The future is Dimpsy!

Late in 2014 it’s what I had decided 2015 was all going to be about…

I sat down and made a little list of the things I liked to work on, the things that make my heart sing, and put a smile on my face, I mixed these with the things that actually make me money and came up with a pretty pleasing list which happened to drop all of the things which were unhealthily stressing me out! Yay! This littler list was what I decided to concentrate upon them in 2015.

The past year has taught me so many things about running a Small Business, not least ‘don’t push things that aren’t selling or aren’t making you happy’, and this year I’m trying to build Laura After Midnight into a sustainable business with which I can support myself properly, in a less living on beans kinda student-y way, whilst being happy and having some time off.

Building upon the Patterns I have already released is a big part of that, and it’s a big part I enjoy too (crazy, right? I hated Math as a kid!), and continuing along the road to joining the ranks of all of the other wonderful Independent Pattern Makers out there is incredibly important to me and I have been working away on the next design to be released this past week!

I called her Dimpsy (if you are any where near to Devon you will know this means dappled shade) and you may have noticed the Samples popping up on Facebook and Instagram! Work continues apace here at The Midnight Atelier on the new The Dimpsy T (love that name!) which now has a release date of the 24th April! Yay!

   

I had wanted to create a simple t-shirt from Jersey fabric however; after working upon a few samples and getting nowhere I remembered I hate sewing Jersey fabric! I mean, I’ll do it, and I’m not stopping anyone else from doing it, and I often sew stretch for costuming however; right now Jersey is not a fabric I’m interested in constructing garments from. As soon as I made the change to Cotton the ideas kept coming and it was difficult to choose the ones to use!

I decided to use some of my Pattern Cutting wizadry and pop the Darts at the front of the Bodice, with a little seam which runs from the Collar down to the Dart. I am all about this detailing, I love it! The Collars lie slightly either side of the Seam and just look heavenly!

So far I have designed this t-shirt to have two different Collar Patterns, a small Cap Sleeve, Peek-a-Book back detailing and that glorious Central Dart however; the T-Shirt will also be released with a Booklet of ‘Hacks’ to make this peach of a Top into a Dress, or alter the Pattern to create a Pin Tuck or Pleated detail at the front. It’s going to be so cute!

dimpsy t promo poster

Because creating Patterns is an expensive habit- I’m going to be Grading and creating about six Samples in total as well as sending out Pattern Test Samples and quite a lot more over the next few weeks, I have popped up Pre-Order listings up on Etsy to help me out! If you think you’d like to make a Dimpsy T pre-order your copy today and help me out a little in the process, just click below… In return you’ll get 10% off, an instant copy of ‘Understanding Vintage and Modern Patterns’, as well as the ‘Hacks’ Booklet for free, and it’ll be emailed or shipped to you directly on the 24th April.

PDF Dimpsy T Sewing Pattern   dimpsy pre order pdf

I’m also planning a Sew-Along and I’ll need Pattern Testers soon so watch this space over the next few weeks for more details!

Happy stitching!

Notes from the Atelier

A week or so ago I ran a Freehand Machine Embroidery Class here at The Midnight Atelier, which was a blast!

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Starting with the basic principles and how to set the Sewing Machine up for Freehand Machine Embroidery, we quickly moved on to the fun of it all and started to create mini works of art!

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Throughout the day I demonstrated different techniques like freehand pattern building and writing as well as using Water Soluble Fabric, Applique and using Metallic Thread.

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I seriously loved the delicate leaves (above, left), and watching what you have embroider become an almost 3D object is wonderful!

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It’s difficult to be creative on demand like this, so I’m always super proud when everyone enjoys the day and gets inspired. It’s such a wonderfully easy thing to do, it really is all about what you want to do with it! Monogram something, make art work or create your own textiles? Embroider fabric to create Lingerie for sale? Embroider your logo, or use it to create new products for your Business? The list is endless…

Some samples were left in the workroom and I think I’m going to frame them to inspire everyone! This Class will run again on 25th April, 1-4pm and you can book here.

Happy stitching!

New Sewing Courses!

Phew! I have just finished updating the Class Schedule, and I have to say I am mighty proud of this one!

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There’re Classes for beginners and more advanced Sewers alike, and I have tried to plan in fun projects like the Playsuit Course or Beginners Dressmaking Course which both have three different Patterns to choose from (and they’re all great, I promise!), as well as Project Days including an Introduction to Patchwork Day and the completely awesome and fun T-Shirt Project Day.

You guys who have already been stitching up a storm are also catered for and can choose from the Sew Anything Course– which starts soon!- as well as Lingerie, Corset and Vintage Pattern Courses. I’m almost envious, but I get to be there too, yay!

I also have a Social Media Training for Small Businesses Seminar which I am completely thrilled to be offering. I seem to spend a lot of time spouting off about how important SEO is, why I try to maintain an Editorial Calendar and why everyone with a Small Business should Blog in the first place, as well as blithering on about Internet Marketing and all the many minutiae of running a Small Business in this wondrous Internet age that I thought I would  share all of the bits and bobs I have learnt over the years to help y’all out!

Click here for more information but loosely this seminar will feature group discussion and worksheets plus handouts for future reference and is the perfect next step for your Small Business as you build your Brand and start to create more business through your website, shop and in person! It’s going to be such fun guys, I’m hopping with excitement!!

Places are limited by space so I’d book quick for all of the Courses and Classes.

Happy stitching!

Notes from the Atelier

As work continues apace in the new Workroom, I thought I would make a confession… I have already started work on products for Christmas 2015! I know, I’m mad!

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At Arnos Vale Christmas Fayre, where someone rushed over and said ‘Oooh, excellent! The Christmas Bunting is back!’ which pleased me no end!

You see, last Christmas was just so much fun I had to start. I sold out of many products and lines as well as having a blast on the Market Stall (which was hard work too!) however; the few notes and thoughts I took away from last years successes were these: I must have access to more stock, the stock needs to be organized and available online too and I also need to have made the stock months in advance. I also need a card reader! I had real trouble keeping up with demand during December and definitely lost sales because of it so the name of the game this year is organisation, organisation, organisation!

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At Retroville, at The Tobacco Factory which is always a fantastic Market to have some fun and buy some beautiful Handmade goodies!

I listed all sales, and made copious notes so I know my best sellers, and I shall of course be replicating them however; I’d like also to start offering variants upon the theme too and this is why I have started so early. I need time to work on things, experiment, take a step back then work again, and I am hoping by starting so early I will afford myself the luxury of time.

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At Picton Street Market, which was quite the talk of the town and the event of the Market season! The day started slowly but was huge fun. My day was made when a customer declared my Handmade Notebooks to be ‘better than Paperchases’!

Another new thing for this year was having someone with me at each and every Market. This was pretty cool to be honest, and not something I had planned… I actually was stocking a couple friends products and they wanted to be their on the day but this was invaluable. For the first time I could wonder off and take a peek at the other stalls, go to the toilet (much valued let me tell you!), grab a coffee and best of all, chat.

I’ll also be looking to be stocked in shops for the Christmas period, which is another reason I need to start planning now. I need to start approaching shops in July/August and it would be fantastic to have the stock in place and ready to be shipped if necessary. There is also extended prep time in taking and editing product photos, listing to sell or creating the wholesale information, advertising… oh the list is endless but I am looking forward to starting!

Did you attend or sell at any craft markets this year? I’d love to hear your tales…

Happy stitching!

 

PDF Flash Sale

Because of new EU VAT Regulations (boy, am I tired of typing that, and so fed up with the situation), I will have to stop selling PDF Patterns through Etsy as of Midnight on December 31st 2014. This may seem to be a knee jerk reaction to the whole Vat Mess situation however; millions of small businesses are being effected by the (ridiculous, unfair and plain stupid) change- over 3.3 million in the UK alone- and this is a precautionary step to protect myself until we can figure out what the next step it… because all sources of help within HMRC are giving conflicting, incorrect or confusing advice and no-one seems to understand how we can comply, why indeed as a Small Business/Micro Business we should comply or what the next step might be.

Just to give you an overview, from 1st January 2015 if I sell a Digital File to another EU Country I have to pay VAT there. However there are 28 countries in the EU with 75 different VAT rates… so I have to register to pay VAT in every EU Country… and often I don’t know where my Customer is. I’m going to leave it there as I tend to start angry typing and become incoherent if I add more!!

I will still be offering Patterns as a hard copy however; the new regulations will include all products by the end of the year. The best explanation of the new regulations I have found is here, please read it if you are a small business as I was convinced the 80k threshold would protect me and it doesn’t. More interesting articles can be found here and here loosely explaining the situation and a very helpful Facebook Group has been set up here.

So, why not just sell to the US? As 80% of my business is with you guys- thanks by the way!- this is a viable solution. But wait… there’s a little piece of law which says I shouldn’t discriminate against selling to a certain Country without cause. I think this is cause not to sell to the EU, expecially when historically I don’t much however; there’s another really, huge, big issue with this. I sell on Etsy, who aren’t going to help me to distinguish between Countries so I can’t do this and keep this side of my business afloat. Great.

So, we’re left with several options… just sell Hard Copy Patterns with a complimentary PDF, just sell Hard Copy, or find another platform to sell on so I can distinguish between Countries so I can only sell outside of the EU which looks like it might be a more permanent solution for the size of my business.

 

Any hoo, because of this ”VAT Mess” I’m having a Flash Sale on all PDF Patterns…

Mini Top Hat PDF Sewing Pattern Victorian Edwardian Steampunk DIY Craft Kit Eventide Corset PDF Sewing Pattern Victorian Edwardian Steampunk DIY Craft Kit

Mini Top Hat PDF (above, left) £3.25      Eventide Corset PDF (above, right) £4.25

Dusken Spats PDF Sewing Pattern Victorian Edwardian Steampunk DIY Craft Kit

**NEW** Dusken Spats PDF (above) £4.25

Costume Sewing Patterns Selection Pack inc. Victorian Corset, Steampunk Burlesque Mini Top Hat and Steampunk Spats

All three PDF Patterns (above) £10

How’s about that then? They’ll only be available for the next two days… eek!! Click the images to buy 🙂

Happy stitching

5 Tips for Product Photography

A couple days ago I was asked to provide some Product images for a Craft Magazine and  I used it to light a fire under my bum and get my new Bunting Kit finally finished! It is something I have been illustrating ever since my Mini Bunting Kit’s started selling so well, and with the success of my Hand Made Christmas Bunting over Christmas I decided it was the first Kit to be released in 2014.

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Running alongside this, I have started a Branding and Zine conversion which is fairly epic… all products are to be re-branded with my new logo (you may have noticed it above! I’m so super chuffed!!), and all Kits and Zines are to be available as a PDF Download… soon! So, having someone contact me for Product Images was as good excuse as any to finish the Kit, with the new Branding.

It’s been a little manic but… mission accomplished! The Kits will be released a little later in the week and today I thought I’d share a little about what goes on behind the scenes when I am organising Product Photos. Quite a bit goes in to the organization, the Pictures them selves and even more in Post-Production… especially when you are re-branding!!

The best piece of advise I have ever read on this subject is: you want to sell a ‘lifestyle’. In my case, I want customers to look at my Product Images and think ‘ooh, yummy’!

1. Think about your surface, backdrop or setting.

You may have noticed the trend for pure white backdrops recently, which is lovely if your products suit this. I happen to think that sewing needs a little bit more of a tactile backdrop so I compromise. I use a Vintage White Lace edged table cloth, which adds texture but will not look out of place or too different when placed next to other products from other shops on-line, or in a magazine. Don’t be scared to try different backgrounds, at this point you’ll only stand out!

2. To Prop, or not to Prop?

It’s funny, I used to think Props were too messy, that people would think they were included with the product or even just too distracting. I’m pretty sure I was wrong, I love my newer Product Photos, which sell the idea of gathering equipment and notions around you to get ready to use the Kit. The use of Props can also bring in carefully placed elements of colour which can lift the whole picture. They can also add in a Vintage feel, or suggest things to the buyer within a theme which can be a useful tool.

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 As you can see, I started with an image in mind that was very different from the final picture! All of the Props disappeared to make way for one glorious Prop- one of my Vintage Glass Dish Pincushions (which is a cheeky way of getting another Product in the Pic!). It’s less cluttered but I feel still sells the Kit well. 

LauraAfterMidnight_Image01_lowThe final Product Photo, ready for both the Magazine and Etsy! None of the complicated filters have been used, it’s clear, concise and looks great!

3. Products

The most important thing about this whole process! I always make the best product I can, or select the nicest version to be photographed. They’re like peaches in a supermarket! I’ll freshly iron, check for threads, make sure none of the packaging is bent, anything to make sure everything is at its best.

4. Framing and lighting

This is personal taste, I prefer to show as much of the product as possible, photographed head on as simply as possible with nothing in front of it or obstructing the view! Of course, I also try to sell the ‘lifestyle’ with the aforementioned props however; the main focus should always be the product. Because I sell on Etsy and Folksy, I also need to take in to consideration the fact that my wonderful picture will probably be first viewed as a thumbnail. This means I will need to be able to crop it without loosing any of the detail, and intent.  Lighting doesn’t need to be anything more complicated than an Anglepoise Lamp with a daylight bulb in (blue light rather than yellow as it’s easier to edit with). I used to tape a sheet of heavy tracing paper to my Anglepoise to diffuse the light so my shadows weren’t as hard too. Bright, white light will always make your Products look awesome because the colours will pop!

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 Same Product, different ways! In each photograph I have tried something a little different however; each displays the Kit, and the finished Kit. Because of my Re-Branding you may have noticed I am trying some filters however; my favourite layout is the far left. The snippet of Vintage cloth, the fact that you can see the reverse instructions (but not too much, have to pique their interest!), and the final made up Kit just really works for me. Clear lighting and close framing help to see this picture even when it is a thumbnail. 

5. Photoshop or editing software.

I am incredibly lucky because Fella is a Film-maker and Photographer (which makes me feel like I am cheating a little bit) and means I have access to a couple things I probably wouldn’t have normally. Well, one thing at least: Photoshop. I know that there are many other Photo Editing programmes out there, many of which are either free or at least very cost effective (see a good list of available optionshere) however; Photoshop is just glorious! Also, and this is a very valuable lesson, stick with the software you like and can use efficiently, Photoshop works and makes sense to me but if it had felt tricky and awkward I would have tried another. I try not to follow ‘trends’ for things like this… just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work better than your tried and trusted programme!

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 On the left are the Photoshopped images, on the right the filtered images using a free downloaded Programme to my Phone called Repix which is kind of wonderful for a quick edit on the go! I still love the bright, clear imagery I get from Photoshop which I think works well for my on-line shop.

You may have noticed throughout this post I have been trying out some Instagram style filters. This is in response to my new Packaging. Because it is brown paper and string, Vintage style I felt it was important to try a more tactile photographic technique. I’m not sure I like it as it is a little too generic however; I shall continue to play with it as I continue this process.

Well, those are my top tips, I shall be taking many more photos over the next few days as I slowly work through the re-branding of all my products! Wish me luck.

What are your Top Tips for taking awesome droolworthy Photos? I’d love to hear!

Happy stitching!

Pop Up Sewing Emporium… success!

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Phew! What a crazy, hectic, mad, brilliant December I had, but I can’t believe I haven’t shared with you the super fun day that was the Christmas Pop Up Sewing Emporium!!

It was a lovely day, very rainy out which undoubtedly affected turn out however; everyone who came had a lovely time and made some beautiful decorations and gifts! We even had a new Dad stitch up a stocking for his new Son, so cute!

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On the day I was so nervous! It was so liberating and exciting to run something like this myself however; I had for some reason decided I was going to be sat, all alone and surrounded by fabric, beads, thread and sparkle with no one to play with however; at just £5 a go the Pop Up Sewing Emporium proved irresistible to many and in the end every table was occupied with crafty peeps!

Cafe Kino were wonderful, and many availed themselves of their delicious Veggie BLT’s and coffee! There was so much room, it has thoroughly gotten me excited for the next one because there could have been so many more tables, market stalls and sewing.

I set up a wall of examples and inspiration with all of the fabric and decorations underneath and visitors were able to select their materials then get down to some serious Christmassy stitching! It was, as ever, wildly exciting to see what others make up from just a few suggestions and inspirations. Each little table had an oversized Vintage Glass Pincushion, pot of Pens and Pencils, lots of Scissors and a Vintage Tablecloth! It just looked adorable and everyone who came settled in at a table with a cuppa or some coffee and the whole space felt like a cool, secret after school club for grown ups!

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My runaway favourite make was a delightful little Pink Fox Brooch a little girl made. Sadly I didn’t manage to get a photo but she was so pleased! In fact she at one point very seriously turned to me and said, ‘Are these on all the time?’ which completely made my day! (I am pleased to say, the Pop Up Sewing Emporium will return in the New Year).

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Lessons I learnt from the day? Advertise more! Even when you think you have advertised as much as you can, do more!! I think also there is a real ‘window’ for advertising and mine was a little early in some cases. I think I should have started a month before, then reinforced the week before. All of this of course comes with experience, and I shall learn more as I host more Pop Up Sewing events. I also needed an assistant to help people when I was otherwise occupied, which was Fella’s take away from the day and makes me feel a little grandiose but he’s right. I also felt I maybe gave visitors a little too much freedom, the choice was limitless and some had a hard time choosing what to make so next time I shall be running a more course like event, with pre-booking.

It all passed so quickly and has left me thirsty for more, so I am busily organizing myself to run events hopefully in April, when I shall be a little less in competition with other, larger Christmas events and everyone has gotten over the Christmas splurge and New Year tightening of belts. I think my first will be T-Shirt Making, and I hope to have a fellow Sewer host a Customization Bar… so you can see why I would be excited! It’s going to be super awesome all kinds of cool!!

If you would like to find out how to make some of the things visitors to the Christmas Pop Up Sewing Emporium did why not check out the Jewel Bird Tutorial, or the Stocking Tutorial? Get a head start on 2014 now!

Watch this space for more Pop Up Sewing Emporium news… don’t forget to sign up for our monthlyNewsletter to keep up to date on all Midnight goings on!

Happy stitching.

Found on a Friday

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The Moss Skirt from Grainline Studio, the Jasmine top from Colette, and the Elisalex Dress from By Hand of London all independent Pattern manufacturers. 

Owning your own business is an ever changing landscape. I find myself constantly evolving, questioning and developing to new demands. In this, my 2nd year of Laura After Midnight, I have really run into some stumbling blocks. I know why, and I am scrambling to rectify the situation however; it has taught me some very valuable lessons. The first of which is: have and maintain targets.

Last year I had a clearly defined goal in place: to make £50 a month from Etsy sales, to blog at least once a week and to do one Vintage Market.

These simple targets propelled me through the year magnificently. They were simple. They were clear and concise. They were achievable (although I didn’t think so at the time!).

This year I have only just put my targets in place. I think I have struggled because I am slowly ‘turning a corner’. I am making money from what was formerly essentially a hobby, all be it a paying hobby, but something I did in my spare time none the less. People are starting to talk about me and my products, I am getting requests and lovely feedback from customers and my ‘brand’ is developing. I am about to get (fingers and toes crossed) my first pieces of press in place. I have stockists. All of this has I think, slightly scared me!, and I have spent almost half of the year in free fall just trying to catch up with it all.

So, on to targets and what I have just discovered today.

1. To make £100 a month from Etsy sales. Not much I know however; my sales have been flagging this year so I would like to keep this target achievable.

2. To have a stall at at least 8 Christmas Vintage and Craft Markets throughout November and December. I have a sub category target for this: I want to make £1500 from these markets in that time frame.

3. To release more Kits, including my first Sewing Kit with Pattern as well as more smaller ‘gift’ Kits.

There, wasn’t so hard after all!! It was in writing these out that I started to wonder how people like Colette, By Hand of London, Sewaholic and Grainline Studio et al manage to design, create and afford to print their own patterns. So, to Google!

It would appear there are several options out there, and that it is not that expensive. The Sewing Directory helped with a post about smaller batches of independent Sewing and Craft Patterns, which lead me to SewPrint.uk  where the minimum order can be as low as 50, at £1.20 per piece which is well within affordability for me. This has galvanised me in to action, and I have decided that the Laura After Midnight Pattern and Kit range should be almost exclusively ‘alternative’. This is in response to the many questions I get teaching classes, on my Facebook page and here about making things such as historical Men’s waistcoats, Top Hats, Corsets, and historical/Vintage dresses.

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The Robson Coat  from Sewaholic, the lovely Belle Bow Blouse from In House Patterns and the simply gorgeous Grace Hipster Panties from Ohhh Lulu.

I am already designing a Spats Kit, which will be available as a full Kit with fabric and buttons, as well as a Pattern with instruction booklet which can be bought as a hard copy or as a downloadable PDF (I’ll get Fellas help with that lol!). I am also developing a Corset Kit based around my lovely Victorian pattern, which I have developed over the years to fit and mould the modern form beautifully. This too will be available in the three different versions above. Other ideas include Tap Pants and Fitted Victorian Waistcoats amongst others.

I think this is an excellent place to start, as I can design, develop and print these initial patterns myself. It will allow me to get a feel for the market, and see if there is a customer base for alternative patterns like these. I know that there are already companies offering Patterns like these however; they very rarely come with full instructions, and if they do they are never illustrated. the patterns themselves are often a straight copy of the historical garment, with little or no concession to the modern form and on the whole not many of them are accessible to the beginner… and that is predominantly my customer base. I’d also like to utilize my Pattern Cutting skills and make then available in many sizes, for every figure!

So, this is what I have found this Friday… my target, and some wonderful pattern and pattern printing companies (for a bigger list click here or here). Do have a look at some of them, they’re really excellent, and designing Patterns which are unique and often very simple to make up. I am slightly obsessed with the quirky way in which they package their Patterns and instruction!

What have you found this Friday?

Happy stitching!

Midnight Makes

I have taken a little absence from blogging recently. This was in part due to the fact that I was super busy however; it was also because I have been feeling a little aimless and adrift from my creativity recently. The time off has been incredibly helpful, I have been reading up on information on marketing, and ways of expanding your business. I have also been reading a lot on making targets, strategies and deadlines for your business, whilst measuring what I class as ‘success’, and this has been enormously helpful. It is easy to get waylaid by other peoples successes, and it is important not to let their version of success affect yours.

Taking what I have learned from the past year of Laura After Midnight, and looking towards the next few months, I have managed to form a coherent business plan which centers around Christmas. A lot of what I make under the guise of Laura After Midnight sold extremely well in the last quarter of 2012, and I think this is due to the inherent ‘gifty’ nature of the products. I shall be booking in to as many Christmas markets as I can find in and around Bristol, and indeed I have booked two already!, as well as re-marketing my Etsy store towards this angle too. I am having a  slight re-brand also and just these few simple decisions have infected me with creativity!

I have made several new products already- it feels weird to be making Christmas products in this heat wave- which has proved very informative. Working on these now has allowed me to use them, and have others use them and re-design where necessary. It has also relaxed me towards my sales month-to-month. I have a target in place for sales over the Christmas period, and I am finally working towards something again which feels fantastic!

The first new product is this delicious new Sewing Tidy. I am so super, wonderfully excited about this! Don’t you just love how neatly it packs away, with sweet little buttons. It’s just a little over A5 size, so it will fit all the small paraphernalia needed for a spot of sewing. I just took this camping with me and it was enormously useful. It will come with a Seam Ripper, Tape Measure, Pencil, Pins and Needles to get you all started. Hand made from colourful 100% Cotton, with a gorgeous utilitarian Calico liner, pocket and elasticated loops.

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aura After Midnight Sewing Tidy, available soon £8.50. 

As a response to my Etsy sales I have started to develop a range f Teeny Tiny Kits. They will be given away with larger orders, as I felt customers spending over £50 should really be thanked properly!

The first is the Beautiful Covered Buttons Kit, with a Rosette Badge, Mini Bunting and Fabric Flower Brooch to follow soon. I’m going to try to always make these from the excess fabric I have collected over the years- the fabric that has been ‘paid for’. This will mean that they can be created for next to nothing so they can be given away. It also means that when they are for sale they will only be £2.50! Shiny!

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Laura After Midnight Teeny Tiny Kit, available soon £2.50. 

And finally, I have put my Up-Cycling hat on! I have hoarded some stunning images over the years torn from the pages of such iconic magazines as Italian Vogue, and I have decided to put them to use! Designing an envelope template I cut them, pasted them with yummy Washi Tape and Voila! Gorgeous, useful and interesting notelet envelopes. I shall use them to give the Teeny Tiny Kits away, care information for my products and as notelet sets. I think they are so cool I hurt looking at them… completely channeling the 90’s too, with the electric blue string to tie them closed!!

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Envelopes and Notelet Sets, available soon from Laura After Midnight. 

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Envelope, Note Card, Product information with Discount Codes and Teeny Tiny Kit with Address Label… this delightful little package will be enclosed in all orders over £50 however this is how all Teeny Tiny Kits will be packaged.

I am working away- after midnight in true form because it so much cooler then!- and will share more soon.

Happy stitching!

The best Haberdashery shops in London!

Back when I had just taken Laura After Midnight full time I read a blog post by a small business owner who had been working away on her business for a couple years & was about to go on holiday. Probably many people reading this wont understand the magnitude of that statement however; I was fascinated. To have set up & run my business to a level where I could afford to take a week off from it seemed like a far distant prospect, but to take a week off & go away using money I had earned from running my business seemed unthinkable.

Whilst business is still a little rocky- I freelance in many different forms including Costume, Design, Teaching & Laura After Midnight on Etsy etc- & I am still learning to balance everything from month to month, I am slowly running my business a little more successfully each & every month. I am learning to diversify, reach for opportunities & see gaps in the market, fight for myself & Laura After Midnight & start to believe in my skills & talents.

In all, despite the stress, never being able to rub two pennies together & constant uncertainty, the last year of my life has been incredibly empowering & I am getting ready to take my first holiday at the end of May! I’m so excited that I am already able to do this. Honestly, whilst I can afford to take the time away, I’m not too sure I can afford to spend any money but I am keeping my fingers crossed I will be able to go to London for a few days to visit all my old haunts,  stock up on interesting fabrics, trims & trinkets & load up my inspiration banks again.

Old haunts include…

the shop

 

The Shop, just off Brick Lane. A little gem of a shop stuffed full of incredible Vintage textiles, fabrics & clothes. I almost never seem to actually buy much of anything in this little gem of a place however; I certainly leave excited with ideas flitting about my head & my fingers itching to get stitching! Last time I was rummaging through their shelves I was tempted by Vintage embroidered handkerchiefs, 1940’s patchwork quilts and all manner of Vintage trim fragments. I shall definitely be hoping to pick up some unique & inspirational fabric to stitch up in to something lovely.

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The Cloth House, Berwick Street. A true haven, or heaven to all fashion, costume & fabric lovers alike. I adore this shop, & could happily stay in there for hours! Selling a truly awe inspiringly classy selection of cottons & silks, they also hold a breathtaking selection of Vintage French Silk ribbons, trims and buttons for you to drool over. Their window displays are adorable & the whole experience is very inspirational to me. Some day I shall have a studio & it will look like this shop!!

Just down from The Cloth House are several other gorgeous fabric shops such as Borovick Fabrics, which is excellent for the Costuming world, & The Silk Society which is scarily expensive but whose servers- when nudged- tell wonderful stories of which Designers have been in that week, & what films their fabrics have popped up in! After a quick cuppa in one of the excellent but slightly odd cafe’s I shall be performing a quick skirmish into The Cloth House’s sister shop at the other end of Berwick Street as well.

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MacCulloch & Wallace, just off Oxford Street. Incredibly snooty & indifferent staff reign supreme here however; they have all the bits & parts that make the Design world go round. From busks, eyelets, several different types of tailors chalk in five different colours, scissors (the proper ones), pins, boxes of needles, to everything you haven’t even thought of & topped off with an entire floor of ribbons, feathers & trims this is the notions capital of London. I shall be looking for handy accessories, stocking up on the aforementioned tailors chalk- I’m definitely going to get the black this time!- and reveling in the pins aisle. I love really good pins!! I expect to find some lovely new silks for my Mini Top Hat Kits as well.

I’ll also be dropping in on Barnett Lawson for feathers & trims. It’s in an enormous basement just off Oxford Street stuffed to the gunnels with haberdashery! VV Rouleaux  on Marylebone Lane will definitely be on the list for ribbon inspiration before fainting at the price, but having ooh-ed & aah-ed at the beautiful displays & thoroughly having enjoyed touching everythingKleins,  for a quick peek at yet more haberdashery, will be a wonderful treat before having another cup of tea!

Somehow, I enjoy visiting London more than I ever enjoyed living there! I know all the short cuts to walk around, behind or over the busiest streets to get to the haberdashery quicker, I love looking forward to visiting my favorite Chinese Restaurant (Super Star, next the The Prince of Charles Cinema!), & laughing at all the busy bee Londoners before hopping on the train back to lovely Bristol.

What fun, happy stitching!