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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reflections in Time

Reflections in Time

To say I get lost in the crafting sphere, that time moves so very quickly the moment I enter the craft room and continues on its own course until I stumble out searching for fresh water (that doesn’t have fibers in it) hours and hours later, is to know thyself. But to dream a little outfit, to sew up the cutest beach bag or to make a summer dress that inspires all things lovely, well, that is the drive my friends.

That is indeed the drive.

And so, because I am always later than expected, and to say I have quite the hardship in determining how long a project will take me, I thought it was about time to add a little post where I discuss the very notion of time. To know me is to love me, yes this is true, but to know me is to also recognize one very key aspect to my nature, and that is, I do not like to keep time, nor am I very good at it.

But my purpose in writing this post is not to boast on my poor timing or planning abilities, but to hopefully gain a better perspective on the time involved in making items so that I will have an opportunity to improve upon those aspects of myself that most certainly do need improvement. And so, I invite you to enter on a journey of the crafting process with me so that as I continue to improve the ways in which I operate two etsy shops, a blog, and two websites to come, it doesn’t all simply fall to the way side if you know what I mean but get’s better so that orders and communication can run a bit more smoothly for everyone.

I love to craft for myself and others but I definitely saw room for improvement on the organization and communication front this last year and I knew I really had to work on those areas if I was ever going to keep myself or my customers relatively sane. It’s difficult for the crafter I think because we are doing the design work (and there is so much more to that than one would understand), trying to keep track of the customer requests, measurements and the fabric and the costs not to mention half the other stuff you need to keep track of.  Of course from the non-crafting angle, customers do want their items relatively soon though and I totally understand that.

Communication is another one. I sew so much it is hard for me to keep up on communication because I am literally at the machines or at the cutting board or buying fabrics almost all the time, and yet I recognized the need to get back to people on projects more quickly, whether it is answering a few questions on inquiries or details on a finished or ‘almost finished’ project.

The other day I was chatting with a friend and I mentioned how I was just amazed by how long it took me to make my boyfriend a pair of swim shorts! In fairness it was an entirely new pattern I had cut from a pair of cargo shorts he already had and I had never made him a pair of shorts before so it was all new to me, but never the less you would think it would not take longer than an hour to cut the pattern, cut the fabric, sew the shorts, finish up the details such as buttons and such, and then you’re finished right?! Maybe an hour and a half max. What’s the hold-up, you know?” and she looked at me like I had 18 heads I swear! She followed the ‘18 head stare’ with a firm “Yeah, you’re nuts! It can take an hour to cut out the pattern and fabric, and then it can take hours to make a pair of shorts once you’re ready to sew." I said “I know!” and it was then that I realized how very badly I am at gauging the time needed to make projects.

Do you remember the old rule for traveling to France? Bring half the clothes, triple the money? I love that one. My Boyfriend doesn’t laugh with delight quite the same as I do on that one (or at all :), but never the less it’s a solid plan if you ask me. Well, something similar needed to take place for me. For a girl who is NOT the most organized and slow in the sewing department sometimes (but in my defense it is because I am trying my best to make your item PERFECT and let’s be honest, perfection takes time!), I really needed to work on busting out projects more quickly AND planning more time for projects! 

So I got started on this seemingly impossible feat right away! After actively toggling the time to make certain items, I have developed a better sense of the time involved (Toggl is great! Here’s a link to their website-www.toggl.com) and I am finding out how long things really take.

Here are a few examples:
A)     Baby Kimonos-set of 2 made in a 5 hrs, 50 minutes time from cutting fabrics, to sewing and packaging both for shipping. The most time consuming part of these sets is the time involved in the patch work trim and ties.
B)     Trek Blouse-1 hour and 15 minutes for one blouse from cutting out the fabric, sewing, and finishing any hand sewn areas needed for those finishing touches, and then wrapping up for shipping. These are pretty fast in the way of sewing projects and I can cut down a little time when cutting multiples of the fabric at once. The most time consuming part on these is the gathers because they have to be just right and the angles as well because if you are not careful you can make a mess of those corner seams!
C)     Collared Jacket-one jacket made with a set of front pockets, button at mid waist and ¾ length sleeves. 3 hrs, 45 minutes from cutting the fabric to sewing the jacket, to adding the detail such as the pockets, button hole, hand sewing the button, hand sewing the inner collar down, pressing & packaging for shipment. I have only made one of this and I think I can definitely increase the speed. It was the first collared jacket I have ever made and I was scaling it down from a 10 to a size 6. Not too bad, though I think with a little more practice I can get that collar perfect in much less time.
D)     Kindle/ Nook Pouch-one padded sleeve with a zipper for closure, front pocket on one side, fully lined with a small handle. From cutting the fabric & batting to sewing the pouch to trimming & packaging it took 32 minutes total. I was surprised on the time, not that they take a long time, but still. In my mind I think of these as taking only…I don’t know..7 minutes? See what I mean? Thank goodness for toggl to give me a new found sense of Craft Reality!
E)      Dining Slip Covers-set of 2 drawstring styled dining chair covers. This does not include the time to make and add the Rosettes. Those actually take an additional hour and 20 minutes to add a set of four to two drawstring styled slip covers. The drawstring styled slip covers themselves take an average of 3.5 hrs to make and have ready to ship for a set of 2. These are made on one of my regular machines and though it is not a serger, it offers a steady and solid stitch. The time involved in making these is much longer than even I would have guessed and I really need a solid day in the shop and at least an hour the following day in order to make a set because I sew each seam on these three times, 2 times with a straight stitch and then at least once with a zig zag stitch before I go in and make that bottom hem as perfect as I can. The time is obviously faster when making larger quantities such as sets of 8 for customers. I set up a little assembly line in the shop for multiples on these so I know I am getting every seam equal as I construct them.
*(I have not included the time taken to purchase the fabrics, nor to cut any of the  patterns out).
F)      Woven Rugs-set of 3 medium sized woven rugs made in one warp set. Each ends up being around 30” in length and a max of 32” width. Warping the board: 35 minutes/ Making the Waft: 8-10 large fabric balls total (about 4.5-5 yards of fabric cut into strips), 1 hr sewing strips of fabric together/ Threading (includes first threading, winding, & second threading): 50 minutes/ Weaving (incl. tying off, trimming) 2 hrs, 25 minutes) total: 4 hrs, 45 minutes.

Isn’t that crazy? I don’t know about you but I was amazed. No wonder my love says I spend hours and hours obsessing over crafts! I’m starting to realize that he is right (for the record, only on this! ;)
With those crafting time frames in mind, I have essentially gone through and rearranged my schedule to accommodate for the crazy amount of time needed to make custom orders, the ready-made items I make and list in the shops, and gear up for Fall Crafts and Clothing on both sites.

Here are some new things you will now find on Craftzies & Sophia regularly:
1)      Easy ordering including faster communication. I am popping in and getting back to everyone on orders and inquires Monday through Friday morning while I drink my coffee between 9-10 am pst and then again in the evening if I see any messages comes in ;)
2)      Custom orders are being made within 1.5 weeks or sooner from when ordered unless otherwise notified.
3)      Shipping is now every Mon, Wed, & Fri/ Sat on a regular basis. (If you are shipping me a package please message me via etsy so I know to expect it).
4)      New blog posts are being posted each week on everything from new items listed in the shops to new crafting projects I have been working on to even just ramblings on things I love…
5)      Weekly Specials listed in both shops plus in a weekly updated blog post titled Weekly Specials  (updates by Thursday evenings-I might be finished posting everything late, but they will be active by Friday morning!) to help you out with your weekend shopping and so I can finish my work before the weekend! ;) You will find a link to the blog post here: http://craftzies.blogspot.com/2012/07/weekly-specials-showcase-of-sales-for.html
6)      I have a new What’s Crafting? Blog post (you can find that here: http://www.craftzies.blogspot.com/2012/07/whats-crafting-new-updates-here-every.htmlwhich is also updated weekly (by Thursday evenings-I might be finished posting everything late, but they will be active by Friday morning!) and I will include a list of new blog posts that have been published in the last week, new items made in the week prior, and even projects to come. *I had to make a few changes to this post this last week in that I originally had it where I would make all of the changes to the Weekly Specials and What’s Crafting Blog Posts twice a week but I just can’t keep up with that so I had to move it out to once a week and I figured Thursday evening got it all up by Friday so you can shop and I can …

Sleep…Craft & Love Portland…

Ohh isn’t that a nice name for a new blog post?...

Have the perfect day & thanks so much for stopping by. I know I am ever so chatty sometimes but I do hope you enjoyed yourself. I have hopefully provided enough images to keep your crafty self satisfied? If not, here are some images of pygmy horses.

Did you ever know such a thing existed? Holy amazing cuteness right?! So cute! I know, these beauties have nothing to do with crafts but honestly, I just had to share…

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