Way back in issue 6 of Crafty we ran a design competition asking all you creative folk to come up with a project based on foxes, with the chance to win £300 of haberdashery goodies and your project published in a future issue of the magazine. We had so many brilliant entries (you really are a very talented bunch!) but we had to pick just one winner and that was Victoria Peat, owner of Little Black Duck.
We loved the little dresses she'd made with super cute fox pockets so much we knew we couldn't pass up the chance to feature them in Crafty. If you'd like to see her tutorial, you can bag yourself a copy of issue 10, which is out right today (January 2nd) in all major supermarkets, WH Smith, Hobbycraft and at moremags.com.
Here's what Victoria's got to say about running her company and her Crafty little design.
When did you set up your business?
I set up Little Black Duck in 2006
What challenges have you faced during that time?
Time always seems to be the biggest factor. When you run your own business you have to be a master of so many different skills, some of which are more interesting than others. It's always frustrating when the less interesting parts of running a business take up design and making time!
How do you manage running a crafty business while looking after two little ones?
You become super efficient, well you do if you ever hope to get anything done. Sometimes a window of opportunity pops open when you least expect it and you've got to be prepared. Lists, lists and more lists will help you along the way! One of the great things about designing sewing patterns and tutorials is that there are so many different stages that you can dip in and out of when time allows... I just need to be organised enough to remember where I'm up to with each task.
How did you come up with your fox pocket idea for the Crafty challenge?
I wanted to make something that was simple, eye catching and not too tricky to make. The fox pocket is great because it can be applied to dresses and skirts for little girls (or big girls) or can be added to something like the flap of a bag.
How easy is it to do?
The fox pocket tutorial is relatively easy for a beginner sewer to make.
What tips do you have for anyone going to give it a go?
Make sure you cut out all of the pieces nice and neatly and take your time sewing, particularly around the curved edges. When you are clipping your curved edges before turning the pocket through to the right side, make sure you don't cut through your line of stitches. You'll be so cross if you do!
Where did the name Little Black Duck come from?
It was a rather back to front kind of process. I was sketching out some design ideas and managed to come up with the logo first. The name then just followed on naturally.
What inspires you design-wise?
I'm definitely a clean lines kind of girl, nothing too fussy or overly complicated. Little Black Duck for many years centered around simple and stylish interiors and accessories products but since having my two girls my design focus has shifted towards products that I know they will love.
If you could only do one craft for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Definitely sewing! Sewing is such a flexible craft and with a little care and attention you can create really professional looking results. I am also a sewing teacher and I love when students realise how simple it can be to make something really great.
What one piece of advice would you give to someone about to start a crafty business?
Don't undervalue your time and skills by under-pricing your products. If you're making good quality products, then people will be willing to pay a decent price for them.