Hi! So I had a holiday and kind of forgot that blog posts weren’t just going to write themselves…oops! My mum was here for two weeks, and amongst all the eating and shopping and drinking, I did a bit of sewing. You remember my weekender bag that I made? No? You can read alllll about it here. I’ll wait.
Ok, so making that bag that was quite traumatic, but very worth it. So when Mum arrived and decided that she would quite like one for herself, I was up to the challenge. I figured I might have it made for her by Christmas if she was lucky, but she had other ideas. When a trip to the mall involved a detour into spotlight and resulted in this GORGEOUS fabric, I knew she was serious.
I made a few changes to the materials used this time – mainly to the interfacing specified. The pattern calls for 6 yards of Pellon, which you can buy at Spotlight under the Legacy brand, but is quite expensive. And we’d already spent about $80 just on the fabric alone. I had about 5 yards each of a cheap fusible fleece, and a medium weight and heavy weight interfacing at home (Lincraft, about $3 each a metre) so I figured I could come up with some combination of those to get the required finish. After a few tests I settled on 2 layers of medium weight interfacing, and one layer of fusible fleece. I also used pre-made piping (which was much thicker than the pattern specifies, so not actually the best idea). I omitted the false bottom and all the extra layers of Pellon, and just used two layers of heavy weight interfacing on the bottom piece of the external bag, one layer of fusible fleece on the bottom of the lining, and I used two layers of a really thick sew in stabiliser (again from Lincraft), which I anchored with bag feet.
We went to the Gold Coast for a couple of days, and after two days of walking round the shops we needed a day at home. So we cranked up the air con, Mum made sure I was fed and watered, and I started cutting out all the pieces. Mum manned the iron and by the end of the day we had all the pieces cut and interfaced and ready to sew (a helper to do the ironing saves so much time – there is a lot of interfacing to be done!!)
A couple of days later, after another big day walking around the shops, and with a 31 degree day forecast, Mum decided we could do with another day at home, and that’s when I realised she was determined to take the bag home with her!
So, again with Mum on chores, and me chained to the machine, I spent another day at the machine. And this time, the construction went beautifully! My new sewing machine (a Janome 6600P) handled those seams like a dream! By the end of the day, the housework was done, and the bag was almost complete, with only the lining left to attach. Another couple of hours of hand stitching a few days later and she was done.
But wait, there’s more! No good overnight bag is complete without accessories! So the scraps got turned into a tote bag, a zipped pouch, and an earbud pouch.
I LOVE this fabric. And the bag turned out fantastic, if I do say so myself. And Mum is pretty happy with it, so that’s the main thing!
On a different note – as those of you who have made one know, this is not a cheap or a quick bag to make. A few people have mentioned I should be making them to sell, so I thought I’d give you a breakdown of the costs involved, and explain why as lovely as the thought is (quit my job and sew for a living? I’d love to!) it’s just not feasible. Those of you who sew know what I’m talking about!
Costs (note all figures are Australian dollars):
So there you’ve got almost $120 for materials alone, and I used cheap materials. If you were to make it with quality home décor fabric or quilting cotton and the specified interfacing, you’d be looking at about $150.
Now, you’ll notice this is JUST cost, there is no profit at all in there. And if I was to make something like this to sell, I sure as hell ain’t doing it out of the goodness of my heart (after all, in this scenario I’ve quit my job, and a girl’s got to eat). So, I need to add some profit on top of that. If you google ‘how to price handmade goods’, you’ll get this formula from almost every hit:
Cost of Supplies + Labour + 10-15% Overhead = Total Costs
Total Costs x 2 = Wholesale Price
Wholesale Price x 2 = Retail Price
If we ignore overheads, and assume my total costs are as above, $263.96, that means my wholesale price (that I’d sell to a shop for example) is $527.92, and my retail price is a staggering $1,055.84!! And that’s charging my time out at only $10/hour, when in reality it’s worth a lot more. If you were to make a living, you would be charging your time out at what you might otherwise be earning in a paid job, so in my case the $30 to $40 per hour range, so my final sell price would actually end up being between $2,255.84 and $2,855.84!!!!
Obviously I could make the materials cheaper (buying wholesale, importing from overseas etc.), and probably cut down the production time (batch making, amphetamines), but even if I could cut them in half (unlikely), it’s still upwards of $500.
So if I love you, I’ll make you one for free (ok, for food and housework). If I don’t love you, and you’d like to buy one, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’ll give you a discount and we’ll say $2k. (I’m kidding. Mostly).
Thanks for reading, and hopefully that last bit was useful!