If you write it will they come?

Is it still true that if you write and add to a wonderful site or blog that you can attract random readers and then a loyal following? I believe it’s true but with the caveat that you also have to participate in one or more other marketing activities. I started Sue’s Tiny Costumes way back… in fact if you plug in the URL you can see how badly my designs for websites were and over time can see the progression and improvements.

What I’m about to say is in no way paid it is purely in gratitude for what she has done to pay it forward, share her vast knowledge and INSPIRE others to be better.

If it were not for Cricket I would not be where I am today. Ok she is one of many many individuals but they are for other posts as appropriate. I started Cricket’s SEO class in 2003 with a toddler and a pre-schooler in the house. I had a dream of making some money with designing and drafting doll patterns of all things.  If you go to the Wayback Machine you can see my early attempt at web design… pretty dismal with scanned dresses laid on a scanner, no digital camera, computer drawn designs and more flaws than I care to count.

Over time, with many nudges and encouragement, my site improved visually and the business expanded. Then in 2005 just as it was starting to roll my personal life blew up. My knee went out, I went through a separation and moving, and many other problems and my site had to go to the bottom of the heap of things to worry about. From 2005 until NOW, I have done NOTHING to market the business or if I did it has been very inconsistent and sporadic. Yet, despite it all what Cricket taught held the site in good standing and it STILL made money without me… well minor technical issues had to be addressed but those were very seldom since I’d done a LOT of work leading to the life blow out. I am to this day a member of her classes and the Coffee Shop. I’ve followed her on the V7n and Facebook and even Twitter. Cricket is an inspirational teacher and mentor and I look forward to learning more from her.

Thank you Cricket for everything you do to help people build up businesses. The Blog Challenge has been the kick in the pants I’ve needed to get back on the writing and business bandwagon for 2011 and hopefully I’ll achieve some of my next round of dreams because of the jump start you’ve give me this year. I look forward to more Challenges in the coming months too! If you need something just drop me a note and I’ll do what I can to repay you!

So really, if you write, follow Cricket’s tips, and do so consistently, I do believe readers will come!

 

French Curves for Dolls

Ever wondered where to get small pattern drafting tools suitable for doll clothes pattern making? You can find a French Curve Set fairly easily actually. After some quick looking

around I found a great set that works not only for dolls but if you sew for yourself can actually come in handy for drafting full size patterns as well!

Why would you want a curve set when found items work just as well? I have found that you can get better results with the smooth edges of an actual French Curve Set versus using a plate, plastic tape dispenser, the curve of your mouse, various coins, jars and other interesting oddities. With a set like this one or more of the curves is very likely to fit what you need and it’s easy to use them to quickly draw the line smoothly. Over time I’ve bought each curve individually and wish I could have found a set like this before now!

This is one of those indispensable items for the doll nut who loves to design and draft or just alter patterns for dolls!

Tiny Betsy


betsy-abcTiny Betsy is now one of my favorite dolls to draft and dress. She is small enough to only take a fat quarter of fabric for a dress but large enough that she is still easy to sew for.

I first got my Betsys after hosting a Travelling Betsy doll. The darling little visitor traveled with my daughter and I to the State Fair and Betsy’s gift was a duplicate dress to my daughter’s first day of Pre-School dress. (I sent one with the travelling doll and later made a new one for Sera’s Betsy)

My daughter was devastated that Betsy had to go visit other people and so at birthday time I found and adopted the two Betsys we now have. Why two dolls? Well of course it was because I guessed that she and I would argue over the doll if there was only one…. over the years I’ve been right about that and neither one of us even remembers who had which doll to start and happily dress both dolls!

That year Betsy got several dresses for Christmas and that is the main reason she has so many patterns.

What a sweet little doll!

Sera was also very fond of her 18″ doll and she had a duplicate dress as well. The little dark haired Betsy was our visitor.

Lesson of the month for me…

No matter what you do always write yourself a note to go with new patterns and cut out projects. You never know how long it will be until you get back to an item! I am working on a beautiful square neck lame top and black pleated pants suit item for my Dollfie but for the life of me I can’t figure out what I was thinking when I designed and cut the project out! The top isn’t so bad and is almost done now but the pants have me completely puzzled so I’m hoping that once I have the top done and on her the rest will fall into place! Here’s a good example of a simple New Pattern or Project Planning Page: planner-1024x792

Another trip to and from work…

I have many items that I cut out several years ago and  Friday morning I pulled one out that I no longer had the pattern with…so while I basted a pretty blue strapless dress I have yet to figure out who it will fit! At least it’s basted together! Hmmmm maybe I should stitch it and then take some photos soon!

Thanks to the Valley Mover for more time…

I have been taking the local commuter bus Valley Mover for 2+ years now and have found an extra 2 hours a day to sew. This afternoon’s project was the 1″ scale version of my Gwendolyn’s dress. Gwen is 12″ tall and by Gwen Ross of Mystic Mold. I met Gwen Ross at the 1995 Anaheim Doll Show when I won 3rd place for costuming for Letha Marie another doll by her who is 46″ tall. Sadly Gwen Ross is no long with us but I am lucky to have 2 of her dolls. I will be recreating Letha’s gown in miniature soon as well.

When I have more done on the dress I will post photos! The lesson in all this is to take the bus to relax and craft each day! It does not matter where you live… check into your local bus!

46" Letha Marie

46″ Letha Marie

 

12" Gwendolyn

12″ Gwendolyn

 

What dolls do you sew for?

cropped-Collages2.jpgI sew for just about any doll I can lay hands on but there are a few that I really love to sew for. Tiny Kitty and Kitty Collier are among my top two. Gene is another I love to sew for and will shortly have patterns for as well. I need to take photos and finish up her patterns. I adore Tiny Betsy and especially love the challenge of sewing in one inch scale. One doll I have not had the chance to sew for is the Urban Vita I got in January. I am looking forward to working on her patterns soon too!

So who do you love to sew for? Add your comments below!

Sewing again…UFOs and tips

I’m back in the groove of sewing once more… finally! I’m working on kid clothes and things for myself but after a couple more projects Ill be tackling the doll UFOs once more and adding patterns. I take the bus to work and have found that I now have 2 hours to fill and staring out the window is boring after a while especially when it’s foggy and you can’t even see across a divided highway! With my friend Lindsay as the driving force we made a list of all the projects and pieces of fabric, notions and trims I had… I’ve since found more but it was a start! Here’s my tip for the day or more likely tips:

  1. make a list of everything you have and when you bring home more add to the list… it does NOT have to be a fancy relational database or even a spreadsheet it can simply be a notebook with a list. Just keep it updated!
  2. clear plastic envelopes are MARVELOUS for holding patterns and stray pattern pieces and file and stand up better than Ziplocks in a tote or box for storage
  3. go through and finish UFOs before kids outgrow things that are cut out! Now dolls don’t grow but most of us have at least someone in our lives we sew for that grows, a fur pal, neighbor or family kid, volunteer work or ourselves. Finish UFOs before it’s too late!
  4. finishing UFOs clears space for MORE fabric and provides a sense of accomplishment in addition to saving money by actually using the fabric collection you have

Back to finishing up a UFO!

Convert from Fractions to MM

This chart and a full conversion tool can be found on http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-cminch.htm I thank this site for having the information I needed for this tutorial!

Due to the many requests I’ve had during classes on information about metrics vs standard measuring I decided that a tutorial was necessary for measuring in metrics as it is more accurate for very small dolls.

To use the chart found at the link:

  • Fractions are obvious I would guess.
  • The decimal was found by dividing 1 by the number after the / so 1 divided by 64 gives you the .0156.
  • The MM was found by multiplying by 2.54. To read the MM section correctly you read after the decimal as mm and before the . as CM. Thus 1.3 cm is 1 centimeters and 3 millimeters.
  • My books and other drafting tutorials are written for standard thus this is to help convert the fractions to a more manageable format. When reading a long MM measurement such as 25.7969 you will want to round the .7969 to .8 thus 25 cm plus 8 mm is what you will find your measurement will have to be for 1 1/64″