Masterclasses, knitting, and the future of The Modern Maker
Masterclass weeks have begun! Our first week was breeches and those of you who follow us on FaceBook know that it was a success! Students created some fantastic pieces and I have made the poofiest breeches in my wardrobe to date.
Next week will be nothing but pattern making. We will use the Bara System to prepare drafts, I will teach drafting principles and concepts and even show a couple of patterns for modern clothing. It will be enlightening.
KNITTING WITH THE MODERN MAKER:
On a different note, The Modern Maker Vol. 3: Knitted Accessories, is well underway. I am starting to send out packages to my sample makers and pattern testers. I’m also doing a lot of knitting, but I can’t do it all, that’s why designers hire help! As of this moment, the book will have over a dozen patterns total. There will be 5 patterns for stockings of various weights and fibers (both top-down and bottom-up for the wool version), as well as 5 different hats, two pairs of gloves, and the finest gauge silk stocking pattern I’ve ever written and POSSIBLY a pattern for a silk/metallic jacket. I look forward to putting it all together! Once the whole book is written and editing begins, I will post a pre-order button in the store here on my site. I had projected a November release, but at this point, with all that has been added to it, the release will likely be early 2019. I’ll have more specifics once my sample knitters send me their timelines. I can’t expect everyone to knit as fast as I do.
As a business, its hard to call The Modern Maker “successful.” I have struggled over the years to make it grow and earn. The issues surrounding this are many, but I think there is a bright future for our brand.
The Modern Maker masterclasses are not particularly well attended, but the students that do come and learn from me leave here with a very strong sense of accomplishment and excitement about what they are capable of creating with their hands. I’d like to spend more time teaching. I think the passing of this kind of knowledge should be done in person. I love making the videos and they have a strong place in the business structure now, but the quality of those lessons pales in comparison to what can be learned with face-to-face education and training.
Because it has been difficult to make this business earn a revenue that is capable of supporting me, I have to keep taking jobs and that takes away from the time I can spend creating content for my customers/followers. Moving into the sphere of writing books and teaching classes was never meant to be a hobby or a side-job — It was meant to be my profession. I’m working hard to create enough product that revenue streams will grow and support the business, right now though, things are slow and difficult. The uncertainty in our economy has slowed down everyone’s desire to spend money on things that aren’t essential. Unfortunately, that means less growth in The Modern Maker. I’m pushing to do more, find new footing and create new product, but I’m also human, I have limits. The biggest help you, as the consumer, can be is to make sure you tell people where you learned what you know. I have seen many posts from many people, for years now, which show clearly that my work is being used, but not credited. I’ve noticed that people are quick to credit other authors and academics whose work is used in their projects, but for some reason, my name gets left out of bibliographies and sources. Its frustrating and disheartening as I’m constantly working at full-tilt to bring people closer to history and when I’m not credited, my business loses out on the brand recognition it needs to grow. I don’t understand it, but each of you can help by making sure you encourage people to work with The Modern Maker.
LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE:
In order to create products that will sell more frequently, it has been discussed that I might branch out into modern clothing patterns that use the proportionate system to generate patterns. In doing so, I will be taking a half-step away from history and into a market that is more likely generate revenue. Using the Bara system in this manner would enable every shape of person to have quality modern clothing that fits well, is custom made and is unique to them and can be made of fabric suited to their individual tastes. This will start very slowly as I already have too many irons in the fire at the moment, but it will happen. Not only will I be putting out patterns, but I can also make videos to show the processes for making them. I will use a machine for most pieces but at least one of the collections will be designed for hand sewing techniques.