Friday, February 20, 2009

I have a plan

I finally have a plan in place after what feels like years of floundering! My previous method wasn't working, and after talking with one of my mentors, we've nailed down the problem, and found a way to fix it.

Before, I would just sew whatever suited me, and list as I saw fit.

Well, there are a couple problems with this, including my motivation. I would have so many things that I wanted to sew, and then would wind up not getting any of it done, or listed. So that is the first step. I've decided to sew (and list) several similar items at a time.

I've also been incredibly frustrated with my own photography skills. I took some prize-winning photographs in my younger days (nothing Pulizter Prize, but I was pretty pleased with purple ribbons, reserve grand champions, and grand champions at the State Fair level!) Lately, it seems that all those lessons we got as a group from one of the best photographers in the area have faded from my memory, sooooo, I called up said photographer (he is also an old family friend) and asked him for some short tips on making my pics better. Not the best, but better.

I now have a DIY light box (please see below for instructions) for my smaller things, and a white sheet, extra lamps, and a 15 page printout of instructions. In other words, I'm armed and dangerous!

Ok, so here's the New and Improved Plan:

-Sew 2 things a day. They have to be similar (like 2 hoodies, or 2 vests, or 2 new aprons, etc), and I can't stop until they are done.
-Photograph all the new items on Saturday evening, when I have my designated "me" time.
-List everything I've sewed for the past week on Sunday morning, and start the new week (on Sunday) by sewing 2 more items.

One week I will focus on dog vests, the next hoodies, the week after that placemats, etc. My mentor suggested that not only is it a good way to build up stock, but keep myself on track and get multiple listings out.

I'm sitting here wondering why I didn't think of this before, and can't come up with a good reason.

So, I'm starting today. I will sew vests this week, similar to the one found here. Next week? I'm not sure, yet. I'll figure it out when I get there.


Another note: My DIY light box is painfully easy to make.

You'll need:

1 large-ish clear tote (I have plenty of the Sterilite hanging around...filled with fabric!)
1 roll of quilt batting (cheap stuff is ok)
Clear packing tape
Small table lamps (minimum of 2) like this one. Try for lamps that won't have issues with 100w or at least 75w bulbs!
Poster board in white and black.

Wrap the quilt batting around the tote and tape in place. (one layer are trying to soften the light, not kill it completely)
Lay the tote on its side, either the short side or long side, depending on what you are photographing.
Line it with the poster board. White for dark objects, black for light objects. Contrast, contrast, contrast!!
Arrange the lamps outside the box but about 8-10 inches away. This will give you soft shadows!
Place your item in the box and start snapping pictures.

Take pics from different angles, and try not to use the flash on your camera, rely on the lights around your box. If you have an extra lamp, try to keep it out of the picture, but aimed at your fabulous creation inside, this will help eliminante the need for your camera flash which will often create hard shadows.

The more pictures you take, the more you will have to choose from. You can get some free photo editing software from the nice people at GIMP. There are tons of GIMP tutorials online! With your photo editing software, you can touch up your pics and adjust colors to more accurately depict the colors of your item.

*If you are a seamstress like me, and want to show off a snippet of your fabric, you can scan it with a flatbed scanner.

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