Friday, September 6, 2013

The They Perspective

When my friend Patti was over yesterday, she said that the fourth version - the grey and paisley, more dress than coat one - was her favourite so far which brings up an excellent point because the lower number of comments does not support that as popular opinion. Anyone who is counting on making a living by having someone else buy whatever it is they are selling - whether it's the stock in a store, a book, a pattern, a workshop, or a finished product - is going to spend a lot of time, energy, and money on "they". What do they like? What do they need? What will they buy? What will they pay?

The they perspective can drain a lot of energy from what was once a pleasurable pursuit - as I know - from experience. I refer to those years as "my prostitution phase", the one in which I sold my creative soul trying to figure out what they wanted, so I could give it to them, hopefully at a price that meant I could actually make a living too. That's an interesting combo. It can work - Kat Wise, Natalie Chanin, and Palnitska come to mind - however there are considerably more artists who struggle than ones who are successful. A search for women's clothing on Etsy this morning came up with 671,252 returns.





Let's talk about these coats. I've spent two weeks making five coats. If this were a job, we'd look at it as 2 weeks times 5 days times 8 hours per day times BC's minimum wage of $10.25 equals $820.00 divided by 5 equals $164 per coat PLUS supplies. But it's not a job, and what it really looked like was 11 days times 10 hours per day times $10.25 equals $11,275.00 divided by five equals $225.50 per coat PLUS supplies. And then they'd have to sell.

This is a similar scenario to when I was creating textile art. I would make the pieces, mount them on painted canvasses, pay to ship them to the gallery, sometimes share in the exhibit costs plus pay a gallery fee IF a piece sold, and then pay to ship the unsold pieces back. After a while, it wears out your creative soul to hear that "they" loved your work. Loving your work is not enough. That product was produced to sell. That activity is a business. You want to be loved with a check. The bottom line is that a business that makes money is a success and a business that does not make money is NOT no matter how beautiful your work is, no matter how high your skill level is, no matter how much "they" loved you.





Over the years I have come to understand the attitude of breaking even. It used to frustrate me when artists wouldn't price their work at a level reflective of the time, money, and energy put into it but years of creating has evolved that perspective. I've softened. Now, I just want enough money to buy more fabric to keep creating and I've realized that only 5% of artists are self supporting and that only 2% of the economy in my community is spent on original art and that money is divided among ALL artists predominately those painting nudes, trees, and flowers in acrylics. I'm not bitter. I'm just a lot more realistic and far less starry eyed than I used to be. I'd rather float along on a gentle current that fight to swim upstream.

I've said this before - several times - so bear with me because it supports my point. The first time I read Malcolm Gladwell's book The Outliers, I was impacted by these sentences - which I'm paraphrasing - it's not that you weren't good enough, or that you didn't try hard enough, or that you didn't want it bad enough, the stars simply didn't align. I'd invested over twenty years building up a career first in quilting and then in textile art and my work was - finally - receiving artistic merit and being exhibited in several high end galleries. And then the economy went for a bust. And that was the end of that.





The second time I read the book, I was impact by the fact that not only did the stars need to align, but anyone who became successful did so with the help and support of one or more people who believed in them and helped them to connect the dots - the six degrees of separation thing. When I think back on the areas in my life where I've been the most successful, that is so true that I've come to see that identifying the people in your life who will assist with dot connecting is a critical element of moving forward on any goal. It's is draining to pioneer every battle completely on your own.

For the past several weeks, I've been praying for a way to generate significant cash flow using my current skills and abilities. Since I have no idea how God is going to answer that prayer, I wanted to be aware of any opportunities that might present themselves - which means that after the positive response to the coats I researched their marketing potential. Yes, there is a market somewhere, in some city, where some people have enough money to pay what most of us would consider a high and ridiculous amount for a little girl's coat but I do not know that market, those people, or that city and I absolutely do not have the energy to fight that battle alone. I did send out some emails requesting help from people who might be able to connect the dots because it never hurts to ask. None of those emails have been answered so far which I'll take as a sign because...





... while I'd be happy to sell them, I didn't make the coats to sell. I made them for two reasons - to maintain my sanity in the middle of an ongoing and stressful situation and to explore interpreting the same basic shape in numerous ways using what I had in stash. And from that perspective, they have been highly successful. I have an endless flow of ideas and several starting points already lined up to sew more versions in the future.

We each have many things we love to do. I especially love to be creative by sewing, to write about creativity, and to teach others about being creative. In contrast to the unanswered dot connecting emails regarding selling the coats, I received another email yesterday about the possibility of teaching an on-line creative clothing workshop. THAT would be fabulous. It's similar to work I used to do and absolutely loved with a shift from quilting to clothing which is exactly where I am at right now. And perhaps this is my answer to prayer and if it is, it would be fabulous because I know myself and I know that I get completely energized about putting together and facilitating workshops and completely drained by creating pieces to sell that don't. I love teaching.




SO... I was asked to test my market. Right now, the blog is my market since any contact lists I have from my previous work are in the area of quilting not fashion sewing. If you've never commented before, please comment - or if you'd prefer to send me a private email, my address is myrna AT myrnagiesbrecht DOT com. I would REALLY appreciate feedback. If you were going to take an on-line class with me, you would like it to be on the topic of ______ or ______ or ______? THANKS.





This coat is somewhat familiar in that I've made two other versions from a black and orange combination of this same fabric which - incidentally - I gave as gifts and did NOT receive a thank you note from either recipient but that's another conversation for another time. The fabric is delightful. One of those amazing finds - a wool blend - for $2.00 a meter - in the bargain center. I sewed a coat for myself in June and use the remnants to make this one. There's enough for another version. YEAH.





The fabric is reversible. Well... actually... the brighter side is the right side and the darker one is the wrong side but it's one of those fabrics where you can make great use of both. In the past, I've used the dark side for all of the main garment pieces and the light side as accents. This time, I showed off the design lines of the raglan sleeve by using the lighter side for sleeves and I alternated the ruffles light, dark, light.




This is the span of the pattern without the godets. It's just over half a circle. With the godets, another 16" is added which is almost another quarter of the circle. I've decided to add 1" to each side of the center front, center back, side front, and side back pieces and eliminate the godets as it's much neater to sew the garment without them.

The color combination came from the selvage which had a lovely fuchsia thread securing it. I used fuchsia thread to zigzag the edges of the ruffles, bows, hem, and collar edge and used the same buttons as from the third version. It - the project - the five coats - were VERY fun to do which leaves us with...




... what to do with these little coats. I've shown them to a few people and that's the first question they ask right after they clarify that my grandchild is indeed a boy and not a girl. The coats have fulfilled their purpose and now they'd be fun as part of an exhibit and I may explore that opportunity with a local gallery. I also think they'd be great illustrations for an article or a talk - say at a high school or sewing guild - to inspire others to be more creative with their sewing. And - if I could sell them - I would and buy more fabric and keep sewing so if you're interested, let me know. The prices are $75.00 for version four, $100 for versions one, two, and five, and $125.00 for version three PLUS shipping. As you know from the breakdown above, that's a good price. They are all size three with a 22" chest.

Thanks for sharing this coat journey with me. I'm looking forward to your feedback about which classes may be of interest. The possibility of teaching is most likely slim at best but it is a possibility and the answers will be extremely helpful and greatly appreciated and the data necessary to support any workshop proposal.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - realism

48 comments:

  1. What size are the coats? Are you only making one size? I love the dress version as well.

    As for workshops, I am more concerned with fit issues right now that creativity is taking a back seat. Maybe, after I finish my patternmaking class, I might explore creativity more. I will have to evaluate where I will be then. HTH.

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    1. Duh - of course that's important info. They are all size 3 with a 22" chest.

      I think you're correct to be focusing on fit and then on creativity. That's the path I took and it's so much more fun to play with a pattern you know fits than one you're hoping will fit. I'll ponder fit classes. Thanks.

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  2. Myrna - the coats are adorable. I don't have children and don't sew children's clothes but I especially liked the coat-dress version made from your son's favorite shirt. The classes that get my attention on sites like Creativebug and Craftsy are process classes rather than product/project classes. I think I'd be interested in up cycling from thrift store finds to adult clothing - the details of taking, say, a pattern and making it into piece-able parts that would still hang properly.

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    1. Thank you.

      I used to teach product classes when I was doing traditional quilting and then it slowly evolved over to the process classes I now prefer. It's the "teach a woman to fish" approach and can spread in so many directions. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it some thought. Definitely one that interests me.

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  3. Okay, this last coat may be my favorite.....

    I agree that they would be great illustrations for an article or a talk! How about pitching the idea to Threads Magazine?

    As for classes, I'll give that some thought. I have yet to take a Craftsy class, though there are a couple I'm interested in.

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    1. It's definitely my favourite. LOVE the fabric and colours.

      In the past Threads magazine has been written entirely in-house. It's worth checking in to though.

      The instructors at Craftsy are predominately big name. I'm not. My previous teaching experience is with a text based, illustrated workshop with an interactive discussion forum. I like that format especially because each time you teach it the content is the same but the mix of students, their projects, and their experiences and questions are different. Plus there is a beginning and an end to the class. It's not available ongoing. I'm doing some research to see what is available for sewing classes in the format I'm used to. So far, I haven't come up with too much that's beyond basic or extensive. I'll keep looking.

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    2. Myrna - Threads solict articles and also accept unsolicted ones. A few issues ago they asked for ideas for articles (I am unsure what issue that was in) I think that you would be an excellent contributor to Threads as I think you have the gift for communicating your ideas simpliy and are easy to understand your process. Love the coat dresses good luck with your searching for a paying occupation. I have just begun teaching sewing classes as there is a resurgence in sewing in our country due to the economic conditions.

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    3. How fun that you're going to teach classes. Enjoy. And isn't it fabulous that sewing is having a resurgence - with or without economic conditions. I refer to it as one of those "many black notes" kinds of activities. It's has life long ability with bonus clothes or décor or whatever direction one chooses to explore. YES YES. I'm thrilled for you.

      Thanks for the info on Threads. That's a shift from way back when when I was writing articles - something I haven't done for years. The blog seems to fill that niche and the "publisher" takes every article I write. How fun is that! ! ! ! !

      Somehow this conversation (as in the comments and replies and not this comment specifically) has diverged. I meant today's post to show how it's a long shot to want to make a profit sewing creative clothing. If I had to take a long shot, it would be with writing versus producing a sewn product. I'm to blame because I did mention the teaching opportunity. I needed to collect some data but it's slim at best.

      The thing is that I'm not looking for a creativity related business. Not that I'd turn one down if it happened into my lap but I'm not actively looking - been there, done that - and not looking is a happier place to be for me right now. It lets me really enjoy creating without expectations or pressure. I can take it any direction I want, learn what I want, and not worry about the they perspective and that's really quite wonderful.

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  4. The coats are adorable. I don't have a little girl anymore (she's 20 now) but I would have considered them for her when she was much younger. I would submit them to Altered Couture or Belle Armoire magazine and then open an Etsy shop.

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    1. Yesterday, I did some research into Etsy. I typed in little girl coat as a search phrase and came up with over 400 responses. I looked through those until I found some priced at one to two hundred dollars. Looking at those sellers more specifically, I check to see how long they had been in business and how many sales they'd had in that time frame. Then I looked at what exactly did they sell and the high selling items were fabric, patterns, and accessories like a brooch or button. The actual coats were not sold all that often. I'll do some more research and see what else I can find but I know myself - that it would become draining if it wasn't bringing in the income it was meant to bring in and I don't want to be drained in my studio. I want to have TREMENDOUS fun there.

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    2. Altered Couture is a great idea. So is Where Women Create. (both are from the same publisher)

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    3. All the magazines with this publisher do not pay in cash. They pay in free subscriptions or copies. As a just for fun outlet, it's a wonderful experience because they are beautifully done. From a business perspective, it works IF you have a product to promote in the article but once again you (being the general not specific you) need to be realistic because the return is typically quite low. The readership is from a DIY perspective not a purchasing one.

      I'm sorry if my responses come across as negative. My intention is to be realistic since I previously spent twenty-five years in a business in this arena and many of these opportunities are ones I've previously researched. They're great if they're going to accomplish the goal for which you approached them. It's all about making the connections that work.

      As you noted yesterday...

      ....please please please don't have that as your driving rationale or focus! I have a feeling that that would shut you down right now, and we don't want that!!

      ... EXACTLY and that's not where I want to go. If the dots don't connect with ease, I'm not going to be pushing and prodding, pulling and begging. I don't have what it takes emotionally. I would much rather be sewing.

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  5. Hi again,
    First, thanks for the "welcome back" and other replies to me.

    Craftsy. Like Jean wrote above my comment, Craftsy can be a good way to teach to a mass audience. It must pay decently if the "greats" in our sewing world teach on there as well as many other talented teachers. You have experience teaching, you like it, are creative, and you have skill. I've taken one Craftsy class by Sandra Betzina on pants fitting. I really liked the format and the ability to learn at my pace and when it is convenient. Plus, I can go back and watch it again and again. Consider taking a class yourself on there to get a feel for how it works and if it is "you". I hear even Marcy & Katherine Tilton are on Craftsy now too.

    As for what class I'd be interested in, upcycling thrift shop or cast off clothing items. Whether I'd sew a coat, top, skirt, purse or bag, or all of the above - it would be inspiring and useful to learn how to do it well. There is a never ending abundance of clothing fabric out there! This week, I bought 4 items at the nearby thrift shop and two I plan to cut up. They're easy fixes - I hope, but more inspiration for more complicated projects would be great.

    Thanks for asking! Best wishes in finding your niche. :-)
    Carrie

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    1. Thanks Carrie. See my reply to jean re: Craftsy. I have taken two of their courses and one I really disliked and didn't finish and the other I loved the instructor and thought it was quite well done but that she made the task much harder than it needed to be right form the beginning. I'm not sure where it originated but what a fabulous business idea and it's taken off so well for them. This is good.

      Thanks for the class suggestions - those are also great article and/or book and/or pamphlet ideas and I'll definitely keep them in mind.

      IF... and based on my recent experiences that's a REALLY BIG IF... the dots connected this is a direction I would certainly explore but I'm not actually looking that hard. I'll do the work and if it works out I'll be doing the happy dance but I have stopped thinking about creativity as a career. That was too draining and I need creativity to be nourishing and fun. If it becomes something else, we'll see.

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    2. Remember that you know Marcy now--how about sending some questions her way?

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    3. Marcy is a delightful woman, generous with her knowledge and ability, and so incredibly creative. I'm thrilled to have taken two workshops with her. I learned a lot and her voice is a delightful one to have echoing in your head.

      Can you imagine how inundated she would be if every one of her students wanted help setting up in business especially when that business is - on a certain level - competition? I know she is giving advice to one woman from a previous workshop and I do agree that it never hurts to ask because what goes around comes around and I have always tried to be generous with my knowledge however, I also believe in boundaries. There are limited ways in which we can help others and still maintain our own creativity and flow. Marcy is doing an amazing job at doing what Marcy does. I definitely want her to keep on with that.

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  6. I know it wouldn't be useful from a financial perspective, but ar ethere any little girls through your church (either locally or overseas) that would love and appreciate your gorgeous work?

    When I was a little girl, someone from our church (I assume) created a lovely pink and silver chiffon and satin 'princess dress'. I remember Santa delivering it - in person! We didn't have much that year, but I had that dress. And I adored it, and wore it for years until it fell apart.
    I never knew who made that dress, but I hope that somehow they knew how much I loved it.

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    1. I imagine they will eventually get given away to someone although I'd really prefer it to be a little girl who reacts as you did and not to someone who can't even be bothered to write a thank you note... or call... or email. What a lovely memory you have.

      That said - I have over the years given away a LOT of my art and it needs to be a purposeful giving of some sort not a resentful one. Eighteen months ago when we moved here, I gave away almost everything and many friends benefited and they're enjoying the pieces and I'm glad but it was hard on my heart. They'd been made to sell and had come to signify failure and - as you said - giving them away doesn't even return the cost of the fabric to make it possible to keep sewing. LOL - I definitely want to do that.

      I've learned a lot about repurposing in the last five or six years and now I tend to do more of that but there does come a limit to how many times you can make something over even if it's a fabulously stretching creative exercise.

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  7. Definitely pitch these as a series of articles for Threads magazine, as it is the most widely available magazine in the US. Either sell these in an Etsy shop or save them for exhibits--who knows, you may end up in a sponsored booth at a big show somewhere!

    Yes, I would take a class on process, creativity, refashioning, embellishment, design, you name it. This sort of thing is right up my alley, whether it is for girls or women. I'm excited already!

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    1. The coats will eventually find their purpose, whatever that may be. It sounds like we'd be enrolling in the same workshops. What fun that would be.

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  8. Myrna, I'm of the same mind as Birdmommy, sewing for charity. Nan over at "Sew West" blog did a post on back to school clothes for children that needed them. When I saw your twirly coats that is exactly what I thought I would do with the scniblets in my stash. My wardrobe is full and the offspring is a college age boy so there are no little girls to sew for and your post was an inspiration. Giving them away does not help the bottom line but my sewing has never had a bottom line, other than an emotional one.

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    1. I have the utmost respect for people who dedicate themselves to sewing for charity. It's a fabulous gift if it's your way of contributing to the world and it's so important that we each find our way. Although I'm a huge proponent of giving things away, my particular way of contributing seems to be through inspiring/enabling/teaching others and I know I really REALLY love doing that. Have fun making twirly coats. Each one is a piece of enjoyment.

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  9. Myrna,
    I haven't commented before, but I wanted to let you know that I would love to take a process class from you (any class really. I am specifically interested in making casual jackets that are fun to wear. Daily craft TV offers online classes, so that might offer another platform to consider.

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    1. Wonderful. Thanks for the feedback. I'll consider the topic and the platform.

      I'd only heard of Daily Craft TV last week and gave it a quick look. It seemed quite interesting and affordable for a lot of people.

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  10. The coats are adorable. I don't have any ideas to help, just jumping in to say I'm keeping you in my thoughts and keeping my fingers crossed that your solution comes to you soon.

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    1. Thanks. I'm actually working harder at not working at it if that makes any sense. I've been down that path before, I've researched it from every angle, I've lived it, and unless an amazing opportunity is tap dancing in front of me, it's not likely I'm going there again. I'll investigate suggestions and potential opportunities but I'm definitely not over-invested and remaining realistic.

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  11. Myrna, the coats are so wonderful. They are creative in design and all the little extras, the fabric choices and mix of fabrics. I truly wish I had your 'eye' for design. I don't, so I look to all the blogs and magazines and people like you inspire me. As to pricing what they are worth? Today's coat, as one example, I would expect to find in Nieman's and pay upwards of $300 or more; minimum. It is that good. Being an accountant and more straight line thinking I want all you creative people to keep going and trying and doing and just don't stop whatever you do every single day. I need you to balance me, challenge me, put another side out there for me. I cannot do this in my brain, but I truly need you to make sure I have all of this in front of me.

    I don't care what you want to do or be; just rest assured I, and others, will support you all the way because you give so much every time you open your mouth. No I am not in love just appreciating what you have that I don't and hope you keep on giving.

    I can't remember ever posting a comment like this - should I just delete?
    Karen in Illinois

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    1. LOL - no need to delete. I appreciate what you're saying. It means a lot to have the support and encouragement of other people and an appreciation for the work I've put into my pieces. It's lovely to hear that the coats (or any of my work) are appreciated and that they have inspired someone else. That's works well for me. I enjoy sharing my work and my learning.

      From the accounting point of view, anyone can appreciate that compliments do not buy fabric, pay the rent, or put food on the table. That's the struggle for most artists but - as I said to Alexandra - this is something I've been doing a increasingly better job of letting go of because it's not a battle I want to take on unless there is an unbelievably high probability of success and a lot of dot connecting people in my life to make it happen and those aspects are - realistically and simply - not there.

      Compliments gratefully accepted. LOVE them.

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  12. Your analysis of what it truly takes to produce these items rings so true to me. I make dresses for myself for swing dancing, and I'm often told how much other dancers would just love to buy something like them from me. And yeah, the economics just don't seem like they would work--full stop.

    The more successful-seeming sewing entrepreneurs appear to be producing patterns, writing books or teaching online classes.

    Are you familiar with Waechter's Fine Fabrics (www.fabricsandbuttons.com)? They have a focus on heirloom children's clothing. Don't know if any sort of partnership (teaching workshops, creating patterns) with them would be a possibility.

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    1. Exactly. The economics don't work although the compliment is lovely.

      You're right. All the research I've done supports writing and teaching as the way better to earn income over selling a product. That has been true for a long time because I did that same research for another business before my quilting/textile art one so 25+ years ago. When I taught on-line before, it was both fun and financially viable. As I said to my daughter earlier today, if I was going to invest energy in something that wasn't a sure thing, it would be in writing a product versus sewing one.

      Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

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  13. Not sure I have any great ideas for you. Many interesting comments have already been posted. Just sending good vibes your way.

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    1. No great ideas necessary. Good vibes are absolutely fabulous. As I said in an earlier reply, this conversation seems to have gone in the direction of creatively employing Myrna and that's not something I'm actively looking for although I will follow up that one - slim at best - teaching possibility because I absolute LOVE teaching. I'm so thankful that I am able to do so on the blog.

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  14. The coats are beautiful!!! I don't have any ideas either, but I want you to know how much I love your blog and appreciate you!

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    1. Thank you and thank you. It is wonderful to be appreciated.

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  15. Love the coats. I really enjoy reading your thought processes. No advice to offer, but a confidence that the way will open. It's hard being in limbo - how well I know.

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  16. Perfect little coats to make for your granddaughters. I think you'd love the pattern and it goes from 3-8 so it'd fit both of them and is a fabulous way to recycle or use up those little bits you have in your studio. It would look lovely with some applique along the hemline.

    LOL - let's call my thought processes confirmation as opposed to endless hamster on a treadmill. I've been worried that my replies might come across negative. It's more been there, done that perspective because I have... been there... done that. I really appreciate the support. I hope that's coming across. Communication is a tricky thing. It has been good for thinking through what I really want... again... and confirming the conclusions I thought I'd come to. I have.

    I know you understand limbo. Prayers gratefully accepted.

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  17. Long time reader here, infrequent commenter (I'm a reader and thinker, just not a talker!)

    Originally I started reading your blog because I knew you were a successful textile artist and I was hoping for insight as to how this might be achieved.

    Very long story short, through your sharing of your experience, plus the other research and reading I did, I abandoned the idea of trying to earn a living through art and/or sewing. Instead I sharpened my other skills and became self-employed as a bookkeeper. (As an aside, it may seem that art and bookkeeping are opposite abilities but in fact the precision required in many art techniques is very similar to the precision required in bookkeeping -- a job idea??)

    We should not underestimate what it takes to build a successful business of any kind. Many books have been written on this topic. The selling of art (including the teaching of art) will be more difficult than, say, the selling of bookkeeping or plumbing skills. Of course it can be done, but the path is not at all clear. Yes, the stars must align! In my own self-employment as a bookkeeper, I can credit a good part of my "success" to the "luck" of having been in the right place at the right time.

    So, as your experience confirms, this is probably not the road to take if your goal is to earn some kind of income in the near future. No reflection on yourself or your potential students, just the reality that exists for any business.

    One more thought -- when you look at a business that seems to be successful, any business at all -- remember that from the outside it is not possible to actually know whether this is so. Everything might look good, but until you see the financial statements, you can't know whether the business is actually making any money. Just its existence for year after year will not tell you this. Weird but true.

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    1. Thanks for being a long time reader - really long time if you've been reading from my textile art days. That is MUCH appreciated.

      I was a successful textile artist. It's good to remember that on occasion because as a culture we tend to equate success only with financial success and I had some of that but of course the fact that it was not enough is where things started to fall apart as a business HOWEVER... that doesn't negate many fabulous accomplishments and I certainly wouldn't be doing the kind of work I do now without those experiences.

      How fun that you decided to go into bookkeeping after reading my blog. I totally agree that they use similar skills. I've taken a few bookkeeping courses and was researching the accounting technicians diploma when my daughter started university. She read the info and became an accountant. I've taught a lot of friends how to set up a spreadsheet and manage finances and since finances are so pressure filled, it's like giving them knowledge that will lighten the load.

      In all businesses the stars have to align and the dots connect as I talked about on Friday and you - the business owner - have to feel passionate about the product in order to have enough energy to carry it forward because, as you said, shiny on the outside is not necessarily shiny on the inside. That's the take-away I had when I read The Millionaire Next Door.

      The author - whose name I can't remember right now - said big house in an upscale neighbourhood almost always equals more debt while a smaller house in a less opulent neighbourhood does not necessarily mean poor or struggling on any level. It can signify the choice to live a less stressful, within our means, with money in the bank, no financial pressure lifestyle. Apparently, most millionaires are "regular" people althoguh by that description I might consider them wiser people. I certainly wish I'd read that book MUCH earlier in my life but I'm glad I did when I did.

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  18. I would love to take a class from you on being creative, sewing outside of the box. You have the ability to create an garment while what I do is sew a garment. I admire your ability to twist, turn and manipulate fabric into something wearable. At the same time, you have the ability to translate what you create into something that I can understand and follow. I would love to take a class on how to use a basic cardigan and come up with different variations.

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    1. And I would love to teach that class. Thank you for the compliment. At one time, that wasn't true of my sewing. I followed the pattern exactly for a really long time and then I started to experiment by moving over some of the skills I learned in textile art. All you need is an idea and to try and see what happens. A cardigan is a fabulous starting point. I'll give that some thought, perhaps even as a blog posting.

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  19. "How fun that you decided to go into bookkeeping after reading my blog" ha ha... yeah. I actually found your blog just as you made the transition to your non-textile art blog.I was sorry that I had missed your previous blog. Oh well, things change.

    I had been a bookkeeper (untrained) for many years and was looking for something different. Your experience influenced me, as did years of reading Kathleen Fasanella's blog FashionIncubator.com Even though it had been a long-time dream of mine to earn an income doing something I loved, I finally decided against it and instead went back to school (at age 52) to upgrade my bookkeeping skills.

    I too frequently hear things like "oh you should sell that", in reference to things I make -- now I just laugh and say, "Right, but I'd have to charge $200 for this ...!" It is much easier for me to earn what I need to by doing bookkeeping, and I only had to go through the "selling myself" phase of setting up a business for a short time. Bookkeeping clients are long term, unlike people who purchase art or other sewn products. (Unfortunately, now I am too busy to do much sewing, but hopefully this is just for a while.)

    Anyway, I love your artwork and wish you well. If teaching is something you long to do, I hope things fall into place for that! Sometimes the stars do align for us!

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    1. Very fun. Thanks for the compliments on my work. They're always nice to hear.

      This weekend's discussion has led to a lot of thought. I've realized that teaching is fun for me - like sewing - and could be viewed on a similar level - as in it's all entertainment and part of how I move through life. Perhaps that attitude will help the stars align. How fabulous that would be.

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  20. Hi M: I'm late to this party but I think you are an awesome technician. Your pants posts really made a huge difference in my sewing trajectory. I also think you have a ton of info about bra sewing and lingerie making at your access. Have you considered delving further into that?

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    1. But always welcome. Thanks for the compliments. Those are definitely the two areas the interest me - fit and then how to fill that form creatively. I don't want to sew bras or lingerie to sell. Teaching is a possibility as is any kind of technical class.

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  21. I've been reading quite a while and have made very few comments. I can't tell you how much I love these coats and as I have three girls that are pretty close to the size range, if I had the money to buy them at the cost that they were worth, I would have such a very hard time choosing which three to offer you money for. As it is, you inspired me to pick up this pattern, and I plan to make a version of my own. Don't worry about my copying one of yours (though I would absolutely love to) as I'll be using fabrics from my stash. Thanks so much for sharing your work on these and all the other things you create. You inspire me often.

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    1. I'm glad I've inspired you and that you're going to play in your stash. PERFECT. Have fun making a coat... or three... I bet all your girls are going to want one. I'd love to see a picture.

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    2. My post with the finished coat. http://quitereasonable.blogspot.com/2013/10/simplicity-2745.html

      Thank you for the inspiration. I'm actually likely to make multiple versions myself though that wasn't the original plan because my two-year-old has demanded that the coat I made be hers.

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    3. It turned out fabulous. Thanks for sending me the link.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.