Part 8: Custom Fabric Aspirations: “Wrapping it all up”

One banana, two bananas, three bananas! More!!! Four bananas make a bunch and so do many more! Making a Soft Toy is like that…..and so is designing Custom Fabric!….Take it one step or ‘banana’ at a time and you will get a ‘bunch’ done!

When there is a ‘Bunch’ to do it is quite easy to have ‘slip on a banana peel’ moments.

Sure it would be easy to just discard the offending ‘Banana Peels’ into the Trash Bin and try to pretend that there were no slip ups at all. Perhaps a better approach would be to turn those slippery ‘Banana Peels’ into ‘Virtual Compost’ and use them to ‘Nourish’, ‘Nurture’ or ‘Fuel’ the next Creative Adventure or long time Aspiration. How can this be achieved?

Well first of all it is necessary to recognise & acknowledge the mistake then find a solution to the problem or make a modification in the way things could/should or would be done in the future! The following list of Problems and Solutions are mainly for my reference & benefit, however they may be useful Tips for others considering designing Custom Fabric also.

1st Banana Peel

Banana Peel Slip up Number One: Too much to do in too short a time
Problem: I never seem to allow sufficient time to complete a project. Which means I am always end up rushing at the last minute to get things done. This places unnecessary stress on me and those around me!
Solution: Realistic Time Management is important especially when there is a ‘deadline’ to be aimed for. Calculating the time needed for each part of the process can aid in being realistic about what is likely to be achieved within the time frame. Allowing extra time for delays, illness, interruptions plus formulating a contingency plan will decrease disappointment if the goal is not achieved. Plan “B” is a satisfactory option!

2nd Banana Peel

Banana Peel Slip up Number Two: Being Over Ambitious
Problem: I always seem to want to achieve more than is actually necessary whenever I design something. I always want to explore every imaginable option for everything.
Solution: Consider the “KISS” system. “Keep It Simple Stupid”….I need to be willing to put aside the extra added options to what I am trying to do in order to achieve the goal. There may be opportunity to revisit the other ideas at a later time.

3rd Banana Peel

Banana Peel Slip up Number Three: Lack of Pattern Piece Accuracy
Problem: Forgetting the trustworthy advice to “measure twice and cut once” I assumed that my mathematical calculations were correct and I avoided retesting the Pattern pieces a second time.
Solution: Even when there doesn’t appear to be time to retest Pattern Pieces it is better to ‘make the time’ and be sure that measurements are correct rather than make a bigger more costly mistake. Retesting may also have alerted me to the fact that shapes were missing earlier during the design process rather than at the last minute.

4th Banana Peel

Banana Peel Slip up Number Four: Being Technologically Unaware
Problem: Assuming that I knew what I was doing as far as uploading the File ready for printing when I didn’t caused added anxiety and stress as I rushed to ‘learn’ new and unfamiliar procedures.
Solution: To avoid the last minute rush find out well ahead of time as much information as possible about the file type that is required (format, size etc) and also the correct procedure for uploading the file ready for Printing.

5th Banana Peel

Banana Peel Slip up Number Five: Missed Information
Problem: When I don’t have sufficient time I tend to ‘speed read’ the information in a Document or on a Webpage. This can lead to gaps in the information I need such as not knowing if there are any added costs such as Postage or GST (Goods and services Tax).
Solution: Allow more time or read more thoroughly and make notes rather than having to go back to search for information over and over and over again which can prove counterproductive and result in less efficient use of finite time.

6th Banana Peel

Banana Peel Slip up Number Six: Financial Miscalculations
Problem: In my exuberance to get to the ‘creative’ parts of projects I tend to be resistant to the possibility that something I really want to do may be out of my financial reach and should be put aside until I am positive that I have enough funds to cover the expense.
Solution: If I am unsure I should enquire about any potential ‘extra’ expense rather than not wanting to find out. I could also have someone more ‘mathematically minded’ have a look at the financial information to double check my figures.

I expect that there are more Banana Peel Slip ups than those listed above but these are the major ones that come to mind at the moment!

I’ve talked a lot about mistakes and Banana Peel Slipups haven’t I? But “Why?” …..

The simple answer is because I know I am not perfect, I recognise that I am a “work in progress” ….

I’ve been sewing for many, many years & if I could get through an entire sewing project without having to unpick anything I would be totally amazed!

If your first attempt at doing something turns out to be a total disaster should you just give up and resign yourself to being a failure? No way! Pick yourself up dust yourself off and learn from the mistakes or Slip ups! Try to figure out what went wrong. Was the Slip up a simple accident; a miscalculation; lack of understanding or insufficient information? Perhaps you were being overly ambitious or need a bit more training to improve your skills.

When trying to find a solution to a problem Inspiration can prove elusive at times. There is no point waiting for an epiphany ‘light bulb’ moment, sometimes it is better to keep working & moving ahead a bit more slowly but if working away at the problem seems to be going nowhere then take a break from what you are doing.

For me going to the vegetable garden to do a menial relatively ‘mindless’ task such as weeding or picking vegetables allows time for thoughts to randomly ‘pop’ into my head. Another circumstance that provides time for me to think is ‘Pig Feeding Time’ here on the Free Range Pig Farm. Sometimes I try to visualise the solution to a design problem and imagine my way through various options discarding the ones that obviously won’t work “If I did this, would I be able to do that? No that won’t work because I need to be able to……and I can’t if I do it that way.” Lateral thinking or thinking ‘outside’ the box often provides a solution. Even an improbable solution may just turn out to be the answer to the difficulty. On other occasions I use the time to ‘compose’ text that can be included in a Blog Post. When I come up with something I particularly like I repeat the words over and over in my mind and link them with visual clues so that if I am delayed in jotting them down when I return to the house I can bring back the visual clue and figure out what I had been planning to write.

It’s amazing what ideas can seem to come out of the blue when you are not constantly ‘trying’ to figure something out. It should be noted that this may not work for everyone as everyone is different and there is no ‘magical method’ that can be copied. Simply assess your own situation and find the place or situations that provide the best ‘headspace’ for ideas and solutions to problems….you’ll know what they are…..a walk in the park, folding laundry, doing the dishes, relaxing in the bath or whatever or whenever it may be.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes (BTW someone please remind me of this next time I am beating myself up for the latest fiasco!). Try not to feel embarrassed to admit to having done something wrong. ‘Yes’ there may be people who will laugh at you for ‘messing up’ but there are more people out there who will thank you for being honest enough to point out what you did wrong especially when you can explain ‘how’ a solution was found. Such as how a seemingly useless ‘Banana Peel’ was turned into a ‘plus’ that fuels even better things.

Remember that even the most ‘gifted’ and talented people; whether they be a “Concert Pianist”, “Famous Artist”, “Elite Athlete” or “Sporting person” or simply a “Stay at Home Mum” all need to ‘work hard’ to improve their skill levels…..

‘Practice makes perfect’ as the saying goes and it is a trustworthy Statement!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my ramblings concerning my Custom Fabric Aspirations.

I would consider using Frankie and Swiss to print fabric again under special circumstances. For example to create a fabric for special gift or as a potential Heirloom item. Frankie and Swiss have a friendly, helpful quality service with excellent results as far as the printing is concerned. I view the fabric as printed through Frankie and Swiss to have been an investment from the point of view of assessing what is available in Australia and how it compares to what is available Overseas.

I’m not sure that it would be economically viable for me to use Frankie and Swiss on a regular basis if I wanted to make items that I would sell Online because of the higher price of the fabric as compared to Spoonflower. The fact that Frankie and Swiss doesn’t have an “Indie Designer” set up like Spoonflower means that if I used them to print fabric that I then sold via the Internet, two amounts for Postage and Handling would need to be added thus pushing the price even higher. It seems more logical to me to use the services of a site like Spoonflower to showcase any fabrics I may design for “Cut & Sew” Toys. This would result in the minimum amount of expenditure on my part. Spoonflowers Indie Designer Service does away with the need to have ‘speculative’ fabric stored away in my Craftymess Room waiting for someone to buy it. Through Spoonflower the fabric is easily available to the general public and the Indie Designer receives a payment each time fabric is ordered. In essence it is a ‘Royalty’ payment for the use of the fabric without me having to do anything other than design, upload and test the fabric to make sure I am happy with it.

In case you were wondering this Blog Post is the last in this series of Custom Fabric Aspirations. However as mentioned in a previous Blog Post Spoonflower now lists Faux Suede as a fabric to print on. As the result of an emailed inquiry I was informed of a Special Offer to promote the newly added fabric & I have ordered a Free: 8” x 8” Sample.

My Palette

This Sample Fabric may seem a little boring but I need to see clearly how these colours print out on the Faux Suede so that I can use them to produce the various ‘animals’ I have in mind for Cut & Sew Toy Patterns.

I continue to have Custom Fabric Aspirations and I expect that Faux Suede may feature prominently in them. I am keen to see if it is similar to Velveteen that frays quite a lot and is a challenging fabric to use or whether it is more user friendly…but for now I must wait because I have “Fabric in the mail…..”


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