Advice For New Etsy Sellers

I have been officially open for business on Etsy for 22 days. I have 2 sales, 433 views and 64 items listed. So far, so good in terms of sales as I wasn’t expecting to have any by now, but I wanted to kind of share my earliest impressions of selling on the site. I’m hoping this may provide some insight into what it’s like to be really new on Etsy for anyone considering joining. I’ve read so many articles about how to start a shop but none from the perspective of someone who has just started so I want to share with you want I have learned over the last busy busy month.

I am HELLA busy right now so this is going to be a quick bullet point list. Hope ya don’t mind.

  • Etsy is REALLY easy to use. Very easy, anyone could open a shop there if you had something handmade/ vintage/ crafty to sell.
  • Get your shipping & returns policies all planned out before you open your shop. When you open a shop Etsy makes you list something as you are making your seller account so have a product prepared when you make your shop.
  • Get  the max amount of free listings when you open by opening with a referral link. I really don’t want to seem scabby in this point but free listings are a massive help when you start your shop. Etsy gives its sellers a link that people can sign up with and get 40 free listings saving you $8. Get yourself one of these and use it. When I opened my shop Etsy had a promo on where I could get 20 free listings and I regretted using it when I found out about the 40 listings link. The seller gets 40 free listings too. I’m going to include mine here if anyone wants it, but of course if you have a friend with an Etsy account ask them for theirs and you both can have 40 free listings. They will be so grateful. My Link —>  http://etsy.me/2g9AwO4
  • Listings take so much time. Try to find ways to reduce the time. Try to factor the amount of time you spend on listings into your price.
  • Actually, the entire shop takes a crazy amount of time. If you have lots to list it will take you ages. If you make a mistake in the shipping part of your listing that you copy and pasted into every one you will manually have to go through and fix them all. It takes ages to figure out how much postage to charge for each country. Prepare to spend a decent few hours/ days setting up shop.
  • Etsy fees will be more than you’ll expect. It only advertises a $0.20 listing fee and a 3.5% commission but there’s a bit more to it than that. In the UK you’ll pay £0.04 ish tax on all the listings and some on the transaction. Yeah. They charge you £0.14 for transactions too. It aaaaall adds up so make sure you grab those free listings.
  • Shipping is so important. I’m very lucky enough to have a dad that works for Royal Mail and knows the ins and outs of my countries postal service. Your packaging should be protective and waterproof. Your postage label should be covered in sellotape to protect it from the rain. Don’t leave your parcels/letters in post boxes over night after collection and make sure the weight of your parcel is correct.
  • And finally , etsy is such a rush! That first cha ching on your phone is the best feeling ever, I want to hear it over and over.

Good luck future etsians! I hope this post was helpful!

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How To Substitute Yarns When Using Vintage Knitting Patterns

Yarn subbing is a pretty advanced topic apparently, that’s what i found out when I was in depth researching it anyway. My knitting skills at the time of writing are limited to cast on, knit, purl, knit 2 together and bind off at the moment so it feels kind of odd writing this post, I feel very underqualified.

I’m writing this post because I recently started selling some of  my granny’s knitting patterns on Etsy. I’m keeping loads of them, and I am trying to learn how to knit. But as you know sewing is more of a priority to me and sewing stuff costs money so selling some of the patterns I didn’t want, seemed like a no-brainer. (shameless plug: GO CHECK OUT MY SHOP:D)  ANYWAY when you use a vintage knitting pattern you can’t use the recommended yarn because it doesn’t exist anymore. At first I was quite deflated because I had all these patterns I thought I couldn’t use but it actually isn’t that hard to substitute the yarn. Here is basically all you have to do.

THIS IS ALL YOU DO

Consider all of these things:

  1. The weight of the recommended yarn. Yarn weights haven’t changed much since the 60’s so if the recommended yarn is a DK that’s where you start your search. If the pattern is older than that you may have to look at a slightly thinner yarn, but it’s still best to start with the stated yarn weight category and look at a thinner yarn if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
  2. Needle size. This will give you another clue about the size of the yarn, you will have good results if you buy a yarn with the same recommended needle size.
  3. The pattern tension. Most online yarn retailers & Ravelry have information about the tension of different yarns. If you find a yarn with a matching or similar tension to the patterns recommended tension, it should work.
  4. The yarn fibre. Sometimes the pattern will say what fibre the recommended yarn is, sometimes it won’t. Strictly speaking, you’ll have better results if you substitute with the same fibre. Again, I hold my hands up, I’m not a knitter but here’s my 2 cents on yarn fibres. I don’t think it matters a lot. As long as you take the characteristics of the fibre into account you could pretty much sub with whatever you want. Just know what you’re doing with it. If you sub with cotton, it will be cooler and stretch a decent bit. If you sub with acrylic, you can’t iron it. I’m like 30% vegan so I don’t want to use wool anyway because I think it’s mean, any pattern that calls for wool, I’ll be knitting up in acrylic. EXCEPTION. Any pattern that calls for steeking (basically cutting the yarn and picking up stitches) is best done in a sticky, fluffy wool yarn. If you don’t use that kind of yarn it won’t be stable when you cut it and will probably unravel. I’m just putting this in as a side note, if you are ready to do a pattern with steeking, you know 100x more than me about knitting and you don’t need this blog post.

Found a yarn?… Here’s how much to buy. 

If you’ve found a good match then they should be similar weights (different fibres weigh differently though so keep that in mind) Some basic maths will help you figure out how much to buy. Don’t buy the bare minimum though, buy one or two extras depending on the size of the project.

Here’s some examples

If the pattern calls for 5 40g balls of the recommended yarn, and the yarn you have chosen to substitute with comes in 50g balls.

Multiply the Original yarns ball weight by the number of balls needed to find the total weight needed. eg. 5 x 40g = 200g

Then divide this total weight by the ball weight of your NEW yarn. eg. 200g divided by 50= 4. That means you need 4 balls.

If your pattern is relatively small, get an extra skein just in case, if it’s a big pattern get 2 or 3 extra.

The video “math for knitters” that I linked below is helpful with deciding how much to buy.

UPDATE: One of my lovely customers, Michelle from Gifted Goodies, sent me this advice about yarn substitution:

“What I normally do is research the yardage on the internet. You can usually find it somewhere. I normally check Ravelry first. If the yarn needs 5 balls and each ball is 100yards and the yarn I want to use is 150yards, I multiply the yards by balls -(100×5=500yards) then divide it by the yardage of the other yarn (500/150=3.33). So I’d buy 4 balls to be on the safe side. Although sometimes I will get 5 just to be doubly sure.”

This would be a lot more accurate than the method I shared above, so if you can find the original yardage, that is the method you’ll want to go with.

LINKS TO PEOPLE WHO KNOW MORE THAN ME

I highly recommend you watch & read all these thingys. These people know more than me and will provide you with all the knowledge you need.

Here are some better blog posts/ articles than mine.

About.com Working With Vintage Knitting Patterns – an in-depth article covering yarn substitution, needle size & sizing. The sizing section is scary but I don’t typically sell reaaally old patterns without size information so don’t be put off by that.

How to adapt a vintage pattern for modern yarn – another blog post about yarn substitution.

Here are some books that will be of use to you when using vintage knitting patterns (These are amazon associate links, please read disclosure)

Knit Back In Time: Techniques for Updating Vintage Patterns – Shows you how to alter vintage knitting patterns for use today and shows how to alter modern patterns for a vintage look.

Knitting Pattern Essentials: Adapting and Drafting Knitting Patterns For Great Knitwear – A slightly more advanced text to help you adapt the pattern if you need to.

I hope this blog post was helpful, I’ll try to keep it updated as I learn new things. Again, if you haven’t already I’d really appreciate it if you could check out my vintage knitting pattern store. All the money I make will go towards any supplies/ online classes I need to study sewing &pattern cutting intensively.

Etsy, Etsy and more Etsy…

Today is the day I opened my Etsy shop. I always knew Etsy was in my future, I’m just that kind of person you know, but I never thought my shop would be selling vintage knitting patterns. A couple weeks ago my great grandmother passed away at the impressively old age of 97. She was knitting obsessed, I remember her teaching me how to knit when I was 5, I never remembered how to do it but I remember her snapping needles in half and filing the ends down on the garden wall. I desperately hoped I would find those tiny knitting needles when I inherited her collection, but I couldn’t find them, I’m over it though because I have around 500 vintage knitting patterns instead.

I want to keep all 500 of them but that’s probably just because I am a hoarder. I can’t keep them all my room is just too small. I’d never knit them all anyway, at least 70% are children’s patterns which will be no use to me for a reaaaaally long time. Around 80% are aran knitting patterns, which to her were probably all different, but to me, they look identical. For this reason I’ve decided to sell a chunk of them on Etsy, hopefully this will help me fund my sewing costs.

I got up at 7am this morning and it is now 8:50pm and I’m only just winding down after my first day of “work.” Etsy is damn hard by the way, it takes a long time to write those listings and scan the pattern covers and set up the shipping but it’s all done and I’m ready to send out orders. Not that I think I’ll get any by the way. My items seem to be showing up high in search but Iit will be a while before I make my first sale. I’m just happy to have it there for now though. My main priority this month is to film everything I make and ACTUALLY upload the videos to youtube so I’m not bothered if I don’t have Etsy money.

If you are a knitter and you love vintage stuff please consider taking a look 😀 I hope you find something you like. xx

Here are some of my favorite listings so far, click on the images to go to the listing.

robin-2713-glove-pattern-cover

robin-2086-cover

womens-weekly-pull-out-nautical-jumper-cover

Polyvore, What’s good?

Again, I apologize for not blogging enough. I really need to get my life together. It’s been hard recently because it was freshers week and even though I only went out twice, and I’m not even a student, it got in the way of some projects. I haven’t physically created anything over the past couple of weeks, I’ve just been learning and planning stuff so that October can be extremely productive. I’m not sharing too much on here about what I’m working on as its too early, but I’m working on a really exciting project I’ll let you know about soon.

I’ve been looking at social media a lot this week, and ways to build a fashion, sewing related personal brand and figuring out which social media platforms to invest my time in, and which ones to leave for later. I’ve spent the last 3 days playing with Polyvore and I am honestly obsessed with it, and excited over the potential.

Polyvore is basically a fashion community where you make these.

Louise #10

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It seems simple enough, but it’s really addictive, and the potential for views is exciting. Polyvore is the largest online fashion community, it has millions of active members and it’s really easy to get followers. I’m not sure how much conversion there would be in terms of gaining Instagram followers/ youtube subscribers, but with year old accounts having 500,000+ profile views it’s bound to drive some traffic to your other more important platforms.

The images themselves are exciting too, from October to December I’m going to be sewing every day and posting to Instagram as often as I possibly can ( I actually just ordered a phone with a better camera to make it easier to take better Instagram pictures). I want to post twice a day which should be possible, but there are bound to be days where I don’t have 2 things to share, enter Polyvore, It’s going to make my life so much easier.

Pattern Workshop First Impressions

Hello everybody! hope you are all well 😀

Today’s post will be a quick one. Super busy right now so my content is going to be non-existent until I organise my room. I’m setting up an area in my room with a white backdrop and studio lights to take images for this blog & film youtube videos. I swear I’ll be way more active when all that is finished.

pattern Workshop Screenshot

So anyway, I thought I’d share my first impression of a course I started 2 days ago called Creating PDF Patterns: Sketch to Sale. The course was put together by a lady called Lauren Dahl, and  I have to say so far I’m very impressed and excited. I don’t have a lot of time so I’m just going to do a quick bullet point list of all the things I am loving so far.

  • The first thing I fell in love with is the friendly, informal nature of this course. Don’t get me wrong, I love Crafsty, but it can feel so fake and polished at times. You don’t get that at all with this course. It feels as though Lauren is a friend who has invited you to her house to teach you something. She’s super friendly and likeable and some of the videos have cats in the background.
  • It assumes nothing. I’m not great at pattern cutting yet, but I’m glad I wasn’t before I started this course because I have taken so much from it already. Grading is no longer something I dread having to learn. The whole process of digitising the patterns I design seems achievable.
  • Selling PDF patterns has been a career goal of mine for some time now. This course has given me the confidence that I can achieve it. Up until now, I have been doing Craftsy’s pattern cutting classes with Suzy Furrer- which are great! But they only cover how to draft the pattern on paper. I was worried that I would get to the point where my patterns were finished and digitising them would be impossible.
  • Her illustrator tutorials make it look so easy. I don’t have illustrator yet, I’m not going to be getting my cloud subscription until I have finished drafting the patterns I want to digitise but I am reaaaally looking forward to getting it.

So that’s about it for today. I probably won’t post now until early September because like I said I am organising my room and after that I will be at Reading Festival for a week. I love you guys, byeeeee.

Fashion Books I Had For My Birthday! :D

Hello! It’s Louise 🙂 I turned 20 yesterday and as the old person I  officially am now I had mostly money for my birthday. However, my favourite thing about having a boyfriend is that I still get presents from him!;) okay… it’s not my favourite thing about having him but it is really nice to get presents. He asked me what I’d like and I asked for a few books that were on my reading list. Can’t wait to get reading 😀

Writing For The Fashion Business  The first book I’d like to talk about is a fashion journalism/ writing textbook (how boring am I?). It’s called Writing For The Fashion Business. Inside it has a guide to pretty much any piece of writing you would have to do within the fashion industry. As of right now, I have no intentions of going to university or working in the fashion industry, so the content of this book isn’t hugely useful to me, but it will still help me a lot. Even though I don’t want to have a degree doesn’t mean I don’t want people to think I’m skilled and intelligent. I think that writing is one of those make or break skills that everyone will judge you on. Somewhere in the future I’d like to start writing essays and publish them here, I actually enjoyed writing essays in college and I really don’t want to lose my essay writing skills. Even if I don’t, I’m hoping that this book will help me with my blog posts, especially ones where I would want to include references and sources.

Vivienne Westwood AutobiographyThe next book is Vivienne Westwood’s autobiography written by herself and Ian Kelly. I don’t know enough about Vivienne and I really would like to. When I was in college studying BTEC fashion, the girls in the year above had done a project on Vivienne Westwood and they were always talking about her. It made me really want to learn more about punk fashion and I had always been fascinated by the punk movement anyway. If you’d like to learn a little bit about it quickly I watched a brilliant youtube video about punk fashion a couple weeks ago. You can watch it here, it’s part of a collection of videos by a college professor called Amanda Hallay, her youtube channel is AMAZING for anyone wanting to learn fashion history. Her videos are in lecture format with powerpoints and it really does feel like you are taking a university class.

To Die For Lucy Siegle Is fashion wearing out the worldThis is the last of the books I actually asked for (he bought me one extra, so cute) is To Die For by Lucy Siegle. It is about the horrible conditions inside the garment factories in countries like Bangladesh and Cambodia. I’ve been interested in the ethics of the fashion industry ever since college where I was asked to do research on child labour in the fashion industry. The things I learned really changed the way I think about my clothes, and I haven’t bought any brand new clothes ever since. If I do buy something brand new, it will either be really high quality and made to last, or from an ethical fashion brand. I decided to read this book in particular after watching a documentary called “The True Cost.” It’s a really great documentary exposing the human cost that our cheap clothes have and it’s available on Netflix. I’d also recommend this documentary on youtube.

Aine Carlin Keep It VeganThe final book I’m going to talk about is one I didn’t even ask for but he got me so that I could have a surprise:).  It’s a recipe book called Keep It Vegan by Aine Carlin. I was really surprised that he got me this one as I was looking to buy my first ever vegan cookbook and this was the one I decided to get, I just never got around to ordering. I’m a very new vegan (about 2 months in) and the cooking side of things is great but I’m awful at it. Her book seems to be full of normal foods that aren’t too different to what I am used to eating. She’s Irish and I’m Welsh so we probably grew up on similar diets. I’m looking forward to making the Shepards Pie with a sweet potato topping, and the stuffed mushroom burgers. I love this book so much and I love Ryan so much for getting it for me 😀

Thankyou for reading my blog again, I very much appreciate anyone that takes the time to take a look at it 😀 Oh and thanks to my boyfriend again for the presents, I love you 😉

Making Reusable Cloth Pads & Liners!

Cloth Liners First Attempts

Hello There!! Sorry AGAIN that I haven’t posted for a bit. I’ve been working super hard on this project and it’s been taking a lot longer than I originally thought. I wasn’t going to post anything about these but its taking so long I wouldn’t have any blog content for this week if I didn’t. So here!, read all about my periods if you wish to. If you don’t want to I hope to have another blog post up around Wednesday.

These shoddily sewn blue thingys are cloth panty liners. Basically the same as a regular plastic liner, except they are made out of fabric and you wash them instead of throwing them away. I am currently in the process of making cloth period pads too but they aren’t finished. I’ve been debating whether or not to switch over to cloth for years now and finally decided to take the plunge this week and make some. I came across them a few years ago in an article claiming that they could make your period less painful. I very seriously doubt that they could, but I loved the idea of them. I decided to make the switch recently because my periods are pretty much hell and I’m willing to try anything that will make them a little more comfortable.

I opted to make my pads instead of buying them new because I’m broke, basically. I just bought myself a £700 sewing machine for my 20th birthday so I can’t justify spending £150 on cloth pads right now.I’ve mostly used spare/ upcycled fabrics to make them.  I raided my wardrobe for old leggings, pyjamas and hoodies… basically anything made out of cotton or viscose. The only fabrics I purchased to make my pads are PUL (a waterproof breathable lining fabric) and some Zorb, which is absorbent, hence the name. These came to a total of £30 and I’m expecting to get around 25 pads out of them which is pretty great.

reusable pad core

I am not proud of the stitching on these at all. I’ve been kind of rushing them in hopes of getting them finished before my next cycle so they look awful. That blue stretchy viscose I was using in the core of my pad was horrific to sew with. I’m glad it’s going to be hidden. I keep telling myself it doesn’t matter because they are only going in my knickers and nobody will see them, but it kinda does matter. I want to sew professionally one day so I should probably treat this as more of a learning experience.

 

Now, I’m fully aware that this may seem gross to you but calm down babe, it’s not that disgusting. Cloth pads are actually more natural and sanitary than disposable ones, they are much less likely to irritate your girly bits and are a lot more comfortable to wear. It’s more eco-friendly too! It just seems like the more sensible option in every way. I know this may not be the general opinion though.  I was watching a youtube video about how to make these and one of the comments was “How can she talk about this with no shame.” It pisses me off so much when people are rude like this, let me give you a list of reasons why:

  1. Periods are 10000% natural. They are as natural as sleeping and eating. It’s about time we accepted the fact that we have them and stop treating it like a dirty secret.
  2. If you are making fun of someone washing a pad instead of throwing it away, consider the effect that your “disgusting” thrown away pads are having in landfill right now. They’ll be there for about 1000 years.
  3. I also get the impression that this kind of thing is seen as an extreme way to save money, and people are ridiculed for it? I have no time for anyone who laughs at someone for not being able to afford something. It’s not primary school any more hun.
  4. Not everyone has a great experience with disposables. Period pads can give you some nasty ingrown hairs if you shave down there, and I’m sure that anyone who has experienced pad rash before can tell you how awful it is.
  5. What someone does with their private parts is their own damn business anyway.

ANYWAY

It’s my 20th Birthday tomorrow, I’m going to see suicide squad with my boyf &  then we are going to go to McDonalds. I just figured out that if you order the veggie burger without sauce it’s vegan, so I’m just going to put some of their curry sauce on it. I’m also going to see if I can get Ryan to take some pictures of me wearing the skirt I made last week for a blog post, I’m also going to do one about what I got for my birthday 😀

See you soon! Byeeeee

Apology for inactivity + what I’ve been doing!

Hello, everyone! so very sorry for the little break I’ve had in blogging. I figured it wouldn’t matter as I don’t actually have a following. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been enjoying the summer! I went to Download festival which was lovely & also went to Spain with my bae Ryan.

My holiday drama is actually my first excuse for my blogging hiatus. My boyfriend’s parents kindly paid for me to go on a family holiday with them to Spain which was AMAZING, but there were 2 problems. Problem one was the fact that my camera didn’t work so I couldn’t take outfit pictures for my blog. Problem 2 is that our flight was cancelled and we were stuck out there for an extra four days.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful extra 4 days but it complicated things.

The day we got back me & my boyfriend were dog sitting for 2 weeks while my parents went on holiday so instead of blogging I decided to binge watch pretty little liars with Ryan. Sorry,not sorry.

The main excuse, which I feel actually redeems me, is that I have been doing lots and lots of work. My sewing and pattern cutting skills have improved greatly over the past few weeks, I just couldn’t be bothered to blog about them because the actual practice I did wasn’t that exciting.

One thing I will be blogging about very soon is the online skirt sloper class I am doing, by Suzy Furrer on Craftsy. I am around half way through the class and I just finished perfecting my sloper. It fits wonderfully and was so worth the effort. I am going to be doing my review of the class in two parts, part 1 is going to be up this week and it is going to be about making the sloper. Part 2 is going to be about the patterns I am going to design out of my sloper and that should be up in a few weeks. As I make new garments they’ll have their own posts and I’ll let you know if they were drafted with my sloper!

I Started A Youtube Channel! & Cruelty Free Makeup

Hello Everyone! Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted. It’s been a MONTH and I sincerely apologize! For the past month I have been working on a project that FINALLY starts today. I’ve decided to make a youtube channel focusing on fashion & DIY. I’m finding it hard to explain myself using just words and photos. Every attempt to make a tutorial for this site has been binned because I am just so bad at explaining things. In a youtube video I don’t have to rely on just words & still images to explain what I mean.

For the past week I’ve been working on a tutorial on how to cover scuff marks on shoes with cute DIY patches. The tutorial would have been great if it were not for the fact that THE ZIP BROKE JUST AS I WAS FILMING THE LAST BIT OF THE TUTORIAL. Anyway I got over that and filmed this quick video of me purging my makeup collection of animal tested stuff.

I’m going to do a post soon about my filming equipment, I wanted to do it sooner but I didn’t have all of it. I haven’t had a blog post idea for the whole month either. I’m so boring.

Anyway, Here’s the video!

I’d hugely appreciate it if you could go & subscribe to my channel and all my other social media.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/louise_alice_jay

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Louise_Alice_x