Rosie & Me in the UK

Now that most of our patterns are available in English it is time to spread the word…. overseas!

I flew to the Great Britsh Sewing Bee Event in London last September where I met Susan. She owns the online sewing boutique Sewbox, where you can find everything you need for your sewing projects.

I am very happy to announce that she has added the Rosie & Me patterns to her pattern collection, which she introduced with  a personal interview.

Workshop Debut!

Looking Back at our Brooke – Workshop Debut!

In June we had our first Workshop: With some very motivated and fun sewists we worked hard to make the Brooke-dress to fit their personal body measurements.

This was the first Workshop I organized ever! And because of that, plus the fact that I wanted to give everyone the attention they needed, I decided to start with a small group. Of course this resulted in the workshop being full and having to dissapoint some applicants. I’m sorry for that, but also made me realize that it is something that we really should plan again later this year.

Here are some pictures of some absolutely lovely ladies working hard! Yes we did work hard!
Which was even challenging with the tropical temparatures we were experiencing on both days!

Looking back at the two workshop days: My learnings!

I always believe that you learn things by just going for it, prepare the best you can and see how it goes. The very first thing that I learned is that eventhough I thought it was somewhat scary at first, I absolutley loved doing it! It was so much fun being with exciting, creative, positive women that want to learn, share and have a couple of fun days together. I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge and just got so much energy out of the whole experience that I can’t wait to plan another one. That is positive learning.

A few more things:

In advance everyone could choose their sewing kits with three different fabric options. The sewing kits I put together in personalized Rosie & Me bags (see top photo). For the occasion, I made myself a Brooke dress in one of the fabric options and decided it would be fun to finish the collar and band with piping cord, which I wore on day one (also on day two ;).
Well, my second learning was that I didn’t offer the piping cord option when making the sewing kits. And of course when everyone saw my Brooke version, with the cord finishing, that’s how they wanted to finish theirs as well! Ow, I should have, could have, would have known…. Next time, this option will be included!

So, these ladies were not affraid to be challanged a bit, which I thought was great! There was one week in between the two workshop days. The extra chore of both making and stitching piping cord alongside the collar and band became homework. I sent all of them piping cord in the mail, to be able to do so.
The task ended up being quite tricky for most of them: either not having enough time, no zipper pressor (or cord) foot, or just missing the experience. This brings me to some great tips for next time: 

  • Preparing everyone that the workshop includes some homework (especially when wanting the piping cord option).
  • Leave 2 weeks in between the two workshop days, giving everyone enough time to finish.
  • Place step by step homework-instructions on the website, especially for people with less sewing skills. This can then be reviewed at home when making homework.
  • Another great idea that someone in the group suggested, was to place some tablets with video instructions (how to sew a blind zipper in for example) that can be watched during the workshop.
  • And, also ….what could be helpful for me is: a personal assistant. Ha! For those that miss some sewing skills, it would be nice to have an extra person around to answer questions and help out. That way I can focus on teaching fit & construction techniques.

Another idea that arose from the Workshop, was to organize a Workshop solely for Plus Size ladies. When having unique measurements one often needs to make more specific fit adjustments to a pattern to perfectionize the fit. Perfectionizing the fit is something that I really enjoy doing. Something that I will plan in the future!

All in all, I can say that it was a great experience. I received very positive responses which include interest in attending the following workshop.

Knowing what I know now, I promise there will be more Workshops ahead. New Workshops will be announced via our FB-page and Newsletter, so stay tuned! As always, I am open for suggestions, so feel free to share any Workshop ideas you might have.

 

 

Reviewing 2016 & Planning 2017

Before starting to work out my plans for the New Year, I wanted to look back at Last Year. Thinking about what went well, what could I do different, what was there to celebrate…highs, lows, of course it was all there!

2016:
My initial feeling when looking back at 2016 is that I didn’t complete what I had in mind for 2016. So to a certain extent feeling a sense of disappointment. For example, I wasn’t able to have all the patterns translated to English, nor did I upgrade all the patterns to the Plus Collection yet. Therefore, we haven’t been able to expand the business overseas, reaching more and more sewists all over the world. Sigh.

Thinking about 2016 I re-read my ‘planning, wishing and prioritizing’- post which I wrote just before the year started (still in Dutch then) . Reading my plans and where I was then, I realized that we actually did make really big steps this past year. Just to name a few:

So there are some big – big – changes that were accomplished this past year! Changes that helped Rosie & Me in the direction that we needed to be in. You would think that achieving the above, should be something to celebrate!

Now where is this feeling of unsatisfaction come from? Could it be that I have a tendency to plan too much in a too short of time? Or perhaps I underestimate the time projects require? Or I like to believe that I can work 40+ hours a week,  raise two little girls, keeping everyone well fed, a clean house, and that no one ever gets sick while caring for a happy old dog and Oh wait, still have some time left over for my loved one as well?…. (Now, in reality he isn’t always last on the list)

I have to admit, that it really is ALL of the above.
Yes, planning is sometimes difficult and overestimating the hours I have is easy! It all comes from wishing and dreaming big plans for Rosie & Me. Which shouldn’t change! That’s how this small pattern company got to be where it is now.
But this Year’s resolutions are: Dream Big as the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,  but Plan Realistic!

2017:
That being said, I should make realistic Plans, right? Ok, here we go!

  • The first English patterns (Brooke & Brooke+) were already available as digital patterns. Starting next week, they will also be available in a printed version! In the Netherlands these can be purchased at Naaipatronen.nl and in Belgium at Het Stoffenhuis.
  • Three patterns will be added to the Plus Collection: Charlie (including a cap sleeve), Elise and Frida.
  • Translation: Following the Brooke, there are 9 more patterns to be translated to English (including the three Plus patterns mentioned above). Realizing we are all short on time, we have parked the translating activity by an agency. We are really grateful for this help! However, translating sewing terms and metric conversions is a specialty on its own and I realize we will need to consider some ‘in house finalizing’ as well.
  • After the above is checked off, we will focus on extending our business overseas. Yahoo!
  • Marketing! Running a small pattern company, you need to wear many hats. Some fit better than others. I know marketing is important for business success, but it has always seem foreign to me. So far we have done a great job without spending anything on marketing. But to be able to grow, I need to take this a bit more serious.
  • Throughout the year we will continue to share fun things like: Sewing inspiration, great giveaways, gift package designs, along with a few product-surprises as well. This and much more will be shared throughout the year via our Newsletters and the FB page.
  • Like this isn’t enough to work on, I just can’t help adding an additional new pattern to our collection. Don’t start jumping up and down yet! Remember, planning should be realistic!

Now let’s hope, that when I re-read this post at the beginning of next year, overlooking everything we’ve done, I will experience the luxury of revewing a year which accompanied a good old fashioned down to earth balance of ambition and expectations. Opening an additional year of vintage inspired patterns, I am excited about 2017 and hope you are too!

Wishing everyone a Happy, Creative, Inspiring but above all Healthy 2017.

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