11.26.2011

made in bulk

some musings on making my handmade items en masse...


i trim all my seams by hand, to avoid bulk. at curves, i cut small notches so that the seams lie flat when they're turned the right way out. it only takes a couple of minutes for each piece, but when you're making 35 stockings at a time, that adds up! look at all those scraps!


something you may not know, when i stitch my peek-a-boos, i use at least three different thread colours for each, and i stitch around and around. i like the way it picks up on all the colours in the fabric, and creates a nice depth in the stitching. in order to keep the stitches looking clean from the outside, i hand-tie and knot the beginning and end of each pair of threads on the underside of the fabric. that's at least 6 pairs per peek-a-boo.
all stress-points are double or triple-stitched. then, on each seam, i run a zigzag stitch to prevent fraying. this means i stitch each seam two, three, or four times.


components for 35 stockings! that's 35 strips for hanging the stocking, attached to 35 cuffs, each one carefully ironed, then triple-stitched for extra-heavy stuffing of goodies.



the first batch of finished stockings. just a peek, mind you, i can't give away everything!

these are just a few thoughts that have crossed my mind as i've been preparing for the One of a Kind Show. i don't normally work in bulk, but this past month, i've made more than 70 mini buckets, a dozen tote bags, 35 stockings, and much more. these steps that take only 2 to 5 minutes, such as trimming or finishing a seam to make sure it doesn't fray, don't normally cross my mind as i do them. but when you multiply that by 35, well then a good chunk of time has gone by. i don't cut corners or look for shortcuts that could negatively impact the finished product.
when i make an item, my aim is to ensure quality every step of the way. besides using quality materials and equipment, this includes accurate cutting, careful stitching, trimming and finishing of seams, ironing at every step, and precise finishing touches on every piece.
this is not meant to be a sermon, but rather my musings on working in bulk while maintaining quality. it's the reason i [and other makers all over the world] try to put a reasonable price* on our efforts, our designs, our work. this is not a $10 polyester stocking from walmart that may last a year or two. this is a one-of-a-kind handmade heirloom christmas stocking, with carefully chosen fabrics, stitched with care so that you can stuff it full to the brim, creating warm and happy memories for many generations to come.


*by reasonable, i do mean that i am aiming to be paid a fair wage, not only for my time and effort, but for the quality and design of each piece.

8 comments:

Edins House said...

Quality! Such committment to producing work you can be proud to put the name Smidgebox Designs on, Lesley!!
Victoria

Sarah (mrsgryphon) said...

Love this little glimpse into your process, Lesley!

myredbike said...

It's obvious that you put a great amount of care and thought into your beautiful creations. Thanks for sharing your process!

SolarOwl said...

I like it! It's realy cute!:)

Ande said...

Your work and organization is so inspiring! Love to see your process. :) Best Wishes! Andrea

Ms. Hughes said...

i really like your creative pieces. i am going to one of a kind on the weekend and will be sure to look for you!

lesley [smidgebox] said...

Thanks everybody for the kind words! I really appreciate all your support :)

Laurie Wisbrun | Scarlet Fig said...

They look wonderful! And lookie at the little bears :)