Production Work: Welcome to Cake Central

I have very limited space, lots of work to do, and live in a place with extremely high real estate costs.  My only option is miltary style organization.

I have very limited space, lots of work to do, and live in a city with extremely high real estate costs. My only option is miltary style organization.

Cake has taken over every bit of my sewing room- new office equipment, production boxes (like the project boxes we used in the sewalong) and the kind of organizational system I could only dream about 6 months ago.

I’m cooling my heels while the Pavlova Wrap Top & Skirt production work is out of my hands (shipping and retail availability next month!), so I had the chance to work on Cake Batch Kits during the sewalong.

“kitting”

I learned the art of “kitting up” while working as a junior teacher under many talented senior quilting teachers these past few years.  It was part of my job- cutting quilt kits to precise specifications.  Kitting starts with a prototype, then sourcing the materials, then costings, writing instructions, cutting, and packaging the kits.

A baker's double dozen Cake Roll Kits, ready for the seam rippers to arrive before they ship out!

A baker’s double dozen Cake Roll Kits, ready for the seam rippers to arrive before they ship out!

I am not the best or quickest kitter I know.  Lucky for me, my good buddy P will contract the work to help me make Cake Kits!  He cuts the kits to my specifications, packs to my lists and delivers the goods with astonishing speed.  I never saw such a quick and accurate kitter, and I’m very pleased he’s happy to handle Cake Batch Kits.

“Batch”

These kits venture into “merchandizing” territory for this sewing teacher / pattern drafter.  Cake is not a large corporation, and does not use credit or debt to purchase goods.  It’s sensible for us to cut a small, set number of kits for you all and to have them here at Cake Central ready to go when you order them.  It is not sensible to try to recreate the same batch twice due to unreliable fabric availability.

Kit ContentsFor now, this means that the “accent” fabric for Cake Kits is a cute little kawaii animals-and-cake fabric I found and couldn’t resist picking up.  I’m a sucker for cute quilting cotton like anyone else!

Kits come with some assembly required, which keeps down production costs.  We all sew, anyway, and the projects are simple enough for a beginner to tackle. Besides, I know that sewing people like to put things together their own way, or go off book entirely to make something completely original.  Do it!

Organic Cotton Sateen Fabric Envelope Kits

Tiramisu in the Pavlova EnvelopeI find myself dissatisfied with the Tiramisu Knit Dress envelope paper.  It seems to tear easily, especially with my rough and constant handling.  We’re reviewing paper choices for future Cake releases.  I’m not interested in reinventing pattern packaging, our final envelopes will still be envelopes, but tougher.   In the meantime, I needed a sturdy place to store my master pattern, some tracings, and maybe a few fabric swatches during the sewalong.

Tiramisu Envelope Kit ContentsI used Tiramisu’s envelope art to create a fabric panel printed on Spoonflower organic cotton sateen.  Once my panel fabric arrived, I made up a little envelope cover and put the rest of the panels up on Etsy in kit form.  They promptly disappeared so I gently revised the panel, created a Pavlova one, and ordered more panels.

The Tiramisu Fabric envelope kit comes with everything you see here- magnetic button, interfacing scraps, and a cute fabric facing for the flap.

Pavlova Envelope Kit ContentsConstruction suggestions are discreetly printed on the panel, to show where to clip and where to sew.  Simple written instructions accompany each kit.

Pavlova Envelope Detail

…shoulda used an edge foot or a zipper foot to sew the facing down… Oh well, I can live with it and no raw edges poke out…

I’m quite pleased with how these turned out!  Click here to view the Tiramisu Fabric Envelope and the Pavlova Fabric Envelope Kits on Etsy.

Fingertip Knowledge Swatch Kits

Fingertip Knowledge Pavlova

My second sewalong brainwave came when several of you asked me for detailed information about how to buy fabrics.  Words only convey so much information, and while I do what I can no words can replace the knowledge you gain through your fingertips while handling fabrics.  Fingertip Knowledge is extremely difficult to convey without, well, using one’s fingertips.

DSC06910In several of my local classes, I provide simple swatches as fabric shopping aids.  I much prefer the sewing to be stress free and rewarding for those who attend my classes, and I find that swatch kits help alleviate many fabric choice issues.  (uhm, sparkly pink lycra for woven pajamas? Yes, apparently…)

DSC06909I made up a cute Fingertip Knowledge Swatch Book cover (so it’s pretty for you!) and had P chop my Pavlova remnants into nice little rectangles for us.  I labeled the fabrics with weight in metric and imperial as well as with fiber type and weave indicators- these are records I keep for myself, why not share?  I can provide distributor info to retailers upon request- email me.

I did this to help you choose fabrics with more confidence, and to sample out my remnants to clear a little space in Cake Central.  Everybody wins.  The Fingertip Knowledge books are extremely simple- little labeled pieces of fabric securely basted into an organic cotton interlock cover.  It’s easy to baste in your own swatches for personal reference as you sew!

Tiramisu Fingertip Knowledge Swatch Books | Cake PatternsPavlova went first because I had many of the fabrics still in my possession.  I don’t have all of my exact Tiramisu fabrics on hand, but I do have some of them still and other fabrics in similar weights.  I thought I’d ask y’all if that’s helpful or useful before I set P to kitting.  I thought I’d include a nice polyester, too.  What do you think?

Click here to view the Pavlova Fingertip Knowledge Swatch Kit on Etsy.  (Tiramisu will follow shortly if you all authorize the use of non-sample fabrics.)

Cake Rolls

Cake RollsCake Rolls are sweet little Steph-approved tool and swatch kits housed in a light and sturdy bamboo mat backing.  The bamboo is easy to sew (no special needles or feet, just stitch it up!) and incredibly durable.

Cake Roll ContentsI included a nice sharp seam ripper($aud 8.95 rrp), quality glass headed pins ($aud 5.95 rrp), and a crayola washable marker.  I have a “scientific” test of the marker and fabrics to post later this week, stay tuned.  Crayolas serve me well.

Cake Roll Cork BoardRemember how I use corkboards as pincushions?  The Cake Rolls feature little strips of cork for pins-in-action.  The Cake Rolls are great little carrying cases for sewing essentials to take to classes, toss into your project box, or leave next to the sewing machine so you always have your essential tools at your fingertips.

Deercake not your thing?  You can choose from two other fabric options, including micro-houndstooth and striped poplin shirting!

Deercake not your thing? You can choose from two other fabric options, including micro-houndstooth and striped poplin shirting!

In the future, I’d like to tailor the Cake Rolls for each new pattern release to include light and potentially difficult to source notions.  For example, when we sew Lamington Pants with hammers, the Cake Roll kit will include rivets and buckles and etc- the same ones I use in my sample sewing.

some stay tape samples are black, some are white.

some stay tape samples are black, some are white.

This time, I included 1m samples each of fusible stay tape and fusible webbing- try it out before you buy a whole roll! (future rolls will also have the option to purchase only the tool and sample contents, for those who want the goodies but have a roll already.)

For an extra charge, I am happy to assemble your Cake Roll before shipping.

Click here to view Etsy listing for Cake Rolls.

Postage

Weighty MattersAh, postage, the bane of our existences.  All Cake Kits are carefully weighed during the kitting process to keep the shipping costs as low as possible.  Current kits can be shipped with other Cake kits to save on shipping!  The maximum shipping cost for any two Cake Kits is $6.20- that’s to the Northern Hemisphere.  New Zealanders will pay $4.50 and Australians a measly $1.20.

Cake Kits ShippingIf your kit does not show up in a reasonable amount of time, I will do what I can to track it down or simply refund your purchase price.  Lately this has come up very seldom, which does inspire confidence in the Australian postal service.

As always, don’t hesitate to let me know what you think about my projects.  These are ready to go at the beginning of next week, which means the Pavlova fabric books and envelope will be in your hands before the pattern ships next month.

Do you have any questions?  Did I leave out any details?  I’ve been dropping hints around the social media and the Cake Updates email list for ages, it’s really nice to show you exactly what’s been happening around here while I wait for Pavlova.

(Pieces of Cake certificates and the grand prize winner to be announced tomorrow.  Everyone will be notified.  :))


42 comments

  1. I do like the minor changes you have made to the fabric envelope. I tried to “eyeball” the shaping on the envelope flap and it’s a little bit off on one side. The cutting and sewing lines will definitely help.

    • Yes, me too. They look more like a panel, pretty simple to put together as an envelope. Leila B aka Snow White made a wristlet zippered bag with the facing fabric and Tiramisu front panel I sent her. Super cute: http://instagram.com/p/U1_B6qwJ2U/

      Was thinking about a curved rather than angled envelope flap for future panels, what do you think?

  2. Thanks for sharing this Steph! I love finding out about the nuts and bolts of how people get things done and often learn a lot, even if I’m not applying it in a business context.
    The fingertip knowledge swatch books are brilliant, I can’t imagine how useful they would be when encountering a new fabric, or just starting out. I’m extremely lucky in that I was bought a swatch book for Christmas a few years ago so have a fingertip resource already and it’s brought on my fabric knowledge immensley!
    I’ve also just found out a really gross fact about some red lipsticks, so I’m going back on your ethical and vegie / vegan makeup posts to try and find some UK suppliers!

    • Oh good, I’m glad it’s interesting. I’m never sure if it is or if it’s all rather dry… I spent 6 or so hours to whip the space into shape, it’ll be a continual wip…

      Ooooh what swatch book? I like to swatch from all kinds of places, I guess I collect them… And you’re so right, it’s very helpful when purchasing fabrics.

      Did you find out about the beetles? Kind of gross…. Or is there something worse?

      • Turkey blood! I really have a mental block with that. cutecosmetics.co.uk sell the wonderful lipstick from Lime Crime that I remembered from an earlier post here in the UK.

        The book is Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book. There’s info on all the weaves and knits and all the samples are unbleached so you concentrate on the feel rather than going, ooooo pretty (I get distracted easily!)

        And I’m a bit of an organisation nut, so I love these posts!

        • OH GROSS. I wonder… Hmm…

          Paperdoll- vegan nail polish? I never thought of nail polish as needing animal products… well, ok, I never really thought about it to begin with…

          Vicki- I can see how the plain fabrics would be really great for helping focus on what’s important. :)

          Oh! haha. well.. Next time I post some kind of organizational post I’ll be thinking of you… :)

  3. This is amazing! It all looks so delicious and carefully thought through. The people who open these packets will feel like they are getting a special treat made just for them. And they are!

    • Yes! It’s really fun to put them together, too, I keep thinking of the little packages traveling to sewing rooms all over the place. :)

  4. umm, just fyi – i went to order a bamboo roll and a fingertip swatch book and it wants to charge me $12.50 to the UK. doesn’t sound from above like that is right?

  5. These kits are such great ideas and so helpful to new sewists like me! And I love the idea of a Tiramisu swatch kit.

      • Great! I already ordered my cake roll and pavlova fingertip kits and will look forward to the Tiramisu kit once it’s ready. Thanks for helping me be organized and for teaching me so much. So excited to keep learning and keep sewing!

  6. What an incredibly well thought out system you have, Steph! The fingertip swatch kit is brilliant for everyone, but particularly for someone new to sewing and choosing fabrics. The cake roll is lovely. I made something similar for my knitting needles. If anyone is trying to encourage someone to sew, these make perfect gifts as not only are they beautiful, but they will make the whole sewing experience less daunting. I hope you sell many!!

    • I find it hard to sit still… :)

      Yes! I can hardly believe the postage when I put it in the listing, but it’s nice. And I find local deliveries might turn up the same day, definitely the next… To most major east coast cities it’s usually one day, since the packages are so light. It’s quite nice.

  7. Steph, I just wanted to drop by and say how genius this all is. Genius! I’m so happy to see all this creative production gorgeousness pouring out of you! And I remembered that awhile back you did a very clever rouleau tie tutorial, which I just used to make some narrow silk straps for my bra on the sew-along. It took me one try! I always keep in mind your great phrase “fingertip knowledge”. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas.

    • Thanks! :)

      Oh cool! That roleau tie trick is such fun to teach… And with a slippery silk it’d be easy easy easy.. :) Lots of fingertip knowledge, the trick is to cultivate it and trust it…

      I’m so excited about your sewalong, even if I can’t really participate at the moment… But I feel a yearning for lingerie sewing coming on, I’ll be so glad to read all your lessons on lingerie when the time comes.

      • Aww, thanks. Whenever you get to it, feel free to give a shout! It’s been great fun and a big growing experience. I really want to make a Tiramisu, too. It just seems like the kind of dress I’d live in all summer long. (It was 80 today… crazy.)

  8. I love the idea of the fingertip badges… what a clever idea! This is definitely a great way to get to know your fabrics… especially as I have to buy all my fabrics online and never really know what something will be/feel like until it arrives. Thanks for sharing Steph :)

    • Yes, I think we can have some fun with it… Once the kits are out and about, I have a few more ideas for fun stuff we can do with them to build our fingertip knowledge. Might involved flames at some point… :D :D

    • You got it. I keep missing your birthday. In fact, the little fabric envelopes and the little sewing kit would be a really really great way for you to build confidence with your sewing machine. Super easy. Sit tight, best friend from high school who is learning to sew.

  9. Steph I love the idea of your little fingertip knowledge swatch kits. May I borrow your idea for my Year 10 students? They are making skirts or beanbags and shopping for the first time using a commercial pattern envelope for information. I think the little swatch kit would save some grief for the students and parents when they head out shopping…

    Also – I would have loved to have attended your intermediate sewing clas tomorrow however I already have committments – hopefully next time!

    • Yeah of course… That’s why I started doing the swatches with beginners, so I could be sure they’d bring something to class we could work with…

      It’s ok, we’ll have another one next month! :)


Is it kind, useful or interesting? Great!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s