Monday, March 21, 2011

Tips & Tricks

Tips for using vintage sewing supplies 

Vintage sewing patterns are great value! The garments made from them often have a different (some would say better) construction than modern patterns - the long French darts on many ‘60s dresses, the shaping on sleeves and shoulders, fancy bodice panelling – the list goes on. If you don’t want to dive in, boots and all, with a total vintage look, try using a vintage pattern with a modern fabric, or vice-versa. You’ll get a really individual look to your wardrobe. If you don’t feel confident wearing vintage-inspired clothes yourself, try vintage kids’ clothes (great handmade gifts), vintage dolls clothes, or vintage inspired accessories like curtains, cushions or aprons.

Vintage sewing patterns are sized differently to modern patterns, so choose your size by bust measurement for most patterns like dresses and jackets, and waist/hip measurements for pants and skirts.

Vintage buttons are often little works of art in themselves. I keep my collection of buttons, colour-sorted in old gumball jars. A modern blouse or dress can be given a whole new lease on life by substituting dull, stock-standard buttons for vintage ones. Threaded onto elastic, they make cute bracelets, or you can make a rotating display by pinning them to a corkboard or a framed, fabric-covered piece of thick cardboard.

Vintage fabrics, handkerchiefs and linen can be combined with a selection of modern or reproduction fabrics, to make a gorgeous, one-of a kind patchwork quilt. (Helpful when you can only obtain a tiny piece!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How people find Etsy listings - Rokali post

On Saturday, Rokali posted on the Etsy forums with this information on how users find individual Etsy listings. The information was given as an introduction to changes that will be incorporated into the listing process (and as a consequence, the search and category structure). For now, it's interesting stuff to know:

- Only 22% of people arrive on a listing page through the search feature
- And 4% from a category page
- 60% of people get to a listing from a shop homepage or another listing (it's a 30%-30% split)
- External referrals are 9% (stuff like advertisements, blogs, etc)
- Internal referrals are 5% (other etsy pages... forums, treasury, activity feed, Storque)

What does all of this mean?!

The numbers indicate that browsing categories is not popular... I think we've all seen this. With the amount of items on Etsy, categories are just not an efficient way to find what you're looking for. 

The search feature seems to yield a low percentage of visits, but it's actually the most effective way to get people into your shop (compared to external and internal referrals). The trick is recognizing that the listing that brings people into your store is only a 'gateway'. From there they are very likely to view other listings in your store.

How can I use this to my advantage?

These are all things we've heard before, but now we have the numbers to prove they work! Below is a list of suggestions to maximize traffic into and within your shop:

-Bring them in: Make use of all of your tags, and use them wisely. Research how similar items are tagged. Use your Google Analytics to see which tags are actually working. Swap out the ones that aren't. If you're uncomfortable with GA, you can use Craftopoli's Tag Report, which breaks it down into an easy-to-understand report, sorted by item.

-Keep them there: Use your item description strategically. Provide basic information about your shop and the item, as well as other relevant links within your shop: sections with similar items, specific complementing items, etc.

-Keep them interested: Having a buyer browse from item to item will depend on their confidence in finding something they like in your shop. A cohesive shop feel and style is a big part of that.

Use the comments to submit your own suggestions on how to take advantage of this information!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Interview with... allthepreciousthings

How did allthepreciousthings come to be?

A few years ago I discovered the addictive pursuit of “Op Shopping”. Cruising Sydney’s Op Shops (“charity stores”, as they’re known overseas?) became my favourite way to spend time – sorting through them to find beautiful and quirky vintage gems. I hoarded a whole lot of depression glassware, buttons, linens, patterns, aprons and books, and eventually had to start buying glass display cabinets to house them all. My husband coined the phrase “all the precious things” when referring to my ever growing collections.
I realised that I had far more than I could ever use, at about the same time that I discovered Etsy (as a buyer) – so I decided to open a shop.
 What do you do when you aren't selling supplies?

My part-time (paid) career is as a sonographer in a large diagnostic Breast Clinic – this means I do Ultrasound (sonograms), generally looking for breast cancer.
My full-time (unpaid) career is as a wife and Mum, to my 18 year old son, Mitchell, and my 16 year old daughter, Courtney, who has severe Autism and Epilepsy. When Courtney finishes school at the end of next year, it’s going to be harder for me to go out to work in the city, so my online work will probably have to take over as my main source of income.

What do you like most about selling supplies?

I love having the patterns, buttons and fabrics in my care for a while, so I can admire and enjoy them before passing them on. The graphics on the old sewing patterns are so beautiful – usually hand-drawn and coloured.
Selling vintage means I never know what I’ll discover next.
 What are your goals for your Supply Business for 2011?

I have a pile of really old (1930s and 40s) knitting, sewing and crochet patterns that I want to restore and digitalise. When I have them organised, I’ll be opening my third Etsy store,
And I’d like to start my own website and blog!
 Are you an artist and do you work with the supplies that you sell? What is it that you make with them and do you have any tips for using your supplies?

I’m a lifelong artist. It’s just that the medium I work with keeps changing! I went to Art college for 2 years, and learned everything from drawing, to painting and printmaking. At other times I’ve dabbled in lead-lighting, quilting, photography and ceramics. Mum taught me to sew as a young girl, and that’s been an ongoing, evolving pursuit. I’ve only recently discovered vintage patterns, buttons, fabrics and trim; and it’s changed everything about the way I sew. Rather than buying modern patterns, I prefer vintage styles and always have an eye out for patterns to add to my own collection.
I love vintage fabrics, and have an enormous stash which threatens to take over the house!
My collection of vintage knitting needles, buttons and fabrics is my supply stash for my second Etsy shop, ,where I sell my upcycled knitting needle bracelets and handmade bags and accessories.

Visit allthepreciousthing's main store here: 

Friday, March 11, 2011


New treasury by Fabric Place! Check it out, leave a comment, find the supplies you needed!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tutorial: Bead-embellished fans

For a tropical spring wedding, we added sea-inspired beads to these wholesale bought sandalwood fans to create a memorable, useful and inexpensive wedding favor.
The first step is to decide on a length for your bead attachments, and lay out the beads you will use. We were making more than 50 and wanted to use up leftover beads from old projects, so we went with a sea-inspired palette and mixed up the bead order. Together, they looked coordinated but not matchy-matchy.
Our sandalwood fans came packaged in individual boxes, but these were for a wedding ceremony and were going to be displayed in a vase. We took the fans out of the boxes and took them to the recycling bin.
To facilitate an assembly-line, we cut all the pieces of beading wire first. Your wires will measure double what you want your final length to be, and then a little extra (I like an inch extra on both sides).
The fans have a metal loop through which we'll thread the beading wire.
Thread the beading wire.

Pull together both ends of the wire and thread the beads. We assembled first, crimped later. Make sure not to knock over the table and send all your work onto the floor...
Once the wire is threaded through the fan's metal link and the beads are on the wire, place a crimp bead onto both wires. Notice the seed bead finishing the assembly (before the crimp). Some beads, like that big green one have holes large enough for a crimp bead to slide through. Use a smaller bead between one with a large hole and the crimp, so you don't lose the crimp inside a bead.
Crimp the crimp. These I just flattened (instead of folded), because I was going to cut off the extra wire and didn't mind the 'rectangular' crimp. Trim the excess wire.

Congratulate the bride and groom!