Taking a good photo of a product is imperative when you want to sell an item, but it can be challenging. So I thought I’d share some ideas that have helped me improve my product photography for the items I sell on Etsy.

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During lockdown, many people have been taking the opportunity to learn new crafts and skills. I tried knitting (again!) and thought I’d share some resources and tips that helped me.

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Although on the face of it, it would seem like a smart move to always pin your work before sewing, sometimes it’s better or easier not to. Here are some tips to help you decide whether to pin or not to pin…   Fabrics to Pin Cotton and linen respond well to being pinned and it’s pretty hard to damage these fabric with pinning. You can of course pin denim, but this is sometimes tricky – more on that later! Jersey, stretch and knit fabrics may all be pinned, but you should take extra care.  If you force the pin through one of the fibres of the fabric it could snap, leaving your finished item with little holes or, at worst, unravelling completely! If the pin does not slide gently through you are most likely going through a fibre.  Take the pin out and try again, looking carefully at what…

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Last week it was nice to have a change and work on this bedside cabinet refurbishment for a customer. She was aiming for a seaside feel in the bedroom these cabinets were in, and so I painted them white, distressed some of the edges slightly and added these gorgeous ceramic knobs with a nautical blue stripe.  It instantly updated the room, and will mean my customer can get many more years life out of the cabinets.  They look so cute and I very much wanted to keep them! I love seeing the transformation unfold on this kind of project!  And it’s good to give my sewing machine a little break sometimes…

I love getting stuck in to dressmaking projects. Some of the projects below have been for customers, but most are just for my own enjoyment.  There’s few things more satisfying than wearing and being complimented on something you’ve made yourself! Some of these pictures are of simple alterations or repairs such as trousers hem shortening – I am always happy to take on this kind of work. I particularly love Tilly & The Buttons patterns at the moment.  Excellent colour photographs included in the instructions, rather than dismal black and white line drawings as is the case with other brands! Skirts Dresses Tops   Alterations Shortening bootcut jeans   To widen the waist on this skirt I removed the waistband, eased out the gathering slightly and added a new waistband in a contrast fabric   Suit trousers shortened and hand stitched   I added some pocket detail to these plain…

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Made-to-measure curtains really give a room a “finished” look, and because they are handmade with care, will last for many years. Here’s some examples of my recent work, which include taped and hand pleated headings.

Bespoke cushions can be made as a set or as one-offs. The cushions below are handmade projects I have completed for customers and friends.  Bespoke cushions can be piped, have zips, buttons, envelope or tie closures, have borders, appliqué or embroidery.  You can really personalise a cushion to give character to a room. Bespoke cushions can also be the solution for chairs or benches that are not a standard size.

Here’s some roman blinds I’ve recently completed for customers in and around the Chichester area. I really enjoy making a nice, crisp blind!  These have been made using both traditional wooden fixing with a pull cord, and with a cassette fixing, with a chain.

I am a self-taught dressmaker, and have been dressmaking for some time now.  I have learned so much – YouTube, Lorna Knight’s Dressmaking Bible and other books have been invaluable sources of information, but some things can only be learned through experience.  So here’s 4 lessons learned in dressmaking (the hard way).   1. Press, press, press At first I was so excited to get an item finished that I would race through all the steps without pressing anything.  I would start by pinning creased pattern pieces to un-ironed fabric.   Other unpressed bits included seams, darts, facings and sometimes pleats.  Yes, I am ashamed of myself. Unsurprisingly I got shabby results without fail, leaving me disappointed with a dress or skirt that I thought I was going to be in love with.  And it was all my fault.  Not so deep down I knew that avoiding pressing was a bad idea but…

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I recently made these made to measure outdoor sofa cushions to fit a bespoke garden sofa! The cushions seats are made from 4 inch blue (firm) foam, and the back from 2 inch foam, making it very comfortable. The covers are made using a bargain heavyweight ikea cotton, which is a great for outdoor furniture as it’s durable and washable. All the covers have zip closures so they can be removed and washed or changed whenever required, and they are piped using cotton piping and black binding, which gives a lovely effect. I really enjoyed this project, and love the bold stripe.  There are two bolster cushions to be finished, so another photo will be added when the whole thing is complete.