Tuesday, 26 May 2009

I think I'm in love.

Well, there was a radical change in direction, and I'm in love with the currently final side snap nappy pattern. It'll probably change a bit more with more testers, but this version fits both my 1 year old and 3 1/2 year old, and I happen to know a couple of newborn clothy bums who are getting presents. Hopefully they will be ready by Friday.


1 year old

3 1/2 year old. I'm quite lucky because she toilet trained almost 2 years ago, but she thinks trying on nappies for me is a cool game :)

While going through I discovered another version that missed the photo call, so that's what, 15 distinctly different patterns I've trialled. There were three radical changes such as changing from front to back pocket opening, changing how the wings go, and the final version which is fully topstitched. Then all the other versions were fiddling with the wings, crotch and spacing of the snaps. Plus the decision that they'll all be mostly minkee to side step the wicking issue, plus I like minkee!

I have no idea how this compares with other people's design process. There are some who I think have possibly done a lot more versions, and some I'm pretty sure have done a lot less. It depends on what your design requirements are and how many times you change your mind!

Now I just need to practice practice practice sewing them, and get them tested by a wider audience.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Side Snap Odyssey 2

Back to designing, which I left here. After using them a bit I realised the snaps needed more support, so this was my chance to do some topstitching, which is the look I prefer anyway. So:

7. With topstitching around wings.

8. Changing the back and wings, and using some minkee :)
9. More wing changes.
10. And more changes.
11. More minkee
12. This is pretty close to a working design.
13. So I did another one to the same pattern but only in minkee, and discovered the wings are extremely difficult to sew in a napped fabric rather than cotton.
It almost sounds like I'm there. Unfortunately the legs just aren't working. I never had this problem with Widget, but Midget keeps getting wet around the legs even with non-wicking fabrics. And if she does, other babies will as well. So while I really like the way I do the legs and think it makes a nice feature out of the inner, I'm going to have to change it. I'm currently sewing one which is topstitched all the way around to keep the inner in and the outer out, and will continue the saga when that's been tested a bit.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Side Snap Odyssey Part 1

I thought this might be interesting for anyone who is thinking about designing something to sell. This won't necessarily translate into other areas, but it will give you an idea of the fiddling that is required. Or that is required if you are picky and change your mind a lot.

One of the things you have to identify is your point of difference - what is it that will make people want to buy your product? This doesn't have to be a feature of the design, it might be your availability, your price, your service, or something else. For me, I only got into nappy making in the quest to find something to suit my girls, so the design is paramount. We generally only wear nappies and a t-shirt, so I'm after a particular look that to me is cute.

To fit my girls' thighs it has to be side snap. I can't stand the idea of them growing out of a nappy rather than wearing it out so it has to be a one-size (OSFM, I hate the OSFA label with a passion). I like a nice little triangle bum shape, a trim fit and cute fabrics.

Bear in mind these are all 'working' nappies, they are a bit worn for nice pictures! Plus I trial sewing techniques as well as patterns, so some of them are funny shapes because I've tried out a different way of putting it together.

First attempt, too wide in the crotch, short in the rise, generally too small.
2. Pretty frill effect on the legs, trying out the fabric, didn't wear well at all.

3. Crotch much trimmer, still a bit short but very useable. Still trying to get the pocket opening easier to sew, I keep ending up with a raw edge.

4. Christmas nappy. Nice shape but a bit baggy, each wing is a different snap width to compare them. I quite often do that on experiments - make each side different so I can see which one works better. There was a fairly large break in here while I trialled them and decided whether to continue.

5. I love this fabric. Settling into a design I like, but I don't like the way the wings are pulling.

6. The front runner at the time. There was a lot of fiddling with the front wings to try to get one large enough, this is the first that comfortably fit my eldest, now 3 1/2.

At this point I didn't do any more sewing for about 3 weeks to give all of them a workout. There are many more to come!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Survey Part II

Wow a long time between posts, but it will all be busy now. I've been distracted by a very ill family member so the business has been on the back burner.

A wrap up of some of the individual comments and suggestions from the survey.

There is a strong feeling that people buy two sorts of nappies - the plain, go with anything, go anywhere, serviceable nappies, then the splash out, wild, funky, embellished ones.

Labels are important. Not only for reliability, but there is a whole positive feedback cycle happening, where for resale only certain brands go well, so they get double the exposure, so they are more popular, so they get more word of mouth, and it goes on. I'm not going to get into why they got big in the first place, I assume they're good nappies and deserve it, I'm just saying my survey shows that feedback loop is very, very strong.

Some of the other suggestions - I'm definitely working on the store layout, this one was a bit rushed to get ready for the GDUNH, when I start selling side snaps it will definitely be a bit re-organised. I also have ideas for a boys section to match the girly things, unfortunately it has been put on hold while travelling and getting the new pattern up and running. Now testing takes a while, so while that is happening hopefully I will get some of the other ideas made.

There were some great suggestions, combined with people's preferences I'm going to start heading towards more fancy and embellished nappies. I've tried being middle of the road because that's the sort I like, but that seems to be the smallest market segment. There'll still be some there, but I have a huge minkee order coming from a co-op and it's a good excuse to do some of the embellishment that I enjoy.

An interesting idea was to do an AIO/2. I've thought about it with my snappi pattern, but it wouldn't work the way I want it to so I didn't go into it. But with the side snap pattern I think it would work, that might be somewhere to go in the future.