Friday, 29 October 2010

Show me the money.

This year is turning out to be pretty expensive. Along with the twenty squillion pounds we paid for the neverending loft conversion, we have had to repair the washing machine, then replace the washing machine, replace the hoover, replace the iron, and now the central heating is broken. Not broken in a major way, but it'll still cost about £150 to fix it.

Add to that the extra bill we have from our builder for changing the stair spindles in the loft (they were twirly, and they just weren't right. Now they're straight and they're lovely. Yes it was important and worth the money. Now be quiet) and using better quality wood on the cupboard doors (we're staining it rather than painting), and we're a bit strapped for cash.

I'm still finding things to put on eBay, and we're selling nearly all of our dvds on Music Magpie, but we need more moolah. So one of the obvious solutions is for me to try and sew up a bit of cash. My mum, the lovely grandma pickledweasel, has a little business making and selling glass jewellery and art. She does lots of farmer's markets, and always takes along a little selection of wooden brooches on my behalf. When I started making bags we talked about selling some on her stall, so I thought I'd finally crack on and make up some stock for her. I've been buying bits and bobs of fabric in preparation, and have quite a few patterns that can be used to make items to sell. My aim was 10 bags using this pattern in 7 days. If they sold, I would try a few more different styles out. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Er, no. Despite this being the fourth time I've used this pattern, the bag pictured took me around 4 hours to make and is unsellable unsaleable unsellible no-one would buy it. The outer is faux suede and the lining is a bit of vintage soft cotton I found in a charity shop. Both fabrics are quite lightweight so I thought I would use fusible interfacing on the floral cotton to give the bag a bit more structure. Only when I came to turn it through it had obviously added a bit too much structure, because it was like bloody childbirth. The stitches on the strap split, and tore the lovely old cotton. I had to unpick and re-sew the join at the tops of the straps so many times to get the two sides the right length so they would sandwich together properly that there is a whole new pattern of little holes in the faux suede. It just doesn't cut the mustard.

I have to accept that I don't have the speed or the skill to make it worthwile financially. In fact, I'd probably make more money if I stopped buying fabric and bag patterns :) I would love love love to make money out of sewing, but I just don't think it's feasible for someone who works part time and has a two and a half year old the rest of the time. Selling online is slightly easier, as you can make things as they're ordered, but you still need time to promote your business and find patterns that work for you and that you can use to make things comercially (or design your own). I've got rid of my little Coriandr shop, which was rapidly going nowhere due to a lack of promotion on my part. No matter how badly I want it, or believe it's my destiny (in an X-Factor styley), making money from stitching stuff isn't going to happen right now.

So it's back to eBaying the contents of my wardrobe and shopping in bulk at Approved Food in an effort to save money. If anyone has any 100% proven get rich quick schemes, or interesting recipes for tortillas or cous cous please comment below :)


  1. I'm never going to make money at it either. I'm much happier sewing now that I've finally admitted that to myself.

    We love tortilla pizzas. We cut up a bunch of veggies and with a little pepperoni, sauce and cheese bake individual pizzas on the tortillas. Munchkin is probably too young to be into it now, but older kids love being able to make their own. They take about 15 minutes in the oven. Crispy and YUM!

  2. How about make-up bags? If you sew them sweatshop style (i.e. do all of them at the same time by stage) you could totally make a dozen in 3 hours.

    We use tortillas for Mexican stuff all the time! Mostly burritos with stir-fried peppers, onions, kidney beans, sweet corn, chopped tomatoes, chili powder, coriander. Once cooked, wrap it up with some sour cream, cheese and salsa.