Monday, January 9, 2012

Busy Weekend, with Pictures

Friday night was not-Otter stuff, as was the usual Saturday morning flailing around (you know where to find that natter by now). 

Prep Work:

After lunch Saturday I finally settled in to get some work done. 

I started with sorting out and putting away the big hardware order that came in Friday. Big as in price, but in heavy, but small, box - rotary latches, rivets, belt clips, and some other assorted bits and pieces, including these conchos for the pocketwatch pouch customer. 

Click this and the other pictures to embiggen (a word I've stolen from The Yarn Harlot). The center one is a Maltese cross in black, and the edging is a motorcycle chain. Although about half the time I see it as a four-petaled silver flower on a black background, with a silver edging, at least in the picture.

I also put some fabric I had pulled out or purchased for doll clothing into a couple bins, and did some other cleanup.

Miniature Pouches:

Then I went to work on pouches - the two pocketwatch pouches for the customer to choose from, and when I got as far as I could before needing an answer on the conchos.

Sunday morning I had the answer from the customer (he liked the antique brass fleur-de-lis, which I had pointed out would match the rotary latch). So I continued work on those, while Ron and Robin did a shelving project that I'd decided was more useful to got done than building the cart for merchandise bins. 

Here's the three little pouches, ready for assembly - the center one is for a harmonica, the others are pocketwatch pouches. For an idea of scale, the outer sides of the square are eight and twelve inches long.

The harmonica pouch will have the sides and bottom folded in and gets black lace. The pocketwatch pouches have soft gussets; the black one will be laced with red, the other one will have black lace on the red front and red lace on the flap, the customer can choose which he prefers. I'm not worried about the other finding a home, red and black is a popular combination.

The pouches are binder-clipped at the bottom to help keep the flaps shaped until they're laced up - they're all lined, and the lining was glued in with the flap curved, to help prevent wrinkles. It's a pain-in-the-tuchis step, I don't usually do if I'm lining a larger pouch/purse flap, but on these little guys it's pretty much necessary. It's especially a nuisance when (re-) punching the lacing holes while keeping things curved. Since I think I'll be keeping pocketwatch pouches in stock, I'll probably have Ron use his new router with a quarter-round bit on both sides on some scrap one-by lumber. Square-edged lumber works, but a rounded edge would help.

Yesterday I got the harmonica pouch done. As I expected, I had to go back and forth doing a few stitches on each side frequently - it's front width is narrower than the length of a lacing needle. I used pliers a lot.

This morning Ron was eyeballing the harmonica pouch for his multi-tool (can't remember if it's a Swisstool or Leatherman). It's a bit snug, and too short to fasten over it. For the multi-tool I'd probably just lengthen the flap, and Ron thinks leaving the lining out (the front is self-lined with another piece of green) would loosen it up sufficiently. So I'll probably be making another one. But not in green, probably brown.

Last night I also got the gusset laced onto the front of the red-and-black pocketwatch pouch, and about halfway around the back/flap. I'm planning to finish that one and do all the lacing on the other one today, so I can put them and the harmonica pouch up on Etsy tonight, and hopefully ship them out tomorrow morning if my schedule and the customer's align favorably.

More Pouches!

After I got the pocketwatch pouches as far as I could Saturday, I got worked on the three shield pouches Ron had waxed the fronts of New Year's weekend, and got them ready to lace up. So I've got those and three other smaller pouches to sew and/or lace together this week. That sounds like a lot, but when I get on a roll I can finish one or two pouches a day (provided I'm not doing other work on merchandise). 

Yesterday Ron waxed the seven pouches we molded last week. I was going to go through inventory and look at what we did and didn't have for black/brown, but then I decided to just make half black. I actually dyed pouches without getting any black dye on my arms!  I'm amazed. I'm not saying I didn't get any dye on the apron I was wearing, but since it was black to start with it's hard to say if I did or not. And the nitrile gloves didn't degrade, which the vinyl ones sometimes do. So you can't tell I dyed yesterday. How odd.

Happy Accident:

One pouch we debated about dying was this iPouch front (shown after being waxed - also upside-down hanging from my anvil). The stripes are a result of an accident, the details of which I'm going to keep to myself for the moment.

We weren't sure if we wanted to dye it black to hide the stripes, or leave it and wax it and let it show. We decided to go ahead and see how it would come out, and we're glad we did.

I couldn't try to replicate it with the pouches we molded last night, but the next round I will be trying to get  the effect next time. Which should be in a day or two, I've decided we're just going to keep molding pouch fronts until we use up the double shoulder I cut up last week. The molded leather keeps, it just takes up a little more space than the flat pieces, but since molding can be the bottleneck step in making hard pouches, getting ahead is a good thing.

You Have to Spend Money to Make Money:

Saturday afternoon Robin was rooting through the box stash to find one to ship a little square soft pouch in, and coming up empty-handed. So I bit the bullet and ordered some smallish boxes.

While I was at it I added some paper to wrap around things when packing. I decided against tissue paper (although I picked up some white tissue paper in the half-off holiday section at Ace anyway), and got white butcher paper. Part of me revolts at the frivolity, but it will look nicer to have merchandise wrapped neatly inside the box instead of just dumped in. Even though I know there's no need for it, it's that whole looking-professional thing. 

I also need to get more of the self-adhesive shipping labels I've been using - half the sheet is the label, the bottom half is just plain paper, with a perforation between, so you can print the shipping label and customer receipt on one sheet. Unless you're doing a USPS label, because USPS saddles you with a half-page of instructions below the label, grumble. 

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