Pugs in the shop!

A small batch of made-to-order pugs is going up in the shop this morning, probably around 10am EDT. If you use the code SSOSSPUGS, you’ll get 20% off (so, $28 plus shipping) through the end of the month.

If you follow me on the silo that is Instagram, you’ll see a slightly-poorer discount because I love my blog followers more. 😉

Pattern testers needed

It’s approaching the time I will need people who aren’t me to test my patterns. People who have different embroidery machines, different experience levels, different stabilizers, different threads… whatever variables might be introduced, I’d like to run into them up front. Here’s what I’m looking for.

  • someone who has never made a stuffed animal
  • someone who has
  • someone who has little to no conventional-sewing experience
  • someone who has little to no embroidery-machine experience
  • someone who has a lot of embroidery-machine experience
  • someone who has a machine that doesn’t use PES files

And here’s what I’m offering:

  • a free version of the pattern(s) you test (I mean, duh. But also you get the final version)
  • a free version of any one of the other patterns (and if you decide you don’t ever want to make another stupid plushie as long as you live, it can certainly be Queen of Unfinished Projects or a custom design or something)
  • never-ending fame and fortune (okay, just credit in the pattern)
  • preferential “hiring” if this works out and I get to actually pay real cash money to testers down the road 🤞

And here’s what you’ll need:

  • an embroidery machine with a 4×4 hoop that can read PEC, PES, EXP, DST, JEF, VP3, or U01 files (if you have the wherewithal to convert from one of these to your machine’s HUS or whatever, that’s fine)
  • assorted threads
  • some minky or fleece or reasonably stretchy fabric; each critter takes anywhere from three to a dozen 5×5″ squares
  • possibly some bits of other fabrics (the test dragon’s wing membranes are quilting cotton, for instance)
  • fiberfill
  • a needle for hand sewing
  • a way to take pictures to send me (nothing fancy and nobody but me need see them; they’re just for “is this right?” or “look at what went wrong” or “look how it came out” purposes)

And here’s what I need you to do:

  • not flake (I mean, I get that life happens, I just mean don’t take a free pattern and run)
  • tell me what your skill level is
  • tell me what machine(s) you tried it on, what thread brand, fabric brand, stabilizer brand, etc. you use (as much as you’re able)
  • tell me how many tries each piece took and what caused any failures
  • tell me anything else you want to tell me about the pattern (“I got frustrated and gave up” is valid!)

The first test will be the orca, which is a simple little three-square critter and a good intro to how the three-dimensional ITH plushies work. The only hand sewing is closing up the tiny little turning/stuffing opening. If you’re interested, drop me a line.

Dragon drop

The dragons have dropped, and the larger queen immediately sold. Okay, it was a Mastodonian and I kinda expected it, but it was still kinda exciting

I still have a few more critters to list, but the dragons were the most complicated listing. Today was a little busier than I expected with non-Seams stuff, but I got the pictures taken and will work up the listings shortly.

… and sew more dragons.

Managing a problem employee (me. It’s me)

As you may have guessed from my all-over-the-map projects, I have a little trouble staying on task. This is fine for hobbies (if I don’t mind having at least three storage tubs full of UFOs) but I need to be a little more efficient if I’m going to do this as a business. So I spent today moving a little more slowly, and practicing good habits.

First, I started logging my work day. (Work hours, really; there aren’t always too many of them.) I had decided yesterday that today would be a day to sew five owlbear dice bags for the shop, mostly to see how long they take. I’m reasonably sure I can’t sew them in any amount of time that makes it worth my time but again, practicing good habits.

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The shop is launched!

Depending on how you group them, my product shots could be read as “I’m selling this can of Aldi-brand seltzer, here are some other household objects for scale.”

Tiny Owl with Seltzer
Black panther plush with seltzer for scale
Striped faux fur with seltzer can for scale

The owl and black panther are officially listed on Etsy. The fur remnant awaits its full-size shots – we replaced some little bookcases with bigger bookcases, and I pulled one of the old ones into my workspace so I didn’t have to jumble minky around looking for the right color. It still needs proper folding and organization, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Tub 17: Pink and black

Silver Seams has evolved over the years, and I still have a lot of fabric from older incarnations of the business – most of it bulky faux furs. I don’t want to clutter up my Etsy shop with it so as I go through the various storage tubs I will post about them with Paypal buttons. When I sell them (or use them) I’ll remove the buttons so if you are looking at this post a year from now and they’re still priced… well, I’m probably still stuck with the stuff.

The fact that the first tub of fabric I grabbed out of storage was #17 is depressing in part because it’s far from the highest-numbered tub I have. I got rid of a bunch of them during the move, but I still have more than seventeen. This one has a mix of mostly bear-making fur in it, though the pink would also work for cosplay/fursuiting.

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Site conversion

In the course of getting the business geared up, I decided to make the leap to a paid WordPress account. I’m a tech nerd, so I’ve always self-hosted and messed around with the software myself prior to this. And keeping a WordPress site up to date and secure does require quite a bit of that messing around. It’s fun, but if I’m going to be serious about the business I need to focus on it

This means that right now all the old entries are missing except the first. I’ll fill them back in, but it’ll take a little time.

Inkscape and Ink/Stitch

D. Va embroidered patch

I got an early Christmas present (or maybe a very late one, since I have been pricing them out for a year): a Brother PE800 embroidery machine. If you follow me on Mastodon you will have seen me flitting around like a butterfly with ADHD from trial project to trial project, none of which I’ve finished:

Aside from the plushie — a soapybacon pattern — all of the embroidery files are ones I made myself. I think I’ve sung the praises of Inkscape before, but I’ll do it again. It’s a vector drawing program. Think Adobe Illustrator, but… free.

(Well, donor-supported. I threw in $60 this year which is a quarter what Illustrator would cost. But there’s no nag of any kind.)

I use it as a sort of CAD program to draw patterns. I can measure seam lengths to make sure pieces will fit together, even if the seam lines are completely different paths. I can re-color designs by changing a single value, to get variations on pegasus wings or whatever else I’m having Spoonflower print these days. And now, with the Ink/Stitch plugin, I can generate embroidery files to sew those patterns for me.

My husband has suggested I also use it to produce files to have the Cameo cut the fabric, but I’m not ready for a complete robot takeover yet. But yes, I used Inkscape to create the cutting files for the papercraft Lego.

At any rate, it’s a Friday, so here’s a free “sewing” pattern: the D.Va badge. It’s a single color, so it was a good learning process. I didn’t have stabilizer yet so my sample stitch drifted slightly (the ear on the right is properly centered in its border in the file), but otherwise it came out nicely. Here is the original SVG file so you can look at the process. Ink/Stitch does a pretty fair job automatically but I fixed the sharp corners on the border, which otherwise don’t make a clean turn, and added the underlay which for some reason Ink/Stitch doesn’t default to. If you look at the comparison of the badge with someone else’s embroidery you can see the difference when an underlay is used in satin stitching.

D.Va badge, in SVG

Here it is in Brother PES format for a 4×4” hoop.

D.Va badge, in PES

Ink/Stitch can export in a lot of different embroidery formats so if you need something different or if you want to re-size it go ahead and install Inkscape/Stitch and give it a try.

(Or okay, send me an email and I’ll do it.)

We’re back in business!

Work-in-progress pegasus wings

Many years ago, Silver Seams was a little business, which didn’t make much money but kept me busy during my toddler’s naps.

dragonpreview

I’ve decided it’s time to revive it, after hauling tubs of faux furs and other fabrics halfway across a continent. Naturally, the most logical thing to do is start with… miniatures, in low-pile non-bulky fabrics.

cutandsewfabric

Tune in Monday, when I’ll kick things off for real… with a giveaway.

flowerbear1