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Messages - crammage

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 6
1
General Discussion / Re: leather double welt?
« on: April 09, 2015, 12:53:34 PM »
Last year I did a set of game chairs in fabric but they wanted a leather double piping.  Fortunately I was able to use some pre-made piping that was in the color they wanted.  It was single welt but I sewed it together to make the double welt and it worked well.  It was also a smaller size than if I would have made it from scratch. 
My problem came to the hot glue, it did not adhere well to the leather.  fussed with it for far too long before it looked good.  Talked with the customer a year later and they are still happy with the results.
Clay

2
General Discussion / Re: Decisions and their unexpected consequences
« on: March 17, 2015, 10:32:25 AM »
It's actually a very tough spot to be in, I make great money and have excellent benefits from the company I work for and enjoy the work overall.  That's the biggest factor in moving to a full time upholsterer.  The work is definitely there, reputation seems to be spreading.  I keep thinking if my company would lay me off then I'm ready for the transition, however, it doesn't appear that will happen anytime soon. 

In the mean time I plug away at it one day, one job at a time, keeping my priorities straight; God, family, and then everything else.   

I have two leads on people who are experienced sewers and are interested in learning upholstery so maybe we can work out a deal to have them assist in some way.  If not, my lovely wife and I will carry on!

Clay

3
Recently had a customer have her parsons chairs recovered by me.  She supplied the fabric, whom she ordered through a designer who is also a customer of mine.  Anyway, when she came to pick up the chairs I told her she had a couple of yards left of fabric.  She seemed upset and said, "what am I going to do with extra fabric, I have no use for it!"  I graciously offered to credit her since she had several more pieces I was going to do for her and the fabric was high quality and I can easily resell or use on one of my projects.

Anyway, they took two of the chairs and then returned for the other two, and her husband then said that they were so grateful to work with someone who is honest and fair.  They both kept saying this as we loaded the chairs. 

Once I finished with the other pieces she had they actually paid me a "bonus" since they were so pleased with the work and integrity that we showed them. 

Again, being honest and professions reaps benefits beyond just the immediate job.  Not that I need more to do but she has since told me that she is telling everyone she runs into about our business. 

Guess that explains why I can't keep up and why people just keep calling me.  :)
Clay

4
General Discussion / Decisions and their unexpected consequences
« on: March 13, 2015, 11:16:23 AM »
Last fall I posted the question about whether to continue my upholstery business or not since it is a part time gig and was getting way busier than I wanted to be. 

I decided at that time to raise prices and see how it went.   Well, it just continued to get busier so I decided to cut back dramatically, finish out the quotes and existing customer requests and get on with life.  Maybe do a few pillows or cushions once in a while but that was going to be it.
I proceeded to tell the designers that use our services and those whom I had quote jobs for, was that the best course of action?

I am busier now then ever!  I am booked through the end of summer and new people are calling every week.  I  turn down every new customer that calls.  Every quote I had outstanding seems to be coming back as an order, didn't think that I had that many out but I was wrong.

The good news is that this will pay for my daughters senior year of college! 



I tell my customers that they need to be patient with me and I'll get to things as I get to them. 

5
General Discussion / Re: I want the truth, and I want it now.
« on: February 13, 2015, 12:08:01 PM »
I've always been fascinated by the pieces with factory coverings where part of the piece is connected with staples but the other part uses tacks.  I figured they were transition pieces where the factory still had old timers that loved their tacks and then younger people using the new technology of staplers. 

Speaking of staples, we're in the middle of redoing a Sam Moore chair with matching ottoman.  Ottoman staples came out very easily, the chair, not so much.  I think every single staple broke no matter what I did.  I spent 3 hours tearing the thing apart, not to mention how many times I cut my hands on broken staples.  Glad the piece is almost done.   :)   Oh, and it's a plywood frame.  Oak plywood but still plywood. 

Clay

6
General Discussion / Re: Any body repaired a tennis net ?
« on: January 24, 2015, 08:14:27 PM »
I repaired a number of them for our high school a few years ago.  My daughter played on the team so naturally they asked if I could help.

The biggest issue was just the bulk, they get quite heavy and are hard to move around if you don't have a lot of space like me.  The tops and bottoms are easy to sew.  They hard part is if you have holes in the nets themselves.   Easy to get the net string but now how do you attach it and weave it into the flow of the netting?   I used heat sensitive plastic stuff and melted it around the string once I joined the new stuff to the old.  Long tedious process, the things we do for our kids!

Anyway, have fun!
Clay

7
General Discussion / Re: Poll: Where in the world are you?
« on: May 09, 2014, 05:28:51 PM »
Delano, MN which is 30 miles west of Minneapolis.  Snow country!  If it wasn't for family I think we'd be somewhere warmer!

Clay

8
General Discussion / Re: Tipping point
« on: December 18, 2013, 08:09:48 PM »
Thanks for advice. I think I'm going with number 4 and raising my prices.  I am in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose what I want to do.  It should be worth my time and effort of being so busy.   

I think one of the reasons things are picking up is that I have heard of a couple of other upholsterers who have died recently, old timers that were around for awhile and then another who just stop doing it so there are fewer and fewer people taking on the trade around here (west of the twin cities in Minnesota). 

I did have a high school kid helping me for awhile but then he moved away to go to college.  My wife helps with some things but isn't confident enough to sewing, but she's great at pulling staples!  If I could train her on using my industrial sewing machine I think that would help a lot but she's afraid it's too powerful!

We'll see what happens over the next few months.

A friend advised me to raise my prices by 20% and keep doing that until business subsides, that's the path I'm going to take.

Thanks
clay

9
General Discussion / Tipping point
« on: December 18, 2013, 10:14:09 AM »
Ok guys I need some advice.  I'm at the point in my small part time business that I need to make a decision on how to proceed.  I'm swamped with work!!  It's been like this for six months.  My part time gig has really become another full time job and I can't keep up the pace for much longer.    I was suppose to take the month of December off so I could regroup before the new year, Ha, that didn't happen.  I'm already booked through Feb, where are these people coming from and how are they finding out about me?

Anyway, here's my question, I need to decide how I want to proceed with my business:
   1. Go full time - not an option, I make too much at my regular job with great benefits, this was just a hobby.
   2. Quit upholstery all together - possible and with feeling overwhelmed right now more tempting then ever!
   3. Select a few repeat customers (designers) and exclusively do work for them which would be plenty but not overwhelming.
   4. Continue on current pace until something changes - either collapsing from exhaustion or business tapers off or raising my pricing so no one wants to use me! 

Just throwing it out there for some of your excellent advice!

Thanks
clay

10
General Discussion / supplier for Maharam Wafer fabric
« on: October 15, 2013, 02:21:04 PM »
Anyone know a good supplier for Maharam Wafer fabric.  I need it in Jet (black) and my normal supplier is out.  Got one quote for $15.00 over what Maharam lists it on their web page for, what's that about?

Any help would be appreciated.  Only need 4 yards.

Clay

11
General Discussion / Re: stretchy fabric
« on: October 05, 2013, 12:12:06 PM »
Jeremy,  I actually have several cutting mats of different kinds and find they all work about the same.  Just received this blue one from Rochford Supply and worked good.  I can't tell you the name of the rotary cutter.  I like using them when I have to cut multiples of something or need to have precise sizes.  It goes faster than scissors and my hands don't get tired.

I just received a bias tape template from Missouri Star Quilt Company and used it on this fabric to cut the cording strips and decided it was the best thing since slice bread,  It saves time in that when you sew the strips together it has the 1/4" seam already figured into the process so I don't have to cut off the little triangles before I have to start sewing the welting together.  The only problem is it isn't really long.  Missouri Star Quilt Company has a tutorial on how to use it which is how I found out about it.

Here's a picture of one of the finished chairs.  Only have 2 left out of 10 total which will have to wait until I get back from Chicago next week.

http://s1115.photobucket.com/user/crammage/media/WP_20131004_003_zpscfe5c8af.jpg.html

This picture was before I finished steaming the skirts so they still flare out  a little bit.

Clay

12
General Discussion / Re: stretchy fabric
« on: October 03, 2013, 06:34:41 PM »
Yeah, it's been a pain but I have to remind myself to slow down and think through what I'm doing so I don't get so frustrated.  I do have a Viking/Husqvarna machine I could use, I usually use it for lighter weight fabrics since my WF machine doesn't do well with them.  It will take longer than my Chandler but for better control it could be worth it.  Thanks for the suggestion Sofadoc!

Clay

13
General Discussion / stretchy fabric
« on: October 03, 2013, 02:04:09 PM »
Ok, I'm having all sorts of issues with the fabric I'm currently working with for 10 parsons chairs with skirts.  It is a Robert Allen fabric and very expensive according to the designer that supplied it. 

The fabric stretches a lot.  For instance, the relaxes width of the fabric is 50" from selvedge to selvedge but easily extends 2-3" if you pull on one side and hold the other. 

My biggest issue is with the skirts.  I cut to the size I think I need and then end up after sewing with 1- 1.5 extra inches.  When I attach the skirts I start with the center, match the pattern and then pull the ends to where I think they're stretched about equal to the bottom, staple and install.

Fortunately the fabric responds well to steaming so I can sort out an wrinkles in the skirting pretty easily but what fussy stuff to work with.  It is also hard to keep the pattern consistent on the seat and back.  I center the seat fabric, attach to the front then start the sides and after a few staples have to come back to the front, adjust because the lines are no longer straight, shift the fabric around put in a few staples, check, repeat, repeat, repeat....

It's just taking longer to do these chairs due to the fabric than I originally estimated.

Here's some pictures of the fabric, 1. this is the relaxed cut piece, 2. this is after rubbing my hand across it a few times.  It stretched 1/2 inch just by rubbing my hand over it.  I did find that ironing the fabric helps to set it a little but I don't want to iron 40 yards of fabric!    :D

http://s1115.photobucket.com/user/crammage/media/002_zps0bec6ad2.jpg.html
http://s1115.photobucket.com/user/crammage/media/004_zpsca7d607d.jpg.html

14
General Discussion / Re: Unpredictable Business
« on: September 26, 2013, 07:21:34 AM »
My work is always hit and miss, but since it's a part time business that works ok for me.  Right now I'm super busy because I have a big job hitting tomorrow and it needs to be done in a week since I'm leaving town the following weekend for a week.  So it's going to be all hands on deck for the next week!.  Yep, putting the wife to work pulling staples and cutting fabric!

Oh, and when you get slammed it seems like everything else happens at the same time, we have a funeral on Saturday (1 hour drive away so there's 4 hours gone from my prime working time), I have a church board meeting Sunday evening, and tons of little things before I leave town.  fortunately I have lots of vacation time from my primary job and it's very flexible so I can take some days off this week to work on furniture and get double pay! 

Clay

15
General Discussion / Re: Metal tack strip
« on: July 11, 2013, 09:09:26 AM »
ok, next question on hand stitching.  Do you use the official hand stitching thread or sewing machine thread?  I find the hand stitching thread too thick for some fabric and it is always unraveling at the ends.  I typically use regular thread and haven't had a problem as long as I secure the ends well.

Clay

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