Stitching News March 2018


Hello, and welcome to March’s Stitching News! If you are new to the blog, I hope you enjoy this month’s blog.

What is there to read about?

  • I decided to share the process I went through when I was putting together a small pattern for sale, recently.
  • I have also used one of my geometric screen-printed panels to make a pouch this weekend.  It is one that I found earlier in the year, when I was reorganising my room (January Blog) .
  • Then there are a multitude of ideas for using the many varied shapes and sizes of pouches I make!

Last month when I wrote about the hussif I mentioned that I sell patterns on Craftsy. These are patterns which the buyer downloads as a pdf. so no consideration has to be given to the physical packaging. I started writing these when I “retired” from teaching. One of my ex students, Sarah, who owns and runs Goose Chase Quilting, a patchwork shop in Cheltenham, suggested it to me one day, and it is an excellent way to carry on imparting ideas, knowledge and skills.

Sarah has written and successfully self-published many books of patterns, over the years, as well as creating individual patterns and kits:   If you aren’t local to Gloucestershire, you may well know her from the shows, as she invariably has a stall at Quilts UK in Malvern and at the NEC Festival of Quilts, and has also been very generous in supporting local causes.

Writing patterns, and illustrating them with step by step photographs or even getting all the steps in the right order, is a long-winded process, (certainly for me!) When patterns are long with many stages, it really is necessary to make sure they are as clear as possible.

I write and rewrite, again and again, as I try try to eliminate ambiguity, and make each step as clear as I can. I have really enjoyed the process, but it is very time consuming, and, I feel quite a responsibility.

Many years ago, when I was a trader, I made up a variety of small kits for sale and recently I found a shoe box with half a dozen small lavender bag kits, left over when I finished trading.  These were designed to hang on coat hangers in wardrobes.  Lavender is a great deterrent for moths, as apparently they loathe the smell.

I had created roosters and dolly/angels kits, and one day a few weeks ago I made up one of the roosters. It really made me smile and brought back many happy memories!  I decided to refresh the whole thing and revamp it, making a pattern, which I could sell myself from home, (rather than putting it on Craftsy). There is plenty of work in preparing all the text, and diagrams etc, but of course there is no fabric to add. When I was a trader, I had access to fabrics at trade prices, but of course I don’t now. But this small patterns can be made from scraps…. and tell me a quilter who doesn’t have any scraps!

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What exactly is involved in putting a pattern together for sale?

I mulled over thoughts about the rooster lavender kit for a good many days before settling on the decision to make a “pattern” as opposed to a kit. Once that was sorted, I felt ready to begin and it then took me the best part of two days to work it all out! So, to go back to my initial question….what, indeed, was involved in the process? 

Size and format were my first considerations. I already possessed a selection of various sizes of clear cellophane bags and therefore wanted a finished format that would fit into one of those.

What does a pattern buyer expect?  I did some research which helped me make my decisions. I have bought maybe four or five patterns over many years, but because I have always preferred to design and make my own patterns I am not an habitual pattern buyer! However I have friends who buy patterns, who have lots of experience about what they like, and, also importantly, what they don’t like about the patterns that they buy…and that information has been really useful!

I also have good friends who proof-read for me and “make up” my patterns from my instructions, which is also invaluable and immensely helpful.  So what might be involved for each packaged pattern and therefore what would my selling price be?

I wanted an affordable price for a small pattern, and felt that this particular one could be suitable for any age group; someone learning to sew, young or older. The more experienced sewer could rattle through some too, and it would be a change  not to have to think too hard about it…just follow instructions, for a change!  It could be a “snap buy” for a friend; maybe an attractive and fun “stocking filler” for sewing friends at Christmas. It could also make a delightful little “thank you” gift… either made up by the donor, or if the recipient was a stitcher, offered in its “pattern format”. It is always useful to have a couple of prepared little presents put by. Costing and pricing could realistically only be assessed at the completion of whole process.

Presentation is really important. I wanted it to be attractive and the essential details of the pattern to be visible and easy to read without having to open the package.

A coloured photograph on the front was essential with further brief details given on the back of the card.

Due to the size I had chosen for this pattern, I printed a format of four photos to one A4 sheet of photographic paper. These were trimmed with a rotary cutter. (Clearly only one of these is required per pattern). I have always bought packs of 50 blank cards  (4″ x 6″) which have already been scored, and I use these for my own hand made cards. It seemed a simple but very effective use of a card, with photograph mounted on the front, to use as a “carrier” for the instructions.  Everything would then be held and supported inside the card. The photograph illustrated the finished item and other essential information could be read on the reverse. It would look professional and neat.

  • The photograph for the front of the pattern was mounted onto the card with double sided cellotape.
  • Essentially I had my diagrams, text and templates from the original kit. These needed some minor adjustments to fit the size and format I wanted to use. I had to learn how to word-process to an A6 format, so that I could write my text within four separate areas of an A4 page! A big learning curve! It took me several hours and much patience to sort this out.
  • I then word processed an A4 document which could be used for the brief details to be read from the back of the card. I wanted the left half blank and the text on the right top quarter. When I had done this I was able to copy and paste my text to the bottom right quarter. The text included: the title of the pattern; a small photograph of a single rooster; the finished dimensions of the rooster and a brief description. A final sentence explains that all proceeds from the sale of my patterns go to charity. The format of this particular word processing is such that I can cut the A4 page in half laterally, and have two copies (each having  the left half blank and the right half with text). These were folded vertically in half; the blank half inside the card so that the fold wraps around the edge, placing the text against the back the card. Finally I added my “Di Wells” personal sticker to the back of the card too. The spare copy is ready for the next package!
  • Inserts were photocopied from my masters, trimmed to size and folded
  • Finally the finished assembly was enclosed in the cellophane bag and sealed with a price sticker.  This account illustrates the process “from concept to sale!” I wonder if many pattern buyers have ever wondered what was involved in the production of their purchases!


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Rosemary, a dear friend, has made up the other kit, my dolly/angel lavender bag.
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I shall be offering this as a “pattern” later in the year too. Both of these these were good little sellers many years ago, and hopefully will be again. These two particular patterns will sell for £4.75 each, and will only be available from me, but not until later in the year. By then I will have created another couple of small patterns, as well, and will have had time to assemble some! Details of all of them will be in a summer blog!
Makers can personalise their patterns to suit themselves, and fabrics and embellishments will make each one unique!
 As I give all the proceeds from sales of my patterns, to charity, I have the pleasure of creating and then the pleasure of giving.
A great double bonus!
In my January Blog I wrote about  some screen prints I had designed and printed onto fabric several years ago. These came to light when I was sorting out my studio! This month I have used one of the square geometric ones.
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Immediately above is the photo I showed in January. You may remember that I explained I had over-dyed some of the screen prints because I had originally printed them onto white fabric. The fabrics with the squares at the bottom of the photo are three of the results. However, the piece of screen printed fabric I have used for my pouch was originally printed onto a pale blue hand dyed fabric, at the time, which I liked so left alone and it is this that I have used on this occasion!
 DSC00715 (2)I chose a piece of floral fabric from my scrap bag, and stitched it to the bottom of the printed panel, then chose a couple of colours from that colour palette to make roofs. I then also used them to increase the width.
Below are two photographs of the finished pouch; front and base views.
The dimensions of the finished pouch are: length 7.5″; width 6.5″ at the top of the bag, and 5.5″ at the base; depth 1.5″.  (Apologies for the stray thread  I can now see on the bottom of the bag in the photo!)! To create a depth and a roomy interior I “boxed” the corners of the pouch.
In last months Stitching News I explained and illustrated how to insert a lining and zip together, and in the April blog, I will show you how to “box” corners, for bags, pouches and such like! As I said, this gives room in the pouch but also gives a structure which means it will stand up.
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I love making pouches. They make great little gifts, apart from being immensely useful personally. I keep individual chargers in them for my phone; camera; Fitbit; and toothbrush. I have various small tools in one which I frequently use for sewing, which could otherwise easily become misplaced. They are also so easy and convenient to use for small items when I go to my sewing groups!
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I also take extra ones on holiday,  containing a little sewing kit; first aid; small items of favourite jewellery; any medication etc.
To the left is a selection of different styles.  If some of them look quite tired they have been in constant use for several years.
You may recognise the fabric with the circles on at the bottom of this photograph! …(have another look at the photo of the screen prints!) There is just a little bit left! I made this little zipped container several years ago. It neatly stores my Samsung tablet charger, and plug with USB port. I love it! A real old favourite!
I wonder if any of you tried the simultaneous zip and lining technique after last month’s newsletter? Do you have a different favourite tip or technique of your own for this particular technique…
Very happy stitching to you all.