New This Week: Rainbow Connection

Recently I was invited to participate in an online-auction for the Fairy Godmother’s Design group Anniversary Launch. This is one of several groups on Facebook that host small auctions with amazing designers. I am honored to be invited. The theme of this particular auction is Rainbow Connection. Being as I primarily sew for boys, Rainbows are a tough theme. Here is what I came up with, though.

Phineas and Ferb Bowling Shirt |

This blackboard fabric with mathematics theme is as close to rainbow fabric for boys I could find. Maybe it was Phineas and Ferb’s opening song playing in the other room, but I thought that the theme fit these two brothers perfectly. 

Phineas and Ferb Bowling Shirt |

Phineas and Ferb Bowling Shirt |

Phineas and Ferb Bowling Shirt |

Completely by accident, I noticed the snap closures made a perfect little Mickey head. 

Phineas and Ferb Bowling Shirt |

My second project was Toy Story inspired. While not exactly the whole rainbow, it is definitely colorful. 

Toy Story Bowling Shirt |

Toy Story Bowling Shirt |

Toy Story Bowling Shirt |

Toy Story Bowling Shirt |

And my final project, which was something rattling around in my mind for a long time. (I bought the fabric last summer!) was this Pete’s Silly Sideshow inspired dress. I made the skirt with adjustable buttonhole elastic.

Pete's Silly Sideshow Outfit |

Pete's Silly Sideshow Outfit |

Pete's Silly Sideshow Outfit |

Pete's Silly Sideshow Outfit |

Pete's Silly Sideshow Outfit |

Pete's Silly Sideshow Outfit |

Pete's Silly Sideshow Outfit |

These are available for a limited time on Facebook at The Fairygodmothers Auction Group.


Holidays · Projects

Keeping Busy

Despite curbing my Etsy business recently, I have managed to stay pretty busy with lots of other fun projects. 

I finished these two Halloween Minnie and Mickey dresses. The Minnie one sold and has made its way to its new owner in Canada. (The Mickey one on the right is still available!  Size 4) These are incredibly fun dresses with lots of great colors and details. 



These sets were a birthday gift for twin playmates. I made Minnie Mouse dresses for their birthday last year. This year they love Doc McStuffins so when I found that purple and pink polka dots I knew it was perfect for Doc. They even got corresponding outfits for their dolls.




These outfits call into the “Giving Back” category, they went to a family for a Make a Wish trip. The little girl is 4 and has leukemia. She has an almost-3-year-old brother, so they each got a special outfit. The girl’s mom sent me a message saying that her daughter declared it the best dress ever and that the princesses at Disney World will know she is a princess too. Neither one of the kids wanted to take their outfits off. 




And this swashbuckling duo is getting ready for a Disney trip too, these are their outfits for their Pirate makeover at Pirates League when we visit over Halloween for their 4th birthday. 




And one more set of Disney-inspired sibling set, these dresses were made for a college-friend’s daughters. They just got back from their trip and I am told the dresses were a hit. Her younger daughter reportedly told Tiana all about the dress, even though she wasn’t wearing it at the time.

I am off next week to Sewing Summit, but I am hoping I can start ramping up my business again now that my kiddos are spending at least a little time in preschool, and the holidays are on the way. I just received the Christmas PJs so I will be starting on those in the next couple weeks. If you pre-ordered holiday pajamas, keep an eye out for an email to finalize your designs.


A Different Direction

I started my etsy shop almost a year ago, and at the end of June I shipped my 200th order! This started as a little project while my kids napped and has exceeded my wildest expectations. Most of the orders I get are for sibling sets, 2, 3 or more shirts that go together, so I am doing at least 100 shirts a month.  I am thrilled that so many people like what I am doing, it’s exciting and humbling.

The past six weeks, though,  I have been struggling with many challenges, and it is causing me to rethink my business. I have had an ongoing machine malfunction with my newer embroidery machine which has rendered it unusable since late May. I have been getting by using the smaller machine, but have had to turn down requests, spend countless hours troubleshooting and driving to and from the repair place. It has taken a toll on me physically, with daily migraines, and the stress from the demand and my inability to complete things as promised has been unpleasant for me and for my family. It is evident that if I cannot rely on this machine I use to create these embroidered shirts, I can’t run my business in a way fair to my customers. I am not writing this to air my grievances with the business who sold me the machine and has failed repeatedly to fix it,  there is plenty of that going on in my life as I am seeking a resolution. I want to be open and honest with myself and my customers. I can’t run the type of business I want mine to be, a business that exceeds expectations, delivers ahead of deadlines, and meets the demands of my products. I cannot do this with a sub-par machine, poor, unreliable service and hours of wasted productivity. Truthfully, I also cannot afford to replace the machine since it was already a huge investment and it’s not paying for itself packed up in a box. It is beyond frustrating.

Each embroidered shirt takes about an hour to complete. This does not include time spent marketing, creating and testing designs, packaging, shipping, etc. Now my kids are threatening to give up napping, which greatly reduces the hours I have to work. The newer machine was faster, when it was working, and I was able to get more done in a shorter period of time. Without a nap time break, I lose at least two hours of time I can work on my orders every day. Paying someone to watch my kids so I can work on Etsy orders would not make sense financially, since I would essentially be working to pay someone to watch my kids (which is why I quit my job to stay home in the first place)  I would have to charge $40 for a t-shirt.  My main job is to care for these two little boys who deserve a Mommy who can be there for them, not stressed about meeting the demands of my business and dragging them to and from a deplorable business who has failed time and again to provide me with a reliable machine. 

So what does this mean for Just-Joshin? I am cutting back, refocusing. I started this venture when I started making custom clothing for my boys to go to Disney World. We are planning a trip back again this year and I have a list of new outfits I want to make for them. I have been asked to make items for friends for their Disney trips this fall. I have a ton of fabric I bought at various times with grand plans and I would love to actually complete some of those ideas. I will still be taking custom orders, but they will be more limited. My Etsy shop has been thinned out significantly, and I am carving out a schedule for custom stuff. I will be taking orders through my website and Facebook, and will offer ready-to-ship items as I finish them. Right now I have two quilts in progress that have been in progress way too long, and those are a priority. In the next week or two I hope to have a storefront option added to my website, and a price list for custom items. 

If you have already ordered shirts, Christmas PJs, dresses or outfits for Disney World or a quilt, your project is on my schedule and will be done ASAP. If you are interested in any custom orders, please contact me. I will still be happy to do t-shirts for your special occasions too, but will be cutting back on paid advertising and marketing through etsy. I am going to rely on friends, family, repeat customers and word of mouth. If you have requests for the holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, let me know now. Look for a new product list and ready-to-ship items for girls and boys coming to my shop soon.

And always, thank you all for your support and for your business.


Giving Back · Projects

Giving Back

When I was researching our Disney World vacation last year, I happened upon a sub-group of the called Disboutique. Essentially a group of sewing enthusiasts who make amazing custom clothing and more. Most of it has a Disney vibe, since the love of the Mouse is what brought them all together in the first place. It is a great community feel, lots of sharing of projects (and frustrations) enabling alerts to sales on fabric and embroidery designs or advice and how-tos for newbies.

This group also has an amazing little initiative where they organize what they call “Big Gives” for kids who are going on Wish trips. They pick a kid to shower with gifts and then they organize everyone to give what they can for the wish kid, their family, sometimes more. This includes custom outfits, t-shirts, “pixie dust” gifts like stickers and gift cards. It is truly amazing to see this group of people come together to make these kids’ trips really special.

I have been fortunate enough to have participated in a few of these Big Gives, and while it does take time and effort, being able to help these kids is priceless.

I made these Finding Nemo shirts for two brothers going on a Make-a-wish cruise. The younger brother had been in and out of hospitals his whole life, even had a transplant. He was finally healthy enough to travel for the first time ever.

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Recently I did shirts, shorts and dresses for a family who is going to Star Wars weekend at Disney World. The “wish kid” is 7, and a huge star wars fan. I made these Mickey/Star Wars shirts for him and his 4-year-old twin sisters who are also huge Star Wars fans. I made him cargo shorts to match, and the younger sisters each got Minnie Mouse dresses.

 I loved making them and the family sent me amazing photos of the kids in their outfits, including them wearing them to school the next day over layers of long sleeves and sweatpants. Plus I got the best thank you note ever: a hand-drawn Star Wars scene which I hung in my sewing room.

I did these Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts for another family, their request. They are going to Disney World and Universal next month. I love these so much I am adding them to my to-do list for my own “Things 1 and 2.”

And my most recent project was a beach towel for a Make-a-Wish cruise.

So on top of the many projects I have been doing for my Etsy shop, I  fit these projects in, because, how could I not? I know they mean the world to these kids. (I mean, seriously seeing those kids wearing their outfits on top of sweatpants was just about the best thing ever!) It takes time, sure, but totally worth it.


Putting Custom in Custom Creations

When I started this endeavor, it was with the idea that I could maybe help pay for this little sewing and embroidery hobby I had picked up. I love making custom clothes for my kids, one of a kind items that they love. I have done a ton of research, and spent countless hours on Etsy and other places on the web looking at custom kids clothing. Often someone will offer a custom shirt, but it will look just like the sample. They charge extra for adding a name. I am not saying that is good or bad, and that might work for their business, but I love the idea of making each item unique and special. That can mean changing out colors and fabrics, or adding the name or changing fonts. Occasionally a customer will ask for a specific color, but often just expect it will look like the sample. It can, but it doesn’t have to look like a cookie cutter design.

For an example, I made two 3rd Birthday Mickey Mouse shirts for my kids. This was before I learned to do embroidery, so they were done by hand. They turned out cute, but they were too small and my kids didn’t ever wear them. 

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I simplified the design and added it to my Etsy Shop, with a basic name added underneath. 

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I had a customer request a shirt with just the number 2 for her son’s birthday trip to DIsney World. She wanted it to say “It’s my birthday” instead of his name.

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Then I re-did the first shirts for my boys. They wore these outfits for their breakfast with Mickey and the gang our last morning at Disney World.

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 And recently I had a request for a larger name in the Walt Disney Handwriting font. I added the buttons because I saw them sitting on the desk. I love the way it turned out. 

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All of these are inspired by the same general idea: A birthday number w/ a Mickey twist. But no two are the same. Even the set for my boys differ in the color of the stars.

I love to customize and make every shirt unique. I feel like that is the benefit of buying from a small operation, it is truly custom.

Oh, and don’t forget I am giving away a free shirt to one lucky customer!  Make sure you head over and enter. Giveaway ends midnight Sunday. 


My Inspiration

My inspiration behind Just-Joshin is these guys:

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My amazing little boys, Justin and Joshua. I am lucky enough to get to spend every day with them. This whole adventure in kids clothing started when I decided to make them a couple matching shirts to wear to Disney World way back last summer. Now they have an entire wardrobe of custom clothing, but whenever I am working on shirts, they always ask if I am making new shirt for them. When I came up with the idea for these shirts, I knew I needed to make theirs first. They were so excited to wear them with their Mickey hats we brought back from Disney World. I love the joy the memories for Disney World bring them, I can’t wait to take them again! I love these shirts because they are simple and iconic.

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Test Driving our Disney Shirts

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I started this endeavor with the crazy idea of making custom shirts for my own sons for our Disney World trip. We are going in about a month and a half, but I started sewing them clothing for the trip months ago. What started as one shirt each has exploded  into not only an entire Disney-themed wardrobe for them, a handful of things for the parents and our friends, but a whole working-from-home business.

Of the shirts I have made for our trip, I have only let my boys try one set on, and only briefly. I really don’t want them ruined before our trip, so they are quarantined until then. I made an exception this week, though, since we were invited to a Minnie Mouse themed birthday party for another twin family. I made the girls their Minnie birthday dresses, which they loved and looked so cute in for their party. I let my boys wear Mickey Mouse shirts I made. And of course they got pink frosting on them. Sigh. Luckily, nothing that didn’t wash away, thankfully.

And now, the inspiration for Just Joshin, my sons Justin and Joshua in their Mickey Mouse shirt test run (and the adorable newly 3-year-old girls.)

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I just finished two dresses for a Minnie Mouse birthday party, twin girls turning three. These were a custom order, based on their Mom’s request for pink Minnie dresses for their party. For me, it was my first foray into ruffles. The nice thing about making clothing for twins is you get a lot of extra practice! I was able to quickly master the shirt pattern I made for my boys, and these dresses were no different. By the second one I was a ruffling master. I can’t wait to see the birthday girls in their adorable dresses. I hope the love them as much as I do.

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