Turning an idea into a product

Here at Sheepland we have the luxury of creative freedom (within reason!), we love nothing more then trying a new idea and seeing how it develops. Many of our handmade products have been the result of lots of tweaking and adjusting, sometimes creating a whole new idea in the process!

There are a few questions we usually have to tackle like:

Which sheepskin would be best to use? Choosing the right sheepskin is absolutely crucial, doubleface is soft, breathable and supple yet can be liable to damage if stretched. Using a lining sheepskin and affixing suede on the reverse is very common, as it becomes extremely strong but it can be difficult to stitch and manoeuvre under a machine. Long fur sheepskin is luxurious but it is bulky and hard to turn on a machine, which therefore limits how it can be used. Toscana sheepskin is soft, thinner but sits beautifully against the body, making it perfect for clothing, however it is often the most expensive and it can be hard to match skins.

What stitching type is the best to use? We always like to “wear test” our designs to see if it needs to be improved or whether it can withstand normal wear and tear. We use machines that can sew a straight stitch and overlock, each have advantages and disadvantages.Choosing a stitch which is discreet yet tough enough to do the job is essential.

How long will it take to make? Our time is important, as if it takes us too long to make, the cost price will be too high and would make the final price too expensive. With our designs, they are usually hand cut from small sheepskin fleeces, which all has to be taken into account on our final decision.

That all being said, however, there is something about taking an idea , subsequently creating a design and a pattern from it, seeing the end result fills you with pride and a great sense of achievement. To name just a few, we have created our Handmuff, Sheepland Sheep Stool, Katy Shearling Hat, Footmuff, Teddy, Baby Booties, Headband and Bed Throw from an idea to our very own design from start to finish here in the Workshop. The best part of the process? Well of course it is when we see customers buying our ideas and then reviewing them. There is nothing more satisfying then hearing how our products have made the difference to someone, especially if it was one of our own lightbulb moments.
Now we can’t take all the credit for our new products, a lot of our designs have come from our conversations with customers, as we will always try our hardest to fulfil any bespoke requests. Unlike working with a large faceless company, we can always be reached on the phone and we’ll always do our hardest to help. In just the last few months we have made a giant Footmuff, a bespoke stool covered in sheepskin, a grey handmuff and a large double shearling sheepskin rug. All were made for a specific purpose and were lots of fun to complete – variety is certainly the spice of life!

The most fantastic thing about being a small family run sheepskin company is the ability to use the quieter months to look at this bespoke projects. As you can imagine, we always have more time on our hands in the Summer, allowing us to play around with different sheepskin combinations. We recently trooped off to our local Tannery to hand pick the latest sheepskins, we even got to choose some wonderful short wool coloured rugs which we hope to use for some special projects!

If you ever have an idea or an adjustment do let us know, we will always listen, just remember the only products we cannot alter easily are our footwear, as we use large cutting knives on our press to cut the pieces. Nevertheless if you have a fantastic idea we’d still love to hear it! Why not contact us via email or Facebook?