Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SEO made simple

While the photographer and creator of this wonderful collage made a great thing out of garbage, I think many of us are making garbage out of a great thing with our Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)

It has been a hot topic on Etsy lately, so I wanted to post something simple and helpful for you. The best comprehensive resource I have found is Dan Theis' free E-book. I got it and signed up for his newsletter. Honestly, I don't have too much time to spend on it. What I have done so far is to search a few of my main keywords using the link he suggests, keyworddiscovery.com. Seeing the results, I changed my shop title and announcement a little to try some more effective keywords in there than what I was using.

In Etsy's blog, The Storque, you will find an article on SEO, but as of this morning, it is out of date. Hopefully they will be giving us an update pronto. We can learn from experts about optimizing our shops, but Etsy will have to be working with us for any of our efforts to be effective. Dan's info will be of higher use to you on your blogs and stand alone websites.

After Etsy does the SEO expert work they say is in process, then I am hoping we will be able to optimize our own Etsy shops.

Another great site I found where you can analyze your current SEO is at scrubtheweb.com.

Hope this helps a little.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pattern Review Contest Entry Finished

I finished the tunic on Friday, and this post shows the process. I am proud of myself for making my own base pattern from scratch, and I am happy with the fit of my new tunic. It is nice to have something that fits so perfectly. I will be making a longer tunic from this new pattern as well. I have always admired how Indian women look in their beautiful tunics with pants and scarves, so that was my inspiration for this project.

One of the things I learned about making my own patterns which I didn't really believe when I read it, was to make the pattern with no seam allowance, mark the seam line on the fabric and cut out including a seam allowance. This way when I stitch on the marked lines I know I've got it just right and I am not relying on my ability to make a perfect 1/2 seam allowance. I think I will keep doing that.

I made the facing pattern by tracing the front edge of the front pattern and eyeballing how I wanted the facing to look. That turned out to be 3" wide, not including seam allowance. For the back, I measured 3" down the shoulder seam and followed the neck curve.

For the slit in the sleeve, I cut 3" from the bottom along the marked center line. I finished the sleeves with bias binding that I made.

The right side of the neck facing was sewn onto the wrong side of the tunic and turned to the outside. I finished the outer edge of the neck facing with 3/8" wide twill tape. The lower portion of the facing was lined and left free to swing, like a built-in scarf or unruffled ruffle. I really like that part because it makes the top different from anything I have ever seen.
This back view was the final motivation I needed to start my diet. Look for a slimmer version of this pattern in the Fall!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My First Pattern Review Contest Entry Part 1

First I want to say that I have a new respect for all of the clothing designers out there. Starting from absolute scratch for a garment for myself is challenging. I followed the instructions in a book called Body Mapping to make my base pattern, this is also called a sloper or a block. I don't know if you can tell from the photo, but the sleeve is not symmetrical. When I drafted it, I thought it must be wrong. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be the best fitting sleeve I have ever worn. This motivates me to work out. (just a little) Now that I have a block that fits me perfectly, there are lots of things I am going to design for myself. For this contest, I am going to keep it really simple and make a tunic. After that, I will also make what I hope will be my favorite summer dress this year and a jacket. This last photo is of the muslin. They want to see this for the contest. This is not the finished tunic, it's like a rough draft. I have until the end of the month to complete the finished garment, but I have some orders to fill first, so wish me luck.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I like it hard

I bought this wonderful hard back sketch book from my friend Randi at Ragnazidnar, and my first sketch is of the tunic dress I am making for a contest at Pattern Review. For this contest, I am having to make my own garment completely from scratch. I have always started with a shape taken from something ready to wear or modified patterns before, so this is new for me. Honestly, it is harder than slipcovering a wingback chair. First of all, chairs don't move. Secondly, my own body is the dressform. You can imagine the awkward moments I am having with myself. I am keeping it simple though, so I should be able to get it done in time. Luckily for me, I don't have any complicated curves. I will be posting the pictures here because I will need something to link to when I enter the contest. Everyone who enters will receive a software program that will supposedly help them organize their sewing room. If the software doesn't work, I will ask my mom to send me a recording of her voice saying stuff like, Cherie, tsk, tsk, how can you work in this? what will you do if Martha Stewart drops by? Oh, Cherie, did you get your sewing room cleaned up yet? etc.

You all know I love a challenge and am a contest entering fool. Now I am in this Etsy voter thingy along with 7 teammates from the treasury team, 2 from the Eastern Washington team and at least one from the Carried Away Bag makers team. I don't know what the prize is, but I want it! Go here to vote (for me I hope.) Mine is the only eyeglass cozy chosen for the challenge, so I am hoping that will help. It also happens to be my best selling pattern right now, so I know someone likes it!

And if you like my new sketch book, Randi also sells a tutorial for how to do your own Coptic binding. I am going to have to get that one! My next blog post will be of my tunic sketch and the pattern pieces I have made for the garment contest. I am putting that here to make myself do it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Team Up

This is my blue lovebirds pillow on Etsys front page. I am really happy that this item has been so well received. I think it has been in 5 or 6 treasuries in the past week. I love that combination of pale sky blue and dark chocolate brown. This is the first pillow listing in a series I am trying to finish, but the paying customers have to come first, and for the next week, that means slipcovering.

Being on teams has made all the difference for me on Etsy. This treasury was made by a very talented member of the Etsy Treasury Team, PJLaCasse.

Teams are great for exposure! If you are an Etsy seller, and you are not yet on a team, click here and find you one! I love the local team for meeting people in person. I love the treasury team for all I have learned about putting treasuries together and for the added exposure. I love the bag makers team for the fellowship with like minded creative people. Whatever you do, there are teams out there for you. Plan on being an active member of any team you join, both to give and to receive the benefits of membership.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yart Sale

Yard Sale
Originally uploaded by Sean Lloyd
This time of year it gets hard for me to pass by all of the yard sales around town. I used to buy great furniture and recover it, and I am getting the itch to do that again. There is an online sale coming up that I will be browsing though. Etsy's 2nd annual Yart sale. Yart=yard+art. Lots of sales, and no driving! From next Wednesday, the 10th of June through Sunday, the 14th, go to Etsy.com and type in the search word YART. If you are an Etsy seller and you want to learn more about how to participate, go to this article.