Monday 27 April 2009


The Shir-minator

With less than two weeks to go til my big fair, I've switched over to assembly line making. As the term would imply, this means that I'm giving myself a couple of days to work exclusively on one design before moving on to the design. Anything that's not completed by the time allocated is relegated to my (ever growing) Work In Progress pile. Because I have lots I still want to do, this prevents me from becoming obsessed with any one thing and ensures my range will be more well-rounded. It is effective from an efficiency point of view, but oh-so-boring and more than a little soul destroying.

So... 256. That was me this weekend. But what does 256 signify?
  • a) Daily calories allowed in the sweatshop
  • b) Minutes sleep allowed in the sweatshop
  • c) Number of times Jamie got out of bed
  • d) Milligrams of lithium I am taking to get me through the assembly line making
  • e) Number of feet of double fold binding I cut, ironed and sewed for straps

And the answer? On Thursday I cut out 35 sundresses for shirring. 35 sundresses have 140 straps. Each strap is 22 inches long. So 256 feet of double fold straps cut, ironed under one side, ironed under other side, folded in half and ironed, sewn closed. About halfway through I found my bias tape maker contraption and that helped me along a bit quicker. For any other masochists out there making vast quantities of straps, get yourself one of these thingeys.

Gosh, what would all those straps look like?! Like this:

Unfortunately, despite making all of the straps for all 35 dresses, I only managed to get 29 dresses done before losing the will to live moving on to the next project. Maybe I'll get a chance to finish them off before the fair but it's handy to have nearly-completed things to wizz through in the evenings during the fair should I need to replenish stock.

Here's my stack of dresses:


  1. What a great idea...although they say that communism was a good idea ;)
    LOL. Jokes aside, I think I may have to copy you on your method. I am the 'obsessing over finishing one design' girl.
    There are loads of sundresses there. I hope you have a great fair.

  2. OMG you go girl...I hope you sell every last one of them at the fair and have orders for more!

  3. @Nic: I'm also naturally a 'obsess over finishing one design' girl so I have to do it this way to make sure I have lots of stock to sell (rather than one really nice coat!) It's not very fun though...

    @Apryl: Thanks!

  4. Bloody hell! I thought I was doing well almost finishing a hat this weekend! 29 dresses?!!

  5. first of all, great job! and very smart to have a technique to keep yourself going...

    a).i used to have a business making handbags and can really identify with the soul destroying nature of the work necessary to get ready for a fair, or in my case , to open and keep stocked a seasonal craft store (this was before Etsy, Folksy, etc.) the money that you will surely make at the fair will make it all worthwhile :)

    b.) since i tried your shirred sundress tutorial i have made TONS of them and gotten requests for a bunch more!..not to sell, but for my daughters and for all my friends and their, it was funny to see your piles of sundresses in progress...looked familiar to the pile on my ironing board right now! ha!

    c.) make sure you get yourself a lovely prize once the fair is done...

  6. I'm really impressed by how much you get done waht with having 2 monsters underfoot. Or do you jsut stay up all night taking advantage of them being (obstensably) asleep? I think of all the projects I'd like to do ( for my own children not for sale or anyone else) and I can't see them getting done; someone is alwqays unwinding a spool of thread or running off with my rotary cutter.
    Also- I certianly don't want to jinx you b/c I hope you sell out and have to leave said fair early- but will you put any leftovers up for sale inyour etsy/folksy shops?

  7. Damn, you're good.
    I felt tired just looking at the pile!

  8. Oh I so get how production -line sewing can sap the joy out of it!
    But unfortunately it really is the only viable way to do this sometimes isn't it.
    Good luck for the fair.

  9. Wow.
    I hope the fair is awesome - you deserve it!!

  10. hey, good luck! i know what it's like. what you've done so far is already impressive!