The Process of Custom Orders

I haven’t taken the process pledge because I don’t think I am good at documenting or explaining my process. I thought it might be fun to try it out with a custom order I received recently.

I am always thrilled to receive custom orders for my shop, especially when they come from friends of mine. I want my finished products to exceed the customer’s expectations. But it can be a little nerve-wracking when the item I’m making is actually a prototype.

I was excited and nervous when my good friend Paula recently asked me if I could make her a laptop bag. She gave me a couple specifications and preferences, and let me loose!

Thrilled, yes, but I was feeling the pressure. Picking out the fabrics was definitely not a problem. I had a vision of what I wanted this bag to look like. That vision is exactly what you see in these photos!

I did a little research on different laptop bag styles I could try, and I sketched out ideas in my sketchbook, based on the dimensions of Paula’s laptop. I taped a couple pieces of 11″ x 14″ paper together to have one sheet big enough to sketch out a pattern to fit a laptop measuring 17 inches wide by 12 deep, and another sheet big enough to draw a pattern the flap. I made lots of notes to remind myself as I proceeded through each step of assembly, things like room for ease and seam allowances. (I forgot to incorporate those things in my first clutch experiment, which is why they ended up smaller than I wanted. Duh!)

Joanna recently asked me if I would make her a red and pink version of my patchwork handbags from my recent experiment.

Lucky for me, I had already made two of these, so my process was already worked out.

I’m a small shop just finding my way, so having custom orders are great design practice for me. I don’t have many customers (yet), so my focus has been on product design and production. I always end up tearing out a seam or two, tweaking the fit, and making modifications as I proceed. I try really hard to think of everything ahead of time, but I still end up getting to the middle and having a new idea. I learn something new every time. And I quickly get over those anxious feelings because I get so wrapped up in the process!

New Patchwork Bags for the Shop

I have been sewing more products lately to add to my shop.

I finished two more laptop bags similar to the one that I’m going to keep because I love it so much.

Patchwork Laptop BagIt has a zipper pocket on the inside so you can store your charger cord or other secret things you want to carry with you.

Laptop Bag-zippered pocketOne of these bags measures 14″ by 15.5″ wide, which will fit a laptop with a 13″ screen.

The other other laptop bag measures 13″ by 16″, which will fit a laptop with a 15″ screen.

15" laptop in bagBoth of these laptop bags are made from home decor-weight fabric, making them more sturdy to hold your computer.

I also made a couple of patchwork zippered bags from these same lovely fabrics.

Patchwork Pencil CaseThese zippered bags can be used to carry pens and pencils, art supplies, even makeup brushes. They measure about 5-inches tall by 11-inches wide.

Inside of Pencil Case

Stop by the shop to check things out! I will be adding more new products and gifts ideas for the upcoming holidays.

Laptop Bag

Do you remember the laptop bag I made last year? (see picture below for a refresher) It was a fun project that turned out quite well. My sister like it so much that I gave it to her this summer.

Laptop Bag in AB fabrics(I added canvas handles after taking that photo.)

That meant I needed to make a new bag for my own laptop.

holding the laptop bag

I started making this patchwork project last summer with fabrics from the Drawing Room collection, but I set it aside because I didn’t know what size my new computer was going to be. (Yes, I have been dreaming about a new computer for a year.)

Laptop Bag in Drawing Room FabricsI finished making it this weekend, and my laptop fits in it perfectly.  (It measures about 13″ x 14.5″)

laptop in its new bagThe outside fabrics are upholstery weight, strip-pieced and quilted to batting to make it even more sturdy, and the inside is cotton fabric lining. I added an inside pocket with a zipper to hold the charger cord. I’ve never done a zippered pocket like that, so it was a good challenge for this prototype.

zippered pocket insideI also added simple ties to hold the bag closed.

tie closureI love this bag so much that I’m already making another one to list in the shop! I hope to add more laptop bags over the next month or two.

A Day Off

I am so glad I took the day off. I had a doctor’s appointment this morning (all is good), and then I went to the yarn shop to browse. I don’t do much knitting in summer, so I haven’t been to the yarn shop in awhile. They moved the register to make more room, and added some shelves for more yarn. They were also offering harvest latte with pumpkin flavoring – yum-o! It felt good to be back, so I stocked up on a few supplies for new projects.

I’m thinking about making a couple felted oven mitts and potholders, and a scarf and fingerless gloves to match my favorite fleece jacket.

Next on my list is to finish my new laptop sleeve. I made it from a pattern in this book-

But I didn’t follow the pattern exactly.

In my stash I found these great fabrics from Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern collection, so I decided to make the front from a solid piece of fabric instead of patchwork.

It isn’t quite finished yet because I still have to hand sew the lining to the outside, and I’m going to add handles to it, but here it is so far-

Isn’t it cool? I really like how it turned out. This is the first time I have used fusible fleece, and I love it. Highly recommend it. I fused the fleece to both the outside and lining fabrics for added cushion to support my laptop, and I’m happy with the result. It created a lot of extra bulk in the seams, but I trimmed the corners and seam allowances, which helped reduce the lumps and bumps.

Thank goodness I had made the portable cushions from Sew,Mama,Sew’s tutorial series or I would never have figured out how to do the zipper and gusset. The directions for that part in this book were very minimal, so I used the directions from the cushion tutorial and things went together quite smoothly. I will post another picture as soon as I finish the hand sewing and handles.

Now I’m going to enjoy the rest of my day off!