October update at SewSquirrel

Sewing

September and October were the months of t-shirts. A literal bajillion small person t-shirts have been made with a FOE finish, and I’ve made at least 3 Megan Nielsen maternity t-shirts, and 1 maternity skirt, and 1.5 maternity dresses based on mashing the t-shirt and skirt pattern together. 1.5 as the second is yet to be completed, not that’s it’s a mini dress or anything crazy like that.
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Another quick project underway is a couple of the Oliver & S skirts, as they’re just perfect for this warm weather and suit the simple FOE t-shirts. They’re also a great reason to buy some cute quilting cotton as they’re tiny enough the drape is fairly irrelevant.

Cutting out and sewing plans

There is so much on my radar now my energy is picking up – however the amount of time I’ve got to sew doesn’t really correlate with the enthusiasim for sewing I’ve got at the moment. That’s fine, I’m prioritising doing the new sewsquirrel website over sewing right now. At the October Social Sewing event I cut out a whole lot of fabric, as the wider I get the harder it will be to lean over a cutting table.

My cut out/to sew list
Thread Theory Stratcona Henley
Thread Theory Jedediah shorts (Black twill)
Oliver & S Playtime dress and leggings
Oliver & S Sailboat top and skirt
Vintage cape pattern (purple boiled wool, with pink silk lining)
Vogue 1027 (various knits)
Sewaholic Saltspring (black/grey knit)

I might have accidentally purchased a significant portion of someone else’s stash on the Gumtree. Whooooooops.

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Popular orders

Unsurprisingly as the weather is meant to be warming up (not so much in Melbourne so far) the summer dresses are becoming more popular. The Anna dress has just arrived back in stock, and much of the Sewaholic range. Both the Anna and the Saltspring sold out with the warmish September weather, but it’s interesting trying to predict sewing pattern demand, as it’s almost impossible. One popular blog post and a particular pattern will disappear off the shelves in a day. Even though it might not have sold for weeks preceding that. One very wet week in Melbourne will have a run on Minoru patterns. Popular sewalongs also influence sales, which is fine if you follow the blog with the sewalong…otherwise it’s just confounding!

By hand london

These are all problems I love to have, because it is really very interesting to me watching and supporting the indie designers as they find their niche with the sewing peeps of the world. By Hand London are definitely the poster girls for that, as they leapt from somewhat obscurity to being hot with the release of Anna.

Website redesign

We’ve been working away on a new website, which has been slow progress. The previous platform was simple and suitable for SewSquirrel.com.au when I made that first Sewaholic order, but we’ve grown from 6 products to over 120 now.

Making the design choices was pretty straightforward, although there will be a few changes before the new site goes live. The more I look at it, the more I reconsider the best layout/choices that will make the site more user friendly.

The biggest priorities of the new design are making it easier for you to find the patterns you’re after, so being able to disect the options. Do you want a dress, or a pattern by a specific designer, or even just a pattern for knits as opposed to wovens. The other big change will be to the back end of the website, to enable such fancy things such as shipping notifications, the ability to easily order gift certificates and even back order certain patterns.

The real work is in the data quality to be uploaded to the system. Moving to a minimum of 3 product images is the goal, and it takes time to collate those. Getting the right product description as per the designer.

Still in consideration will be getting the notions and essentially the pattern back information up to the website as well. Every designer has that information in a different format, so deciding on the most useful format and then standardising that information is tricky. Even uploading the actual pattern back has it’s downsides, and sometimes that information is only available as a PDF.

The overarching theme is that I’m trying to take the time to get each product, and all the design choices right. Ideally the website will be fully operational by Christmas, but if it’s not right then it will take a bit longer. Undoubtably there will be ways to grow and improve after that, but I’d like to tick off my wish list, and then go from there.

If you’ve got any suggestions and ideas for improvement, feel free to let me know as there may be things you love or hate about online shopping.

More normal posts will be coming back soon, but with the new website stealing all my computer time, the blogging has slipped a little by the wayside. That and I’ll need to schedule some for that crazy time when I’ll be toting around a newbie to the world. I expect that I’ll probably pack up the sewing machine for a couple of months, and might work on some more “couture” techniques at that time. Hand basting is slow and tedious work, so doing ten minutes here and there might be more realistic than completing lots of “quick” projects.

Any tips or suggestions on any of the above are more than welcome!

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7 thoughts on “October update at SewSquirrel

  1. Liz says:

    Wow, super excited to see the new site and you look gorgeous at the moment (not that you don’t normally =])

    I hope your energy levels keep up for all the sewing =]

  2. Please also develop a mobile version :) I do most things by phone/tablet these days. If a site is not readable, I make a note to try again on a desktop, but I don’t often remember (& I have to do it at work but not on work time!). Otherwise, exciting!

    • Oh dear, you should see me now. Nearly as round as tall with 3 months to go! Second time around is much less graceful….. Will you be at social sewing next week? :P

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