Wednesday 21 May 2014

How to change a zip slider and pull - tutorial

I didn't manage a post for Handmade Monday last week.....having got distracted by the lovely weather!

But I did promise a tutorial in how to jazz up your zippers. So - better late than never - here it is.

Ever since I started making handmade bags I have been constantly looking for ways to improve them and make them more professional looking. One of the easiest ways to add a bit of extra class to your handmade items is to change the zipper pull for something a little more interesting.

Most people who buy zips will recognise these....
 Nothing wrong with the zips, but I find the pulls a little bit - erm - standard, run-of-the-mill, whatever you want to call it! So when I discovered I could buy different bits for my zips (the ones below come as a complete slider and pull) I decided to try and turn them into these....
It's taken me a while to get the hang of it, but I've done enough now - and learned from mistakes - to be able to share a few tips.

So, here's what you'll need.

First, a replacement zipper slider and pull and some basic tools....
From left: zip, replacement pull, pliers, pinking shears
First, use the pinking shears to cut off the old slider and pull.
I use the pinking shears to try and get a cut which leaves one side of the zip very slightly longer than the other side - this makes it easier to seperate the zip when putting on the new slider.
Place the new slider over the end of the zip. Pull the zip slightly apart whilst pushing the slider along the zip (this is the bit where you really need 3 hands! - sorry, but I couldn't take a photograph and do the pulling the zip at the same time - I really needed 4 hands!).

 And, hey presto, that should be it!
 BUT...sometimes this happens.....OOPS!
....and the new slider doesn't quite do the job. I usually test my zip by opening and closing it about 10-20 times, just to make sure it isn't going to fail. But if this happens, don't panic - it's fixable! This is where the pliers come in. Very gently squeeze the bottom of the slider with the pliers, on both sides of the point at which it attaches to the pull (not too hard or it will stick!).
Check after each gentle squeeze on each side and the slider should get slightly tighter running along the zip. Once you can do you 10-20 checks without the closed section of the zip coming apart then you should be OK.

I don't know about you, but I think the new zipper pulls look far better than the originals and are now standard on all my hand made items?

Sunday 11 May 2014

Dragonfly messenger bag and trying to restock

My website and Folksy shops have been a bit low on stock lately. The problem is (well, it's not really a problem!) is that when I make a bag and post on my Facebook page it either i) sells straight away of ii) results in a custom order. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about either, but it does mean I find it hard to produce new stock for my shop. So I'm trying a new strategy. Each time I make a custom order, I make one or two bags in the same style which can go into my stock for sale.

So when I had two customers who both wanted one of these dragonfly messenger bags, I figured I may as well make 3.
They're not identical though. Each one has it's own unique design features - from the pockets, to the lining fabric or the ribbon detailing.
As soon as I get chance the 'spare' will be put onto my website and folksy.

I'm now trying to finish a custom order for this grey cat themed bag, so have another two on the go at the same time.

Hopefully this will mean I can build up some ready-for-sale stock.

I also took the opportunity of having 3 bags on the go to take some pictures for a blog post on how to change a boring zipper pull for something a bit more exciting. Would anyone find this useful for next weeks handmade Monday blogpost?

Saturday 3 May 2014

Catching up!

Has it really been January since I last popped in to Handmade Monday!? My, how time flies.

Things have been steady at HbyH HQ for a while. I seem to have become rather too distracted on enjoying our new rural life instead of sewing and promoting!

Photo: Cutting out done, before getting distracted by the sunset at HbyH HQ. hope it's just as amazing where you are?

The last few weeks has really seen our garden blossom - literally!

We moved in to our house in July, so by the time we were settled most of the garden flowers had gone over. It's lovely to see it in spring and I'm grateful to all the previous owners who have, over many years, developed the garden so that there always seems to be something new coming into flower. I have to confess, I'm a bit of a rubbish gardener - so they've given me a great head start which I can just tweak.

It's been lovely to have a steady flow of customers. At the moment I'm working on two bags using similar fabrics. The customers started out with different requests. But both of them seem to be taken with this fabric combination.

Photo: This fabric combination i'm currently working on seems really popular.

Almost there....

Photo: Sewing hasn't quite gone to plan this evening. Was aiming to complete 3 pockets, but only managed one! Here's some work in progress....
My Mum has also been patiently waiting for a replacement bag for the one I made her 3 years ago. So I suppose I really should put her next on my customer list!