welcome To The One Thimble Blog
Last week I saw a thread on facebook where people were talking about the troubles they had keeping their PDF patterns straight. I was nodding along, when suddenly it occurred to me that I had the perfect contact to help me solve this problem – Nerissa from Spreadsheek Geek.
Nerissa has written articles on “Excelling at your bookwork” for Issue 6 and Issue 7 of One Thimble. I just love how she’s got a way of making Excel make sense!
Nerissa took this challenge and has come up with two spreadsheets which you can download for FREE, fill out and use to help make keeping your PDF patterns in order a total breeze!
PC / full version
- This version contains macros (the autosort buttons). The macros will work in excel.
- They won’t work on ipads & tablets & possibly some free spreadsheets. But if you find the macros/spreadsheet isn’t working, you can still use the ipad/light version (see version two below).
- The first sheet has some instructions so you can learn how to use the features.
- On the second sheet you can enter your pattern details (it comes preloaded with the patterns from Issue 7 so you can have a play right away.)
- Once you’ve entered in the details for your patterns you’ll be able to sort your patterns by pattern name, designer, type (eg dress, shirt, shorts etc), size range and wearer (baby, boy, girl, womens etc).
- There’s also a column where you can add in extra data that you like to have at a glance.
- You can then add hyperlinks so clicking will take you directly to where you’ve saved that pattern on your computer.
- You can also add hyperlinks direct to the designers website so you can check out their latest offerings!
Version Two – DOWNLOAD IT HERE -> Pattern Directory – light version
Ipad / light version
- If anyone has issues with the above, they will be able to use this one with no issues.
- It doesn’t have the macros so you can’t sort the patterns or add hyperlinks, but its a handy place to keep track of what patterns you have!
I hope you find these spreadsheets to be a game changer! Let me know what you think below or in the One Thimble Sewing Enthusiasts group on facebook!
And don’t forget if you purchase an issue of One Thimble Digital Sewing Magazine you can request to have access to the patterns from that issue separately as well as as part of the issue e-zine!
Just send me an email to email@example.com letting me know you’d like the patterns separate. So that I can help you, make sure to let me know your account name on this new website (so I can add your single PDF’s to your account – they’re free to set up), what issue you’d like the patterns separate for, and proof of purchase (if you don’t have your receipt number let me know the email address it would’ve been purchased under and the approximate date of purchase and I can look it up for you).
(ps Nerissa has written us another blog post explaining how to add extra sortable columns to your spreadsheet. You can find that post HERE )
7 ways to find a fabric . . . when you’re not sure what it’s called (& 5 reasons why it doesn’t matter)
Have you even seen a fabric and wanted to find out what it was, but didn’t want to or couldn’t ask?
(Image: Bow Peep Dress by Ainslee Fox Boutique Patterns sewn in Kayo Horaguchi Sanrio Little Twin Stars Border Print with Michael Miller Mini Gingham for the contrast.)
Here’s 7 different methods I’ve used to solve this dilemma.
1: Basic Search
Think about how you’d describe the fabric eg: colour, pattern etc. Start off with a basic internet search. You might get lucky! Some of my favourite places to search with a basic description are:
- Google / google images.
- If you have no luck with google don’t forget to try other search engines such as bing or yahoo. Different search engines can return different results to the same search terms.
- Pinterest – not just for craft porn, think of Pinterest as a visual search engine!
- flickr (I don’t use flickr but Mr Fox has suggested I give it a go when I’ve been searching fabrics before!)
- Online fabric stores. If I’m searching outside Australia I usually start with Hawthorne Threads. For Australian stores I usually start with Fabric Pixie, FabricDirect.com.au , Muddy Ruffles, but seriously there’s so many AWESOME fabric store who I’ve shopped with and if I’m drawing a blank with these, there’s lots more stores to try!
2: Advanced Search
Get specific. Describe the fabric in more detail. eg. are the flowers on the fabric small or big, are there other colours on the fabric you can add to your search. If you need ideas of different words to use in your search try:
- thesaurus (real life or online version)
- dictionary (real life or online version)
- ask a family member how they’d describe the fabric
Then search again on the places from #1 using your improved search terms.
3: Technical Search
Is there a proper technical name for the type of fabric/design you’re searching for. If you don’t know your Quatrefoil from your Ikat or your Batik from your Burlap, check out these resources to see if there’s a technical term you can add to your search:
- Burda Terms
- sewing books
- or do a google search for “different types of fabric pattern” or “different types of fabric” etc
Then search again on the places from #1. You can now also start searching for fabric stores who specialise in this type of fabric and then look at those stores too.
4: Have a Guess
Add some guessed information to your search. eg. is the fabric likely to be a woven or a knit fabric? do you think it’s vintage or modern, what items would the fabric be made into? Add these guessed terms to your search.
Then search again on the places from #1. Add in stores who specialise in these types of fabric.
For knit fabric I usually search Zebra Fabrics or The Art of Fabric. I don’t often buy knit fabrics so I don’t really have any specialty knit stores to recommend outside Australia, but I’m sure there’s plenty!
5: Study Fabric
This one should probably be step 1, but because its a long term not short term solution it got bumped down the list! Subscribe to the newsletters of various online fabric stores. Start “studying” fabrics. Take note of the types of fabrics different designers and manufacturers produce – you’ll start noticing similarities in style, which will give you plenty of clues as to where you should start looking. You’ll also start noticing what sorts of fabrics different stores specialise in. When you spot a fabric that you’d like to know more about, you can narrow down your sources by making some informed guesses based on what you’ve learned. Use what you’ve learned to search:
- fabric designers websites
- fabric manufacturers websites
- fabric stores websites
- country of origin
6:Upload an image for a web search
This is a website where you can upload a photo of the fabric you’re trying to find and it will try to match it to images in its database. I haven’t had much success with this, but it’s always worth a shot!
Click on the little camera on the right side of the search bar. You can then upload an image and get google to search for similar images. If its initial search doesn’t return what you’re looking for you can add a description which usually gets a better result.
7: Physical Fabric Stores
Ask at your local fabric store. So this probably shouldn’t count as finding the fabric without asking … maybe I should have called this blog post “7 Ways to find a fabric without asking online!”
It’s definitely time consuming and there’s no guarantee of success, so here’s 5 reasons why it doesn’t really matter if you find that fabric you originally set out to purchase, to soothe your soul if you draw a blank.
1. Along the way you’re sure to find other similar fabrics that you might even like better!
2. You’ll expand your fabric knowledge which will make it easier next time you want to find a fabric.
3. You’ll discover new stores, designers and fabric terms.
4. You’ll figure out more about what fabrics appeal to you. Do florals float your boat … but only small liberty florals or are geometrics more your style. The more you learn about what you like, the easier it is to choose fabrics that really suit your own style when fabric shopping. If you really dig the fabrics you’re sewing with you’re more likely to love the end result!
5. Some fabrics really really work for certain design elements and once you know which work, a whole world of potential fabrics open up. I always used to think of thick floral stripes as being more a quilting fabric sort of design, but discovering that stripes like Elizabeth Rose by Jennifer Paganelli work really well as skirts on party dresses, lead me to Lecien Flower Sugar Stripes and resulted in me always keeping half an eye out, ready for my next floral stripe crush. So if you initially spotted the fabric you’ve been searching for on a garment someone else had made, you don’t actually need to replicate that garment, or find that same fabric, to bring that same pizazz to something you’re making. Take note of the type of fabric, figure out what in that fabric really worked well for that design element and have a play to come up with your own fabric combinations which will work just as well.
If you’ve got any fabric finding tips to share be sure to comment below. I’d love to hear whether you follow these or have other suggestions.
I’m a passionate supporter of handmade. I love that One Thimble gives me an opportunity to support and promote handmade businesses. And when Rachel from Sew Today Clean Tomorrow asked me to take part in her blog series I support local, I was really chuffed to have an opportunity to talk about something I feel so strongly about. (You can read her interview with me HERE. )
BUT today I realised that for some reason I hadn’t thought beyond my handmade bubble to see that
“I Support Local” is so much bigger than just handmade.
It has been typical wet season weather here in Cairns and Lexie (our 6 month old Kelpie cross puppy) is going stir crazy, so I decided to go and get her the biggest bone she’d ever seen!!!! I always buy our meat while doing the groceries and in the twelve years we’ve lived here I’ve never been to the local butcher. To be honest it’d never actually occurred to me to buy my meat anywhere except from the grocery store. But I was on a bone mission, so today I went to the butcher.
The butcher seemed grandfatherly (not at all like I’d expected), his wife was packing orders and a younger man (apprentice?) was there too. I told them what I was after and why and that Lexie is our first dog and that I wasn’t really sure what sort of bone would be suitable (I’m the Queen of TMI). He asked me about her breed and size and disappeared out the back. While he was gone his wife asked me about my plans for the weekend and I read the pin board – adverts for other local businesses, a school looking for host families, someone looking to sell their puppies . . . but I still didn’t get it. The butcher came back with a massive bag of bones for Lexie. I had my money out and asked him how much and he said, “Oh no, nothing for them, hope your dog likes them. Maybe one day if you’re looking to buy some beef you might think of coming here”.
And BAM! It hit me. Local businesses aren’t all pretty, they’re not all “handmade” or “crafty”, they’re not all the sorts of jobs I’d like to do, but they’re run by real people who’re part of their communities. People who’re trying to make a living and support their families and if they can help the local school find host families then they’ll stick that poster on their wall.
So even though some days I’m a real idiot and somehow miss seeing what’s right in front of my nose, I’m prepared to learn and next time “I’m looking to buy some beef”, you know where I’m heading!
I was really chuffed when I was given the opportunity to review this e-book. It’s written by Brooke from Take & Make who was inspired to write this book after talking to lots of creators and analaysing what works best to help them boost their sales.
I opened my first etsy store in mid-2010 and have been on a huge on-line selling learning curve ever since. I think people at all points along their handmade selling journey could benefit from this book – I wish it was around when I was first starting out! Those just starting out could use it as a framework for making sure they’re starting off on the right foot, and those with more established businesses could use it to check in with how their businesses are going.
I still find it overwhelming to know where to look for business information specific for handmade businesses and finding it in one spot is definitely a huge plus! This is the sort of book I can see myself going back to when I’m feeling at a loss as to what I should do next. I particularly liked checking out how the businesses mentioned in the “Take some inspiration” sections are doing things. There’s nothing like seeing practical examples of where the advice has been applied! The thing that I love best about this ebook is the “Take-Aways” at the end of each chapter. They’re little tips you can follow to help you achieve the chapter aims.
The focus of this ebook is on etsy stores but the advice given can definitely be applied to selling on other online platforms. It’s 41 pages long and has 12 chapters. Each chapter is devoted to a “Secret” and includes details of how to achieve it followed by the take-aways which are the actionable tips. Because its in a PDF format you can download it to your computer or mobile device. I first downloaded it to my phone and read it while waiting to pick Kt up from school and then came back to it on my computer to take some notes. I’d say its the perfect length to be achievable and not overwhelming.
You can buy your copy HERE from Take & Make (and while you’re there be sure to check out the fabulous branded DIY kits they sell) or get your FREE download code in Issue 6 of One Thimble Digital Sewing Magazine HERE.
I downloaded a complimentary copy of “12 Secrets to Rock Sales in your Online Shop” from the link in the article Brooke provided for One Thimble Digital Sewing Magazine Issue 6. I am the editor of One Thimble and have reviewed this ebook on my own volition. I was not compensated for my time and the thoughts contained in this post are completely my own.
Thank-you for so much for your support in 2014. Wishing you everything you would wish for yourself in 2015. I can’t wait to see what comes next!
To thank-you for coming along for the ride please enjoy this 2015 calendar. The link to download it is below!
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