July 8, 2014

Fabric Processing

Remember this scene from March 2013? My car full of hundreds of decorator fabric sample books rescued from a local upholstery shop. These babies were reluctantly destined for the landfill until the shop owner found a sucker willing taker in yours truly.
Until this past weekend, these hundreds of lovelies have been squirreled away in every available nook and cranny in every inadequate closet in the house. I pulled a few books out of hiding on Saturday while riding a inspirational wave of forward progress. Because on the 4th the Hubs and I nearly finished the laundry room. (Can you hear the triumphal music in the background?) Efforts included installing a homemade removable wall panel over plumbing for the washer; cutting and installing baseboard trim; filling and sanding nail holes, caulking, and touching up paint on the trim; and manoeuvring the 500 pound washer into it's drip pan and positioning the 500 pound dryer just so to line up and connect the exhaust vent. 

For the first time since we moved, we have a functional dryer. Momentous! Not that I've missed it all that much. I prefer to air dry whenever possible. But it is momentous for the fact that I can now process fabric. I wash and machine dry (pre-shrink) all my reclaimed fabrics before using them to make Odd Bird Studio wares.
Saturday evening saw me spread out on the floor, cutting every 100% cotton sample out of several fabric books. After an hour and a half of cutting and removing labels, I had about 90 pieces of fabric ready for washing and drying. At approximately 5 inches square, those 90 pieces add up to about a 1/4 yard of of decorator fabric. After washing and drying, I'm hoping the raveling will leave 4.5 inches of fabric to work with. Just enough to put two pieces together for a coaster.

While I acquire my fabrics for relatively little cash - sometimes even for free - I should need to take the processing time into account when pricing my wares. Which is something I usually always forget to do. And then there's the extra time it takes to work with small, individual pieces of fabric rather than large swathes of it. Production sewing this is not. Each and every ware is one of a kind. I also neglect to account for the time spent making labels for the wares, photographing them, editing the photos, and listing them on Etsy. I keep thinking I will find a perfect pricing formula that will work for me each and every time. What I am beginning to accept is that setting prices is an ongoing learning process.

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