Design Process

Super Nutkin

IMG_8196IMG_8189Today, more from the workshop.  I continue to work at building a large collection of unique superhero costumes for our next party rental collection.  This little costume was inspired by a little acorn drawing my son did when I asked him what he thought would make good superhero logos.  The headpiece is meant to be a grey squirrel, but since it really looks like a mouse, I think it will end up being a mouse head on another costume and I’ll try another tactic with the squirrel head.

IMG_8190I’ve been asking kids what super powers they think this guy has and the answers are great…one thing they all agree on…this superhero is totally NUTS!

Only 540 More Armour Studs to Go!

Perhaps I exaggerate a bit – but I’d say that I can commiserate with real smiths who forged ‘real’ armour for real knights in the middle ages at this point.  Once the cutting and sewing are done, the finishing touch on my Knight’s Armour design is the addition of 18 snap heads to add a touch of real metal and a bit of weight and shine to the design.  Each snap consists of multiple pieces that are set into the fabric using a heavy iron press that looks like a miniature old-fashioned water pump (but still take full-sized muscle to compress!).  Last year I made a batch of 200 suits of armour with 22 snaps in each and paid quite a price in sore hands, back and muscles.  This year the batch is only 50 and I’ve cut the snaps back to 18 – so the job is much more manageable – but with 360 snaps done and 540 still to go before the show starts next week, I’m feeling like I could use a cheering squad!

The best part, though is that they look wonderful!  This year the fabric is a soft supple PVC-free polyurethane which is lovely to touch, and the crests have been distilled down to only the most popular designs (maple leaf, horse, snake, lion).  I’ll keep trucking through this task and imagine the excitement of the kids who will open these gifts this holiday season!

Curious minds want to know…what is your favourite tool?  I have a few, but I sure love my Olfa knife – the way it can always be sharp as a razor and cut perfect, clean lines in fabrics, slice open boxes or cut strings with equal ease.

November is One of a Kind Show Countdown!

Detail work…I love the fiddly sewing!

I’ve been working like the proverbial Busy Beaver all fall to prepare new designs and stock for the upcoming Toronto Christmas One of a Kind Show.  Our busiest and best retail show of the year.  Eleven days of incredible holiday shopping from 800 Canadian Artisans!  As usual Fancy Pants Kids will be there with our beautiful little castle and some special things no one has seen before!  We will have some old favourites back in stock (red dragontails, Magic Circle Cloaks) and some great new items like our new Power Cuffs and Coronets, sword belts and a knight’s helmet!

My wall of inspiration, crap and children’s artwork.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to give you a bit of a backstage tour of life at this time of year – show you some of the amazing people and places that are part of my process and give you a sense of what my little workspace feels like at this time of year (hint: kind of like Santa’s workshop!)  I’ll give away some tickets to the show and give you a sneak peak at some of the new products.

This time of year is a true marathon…which culminates on November 22nd in the most intense 11 days of the entire year.  Imagine…800 other Artisans are all working like this too!  My head spins to imagine the industry and the raw power you’d be able to collect if you harnessed all our creative powers and energies…you’ll feel it in the hall at the Direct Energy Centre in 20 days.

Eeep!  20 days?  I gotta get back to the sewing machine!

Power Cuffs…New Product Development

New FPK Power Cuff…fits mom too!

When I’m working on a new product, it’s always hard to turn away from the fun of design to get back to making sales calls, balancing my books or packing orders.  However, I’ve found a great new way to make the less-fun work seem like a piece of cake…I wear my new ‘Power Cuff’ prototypes while I work!  Makes me feel like I can do anything…including today’s unenviable task of preparing all the paperwork for my tax audit!  Sometimes grown-up challenges need childish solutions! Continue reading