Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Heather Bailey Peonies

There really are a lot of cute fabrics out there and these Heather Bailey fabrics are definatly on the top of the list. The first SafeSeat cover I did with Peonies in Green inspired this combination. Just like the other cover using the Heather Bailey fabrics, this is a two fabric combination using the Peonies in Pink for the main fabric and Mod Dots in Ice for the coordinating fabric. I also made strap covers and a buckle cover for this seat. All in all a very cute combination.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Making up for time off

Etsy has been great!! I have received more orders that I thought I would. In early June things were really rolling and I was getting a little concerned because my family and I were preparing for a trip to Utah. I started posting "Vacation Alerts" on my shop page to let customers know that I would be out of the shop. Everyone was very understanding and the orders kept coming.
Sadly, on June 11, 2009 my mother passed away suddenly of heart complications and our initial vacation turned into taking care of the needs of my family. When we returned from Utah I had fabric for 4 car seats waiting at the post office.

In the three weeks following my "vacation" I made 7 car seat covers. The fabric for this one arrived the day we left for Portland, OR to be with my Dad. This cover includes strap covers. Initially I had been against making strap covers because they can interfere with how the straps fit the baby. This customer's SafeSeat originally came with strap covers so I had her measure them and I made her some.

I love this combination!! At first I was concerned about using Minky fabric because it is a knit
and therefore is not as stable as a woven fabric would be. However, I have seen that it is used extensively in the online car seat cover market so I wasn't going o refuse. It really does work great. I did reinforce behind the button holes for the straps because I was afraid it would stretch funny without it. I also added custom embroidery on this seat with very stylish results.

It seems that a majority of the covers that I make are for girls. Some are a little bit feminine and others are just plain girlie. This one is just plain girly, but I had a lot of fun playing with the different contrasting fabrics. To me, this is the joy of a custom cover. Every one's taste is so different and designing your own car seat is a way to show your individual style.

A SafeSeat in Heather Bailey Peonise

This order for this seat came as an Alchemy request through Etsy. When I got the e-mail about the order I was taken back abit. The title request read "Custom Car Seat Cover with Heather Bailey Peonise fabric." My maiden name is Heather Bailey and I was not aware that another who shares my maiden name designs such beautiful fabric. I was trying to figure out how the person ordering the car seat knew me. I finally googles Heather Bailey peonise and saw all the beautiful fabrics!!Making this seat was wonderful because the customer knew the look she wanted and communicated that to me. She sent me a picture of a similar car seat and drew lines showing me where each fabric was to go. I loved it!!! As you can see, it turned out beautiful!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

An Oriential Flair

About the same time I received my first Alchemy request I had another Etsy shop owner contact me about making a custom cover for her new daughter. She wanted to use a single fabric rather than multiple, coordinating fabrics.

She purchased this wonderful print on a midweight linen. I used a new pattern for this cover. The "back" of the seat is one piece and the "seat" is one piece. It is easier to put together and all the raw edges are bound in a bias binding. This canopy is also finished with bias binding because I felt that using the linen as lining would have made it too thick. Also, the back of the linen seemed to be a complementary color.

This cover was made for a SnugRide that has a three point harness. I don't have a SnugRide with a three point harness to model the covers on which is why there is not a harness threaded through this cover. This is another reason "slip covers" do not work for car seats. The SnugRide alone has three harness styles, two canopy styles and a major design change which increased the length of the seat back. All these are variables that I have to identify before I make a cover so that the cover will FIT.

Alchemy on Etsy

So there is a feature on Etsy called Alchemy that people can use to request a custom item. I activated that feature in my shop and a couple of days later I had a request. It took a few days for the fabric to arrive and I will have to admit the denim and quilted cotton became a little too thick to sew easily. But the cover is cute in a simple way. This is the first canopy I did not use a lining for. Instead, I bound the raw edges with some bias strips made from the green. I had to "unquilt" the green fabric to make the bias strips but it was worth the effort.

But what about the boys?

As I surfed around looking at the other online outlets for car seat covers I noticed that covers for girls were well represented but there weren't alot out there for boys. Now, I am not into the trendy, that is what custom covers are for, but I thought I would try something classic. I had a piece of a woven suede-like fabric that I had purchased a couple of years ago to make a jacket. I didn't end up making the jacket but I kept thinking it would be a great fabric to make a car seat cover so I went shopping for a companion fabric.Here you go!! Styish in a GQ kind of way. So I listed it on Etsy.

A day or so later I was contacted by someone who wanted the same seat cover but for a SnugRide. I still had some of the brown suede fabric left over so I ran down to my local JoAnn's and bought some more of the blue to make this cover:I just hope the two mommies that bought these companion seat covers don't attend the same play group.

Etsy, Sweet Etsy

So I realized that Craigslist porbably wasn't the best venue for my talent. I got a few nibbles but I also got people telling me that replacement covers shouldn't be used because they are not "origional" equipment. Now I think of myself as a hard nose about car seats, but I think that is going over the top. I also had someone post that replacement covers shouldn't be used because they weren't flame retardant. Well, personally, if your car is on fire and your baby is inside I think you have more to worry about than weather or not your baby's car seat cover is flame retardant. I would want to get the car seat and the baby away from the flames so I never needed to know if it was flame retardant!!!

OK, I digress...
So...another online outlet for handmade goods...HMMM...

How about Etsy!?!?!?!!!

So I gave it a try. I posted my Bangle Dot SnugRide cover and in that posting I mentioned that I could do custom seat covers. Enter Adrienne Berry from Dingbat Press. She was expecting #3 and wanted some style in her car seat. She had looked for car seat covers before her other two kiddos were born but they all looked too slipcover-ish. She contacted me about the possibility of making a custom seat for her. You bet.

Here is the cover I made for her and her sweet son, Charlie. She started the process with only two weeks to go, then Charlie came early. Nevertheless, she got her seat cover the day she brougt Charlie home. She left me some wonderful feedback:

This is simply amazing! I sew a lot but a car seat cover is one thing I don't ever want to attempt. I'm so glad I found you and will be leaving positive feedback tonight on Etsy. I've looked over the years each time I've had a kid and have never been in love with how most of the covers are made so I've never ordered.
With your cover I seriously can't imagine a better product. The craftsmanship is impeccable and is made like a REAL carseat cover should be: to FIT. I might be back for a second (if I can find some cute enough fabric the second time around) so I can switch them out for laundry time! Great work, you really know what you are doing. This is certainly one of a kind, I'll be gushing about you for ever I think!