For the last 8 weeks I have been doing this fantastic online photography course through Click, Love, Grow and so I thought I’d share a little bit about it with you.
I wanted to improve my marketing shots and my step by step shots of my sewing designs and wanted to do a photography course in the comfort of my own home too. This course has been fantastic! I have a Canon EOS 1100 DSLR Camera and have always used it in auto mode! I have tried a few times to change it to manual mode – but have always been unhappy with the results. This course has shown me how to feel confident about taking it out of Auto and has explained about my camera settings and photo compositions.
We have had weekly lessons which include a PDF workbook and an online videos plus tutorials too – and we submit a photo each week for a particular challenge and are assessed on this. The one thing I have really enjoyed too has been the support and encouragement you get from closed facebook group with all the students that are taking the course. So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite photos I’ve taken over the last 8 weeks.
I’ve really enjoyed this course and I definitely think it has helped me to improve my photography skills. Now I just need lots of practise – so expect to see a few more photos from me as I get the hang of using my camera in manual mode!
Thankyou to everyone that has replied and offered to be a pattern tester! I now have enough pattern testers at the moment - but I will put out another call out if I need more in the future. Thankyou all so much and I can’t wait to share some photos of the samples they all make! Have you ever thought about becoming a pattern tester? I’m looking for more pattern testers to test out my designs. Pattern testers are an important part of the pattern design process – as they proof read instructions, suggest editing changes and then make up a sample of the design and give valuable feedback (Read more about my pattern design process here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).
The great thing about being a pattern tester is that you get to see the new design before it’s officially released, you get the pattern for FREE (you will receive the pattern via email) and you get to contribute to the design by suggesting little changes. My pattern testers don’t get paid to test my patterns – but they do receive my new patterns for free. I do ask that they keep my designs to themselves until the official release on my blog – and then they can post about them and share pictures of what they have made wherever they like (just linking back to my site for the pattern). I also ask them to send me a photo when they finish a sample and normally I give them a time frame of 2 to 3 weeks to make up a sample and give me some feedback.
When you sign up to be a pattern tester – you don’t have to make every design I make – I will send out an email to all my pattern testers with an outline of the new design and asking only those people that are able to test it out within the time frame to reply. So you may only want to test out one or two of my designs when you can - or you may want to test out all of them – it’s up to you. As far as sewing experience - you can be a beginner or an experienced sewer, you just have to have basic sewing skills and know how to read a pattern.
So if you would like to sign up to be a pattern tester, just email me at jbherb1(at)bigpond(dot)com and let me know. I’ll then email you about my latest design and if you’re interested I’ll send you the pattern and you can start sewing!
Please feel free to share this and pass it on to anyone you think might be interested!
Thankyou so much – and I hope to hear from you soon!
I thought it might be fun yesterday to share some snippets of my day through Instagram. I haven’t been on Instagram long – so wanted to try it out a bit more too. So all day yesterday I took photos of what we were doing and posted them. It was nice to capture a day through photos and share it with you. So I’ve put a little collage together of all the photos I shared so you can see it here too. So here it is – My Day On Instagram:
Once I am totally happy with my finished samples, instructions and pattern templates and my pattern testers have finished testing it all I then do a photo shoot of my finished toy (or kitty cat heat bag in this case).
This may take many, many photos before I am happy with the final photos to use on my website and craftsy & etsy stores.
I then have to edit all my photos and I use a program called Picmonkey to do this (free photo editing software). All the photos get cropped and resized (to reduce the final size of the PDF file). I then put all the edited photos into the pattern instructions and create the photo for my Craftsy & Etsy stores.
Pattern Vectorization (Digitization)
I then send the completed pattern templates off to be digitized. This is called pattern vectorization and is only something I have just started to do to my pattern templates. It’s the process of taking my hand drawn lines that I have scanned into a PDF file and loading them into a graphics program and digitizing them. I think it makes them look nice and professional!
I love the finished templates and I’m so happy I have decided to take this step now with my patterns. I decided to get a professional to do this step for me.
At this stage I really want to focus on coming up with new designs & patterns – and later down the track I may take the time out to learn a graphics program and work out how to digitize my pattern templates myself.
Listing the Pattern Online & Printing the Paper Patterns
Once this is all done I receive the digitized PDF pattern templates back and then I use a program called PDF Merge (a free program) to put my instructions together with the pattern template into one PDF file. There is some final proof reading and then I write up the listing and list it on my Craftsy & Etsy stores and load up the photos to go with it.
If I am printing the pattern to go into my local patchwork store – I need to change the instructions slightly to include a cover page. This is then printed off along with a photo for the pattern cover, bundled up and delivered along with a sample for display to my local patchwork store.
So that’s my pattern design process! I hope you liked hearing about it and seeing some of the behind the scenes work that goes on with putting a new pattern together.
Thankyou & Links for more Information on Pattern Design
Thanks so much for reading these posts! For advice and information on designing and producing patterns I recommend Abby Glassenberg from While She Naps. Abby generously shared design advice and information on her blog (which I have been following for several years) in a series of blog posts that then became a book – Stuffed Animals from Concept to Construction. I have bought this book and have referred to it many times and made many of the projects from there too. So I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to try their hand at softie toy design. Her other book that I found very valuable was an e-book called The Insider’s Guide to Starting an Online Sewing Pattern Business. Once again I purchased this e-book and read it from cover to cover – an excellent book with some wonderful tips, hints and advice. She also has great design, blogging and business advice on her blog too. I have featured Abby on my blog before (Feature: Awesome Designers Free Tutorial) but I must admit that without Abby’s great advice it would have taken me a lot more time and work to get to where I am now with my patterns. So thanks Abby!
Following on from my blog post yesterday – once I have drawn out the pattern templates and have a shape I like it’s time to cut them out in fabric and start sewing! It can take several prototypes to get the final one that I like – so there is a lot of changing the template shapes and reworking ideas here.
Sometimes I pull a finished toy apart and adjust it – other times I make a whole new one. With the kitty cat heat bag I ended up making 3 complete prototypes with several extra ear shapes and tails shapes too.
As You can see in these prototype photos that the first one was too skinny, the next was too big and fat and the third one ended up being just right!
Writing the Instructions & Step by Step Photos
I then start writing the pattern instructions and I use Microsoft Word for this.
First I draw up the pattern templates neatly by hand and work out the layout of the templates too. They are then scanned in and saved as a PDF file.
I then use these templates to make another sample of the toy (or kitty cat heat bag in this case) while I take step by step photos and write up the instructions as I go.
Once all the instructions are written up and I’m happy with the samples I’ve made I then send it off to my pattern testers! They read over the pattern instructions, let me know of any editing changes needed, test out the pattern and make up a sample. They then give my feedback on how it went and any changes they think are needed. I also make up another full sample myself, following my instructions and using the final pattern templates just to make sure each step is clear and I’m 100% happy with everything.
Come back tomorrow for Part 3 of this series to see how I finish my pattern design process!
I thought I’d share with you some of my ‘behind the scenes’ work. So this blog post is part of a 3 part series of how I come up with ideas and designs, making the prototypes and the finished product and then how I turn these into patterns that I list on my Craftsy & Etsy stores or print out as paper patterns.
Design Ideas & Inspiration
Initially my ideas for a design can come from many things. Some have come from a need for something – like Drafty the Door Sausage Dog. I needed a door sausage for my front door. My front door is larger than a standard size – so all the door sausages I could buy were too short. So I thought – I’ll make one!
Any why not make one that was cute too. So Drafty was born.
Other ideas can be inspired by what my kids are into at the time. Like Marina the Mermaid. My daughter really had a thing about mermaids back in 2010 and I wanted to make one for her.
I couldn’t find a pattern that was want I wanted – so I made my own!
My latest design – the Kitty Cat Heat Bag was really a combination of both! I loved cats and had wanted to make a sleeping cat softie.
My kids and I love heat bags and we needed some more so I decided to put the two together – and made a kitty cat heat bag!
Other inspiration and ideas can come from things I have seen on Pinterest or something I have read about or seen. I had a giveaway a little while ago and I asked you what was your favourite animal that you would love to see as a softie toy. Now I have lots of ideas you have given me from there. I also get ideas from requests – someone asks if I could design a toy from a particular animal or character (my kids are good at this one!). Fabrics also inspire me – and I just LOVE fabrics! I might see a particular print or colour combination and it gets me thinking of something cute I could make out of it.
Sketch out my ideas
So how do I then turn these ideas into something? Well – I start out by sketching a few things on paper, thinking about how they might end up looking once they become a softie (or a heat bag in this case).
I also do a bit of research on the internet or by looking in books at photos of that particular animal I am making. I also take some photos myself too – like these photos of out cat Mittens. She was such a good little model!
I then take one of these sketches and enlarge it – using my printer – or I just draw it bigger by hand.
With the Kitty Cat Heat Bag I drew it larger first and then enlarged it on my printer.
Create Pattern Templates
I then break one of these drawings down it down into pattern pieces and draw out the template shapes.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of this series to see how I turn these templates into prototypes and writing the instructions & step by step photos!
I hope you liked seeing a little of my behind the scene work and hearing about how I get some of my ideas!