2014 was an exceptionally busy, stressful and chaotic time for Laura After Midnight! From exceptional highs, and very low lows’ I learnt so much, and can’t wait to get my teeth into 2015…
To be honest the year started out fine and dandy, then around August two of the contracts I had- teaching Sewing at establishments across Bristol- ended very abruptly… just after I had signed the lease on my very first shiny new Studio! To say this put my financial situation into an interesting position is a slight understatement, but then something magical happened in September… I had scrambled to put a short Sewing Course List up of my own in a effort to keep myself up and running (I had never intended to teach from the Studio as I felt it was a little too small), and people started booking! People I had never met found me, liked the look of what I was doing and paid to be taught. I actually can’t put into words how happy this made me feel, and I will never forget the rush of excitement and gratitude I felt when I discovered the first Course had sold out!
With a couple extra Sewing Machines, one of which was donated by a Sewer I had taught who was moving back to the U.S., two more bought by my Mum and Dad, and a quick trip to Ikea the Midnight Atelier and Workroom was born… and I started welcoming some truly fantastic people along to nerd out about Sewing!
Packing up and moving the old Studio to the new Workroom with a wonky trolly, determination and copious amounts of Tea! (above, left) The moment I realised I was stuck in the lift and had to take a picture between giggling! (above, centre) The last thing to be taken out, the cheerful Red, Black and White Bunting I made when I signed the lease but still had to wait a week to move in the the old Studio (above, right).
In just four months this side of my business has grown exponentially, and a couple of weeks ago I signed the lease on a new space. Another huge step for me as the space is larger, and I can fit more students in, offer different types of Classes as well as having room to work on another aspect of Laura After Midnight: Pattern Making.
In 2015 I am intending to expand the current Patterns I offer within a broad ‘Costume/Alternative’ theme, which will draw on my experience as a Costume Designer and Maker. I’d also like to start Blogging and writing about this a little more as it is by far the most talked about aspect of what I write and teach about, and I think it is incredibly important I talk some more about advanced techniques in Sewing. There are many, varied Blogs and Websites talking about Sewing, but not many explaining more advanced techniques for the Beginner or Intermediate Sewer.
The day the Chaise Longue I scored on Ebay for just £30 arrived! It’s Edwardian, needs recovering but I love it! (above, left) Me, all proud in my huge new space, full of ideas and plans and so excited I could skip! (above, centre) Moving day! It went in a little neater than I had hoped and will have to be carefully covered as I start the renovations (above, right).
You may be wondering why I want to teach this side of things and there are two reasons… the first sounds very egotistical but I’m super proud of it too- I’m really, really good at Pattern Cutting! I also love it, and this leads me to the second reason (which is slightly more complicated)… I am tall, like 6” tall, and every Pattern I have made up since I was 14 I have had to adapt. I’ve been adapting Patterns so long I can’t remember who taught me but it was probably my amazing Mum. Currently I have to add in up to 4″ to the length, which means I have to adjust where Darts are, Armholes, Seam Lines and… and …and. The list is endless so when I got my first introduction to Pattern Cutting at 16 I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I consumed it! In teaching I have noticed that my average student isn’t the average shape. They’re tall like me, larger, short, all sorts of variations and they have often gravitated to Sewing as a way to create clothing which looks better on them. The Beginner or Intermediate Sewer often doesn’t understand why that then doesn’t look as amazing as they had hoped and I would love to start illustrating the process of how you can sculpt Patterns and Garments to not just look good on you, but make you look fantastic!
Snapshots as I set up the new space… more on this to come in the next few weeks!
I also saw record sales on Etsy towards the end of 2014 however; received the nastiest and demanding messages from buyers who could not or would not understand I hand make my products and there will always be a waiting time, especially when shipping internationally! This was a huge contributing reason for my temporarily closing Laura After Midnight on Etsy in December, which after the stress of dealing with such abuse was a sad relief. In combination with the new EU VAT Regulations I am left unsure of the direction I need to take selling online and have decided to take a break from this side of Laura After Midnight whilst HMRC and various other Governments across Europe duke out how everyone will deal with the VAT Issue. It will give me time to Blog more and start designing Patterns as well as finishing Patterns and Kits which have long been set aside so the start of 2015 should be a very exciting time!
Places are booking up fast for the new Courses, as well as spots at Sewing Club, so if you are Bristol based check them out quick! Don’t forget you can pop along to Crochet Club– which starts on 10th January- for free and join me and others in creating Crochet goodies (I’m quite, quite obsessed!). Join Bristol Sewing Club on Facebook, or the Newsletter for up to date information too.
I wish you all love, luck and fun stitching times in 2015 and if you have contributed to the Laura After Midnight story so far, thank you.