a seamstress.

Since coming home, I’ve thought a lot about his request. I’m still not confident in my ability to do it.  Especially without a written pattern to follow.  Now that I’ve spent some time researching “sewing a men’s dress suit” on the internet the task seems even more daunting! 

What has really stuck with me, is that even though I don’t believe in myself, HE believes I could do this.  I just wish it was something I felt confident in tackling for him.

 

Saturday Pattern Sharing 7/7/12

I’m changing it up a little today!  This pattern isn’t for a wearable item, but instead a great idea for all the little girls AND boys in your life!  I’m thinking that with a few modifications it would be easy enough to put together with a hot glue gun if you’re not the sewing type.  😉

This fun pattern/tutorial comes from Everyday Celebrations and would make a fantastic gift for the toddlers in your life.  Certainly a project I need to find time to put together for my 18-month old.  Although truthfully it would be easier if someone with a cricut/silhouette could be convinced to cut the letters out for me!

Happy sewing!

Saturday Pattern Sharing 6/30/12

Pillowcases dresses are a great place to start if you’re looking to begin sewing clothing for your favorite little girl!  They are simple to put together and take much less time than more intricate patterns.

This super cute Front or Back Tie Pillowcase Dress from The Mother Huddle is written so you use fat quarters (a specific size of fabric you can buy) but it would be simple enough to make it using solid pieces for the front/back.

Happy Sewing!

 

Saturday Pattern Sharing 6/16/12

Although a little more advanced in terms of sewing skills, this retro-inspired baby romper will be well worth the time it takes to put together!

A big thanks to Kelly over at Sewing In No Man’s Land for this Flapper Baby Romper tutorial!

I think this would look adorable on my toddler!  Maybe I’ll have to squeeze this pattern into my sewing schedule.  :)

Happy Sewing!