Tuesday, 9 January 2018

How To Submit Your Craft Project to a Magazine

Woman reading sat next to her craft project bag in the park


Are you a designer with a beautiful project you’d like to see in print but have no idea how to go about it?



After listening to Episode #99 of Abby Glassenburg’s While She Naps Podcast I think there may be a chorus of yeses out there and so this is the post for you.

I’ve been published numerous times here in the UK and in Australia and the USA so I think I'm doing alright at it and my advice is sound.

Last time I introduced you to my gorgeous new pattern, the Happiness is Hibiscus Cross Stitch Project Bag, that had just been published in Homespun

Today I'm going to show you how I submitted that design idea to the editor and give you my Project Design Sheet Checklist so you know exactly what to include when approaching publications with your own designs.

Before we turn back time to see how my project started out I'd like to give a quick intro to Abby Glassenburg. If you haven’t met Abby yet, here she is in her sewing room 😀


Abby Glassenburg at her sewing machine


Abby's podcasts are so informative and inspiring, I can't recommend them highly enough! If you're not already listening you should be.

Since tuning in, I’ve discovered fantastic designers and learnt so much about how others are rocking it in the creative biz. I so enjoy hearing about their creative paths and how one thing leads to another. The thing I most like about Abby is that she's not afraid of asking about the nitty-gritty and she's upbeat yet realistic when it comes to the pursuit of earning a living wage from creative endeavors.


So that's Abby and now back to Episode #99 of While She Naps with Ellen March and, how I approach submitting project ideas to craft magazines.

I hadn't heard of Ellen before the episode but she is a woman after my own heart.

Ellen is currently the Community Content Director for the sewing division of F+W Media but she started by applying for a job she wasn't qualified for. She went on to impress the interviewer so much that they created a role especially for her based around the myriad of skills she did have.

I love Ellen’s attitude.

I think a lot of very talented folks hang back from jumping in perhaps fearing they aren’t good enough or assuming that they need to make a project umpteen times before they can pitch it.

I rarely work like that. I come up with the idea, sketch it out, pitch it and then when it’s accepted I work out the best way to make it. And sometimes I throw in a little panic for good measure 😁

Usually I'll have an idea of how my design will be constructed and I have a wealth of experience designing and making hand stitched projects to fall back on.

The aspect of designing I enjoy the most is problem-solving and perfecting the finish but things can and do change along the way as my ideas evolve.

This is what my submission for the Happiness is HibiscusProject Bag looked like:


Design Sheet showing bag idea for magazine submission
This was really easy to achieve and by following my checklist you can do it too.

Checklist for Project Design Sheet to Submit to Magazines  

 

  • Name - it doesn't have to be anything fancy, I think it's best to just call it what it is.
  • Brief Description - I treat this like a strapline and use it to sell the design idea.
  • Design Sketch - I added in a stitched view of the surface to give an impression of how it would look. This was all possible with a few easy clicks on GIMP, a free image editing software similar to Photoshop. DON'T PANIC: yours could be hand drawn and coloured in. Again, it doesn't have to be fancy, just communicate your idea in the best way you can. 
  • Colour Palette - I used images of my chosen yarn.
  • Stitched Sample - mine shows what the texture of the fabric will look like but this could be a detail of something that makes your design stand out.
  • Finished Size - the idea is to give them all the info they need to imagine how your project will look in actuality.
  • Extra Info - the materials used, additional notes and links to stockists where readers can by the materials from.

I've found it good practice to find stockists before committing to the idea if you're submitting sewing project ideas to another country. You don't want to be in the bear-y awkward position of designing a beautiful project only to find out their readers aren't able to get hold of the supplies.


Bear waving while another bear hides behind


Annnnd...that's it! Get all that good stuff onto a page and you'll have a great design sheet that effectively communicates your idea to the editorial team. Your project design idea is now ready to submit!

My final piece ended up a little bit different to my initial sketch. The bag's shape changed when the idea progressed from a tote to a project bag. 

Woman sat in park with craft project bag

For a useful craft project bag I knew it needed to be bigger so it could accommodate a variety of different projects, a zip was essential to keep everything safe and some extra pockets would come in handy too.


Sketch of initial bag design next to photo of finished bag


I took inspiration for its final shape from a memory of a beloved Garfield carry case I adored in my childhood. I'm over the moon with my sophisticated version of a holdall I once treasured and hope you'll treasure one for yourself too...


Woman standing on wood fence modelling handmade project bag

...not bad for a nostalgic youngster with so-called old lady hobbies 😁💖

I hope my checklist helps when putting together your own design ideas to submit to magazines. It'd be great to hear from you if use it to submit, especially if you land a publication!

I love hearing from you, leave your thoughts in the comments box below 🌺

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Until next time, have a fab floss-filled week!

Shannan, Bobbin and Fred xX
 

Fred the goat with speechbubble asking you to share this post

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