When sewing items for craft shows, the secret is to make them just a little bit different, or to add extra value to the items you make, so as to increase their interest and appeal to your browsing public. Imagine their wants and needs, and boost sales by making practical, useful items people will use every day.
Herb Mice With a Difference.
Sweet little catnip mice are all very well, but modern cats and their owners demand more in the stuffed mouse department. Make larger mice and use strong materials such as canvas or hessian, and add string tails sewn into the body of the mouse so they can't be pulled off easily. Small leather offcuts are perfect for ears and noses, and a bell sewn inside the mouse will keep wannabe tigers stalking and pouncing for hours. Many cats like catnip but some prefer other herbs such as thyme or rosemary, so have a selection for the discerning cat lover.
Tote Bag Families
From chatting to browsing customers you'll know that people are demanding environmentally sound packaging and bags, so offer sets of three fabric tote bags in small, medium and large. Sew a pocket on each side of the tote bag to hold the two smaller ones, to cater for those extra items bought at the checkout that just won't fit into the main shopping bag. Sew strong canvas straps around the bag to provide strength and durability, and play with bag designs by using prints, applique and fabric paints.
Heat Pillows for Aches and Pains
Appeal to the natural and alternative healing therapies browsers by selling heat pillows. They're just the thing for neck, back and general muscle pain and can be thrown into the microwave for two minutes on full power to provide an hour or two of blissful, healing heat to the affected area. Sew an inner cushion made of sheeting or thin cotton, eight inches long and five inches wide. Use double seams for strength and include a zipper if you want to make the bag refillable. Fill with wheat or dried rice and a handful of dried lavender heads, then zip or sew the end closed. Make an outer pillow cover using warm, earthy-coloured fabrics and sew a couple of ties at one end to keep the inner pillow inside.
Exotic Cushion Covers
Pull in the customers with your beautiful cushion covers. They're simple to make, and if you use shisha mirrors, brocades, rich silks and velvet in three or four main colours, and price them reasonably, they will fly off the stand. Use simple ties or an envelope opening rather than worry about zippers, and use standard pillow form sizes. Fill a handful of cushion covers with pillow forms to show how beautiful they look. Heap them up and dress your stand with rich fabrics, a lamp or two, and sprinkle a couple of drops of sandalwood or patchouli oil on fabric to drift through the air and draw customers to you.
You can't forget the little customers waving their arms in their strollers. Make fabric animals small enough for mobiles, or larger for throwing round the room. For an elephant toy, draw a basic elephant shape on paper and cut it out. Fold a piece of fabric in half, inside out, pin the template to the fabric, and cut out the fabric. Cut a long 1-inch strip of fabric -- this can be the same material or a different one, it doesn't matter -- and pin one side all around the outline of one elephant shape, then tack and sew. Make sure you're still sewing inside out. Attach the other piece of fabric to the other side of the strip and sew around, leaving one side of the tummy open. Turn the elephant inside out and press, stuff with safety-approved toy filling, and finish closing the tummy using small overstitching along the seam. Sew an eye on each side of the face, using cotton or wool, but don't use buttons or anything detachable. These toys are soft, safe, washable, and infinitely chewable.
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