Flashback Series: Favorite Custom Orders

I've now been in my new house about four days and it's feeling more and more like home! I'm 7 months pregnant, so I get tired easily and have low motivation to unpack.  Today I spent all afternoon on the phone setting things up in our new area and just directed my kids in unpacking their rooms.  What sort of surprises will I see tomorrow? I did get one very productive thing done though.  Last night while laying awake with pregnancy insomnia, I planned out my new sewing room, and first thing this morning I arranged it.  I perhaps moved some more furniture and boxes than I should have, but then my husband swooped in and did the real muscle work!

Just so you can see the mess that I was staring at each day, here is how the movers (friends from church) left it:

It kind of became a catch-all for boxes.  I found four or five that were labelled for other rooms but somehow ended up here.  Of course, I packed 20 boxes alone of my sewing stuff, so there really should still be tons of boxes! This picture is actually before we brought in a couple of furniture items that had to come in a second truckload.

This morning I consolidated all the boxes, moved out the ones that were in the wrong place, and slid furniture into place.  A floor vent threw me for a loop for awhile, but I finally got everything into place.  Here is how it is currently looking:

I am thrilled with my extra space.  I didn't think I would have much more, but I do! I did give away some of my furniture to other places in the house though, so I will be arranging it differently.  I snagged the tall brown bookcase that my husband didn't really want anymore and I'm hoping that the storage there will work for all the many random things I have. I also have shoe shelves for purse storage and those are on the very left side of the screen. You can kind of see where I have them stacked.  They will be against the wall, four shelves high, bolted at the top.  I'm pretty thrilled that I have more walking space and I can even put my lights in the corner and not have to assemble them every time I need to take photos.

So for this Flashback post (here are the previous posts in the series), I decided to concentrate on some of my favorite custom orders.  Now, custom orders are kind of my bread and butter, since I do a lot of weddings.  I had a hard time narrowing it down. I could have done a post of bridal orders alone! But for this I picked a mix of bridal and other custom orders.

So here's the first on my list (these are in chronological order). This purse was commissioned by my cousin for my aunt.  It's pictured without a strap, but you can still get the idea.  I loved this embroidered wool blend fabric I bought at Joanns. I made myself a small purse from it too that I used for years.  I love the weave effect, but sewing through all these layers was a beast.  My aunt used the purse for a couple of years and then passed away.  After that, we were all given a chance to pick something of hers to keep and I was really happy that my mom picked this! Then she informed me that I forgot to close the bottom seam and my aunt had never said anything!  I was so embarrassed, but what could I do now? My mom sewed it up and carried it around until I gave her one of my test versions of the Kitty Rose purse

Next is my first sari purse bridal order. (Like most of these photos, this is from my Barrelette Pattern.) The bride and I picked a sari together online and then I made her these purses.  I had so much extra fabric that I've been able to make dozens more of these purses! I still have a few pieces left.  It's an interesting fabric because it's violet in one light and purple in another, and I love the gold and silver touches.

Next, a nautical order.  When I first started making these nautical designs fairly early on, I was positive that I was just trying to capitalize off a trend that was sure to die soon.  To my surprise, I've ended up selling so many of these purses.  I eventually inverted it and starting also selling solid navy purses with striped interiors. Those have done as well or better!  This nautical custom order was particularly fun because the bride ordered tons of different embellishments. She also chose different interior colors.

Another of my initial designs involved weaving silk strips.  I've made several versions of this style and still love it!  This bride chose fairly neutral exteriors but really fun interiors.

Next, I had a customer from Australia commission a bunch of purses, seven, I believe.  This customer loved Rockabilly and we went with that theme.  I used glitter vinyl on two of the purses and used my new vinyl cutting machine to make her a custom sparrow design.  She wanted a rockabilly bow on the cherry purse and that took some engineering to get perfect.  It was a challenging order but so fun too!

Next I had a bride with kind of vague ideas but complete faith in me! She had very specific colors that she needed, however.  I ended up dyeing lace to match. She also had fabric she had bought in Europe on a trip with her husband-to-be and some buttons too.  I was stressed the whole order but she loved the end result.

Next is an order that I find notable not because it was amazing for any reason, but because this photo turned what was my least clicked on listing on Etsy into my most popular listing! I sold this purse design to so many brides after I made this order and took this picture.

Occasionally I have someone ask for different dimensions than normal.  This used to be a lot harder before I digitized my pattern! Now I can easily alter it and print out a new pattern.  But these two custom orders were before that.  Coincidentally, they are the same fabric, but they were two different orders.  The first wanted it longer than normal.  The second one wanted it insanely long.  I felt like it was a French baguette! 

Next is an order of gathered silk clutches, another design I've made a lot.  I like this one because the bride had such fun on the inside!

This next customer from Australia sent me a picture of what she wanted.  I suggested it would be cheaper to buy it directly from that source, but it was out of stock, I believe.  This customer had lots of specific desires and I tried to accommodate them all.  After we finally finalized everything and I sent it to her, she changed her dress and wanted a different purse.  This time I used an existing pattern of mine (the Curvaceous) because I did not want to come up with a completely new design again. This custom order has possibly been my most stressful to date!

The next one was kind of fun.  The bride wanted her bridal party to all wear Converse shoes with custom embroidery on the back.  So I got to make a bunch of tiny tags! This was a unique one to make, definitely.

Next is a custom order where the husband sent me his wife's favorite skirt that was falling apart at the seams, but still had good fabric.  It had mother-of-pearl shells too that I used on the sides.  I was really happy with the final result! It's nerve wracking using people's treasured clothing, though!

Finally, I made an oversized clutch for a custom order.  It was actually my final custom order before closing my shop for this move! The customer wanted something in snakeskin but in a fun color.  I found some great vinyl faux snakeskin.  Vinyl is not my favorite to sew on my machine, but I've learned a lot of tricks since my first time sewing glitter vinyl for that Rockabilly customer! It turned out great.  I want one for myself!

I hope to have my sewing area up next week! I have a couple projects already for my new home (I promised my kids giant beanbags to hold their stuffed animals) and then I hope to finish my two patterns in the works. We'll see!  My next Flashback post will feature my favorite non clothing or purse sewing projects.