Some Thoughts and Questions on Blogging

PincushionI’ve been doing a lot of thinking, reading, and talking about blogging lately. I feel like this blog has kind of slipped away from me ever since I moved from California a little over a year ago. Moving across the country, having a baby, continued growth of our shop, and Instagram has resulted in me spending less time blogging, reading blogs, and being a member of the blogging community. Then, I read this post about blogger burnout and I realize that I had to let blogging slip from the place it once was {there is no way I can manage four posts a week like I used to!}.You-Are-EnoughWith the changes in my life, and doing my best to devote my time to my family, I’ve also faced some feelings of inadequacy within the quilting and sewing blog world. It seems like so many bloggers are producing tutorials, writing books, opening pattern shops, and becoming fabric designers, and I start to wonder if I’m really doing enough. But then, as this postcard from my lovely friend Jenny reminds me I don’t need to focus my energy on what I’m not doing, I just need to go forward with what I am doing, that is enough.

So, I’d like to refocus and freshen the content I produce up a little bit. I’d love to know what kind of things you look for in blogs you enjoy reading, and then I can cater my content to readers {and I know my mom is curious about this too!}.

I know we all love tutorials {and there are sure to be  more of those in the future}, but I’d love to know what other things you like to read about, what draws you to a blog, and what kind of things you’d like to learn. I’ve also set up a little survey, so you can answer a couple questions, and you’re also welcome to leave a comment, whichever you prefer!

Edit to add (11/18): Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey! It was just a free plan so only the first 100 responses were collected {I figured it would take a few days before we reached 100}. If you’d like to add anything to the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I’ll post about the survey results later this week!

Winged by Bonnie Christine Blog Tour {Ava Purse}

winged-blog-tour

Today is our day for the Winged blog tour  featuring Winged by Bonnie Christine of going home to roost. Thank you Bonnie for including us in such an inspirational blog hop, we have really enjoyed it.

We are so glad you have stopped by to see what we made with the lovely Winged fabric {and you can see the lookbook here, it’s lovely!}! We love the butterflies and soft colors, especially as fall is transitioning to winter, it’s a great reminder that spring is on the other side.Ava-purse-Bonnie-Christine-WingedSince we are all about quilty bags and purses we thought it would be appropriate to make this charming little bag: the Ava purse {pattern coming soon!}. Bonnie generously sent us 4 fat quarters and we were able to make this little purse with a few of our favorite features, including patchwork, quilting, binding, a zipper closure and a pocket in the lining.

Winged-by-Bonnie-Christine-Ava

I love the ruffling in that sweet vintage inspired green print, who doesn’t love a few ruffles?!

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I quilted it with some wavy lines to give it an subtle design, without overpowering the pretty prints.

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And then you can see the brighter peach peeking out as the inside lining!

Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting us if  for the first time or as a regular reader, we are glad you came! Now you can enjoy the rest of the blog hop. If you’re just discovering the blog hop here, make sure to go see the pretty tote Teresa of Dandelion Drift posted yesterday. Then, stay tuned for Monday’s stop with Tara at Rad and Happy blog.

Have a happy weekend!

A Beginner’s Guide to Wholesale

This contributor post is written by Erika of Midwest Family Life.


Hi, it’s Erika from Midwest Family Life again and I’m here to give you a beginner’s guide to wholesaling. I am by no means and expert, but having dove head first into a business this past year I’ve learned a lot and think that these tips may help put you in a good starting position.

I’ll fast forward my story to when I decided to jump into selling my products wholesale. Wholesale is the selling of goods in large quantities to be retailed by others. So that means you’ll be selling your goods for cheaper than you are right now. But how will I make a profit? Easy, you’ll be selling in large quantities, not just 1-2 goods at a time. Before I dove head first I did a lot of research on the Internet to make sure my first sale was a good one. I have made errors and will continue to do so, but I wanted to minimize them from the get-go.

7 Tips to Get You Started!

  • You need a line sheet to display your items clearly to the stockist, complete with pricing, information about the product and shipping information. Some of my first reading was at Indie Retail Academy. It’s an awesome informational blog and program put on by Clare Yuille. If you have nowhere to start, start here. You can read her information about how to put together a line sheet here. You’ll end up remaking it many times I’m sure, but at least it’s a place to start. For more advanced wholesalers, you can invest in websites that create online catalogs for you such as Brandboom, Shopthefloor and NuOrder.
  • You need to figure out your wholesale price. Yes folks, there is math involved here, there is no other way around it. I actually sat down with a pencil, paper and calculator to do this. The wholesale price is typically 50% less than the retail price so you want to make sure that the wholesale price is still making you a profit. The short equation is below. For an extremely detailed way on how to arrive at the cost portion of the equation, go download the Indie Retail Academy Starter Kit (for free).

wholesale calculator

  • Write yourself a good cover letter/email to go along with your line sheet. This is basic folks! You want to engage the stockist and show that you know a little about their brand/store and why your goods would be a great fit. Do your homework first. Call the store and find out who the buyer or owner is. Do a little Internet stalking and use those resources to find a name. Everybody is on LinkedIn these days, use it to your advantage.
  • Make sure your product meets all the legal requirements for hitting the shelves. For example, I had a store owner tell me all children’s products needed to be lead tested and therefore, she didn’t accept handmade things. As a newbie I had to look into this (and found out she was lying or didn’t know the real answer) but her response to me made me look into that next step into approaching wholesale. The quilts I make need to have a tag on them until it reaches the consumer’s hands that says fiber content, country it was made in and that it’s made of imported materials per CPSIA rules. Investigate your industry and follow the rules! You sure don’t want a stockist to get in trouble with the law and you don’t want to be on bad terms with your stockist.
  • Make sure your packaging is top notch! If you were staring at two identical items, you would purchase the pretty one, right? Sure you would!! Sometimes packaging is more important than the product itself! Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to spend a fortune on packaging, but do some research and find something that is easy for you to do or manufacture and put on your product. Here is a great website to get a variety of bulk paper from.
  • Be sure that stockists and consumers can see who you are through your brand. Have a cohesive look and feel to your goods and packaging. This includes website and social media as well. Be uniform across the board. You may need help with this or perhaps you can build your own graphics, but whatever the case, make sure it’s catchy and cohesive. Wix.com has an easy-to-use website platform and that’s what I use for my site. Places like Vistaprint, Modern Postcard and Moo are good for having marketing materials and business cards printed.
  • Have great photos! What’s the sense in having a great product if it looks bad in photos? Invest in a backdrop, you can get them all over the place. I bought a 3 ft x 3 ft backdrop from The Backdrop Shop on Etsy for $25. It’s worth the investment folks! I mean tell me, which photo looks better to you? Which product do you want to purchase?

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Once you really get into wholesaling there is another beast — tradeshows, booth design and sales reps. I’m not big enough for this yet and can’t answer any questions about this next step. I do know the huge tradeshows are $5,000 a booth– so you better be writing huge sales when you get to that point.

Think Local

So, are you still thinking wholesale is your next step? Go for it! Start with local shops– in your town and surrounding towns. Some local places like to do consignment but after a month or two of good sales you might be able to switch yourself to wholesale. Don’t be afraid to get out there. If a stockist told you no, then you are no worse off than before you asked. Good luck!

Mini Medallion Series : Border 5

Hello again C&V readers!  Another month brings us yet another border (and our last!) on our mini medallion quilt.  Are you sewing along?  Don’t forget to show us your minis …  Keep sending me links in your comments and tagging me @sewlux on Instagram with #minimedallionqal ! I have really enjoyed seeing all the great versions of this quilt popping up! :-)

Here’s where we left off last month …

MiniMedallion-Month4-WM

Are you ready for our last border?

(Missed out on the center?  Learn more and get the pattern here.  Find the first border here and the second border here and third border here and fourth border here.)

Month 6 – Sew Border #5:

Cut the following:

  • Label four prints A-D (I’m using two peach & two yellow): Cut FIVE 4″ squares.  From Print A & C (both of mine are peach), cut an additional 4″ square.  Then cut three 4.25″ squares from each of the four prints.
  • From the background:  You need two 5″ squares and ten 4.25″ squares.

Sub cut all 4″ squares into half square triangles (cut along one diagonal).

Sub cut all 4.25″ squares into quarter square triangles (cut along both diagonals).

Sew as follows: 

Sew two Print A & and two Print C half square triangles to the four background triangles.  Press toward the prints and trim to 3.5″ square.

SBMini5-HST

Next, sew 10 quarter square triangles from each print to a background quarter square triangle.  Be sure to keep all prints on the RIGHT!

Carefully press toward the print.

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Next, sew a pieced half square triangle to a print half triangle.  Make sure you reference the downloadable pattern (available at end of post) for which prints to sew together.

SBMini5-Blocks

You’ll make 10 blocks of each print combination.  Carefully trim blocks to 3.5″ square.

Join the blocks into rows as instructed in the downloable pattern.

SBMini5-Rows

Attach the borders as instructed in the pattern sheet.  I chose to press toward the previous grey border.  Since there are a lot of seams, I finger pressed it and then went over with the iron.

SBMini5-Press

You’re all done!  Your mini should now measure approximately 36″ square.  You’ll need 1-1/4 yards backing and 40″ square batting.  Baste and quilt as desired.  (I’ll be quilting mine soon!)  You’ll need 1/3 yard binding – cut and join four 2.5″ x WOF strips and attach with your favorite method.

SBMini5-Finished

Here’s a  downloadable file for this month’s border pattern with step-by-step instructions.

I hope you enjoyed making this quilt with me!  I ‘ll stop back by in a few weeks and share my quilting on this!

If you are sewing along and sharing on Instagram, tag us @cloverandviolet @cloverandviolet2 and @sewlux and use #minimedallionqal

Happy Sewing!  :)

Chrissy

the Daphne bag {Perfect Pattern Parcel Exclusive}

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Happy Friday everyone! We’re excited to announce the release of our newest pattern, the Daphne bag, as an exclusive launch for Pattern Parcel #7! What is the Perfect Pattern Parcel, you may ask? It is a curated collection of patterns {this time handbags!} that is sold together with proceeds benefiting classrooms in need. You choose your own price and how much you’d like to donate, and you’ll receive five amazing patterns.

Parcel #7 includes:

Barcelona Bag and Wallet by Pat Bravo

Butterfly Sling Purse by Emmaline Patterns

Evelyn Hangbag by ChrisW Designs

Midtown Messenger Bag by Betz White

Betty Bowler by Swoon Sewing Patterns

BONUS PATTERN: Daphne Bag by Clover & Violet <–That’s us!

Choose a price of $32 or greater for Parcel #6 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! That’s only $5 a pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the brand new Daphne Bag pattern from Clover & Violet. The Daphne is a slouchy satchel that can be worn cross body or as a shoulder bag. The zip top keeps your gear secure and the internal pockets keep your accessories where you need them. This is a brand new, never been seen before pattern and is an exclusive opportunity for Parcel #7 customers!

How Pattern Parcel Works:

Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel.  We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Its our goal to raise over $20,000 for Donors Choose this year.

Daphne-bag-bonus-pattern

We’re excited to be included in this great collection for a great cause. You can also read more about the Perfect Pattern Parcel on their blog.

purchase buttonNote: I’m still waiting for some photos from pattern testers, so those will be posted in a separate post.