I haven't attended markets for a few years now, but felt it was time to get back into it.
I was accepted as a vendor for a new artisan market, I'm doing my first one in March. I find January and February are quiet market months, so I utilise this time to organise myself and sew lots of stock up.
I haven't settled on my range yet, I will attend a few markets and see what people are looking for first. I usually aim for a combination of easy sell clutch bags, a few cross bodies and then a collection of the more expensive, travel bags and handbags. I try to have a "showstopper" bag, something that stands out and attracts the passer by, if it sells I make another in a different print.
If you want to follow on, my bag making brand is Ruby and Ash CQ on FB and Instagram.
Now to prepping......
I usually buy fabrics from our fabulous pre order groups, but I also like some of the Spotlight decorator range. I find Jos Proust and Kirsten Katz prints, are really popular.
I tend to buy half metre lengths, because I don't make too many bag styles, in the same print. I also try and keep in my own stocks, basic contrast colours in vinyl and leather.
Black and tan, pink and navy are my staples.
I also recommend bulk buying your other well used supplies,
Medium weight interfacing
Foam and H640 fleece
Bulk buy your staple zipper tapes to match your vinyls/leathers
Brown/tan tape with bronze teeth
Black tape with silver teeth
Black tape with rainbow teeth
If you have plenty of tape on hand, you can mix and match your zipper pulls..
It also makes buying staple hardware easier too, bulk buy rectangle rings, rivets, D rings and swivels in,
Once I get my fabrics home, I block interface the whole lengths with medium weight interfacing.
Let it cool laying flat and then roll onto pool noodles or cardboard rolls.
This can be time consuming now, but will save you loads of time when you want to cut stock out.
It took me about an hour to interface, 1 metre and 4 half metre lengths.
For this exercise, I cut out
2 zipper clutches
1 fold over clutch
7 Gaia bags
Make sure you have a sharp rotary cutter and lay your fabrics on top of each other.
If you are making a lot of the same pattern, make a pattern piece out of flexible chopping boards, it gives your rotary cutter something to run around, especially curves.
I've used vinyl contrast for the Gaia gussets, and added a contrast to the basic clutch bags as well. I get these cut too.
I put each bag pattern into its own box, with all the hardware I will need for each bag, I also throw in scraps that I will use to reinforce mag snaps for example or zipper tabs.
I make my zipper tabs from vinyl, purely because its faster than making fabric ones.
In this box, I have 7 Gaia exteriors, along with contrast vinyl gussets in navy and tan. The odd shape offcuts you get from bulk cutting, aren't wasted. I throw them in the box too and use them for interior slip pockets.
I cut all my linings out the same way, by layering your fabrics. Since I've been using WPC/Cordura for linings, I simple go with a complimentary colour and cut out in bulk.
I tend to use plain colour linings or the handmade printed Cordura, in my experience customers really don't care what the lining looks like, they are buying the bag, because the exterior attracted them. As long as the lining functions ie internal pockets and room, this can be a huge cost saving for you.
I haven't got too much sewing done yet, but I did fix up some zippers.
Before I start batch sewing, I always load up some bobbins
I always use a pale grey thread in my bobbin, huge time saver and it will blend with your lining, for top stitching.
Apart from heavy black makes, I sew everything in pale grey (pearl clutching moment #1)
Sewing your zipper tabs in a chain, is also a massive time saver. When I make 100's of clutch bags, the same size, I often just sit and sew a load of zippers up, so when I'm ready to go, half the job is done. I use tan a lot, because it goes with pretty much anything, for stock sews.
That's it for now, I will do some more when I get sewing, I hope you find some useful tips.
The Gaia pattern I use is from Little Moo Designs
Bulk interfacing can be found in the store
I get my foam from Birch and buy it by the roll.
H640 (fleece) is available from quilting shops and Spotlight