I attended the Sew Pro Convention this past weekend in Chicago. My emotions while there went from excitement to anxious to overwhelmed to downright giddy. There were so many things I learned that I’m figuring out how to turn into action steps for an overall plan to kick start my side hustle (aka future business).
First and foremost, I would really like to thank the organizers of the event: Brenda Ratliff from Pink Castle Fabrics and Sara Lawson from Sew Sweetness. They did a great job for an inaugural event. The classes were amazing, and the chance to meet all the industry professionals was priceless. The swag bag was equally awesome!!!
The purpose of the event was for me to figure out what I could do to be a part of the fabric and quilting industry, knowing pattern design and/or fabric design would be in my future. From all the different lectures I took, pattern designing definitely seems to be in my wheelhouse. Becoming a pattern editor for other designers is definitely an option for me as well. Fabric design will need to be a long range goal; most likely, I will be starting small scale on sites like spoonflower.com where I can design and print my own fabric.
The most valuable thing from the conference was all the different people I was able to talk to and meet. The spectrum of people I was able to meet ranged from those like myself who were finding their way to experienced professionals that were looking to expand. Listening to Pat Sloan and Tula Pink talk about their stories and what they needed to do to get where they are now was so inspiring. Lots of hard work and dedication went into their successes.
The very first step I need to take is to create my product(s). I have a book of sketches for quilt patterns that I haven’t done anything with yet. I’ve been so busy making the patterns I’ve purchased and sewing with quilt-a-longs that I haven’t focused on my originals. I’ve complained that I don’t have enough time to do the projects I’ve already started much less figure out my own. Well that train stops here; I decided to purchase a Janome Jem Gold sewing machine to travel with. It’s a small compact machine that will allow me to piece quilts during my travel nights in the hotel room. It never dawned on me to purchase a new light-weight machine after attempting to travel with my Singer Stylist. Time will always be my most limited resource, but now that should be alleviated to some degree.
My new machine!
The next step I need to do is create a business plan. My absolute worst fear is to start this process and be flailing. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is a graphic designer to help me start branding my business. I’m looking forward to getting some initial logos made to share on social media.
I have a stack of business cards to go through and maintain the contacts of all the people I met this past weekend. I definitely feel like having a business mentor would be a necessity for my success. Hopefully whomever I end up asking will be receptive to being my mentor. There were several people from the Minneapolis area whom I can’t wait to reach out to and maintain a relationship with. (I have quilty friends!)
A quick note about the Surface Tote Bag: it withstood all the junk I threw into the bag for the weekend. The structure of the bag was great for carrying my Surface Pro. I am going to be writing a tutorial rather than a full pattern for the bag. I am not as skilled as some of the bag makers out there, but I can definitely share how I do my calculations so you can make the tote any custom size! The target date for the tutorial to be posted will be mid-October. The plan is also to post the tutorial as a free pdf on Craftsy (if I can figure out how to do that!).
Onward to the sewing I was able to do after I returned home from Sew Pro!
This is absolutely my favorite Cozy Christmas block. (I say this every week, but I LOVE snowmen so I’ve been waiting to make this block for weeks!) Too bad I did not have enough time after I got home to finish it! #tears I finished the main applique but need to do the embroidery, HSTs, Flying Geese, and final assembly of the block.
Overall Completion: 4 (not quite 5) completed blocks out of 12
9/20-9/27 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Projects I want to work on:
Technicolor Galaxy BOM
Powered by Quilting Patterns
Goals for the Projects:
Cozy Christmas: Finish Block 5 and complete Block 6, sew together Row 2 and combine Rows 1 & 2
Technicolor Galaxy BOM: Complete Low Volume portions of all Star Blocks
Powered by Quilting Patterns: Decide on the design that will be Pattern #101 for my business, determine colorway, and fabric requirements