Product Development Deployment

Boho drapery sample patch purse

The idea of developing a product is to come up with something that can be sold…at a profit.

For the most part, she enjoys the whole process; but two days and probably sixteen hours into it, she wonders why she puts herself through this grueling process. 16 hours times $10 an hour (her minimum mentally acceptable labor rate) is $160. Debra Dorgan wouldn’t hesitate to ask this much, but Ms. SpoolTeacher is not of that caliber, at least not yet. As a matter of fact, it was viewing Debra’s lovely things on Etsy that had gotten Ms. SpoolTeacher’s muse all jazzed up to sew. That and the weather. And that most of her winter seeds had been sown. Oh sure, there were lots of projects available to do on the First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy agenda, but it was time to start thinking about earning more income.

During the summer monsoons, all of the sample books on the top shelf under her patio cover had gotten wet from leaks that occur along the joint where the cover meets the house. She had pulled them all apart and was washing and drying them to use for projects such as this one that got in her mind to do.

This day, two days ago, she was sorting samples that had finished drying suddenly two samples got her muse activated so she started work immediately.

Making a pleatThe front and back of the bag would be two colors of the same print and the sides would be a stripe piece cut in half.

She decided to make a pleat at the bottom edge to add interest and keep it from being a boring rectangle.

Her design plan was to utilize as much of the sample piece as possible. two inches up, one inch in

To make the pleat, she measured two inches up and one inch in and stitched the line. Then the pleat is pressed so that the middle meets the seam.

pleat detailThe next design decision was which side would go with the red and which with the blue. These things are more important than you would think. yellow, red, blue, yellow

Yellow, red, yellow, blue. That way the sides separate from the main body, visually.

She had sewn them together so that the bottom edges were all even so she measured all across the four pieces to make them even at the top as well, then seamed the final two edges together to form a rectangle.

The next decision was what to use for the bottom.

She laid the “rectangle” on a stack of clean samples and started flipping through them until one “felt” right.deciding on a bottom

The lining was made using all of the same measurements she’d just done making the shell.

She intentionally made all of the seams on the right side of the fabric because she wanted to use a ragged edge as a feature. As it turned out, she realized she’d rather have stitched the lining to the shell pieces before seaming them together as then the lining would have also shown in the ragged edge. This is product development. Next one, she will use that technique to improve the results.  The lining was all cut from one big piece of satin she’d ordered a yard and a half of for her store years ago. Orange with dots woven into it.

Lining made and stitched to the outer shellIn the process of building the lining, pockets were added and as it turned out, they seemed too close to the edge so a decision was made to add a top piece that would increase the height as well as cover the raw edges.

Picking a piece for the top edgeThis piece was cut into three sections and seamed together. Again, you learn through the process. When she went to make the handles, she realized that a bias joint would have been better. It shows less.

bias join rather than a straight joinIt’s very hard to explain the labor steps involved in constructing anything that is sewn. There seem to be a million little steps that are taken that are invisible to the final product.

Ms. SpoolTeacher was thinking through the whole process, “Maybe it would be better to hold a ‘build-a-bag class’ rather than try to sell them already made.” But, that has a whole ‘nother set of problems.

She’ll just make a few more and see where it goes. The first one is always the hardest. A lot of the “bugs” get ironed out in the process.

Ragged edge after washingFor instance, this little side pocket that seems rather lacking in function now that the whole thing is made; but even so, it adds interest. Maybe a place for a little list for the store, something that wouldn’t be devastating if it were lost.

She was real happy with how the ragged edge turned out. To make a secure seam, she used her stretch stitch so that even after clipping close to the seam, there were still plenty of stitches securing it. It sure would have been pretty with the orange showing. Product development deployment can sometimes have disappointments. A lot to be happy with though, as well. Slouchy angle showing lining

Product Development Deployment

Now she thinks she will add some decorative buttons to secure the straps to the top band. After adding elastic to crinkle it up, the top folds in some getting in and out of it.

Sixteen hours and counting…

When the muse gets a hold of her, it can sometimes turn into madness.

A Magnificent Obsession kind of madness.

Magnificent Obsession

Muse: Madness
Deploy: bring into effective action; utilize.
“they are not always able to deploy this skill”



People hire a Designer because they feel they need help. They are tackling a project to do with their personal living spaces and are unsure of something about it. It may be as simple a thing as that they don’t have access to the resources they need; so sometimes, in fact, the Clients knows exactly what they want. This is about the only time a Designer is an order taker. It is a very rare occurrence.

This picture is part of a portfolio of window treatments Ms. SpoolTeacher assisted her Client with throughout their entire home.

This one treatment represents many many questions the client had to answer before proceeding, for this window alone:

  1. Do you want to completely block the view or just obscure it or both? (light-filtering/room-darkening)
  2. Will the thermal value play a factor? (heat/cold transference)
  3. Do you want it to traverse or will it be stationary?
  4. Which way should it move on the rod? Is the door opening used?

Those are functional questions. Then come the aesthetic issues:

  1. Casual, elegant, modern, vintage, historic?
  2. Vertical or horizontal emphasis?
  3. Decorative rods or a top treatment or neither/both?
  4. To the ceiling, above the opening? Wall to wall? Stack off the wall?

This client chose a top treatment over traversing semi-opaque sheers. Then the question is, “Do you want the swags to all stack over each other one way or the other or ….

The questions go on and on.

The love of all things fabric, sewing and interior spaces drove Ms. SpoolTeacher into the world of window fashions.

There are many questions the Designer doesn’t even ask the client or share with them unless the client asks. Before the Designer brings in sample books to show the client she will already have summed up the clients best interests and which fabrics will behave the best in that particular design. It isn’t an exact science but there is a need for transparency  (openness, communication, and accountability)  from both the Designer and  the Client.

Understanding the nature of fabrics is learned over time and by handling them and using them.

A client must develop a trust with the Designer to believe that such disparate choices of fabrics will end up looking exceptional overall. To see them all as individual swatches in a book full of other choices; at some point, the Client must just believe in the Designer.

This particular Client had a great sense of what she wanted. The Designer was more of a Director; but the trick was to read the Client’s mind and then find all of those elements from among hundreds and thousands of choices.

Ms. SpoolTeacher in a class, learning her trade. (just a few short years ago!)

And a lot of fun they all had. The girl third from the left was the highest achiever later, but she said almost nothing in the class, she giggled demurely at everything and charmed us all.

We all had a great time as intense as the learning was.


The Art of Using Thread

Haute Couture

Fabric As Art: Haute Couture














Christian Lacroix: Haute Couture

Holding fabrics, paper, plastic, leather, yarn, string…almost anything…together with thread is a creative adventure.

If you open yourself up to the possibilities, there is no end to what you can create. If you remain fearful and apprehensive, you may need to relegate yourself to patterns and instructions, and even there, if you want, you can create a one-of-a-kind work of art. Even, possibly, by accident.

What do you want to do with a spool of thread?

If you want to learn or have something to share…read on