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Monday, October 29, 2012

Thank You & Good Night ;)

Happy Halloween everyone! I am just teasing about the Good Night part of the title, I’m around if anyone needs me. I am admittedly recouping a little bit from the Halloween crafting season, my hands are pretty raw, but this post is not about me. Instead, I wanted to pop in and thank each and every one of you. That’s right-YOU! My customers were so polite and friendly this year. You were all really great and I cannot thank you enough for your orders, your patience, and also for a lovely season that can so easily turn into madness if one is not ever so careful. 

Thank you also for your friendly correspondence and new ideas as well, I really enjoyed working with each of you even if I have been slow or short in my responses as of late. Please know it was simply because for the last few weeks my work hours have been from around 4am-6pm with a short dinner break and then online updates and messages sent and then back to the craft shop while the rest of the world slept to keep the costumes rolling late into the evening..or early in the morning as the case may have been. And yes, that adorable little baby cheetah running into the wind is exactly how I felt rushing each day to the post office to get all of these packages mailed hehe. 

My work journal from the last few weeks looks something like this…

Lindsay’s Shop Scrap Notes (just a random day in the life of a Crafter during the Halloween season)-written on scraps of paper from an assortment of papers including but not limited to old Bills Calendar pages, sewing pattern scrap paper, extra scrap papers from painting crafts, old mail, sometimes new mail, and even the edges of newspaper when nothing else is near by….

4:00 am: woke up, made coffee. Cut fabrics for items. 
4:23 am: fell asleep in chair/ coffee took to (bleeping) long to brew, cut the rest of the fabrics...
5:15 am: I think I just inhaled some Bam Bam fabric. This coffee is weak :/
10:15 am: I can’t believe I’m still sewing these Pebbles on these tunics…
1:45 pm: maybe I need a break, I can’t feel my right or left leg. 
2:15 pm: ok, I am definitely taking a break now, the machines are hot and need to cool down.
5:15 pm: I got 10 packages shipped, 15 more wrapped and ready to list and I went through 4 lint removers trying to get the fuzzy Gnome, Pebble and Bam Bam fabrics from colliding.
7 pm: I thought I was so smart to put my good scissors on a tether by the sewing machines until I cut my tether. Good Scissors MIA. Help…
9:45 pm: I have to stop eating dinner so late. Or is it still considered dinner if I am going to do a late night costume making run in the shop and work until 2 am tonight?

Now the good news is I had already gone shopping & picked up materials: Here is my average Halloween Shopping list, separated into fabrics and then notions. It’s crazy long I know…

Fabrics: Bam Bam fabric, red felt, pink felt, brown felt for Mr Potato head nose, white felt for mr potato head mouth and eyes, black felt, beard fabric, potato head fabric, Audrey Hepburn fabric, sheer white curtain fabric for the Princess Danni Dresses, Suede cloth fabric for the Princess Danni Belts, green and blue fleece for the Pebbles costumes, white fabric, red and white polka dot fabric, dark brown felt, brown cuddle fabric, off white jersey fabric, cheese cloth and silk fabrics to mix into the Mummy Wrap Dresses. Moda gauze or similar lining fabric for the Princess Danni Dress

Notions and such: (lots) thin elastic, 1” wide elastic, buttons, (lots and lots) velcro, safety pins, lint removers (one for every male gnome costume package plus many for myself for cleaning off these costumes ready to shipping), gift bags and ties for notions, sewing kits, etc., extra sewing needles and thread for sewing kits, glue gun glue, skeleton hands, snaps, gold trim, gold elastic, gold thread, thin gold trim for the Princess Danni belt, turquoise thread, red thread, black thread, white thread, silky white thread for the beard, extra lint removers for me, mini spring clips for the Pebbles bones and Mummy Wrap Dresses, stuffing for the Bam Bam bone at the hip of the costume, for the bat for the Bam Bam costume, and for the Pebbles Hair accessories, Hair clips for the Bam Bam costume hair accessories, brown thread, green thread, lace, light blue teal thread,  long white zippers, and yarn. Gold spray paint, and gold fabric paints in light gold, white, blue, and copper. Foam pieces for the Princess Danni dress stone pieces. Dark Gold (non fabric) paint. Tissue Paper, business cards, tags, labels, cards, little bags, packaging supplies, extra scissors. 

Daily Objective: make Everything Halloween…

Including: 22 pebbles tunics, 24 Male and Female Gnome costumes, 22 Pebbles Bloomers to match, Bam Bam Costumes, Mr & Mrs Potato Head costumes, and again, everything else…

Level of possible success in relation to project: near impossible but do it anyway


Cut all fabrics to sew.
>Cut the various Pebbles tunic front and back and bottom frill pieces, Pebbles Bloomers to match, Bam Bam shorts and shoulder straps, Gnome hats, Beards and eye brows, Belts, belt buckles for the male gnome belts, and female gnome apron pieces including the apron panel, the two pockets per apron, the strips of lace needed, and the waist tie. Cut elastic tabs for the gnome hats. Cut the brown felt for the Bam Bam Bats. Cut the pebbles from black felt to sew on the Pebbles tunics. Cut the white pieces for the Pebbles bones (include all Bam Bam costumes and Pebbles costumes when counting bones needed as you need one per costume). Cut the materials needed for the Mummy Wrap Dresses including accounting for 4 mini spring clips needed for each costume, 1 for the veil and 3 for the creepy skeleton hair clips.

Now that I have my materials in the shop and my fabrics cut, this is the system I go with for optimum sewing. This is how I intend for it all to run throughout the season. So if I receive orders, you can count on the fact that I am not just making your order, I am making probably at least 10 of a similar order to yours, plus all the rest. I have definitely gotten better at coordinating all of these aspects to the Halloween costumes and as I look to next years orders and expectations, I can say I really will need this list I am presenting here to keep my head on straight. Especially since a few of my last minute Halloween costume plans for the little ones and adults alike were not finished, so I will just hold off in many cases until later on in the year before releasing those.


Black Thread in machine-sew black Pebbles onto the Pebbles tunics-put aside as not finished, sew the black Male Gnome Belts including Velcro tabs-put aside as not yet finished. Make the black mustache for Mr Potato head and put aside until the white thread is up.

Brown thread in the machine-Sew the Bam Bam shorts and shoulder straps-put aside as finished from the sewing area. Sew the bats and put aside as finished from the sewing area. I move all items finished from the sewing area to a table where I add the notions such as the stuffed bone and button at the end, lint remove and package for photos and then delivery.

Green thread in the machine: sew the long strips for the bottom frill for the Pebbles tunics, put aside. Sew the neckline front and back at the arm openings for the Pebbles tunics, sew front and back together, include frill on the bottom and put each aside as finished.

Turquoise thread in the machine and sew all Pebbles bloomers. Put aside as finished.

Yellow Thread in the machine: sew all gold buckles on the gnome belts and put aside as finished.

Red thread in the machine: sew all read hats, including ties for the female hats and put those aside as finished. Sew all male hats and put aside (not yet finished). Sew the apron skirt for female gnome aprons. Once the skirt panel has been sewn around the edges and gathered, they are put aside as not yet finished but need a different thread color in order to continue. make the red lips for Mrs Potato head.

White thread in the machine: make apron pockets and waist ties, add to aprons and put each aside as finished. Make all Pebbles and Bam Bam bones and put aside from the sewing table for stuffing. Sew the Beards and eye brows on all male gnome hats and put aside as finished. make all Mummy Wrap Dresses and put aside as finished in the sewing area-each one receives hand sewn detail  for the extra notions once finished with the main portion of sewing on the machine. Make the white mouth for Mr Potato Head and attach to the black mustache.

Light Blue thread in the machine and sew all Princess Danni parts of the dress that can be done on the machine and put aside from the sewing area for finishing touches.

Once I have finished these sewing steps above by thread color I take all that have been finished and I put in a pile to lint remove, trim the threads, and photo/ ship. Those items such as the Little Bones, Bats, and Bam Bam Hair Accessories and then finished I stuff and sew those up. I add the little bones to the Bam Bam costumes that need them and the Bone Hair Clips and Headbands are made and included. The bats are stuffed and included at this time as well. The Bam Bam costumes have the button sewn to the back of the costume as well and those are finished up. Mr and Mrs Potato Heads got hidden snaps added, and all other details needed were done at this time. Little gift bags with free lavender sachets were included in packages at the beginning of the Halloween Season but I was only able to offer those for 2-3 weeks running before I began to run out. 

The Princess Danni dress pieces that had been sewn earlier are then taken and dyed, and then once dry, the gold paint is added. As I have been working on the sewing projects I have also been busy working on the Princess Danni gold belt and shoulder bracers for the dress, as well as coloring the foam stone pieces for the front dangling design. These pieces take a while to dry-upwards of 24 hrs in dry weather-possibly 48 when it starts to rain out here in Portland. You are trying to paint foam pieces so you should expect them to take a bit of time to dry out. If you put a fan on them it helps ;)

Once the gold on the fabric has dried I sew the fabric pieces to the shoulder bracers, put the completed belt on the dress form by lacing it up and then add the attachments for the back cape to stay in place with the back dress panel. I put together any additional details such as putting together the sewing kits for this dress and lacing up the long hanging stone pieces at this time. Once this dress is on the dress form or mannequin and considered finished, the belt is removed and re-laced, wrapped in tissue paper including the long dangling stones, and included in the package separately from the dress itself. The shoulder bracers on the dress are also wrapped in tissue paper, as well as slipped in between the inside of the dress when folded up to keep the lining and outer fabrics wrapped well and organized when unwrapped by the customer. 

Halloween costume crazy huh?

*Rules to help you get by during Halloween season:
1) Try not to fall asleep @ the sewing machine/ computer/ in line at the post office/ at the fabric shops.
2) Lint remove myself prior to leaving the shop-always.
3) Vacuum fibers from lungs… (regularly)
4) Send emails, orders and list updates and shipping details daily via etsy, email, etc.
6) Sleep regularly because you don’t want to get sick before Halloween!
7) Cover up coffee and water before entering the shop as the fibers will fall in
8) Put scissors on tethers. Do not cut tethers.
9) Never forget to label cut materials with masking tape with sizes and check those sizes once finished.
10) Purchasing all materials ahead of time will be a saving grace-do it! Do it early!

And now that I have run through my Halloween details (good to remember for next year!), Thank you & Good Night! I am off to catch a ‘post-Halloween crafting frenzy’ nap before I work on my next blog post-which will be up tonight or tomorrow-and will be dedicated to decorating and last minute Halloween costumes and all things fabulous! So if you will excuse me, I have a nap and then some bats to hang in the front yard...

Until then, have a wicked day ;)


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