New Fabric Collection Available at Spoonflower

Being a bit of a fabric addict and being picky has its positives and negatives. I love shopping for fabric when I have the chance. I can get sucked in browsing the internet for hours for the best prints and designs to stock in the store. Sometimes though, nothing calls to me after hours of searching. So an idea came to me. I’ve recently been working on illustrating using the iPad, so I decided why not design my own fabrics. I did some research, brainstormed ideas, and got to work. That leads me to the exciting release of my very first fabric collection!

The idea for this one came easy to me. The driving concept behind this collection is retro-inspired ‘girl power’. This phrase will never get old or uninspiring for me. Next, I came across the most perfect vintage sheets and pulled this amazing color pallet from it. The designs came together naturally and with lots of tweaking, I completed the collection. I’m so excited to make this available, and to create more and more!!

The prints are available to purchase on Spoonflower digitally printed on the fabric of your choice!

 

The full collection and the super fun retro sunglasses.

          Busy Bee fabric Co - Custom Fabric - Girl Power Fabric - Spoonflower Fabric - Fabric Prints - Floral Fabric - Leopard Print     Busy Bee fabric Co - Custom Fabric - Girl Power Fabric - Spoonflower Fabric - Fabric Prints - Floral Fabric - Leopard Print

 

The scale has been made smaller on the leopard prints and this scattered daisy to make them even cuter!

         Busy Bee fabric Co - Custom Fabric - Girl Power Fabric - Spoonflower Fabric - Fabric Prints - Floral Fabric - Leopard Print .      Busy Bee fabric Co - Custom Fabric - Girl Power Fabric - Spoonflower Fabric - Fabric Prints - Floral Fabric - Leopard Print

A playful girl power packed print!

Busy Bee fabric Co - Custom Fabric - Girl Power Fabric - Spoonflower Fabric - Fabric Prints - Floral Fabric - Leopard Print

 

Couldn’t resist making a tiny pair of leggings with these retro sunglasses!

Busy Bee fabric Co - Custom Fabric - Girl Power Fabric - Spoonflower Fabric - Fabric Prints - Floral Fabric - Leopard Print

Check it out at spoonflower!

 

5 Non-Candy Valentine’s Day Goodies for Toddlers

 

Valentine’s Day with kids is fun! Between crafts, making cards for their friends, and picking out a few little treats, it’s a sweet way to show how much you love them. Here’s a few non-candy ideas for a little gift on Valentine’s Day.

Busy Bee Fabric Co | 5 Non- Candy Valentines Day Goodies for Toddlers | Valentines Day

  1. Matching girl and doll pajamas for your little girl.  These pajamas look so cute from Leveret. They’re 100% cotton and come with a tiny set for their 18″ doll. The perfect, cozy way to get in a Valentine’s Day mood.

Busy Bee Fabric Co | Non-Candy Valentine's day Gifts for toddlers | Leveret Pajamas

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2. A subscription to Green Kid Crafts. Get your toddler a subscription for a monthly box of crafts combining science and crafts. They also have individual boxes available if there’s a specific subject your little one likes. These are sure to keep them busy and learning each month.

3. A new dress up costume. Find the perfect dress up costume from Little Adventures. Your little one will love dressing up to create their favorite fantasy.

4. The sweetest outfit for Valentine’s Day. Find adorable outfits for Valentine’s Day at Janie and Jack. This sweet color block dress is simple and charming. Then there’s the cute shirts for boys, and more.\

Busy Bee Fabric Co | Non-Candy Valentine's Treats for Toddlers Busy Bee Fabric Co | Non-Candy Valentine's Treats for Toddlers

5. A Valentine’s Day Craft. Your little toddler will love decorating their own heart magnets with this set from Melissa and Doug.

 

 

Finding Time to Sew as a New Mom – Tips and Tricks

I’m often asked how I have time to run a handmade Etsy business, be a mom to a toddler, and work a full time job…. well it’s a good question. A lot of times I shrug my shoulders. Working on my Etsy shop became just a normal part of my day, but it wasn’t always that ‘easy’ when I think back. I started my Etsy shop before I had Riley, so I actually had a lot of time, but I wasn’t as serious about it as I became. Admittedly, I couldn’t start back up my business again till she was 6 months old when we moved. All of my supplies were in storage, which was a huge bummer. There were definitely things I wished I could have made her.

When I did get back to sewing it was quite a challenge, but I wasn’t working. I had, what seemed like, an abundance of time, but I was learning to balance that with a young baby. I think this transition period helped prepare me with some time management skills. I wanted to share some of the things I learned along the way for those of you who are just starting out. Whether you are sewing as a beginner and just wanting to make something for your little one, or if you’re thinking about starting your own sewing business.

Busy Bee Vintage Co | Finding Time to Sew as a New Mom | Sewing Tips and Tricks | Sewing Blog | Fabric Shop

Tip #1

Don’t use naps to clean and do chores. Okay, just not all the time. Don’t sleep during every nap either 🙂 What worked best for me, and still does, is to get some of these household tasks done while your little one is awake. If you have a baby, fold laundry on the couch or floor while they do tummy time on a mat next to you. If they’re old enough to sit, get them set up with toys in a highchair or bouncer activity center while you do dishes. You can still interact with them, be alert and available, but you can get things done as well. Nap time is so precious, you should not be wasting it on chores. I did most of my sewing and business tasks during nap time or after Riley’s bedtime. Yes, it was still only a 1-2 hour chunk of time, and if she woke up early it was a bit of a bummer, but it was relatively uninterrupted ‘me’ time.

 

Tip #2

Sew in assembly-line fashion. This is especially helpful if you’re sewing for a small business. It also works if you’re making a few of the same item at once. For example, if I’m making a few pairs of baby bummies, I will cut all my fabrics, then pin them all, then do 1-2 steps for each pair, and repeat until done. The main reason I do this is it breaks up the projects into manageable chunks. This is especially helpful if your sewing time gets cut short as there’s a better chance of finishing one or two tasks of a project during each ‘session’. It makes it easier to stop and pick up again and not be completely lost. It also helps keep your space and supplies organized.

Tip #3

Keep your space organized. This feels like an obvious one, but I thought i’d put it out there anyway. First, keep all tools you need regularly handy. I have a mug with pinking sheers, fabric scissors, paper scissors, seam ripper, pencil, small ruler, and poking stick to turn stuff around. I can get what I need quickly and switch between tools. I also have tape, pins, safety pins within easy access as well. I find myself putting off stuff that takes longer to dig out like all the supplies for snaps. I do have these all in one place, but I have to drag a bin out, etc. I also have all of my patterns organized and easily accessible as well. When I had to dig through a binder to find them, I actually took longer to start a project. I know it’s so silly and minor, but as a tired mom, one more thing to do and dig through was just holding me back. I have my patterns organized in a rolling cart drawer bin, and then each pattern is in a labeled file folder with all the sizes labeled in side it. Each drawer is a different category: Dresses, tops, bottoms. I pretty much know where to find everything quickly and know I can find all my sizes.

 I have two of these carts. They’re cute and keep my supplies and patterns organized, and fit under my Ikea desk.
This post may contain affiliate links

 

Tip #4

Entertain your little ones while you work. If you do find you have to work while your little one is awake, you will need to find a way to entertain them. First of all, set them up in the same room as you. This depends on the child, but even when Riley was 3 and able to play independently in the room next door, she’d rather bring her toys into my room where I was sewing and come set up right next to me. It felt a little bit like “being annoyed” but naturally she wanted to be involved in what I was doing. What I found to work best, was to just sort of embrace this. I would give her a few fabric scraps, even got her a toy ‘sewing machine’ and set her up at a little table next to mine. Other times I would just let her bring whatever toys into the room and have her play near me and try to be engaged verbally with whatever fantasy game she was playing. It is not easy and a bit distracting, but if I had to get something done it was my only choice. Setting her up with a tv show and snack in the next room never lasted long and I should be relatively grateful in the grand scheme of things. When she was younger I would set her up with toys in the pack n play in the room I was in. Some days, this simply doesn’t work. It’s too distracting, they need too much attention, too much interruptions. That’s okay. Its not their fault and its not your fault. Take a break, see if you can get them set up with an engaging activity and try getting back to work. If not, come back to it later. I want to say, you do not need to feel guilty for not sitting on the floor watching them play every second of the day. You are setting an example for them and you are not ignoring them! You are showing them how to work independently, how to concentrate, how to create things, etc etc. Riley even started folding her washcloths perfectly from watching me fold fabric. She learned that mommy does work and creates things and makes things for people.

 

This is the toy sewing machine we ended up getting Riley. It doesn’t actually really sew (I think there are a few out there). I was even prepared to just get her a tiny portable machine, but she ended up really liking this one, does not care at all that it doesn’t actually sew, but she loves the noise. There are a few things you can make with the yarn and felt, but she just pretend plays with it for the most part. Toy Sewing Machine

Tip #5

Set Realistic Goals and don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to get everything done as a new mom or if you’re new to sewing. There are definitely projects that have stopped me in my tracks as well, but you have to get past it. First of all, don’t take on too much, and be realistic. It’s great to have goals and timelines in mind of when you want to finish stuff, but if it doesn’t happen, you haven’t failed. You still have time, and you can still finish. It’s even okay to scrap a project all together if it’s not working out or just simply too hard yet. Set it aside. Get back to it later, or not, it’s okay. If you feel like you haven’t been in the mood or don’t have the energy to sew, go shopping (in the store or through your stash) for new fabric and get excited about something new. I usually do a personal project I’m really excited about to get back into sewing after taking a break. Browse new ideas on Pinterest to try something new.

 

Happy Sewing! Find fun fabric here for your projects!!

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Announcing Sew Jersey Mama becoming Busy Bee Fabric Co

Hello all!

I started Sew Jersey Mama as a place to share sewing patterns I had perfected and developed over time. I wanted to share these patterns and sewing tips, and anything to do with that. I was also running a handmade Etsy shop selling baby and toddler clothes and more recently started my fabric shop on Etsy. After thinking about which of these ventures to focus more of my time on, I decided to combine the fabric shop and blog as they are most related to each other. So that is why Sew Jersey Mama (the blog) is becoming Busy Bee Fabric Co (the fabric store and blog).

Busy Bee Fabric Co | Jersey Knit Fabric

I am so so excited for this new adventure!! I will be continuing to share sewing tips, patterns, and more as well as offering the perfect fabrics to complete the projects I share in my blog.

I hope you will follow us by signing up for my email newsletter.

Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing | Fabric Shop

Happy Sewing!

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Free Baby Bib Sewing Tutorial

I thought I would share a special tutorial for the best handmade baby bibs out there (just sayin’). These bibs are a top seller in my handmade Etsy shop and make a great new baby gift. For one, they’re a great size – not too big or too small. They have snaps which babies can’t yank off, and gives you a few neck size options. Finally, they’re made with cotton and a thick terry cloth backing which makes them soft and soaks up mess. Find these cute prints here in my fabric shop tab right here and the super awesome waffled cotton terry cloth here.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Of course you can use different materials, and even add a layer in the middle of waterproof PUL for extra protection. Instead of terry cloth backing you can use two layers of flannel for a thinner but more flexible bib or minky for a super soft bib. Although, I would definitely recommend to stick with 100% cotton materials at least for the front which is best for baby’s skin and will soak up spills the best.

Find some fun cotton prints to make adorable bibs! Click the pictures to my fabric shop.

What You’ll need:

1 Fat quarter of quilter’s cotton, which you can find here.

1 Fat quarter of your backing material of choice. (My favorite is this waffle terry available here. It is very soft, and the loops are inside which makes it safety compliant)

Snaps or Velcro  (If you have snaps and snap pliers-awesome, if not you can use velcro, but I prefer snaps)

Printable Pattern – DOWNLOAD HERE Baby Bib Pattern (make sure to print at 100% scale. Check box is 1 inch. There are two pages, line them up and tape together)

Equipment and Tools: 

Sewing Machine

Scissors, Pins, Iron, Pinking shears

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Step One, Cut out our materials. Fold the fabric in half, line the pattern up to the fold, pin and cut. (The fabric is here is pictured folded in half)

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Pin your front and back pieces together, right sides facing in. Leave about a 2-3 inch gap on one side of the point to turn the bib inside out. Sew around the bib, making sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of the opening. Trim with pinking sheers.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Turn the bandana bib inside out and use a dull pencil tip or stick to push out the corners and ends. Iron it flat, making sure to fold in the opening flap where you turned it around.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Now we will top stitch to close the opening and to give it a professional, crisp look. Change your stitch length to 3 for topstitching.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

We will be adding the snaps now. If you are using velcro, pin down 1 inch strips of velcro on the ends. Make sure to sew to opposite sides so it matches when you overlap the back to close it.
For the snaps you will need your snap pliers, and this sharp point stick to make your hole. I also made a template from cardboard, so my snaps are evenly placed on both ends. (Pliers kit and snaps)

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Insert the cap into the remade hole on the outer side of the fabric. Insert the other half on the other side. It doesn’t matter if you use a socket or stud, as long as you keep it consistent if you will be using more than one snap on each end of the bandana bib. I like to put sockets on this side. Take your pliers, with the cap at the bottom, flat side down, and squeeze. Repeat for the other hold on this side (if adding snaps for adjusting).

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Repeat on the other side, but make sure to insert your cap from the inside, and use the opposite (stud or socket) from your other side.

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

Check that your snaps click and open easily, and use the pliers again on any that need fixing. Then you are done! Congratulations!!

Free Baby Bib Sewing Pattern | Baby Bib Pattern | Sewing Pattern Bib | Busy Bee Fabric Co | Sewing for Babies | Easy Sewing Project

One thing I do want to note. If you plan to sell these, you can not use flannel or a loop cotton terry (facing out) because it will not be CPSC compliant.

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Three Easy Sewing Projects for You and Your Home

If you’re relatively new to sewing and looking for some easy projects, I have a few great ideas. Below is a list of pretty easy projects, that are great items to add to your house or for yourself. The fun part about making these things yourself is that you can pick the perfect fabrics to go with your house or style.

Easy Sewing Projects | Sewing Projects DIY | Sewing for You

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

A great place to find fabric online is fabric.com . They have everything and ship quickly. Another place to shop for fabric is my very own fabric shop here on the website .

  1. The Car Trash Bag
    This is a great easy pattern and something you probably didn’t realize you need. This little trash bag for your car is great to have, keeps the car cleaner, and gives your car a little style.
    DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project
  2. Easy Plastic Bag Holder
    Another project for keeping spaces neat and clean is the trash bag holder. This one is even easier!
    Plastic Bag Holder | Trash Bag Holder | DIY Sewing Project | Sewing for You
  3. Yoga Mat Bag
    This one is fun, and the perfect project to pick a great fabric that shows off your style. Nice little tote to make carrying your yoga bag easier from class to home.
    orkFree Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama
    If you’re looking to do some sewing for a little one in your family check out my tutorials for kids and babies.

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Free Pattern for Easy Baby Bummies

If you’ve never heard of baby bummies and you have a little one, you need to make these. They are the perfect little shorts for summer. Keeping them cool and keeping diapers in place. The pattern goes up to size 3, so they’re also good for under dresses of your little girls. This pattern runs big (compared to ready-to-wear) so my 4 year old fits comfortably in the size 3t when she’s normally wearing 5/6 in store clothes.

There are a few adaptions you can make with this pattern to, so you can make it exactly how you like it best. The best part, the pattern is free. It can be found here under the free section or bottoms section. Find some cute fabrics for these, including the space unicorns, at my fabric shop tab here at Busy Bee Fabric Co.

Unicorn Fabric - Unicorns - Jersey Knit Fabric by the 1/2 Yard - Jersey Knit - Fabric for Kids - Dear Stella Fabric - Cotton Jersey Fabric

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For the bummies I made, I used a ‘hack’ to do just a band instead of elastic. If you want to do this follow these directions:

To do this, I folded down from the top of both the front and back of the pattern about 3/4 inch. You will do this to have less height because this would’ve made the casing part for elastic.. Then I made a pattern for the band. To do this, I measured across the pattern (remember it is ‘half’ the actual pattern because the fabric is folded when you cut.) So I measured the half, and multiplied it by 4. (to get the measurement all the way around front and back). Then I took that number and found 80% of it. That is the length my band needs to be. For the height, I did about 3 inches so when folded over to be sewn, it’s about 1.5 inches high. This is your preference. I cut out paper in these measurements to make it easier to cut the fabric but you can also use a cutting board.

When sewing the bummies, you will sew the band in to the top just like the leg cuffs in the directions.

Find adorable fabrics to make these in my fabric shop tab here at Busy Bee Fabric Co

Busy Bee Fabric Co | Jersey Knit Fabric

If you have any questions, please ask!!!

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Adorable Pajamas!

Hi all!

I know it’s been awhile, but I just had to share these pajamas I found for Riley. Riley has been loving her dolls the past couple months, and she enjoys dressing them (read: makes me change their clothes for her). Anyway, I found these cute pajamas from Leveret that come with a matching pajama in doll size!!

Leveret, Matching Pajamas, Girl and Doll Pajamas, Fish Pajamas, Cotton Pajamas

 

Who knew something so simple could be so exciting? But I guess when you’re almost 3, little things like that are pretty surprising. I love getting her dressed and then showing her that her little dolly (who my husband named “Baby Hank”) is already dressed in matching pajamas. She just lovesss it.  The best part is that they’re 100% cotton. I never liked the flame-treated pajamas because of the stiff feel or the polyester ones. Riley has a tendency to sweat at night, so these are perfect. They’re breathable so she doesn’t overheat, and they’re just really soft.

She loved the ballerina nightgown too.

Leveret Pajamas, Nightgown, Matching Girl and Doll,

 

 

This post contains affiliate links.

With so many cute prints to choose from, your kiddo will definitely find something they love. Oh, and matching for baby and mom and dad. Seems like they have a sale going on so check it out!

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Baby Crib Shoes Sewing Pattern

I’ve been so busy working on new products for my Etsy shop that it took me awhile to get this finished, but I am so excited it’s finally done. The baby shoe pattern is here!

Baby Crib Shoes Pattern | Baby Sewing Pattern | Baby Girl Sewing Projects | Baby Bow Sewing Projects | Baby Sewing Projects | Baby DIY | Baby Shoes Pattern | Sew Jersey Mama
I always got a lot of custom requests for these adorable baby shoes, but as Riley got too old for them, I stopped making them for my shop. So instead, I present to you the sewing pattern to make your own baby shoes.

Baby Crib Shoes Pattern | Baby Sewing Pattern | Baby Girl Sewing Projects | Baby Bow Sewing Projects | Baby Sewing Projects | Baby DIY | Baby Shoes Pattern | Sew Jersey Mama

I have perfected this pattern and the sizes over time, and many people who have bought pairs from me swear by them being the only shoes that will stay on their baby’s feet. I loved putting these on Riley when she was crawling and starting to walk. They weren’t bulky, perfect for foot development, but kept her feet warm and protected. I barely had to worry about her shoes falling off either.

Baby Crib Shoes Pattern | Baby Sewing Pattern | Baby Girl Sewing Projects | Baby Bow Sewing Projects | Baby Sewing Projects | Baby DIY | Baby Shoes Pattern | Sew Jersey Mama

This project does require to gather up a variety of materials, so I’d suggest planning to make a few pairs at once, either in one size, or the next sizes up so you’re ready when they grow out of them.

Baby Crib Shoes Pattern | Baby Sewing Pattern | Baby Girl Sewing Projects | Baby Bow Sewing Projects | Baby Sewing Projects | Baby DIY | Baby Shoes Pattern | Sew Jersey Mama

There are so many possibilities with the style of these shoes. Go for a nice basic soft denim or solid for something that will match a lot of outfits, or make them in a fun seasonal print.

You can purchase the pattern here for just $4.99. It includes sizes from 0-24 months, supplies list, pictures, step by step instructions, and the pattern pieces.

Check out my fabric shop tab here at Busy Bee Fabric Co (formerly Sew Jersey Mama) for a great selection of cotton woven fabrics which are perfect for the top of these shoes.

Happy sewing! Would love to see what you make!

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Have You Thought About Starting an Etsy?

Do you like making your own things or making unique gifts for others?

Are you stuck at an unfulfilling day job, just itching to use your creative side as your source of income?

Lastly, have you thought about opening up an Etsy shop but don’t know where to begin?

Etsy Shop | Etsy Tips | Read This Before Opening an Etsy | Opening an Etsy Shop | Sew Jersey Mama

I opened my Etsy shop years ago, basically on a whim, because I had the time (this was pre-child). I made a cute little elephant after following a sewing pattern I found on Pinterest. Once I shared it on Facebook, people were suggesting I open an Etsy shop. I definitely had doubt. “Who would buy this? It’s so far from perfect. Not sure this is worth my time.” But, I took the plunge anyway, and opened shop. It’s a distant memory now, but I’m sure I made a few tweaks to the elephant pattern, came up with another item to sell, took some photos, and opened my Etsy.

Of course, I did some of the tedious tasks first. I was actually living in Germany through the U.S military, so I had a few hoops to jump through to register my ‘at home business’ through post. Came up with a name and put together a logo and I had to use German shipping, so I figured that out. But that’s about it.

And now I know there is so much more that needs to be considered before opening an Etsy shop if you want to have success from the beginning. There’s actually so much to prepare ahead of time, I’m developing an e-course that will help people like you set up an Etsy shop correctly from the beginning. It’s going to be a very in-depth, step by step guide with info that even Etsy glosses over. Not only is it important to figure out what to sell (I’ll go into detail later), but if you are serious about your Etsy shop being a business you need to consider things like taxes and registration. (I know it’s scary, that’s what the e-course is for!) If you’re interested in finding out more about this course click here to sign up for updates on the release.

 

So first things first, you need to figure out what you’re selling on Etsy. I’m going to tell you that this step could be a long process but I do think it’s the most important and should be heavily considered first, even before you come up with a name for your business and branding. This is not to say that it might change as you go later on, mine did, but it will definitely drive your focus.

For example, you don’t want to name your shop first and go with something like “Pretty Bows Boutique”, create all the branding for this, and then later decide to sell mostly dresses. Obviously that won’t work too well.

Etsy Shop | Etsy Tips | Read This Before Opening an Etsy | Opening an Etsy Shop | Sew Jersey Mama

So how do you figure out what to sell? Well for me, I was sewing and I started out by creating stuffies or little plush animals and monsters. So I looked on Etsy to see what was already available. To search on Etsy, I used many different keywords and searches to see the range of products that were out there. For example, for my stuffed elephant I would look up “stuffed animal elephant” “baby stuffed animal elephant” “elephant plushie” “elephant pillow” “elephant nursery decor”. etc. This gave me the widest range of what was already out there. My goal was to make something that seemed like there was a market for, but not identical to what was already available. So the fact that were a lot of results for these searches was actually a good thing. Yes, they were competition, but it also meant that enough people were selling it, which means people were buying it. Otherwise they would have stopped making them.

It was also important for me to make mine different or unique. Not only did I create my own original pattern for the stuffed animal, I used fabrics that I knew weren’t being seen already on Etsy because I was buying them in Germany and the Netherlands. Obviously we can’t all do that, and neither can I anymore, but you can strategize by using unique materials, fabrics, etc that are still appealing and on trend. I was determined to push my consumers to go for the more unique, original product, vs the 8millionth version of a grey chevron elephant. I still used appealing prints and fabrics, but they stood out due to their uniqueness.

Etsy Shop | Etsy Tips | Read This Before Opening an Etsy | Opening an Etsy Shop | Sew Jersey Mama

After you’ve determined your first product, it’s time to come up with a few other items. So to continue with the elephant example, I decided to make a few of these in different fabrics, but I also knew I needed something else. So I decided to stick with the plush category, and create monster stuffies to add to my shop. My overall focus at the time was plush creatures for babies and young children. I did the same kind of research for these that I did for the elephants.

This research also helps you set prices by the way!

 

Of course it’s fine to expand later, but I think setting yourself an umbrella category to stick to in the beginning is important. It keeps your shop focused while you master your first items. In the beginning you’ll probably still be refining your craft, and other things about your shop, so don’t bother expanding what you’re offering too much. Over time, my product line changed as I continued to research what others were selling, and what was selling well. In addition, what I enjoyed making changed, but overall I kept my original focus of my business geared towards babies, children, and a minor focus on dogs.

 

So along with researching on Etsy, it’s important to actually design and make your items (that is, if you’re making physical items). I had to figure out the logistics of making these items, including finding the best supplies, finishing them the best way possible, etc. It was important to me that the items I was selling were good quality. At the same time, your goal is to make money, so you have to be mindful of what you pay in supplies. If you’re setting a price point of $12 per stuffed animal, don’t make them with $24 a yard fabric. If you do want to buy the expensive materials, your price point will need to come up, and your product has to be made with great care. As a general rule of thumb I like it when one sale of one item covers the cost of materials, even though those same materials can be used to make 2 or 3 more of the item. If I buy a yard of fabric for $8, use a bit of poly-fil stuffing, thread, then if I sell one elephant for $15 I know for a fact I’ve made a profit, and will make even more if I make a second or third with the remaining materials.

 

Etsy Shop | Etsy Tips | Read This Before Opening an Etsy | Opening an Etsy Shop | Sew Jersey Mama

Some other things to consider when deciding what to make:

  • You actually enjoy making the item, because your goal is to sell many of them.
  • You can buy the materials again when you run out. Okay, so sometimes I do this, and actually working to do this more, but I also love hunting rare finds of fabric that I buy in small quantities. So you definitely want some items you can make over and over, but I do think it’s okay to make some in small quantities, especially if you’re not sure it will be popular. But overall the items I make can be remade, even if its with different fabrics.
  • Can you ship this easily? For example, a 20 lb rock sculpture is going to prove difficult to ship and might be best for in person sales ;)I hope I gave you some food for thought if you’re on the fence about opening an Etsy. If you think you’re ready to take the plunge, here are 40 free listings to get you started. There really is so much else to learn but some people like to just jump in! However, as a reminder, I’m working on an e-course that will walk you through all the steps to start off the right way. If you’d like an update about it’s release, please sign up here!

In the meantime, I will be writing more blog posts with Etsy hints and information, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be notified when new posts are added. Sign up here!.

If you’re wondering what stuffed elephant I am talking about, you can actually get the original pattern and make your own right over here. Thank you!

 

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