I have a very small business, and can't afford a lot of pre-packaged business solutions. So I created an excel spreadsheet with a progressive numbering system, a description, size, pattern, and date sold. Here is an example:
SKU# Description Size Pattern Date Sold
89 Sleeveless Romper 18 months Rainbow Swirl 07/01/06
90 Sleeveless Onesie L(27-34 lb) Rainbow Vee 05/06/06
When I upload my pictures to my harddrive, I resize them so that the longest side is 200 pixels; I save the picture and name it sku089, sku090, etc. to correspond with the number in my inventory.
When I create my webpage entry, I insert the reduced picture, identify it by item number (089, 090, etc), list description, size, pattern, price and shipping cost; I build a paypal button that corresponds to the item. All of this is done (thanks to John telling me how to do it!) using my Microsoft Front Page software to directly update my website. When I sell an item, whether via internet sale or direct sale, I update my webpage to remove the item, and update my inventory to add sale date. It took awhile to set it up initially, but it is a breeze to maintain. Every time I finish a new item, I take a picture, enter it into the inventory, create the webpage entry, create the price tag which shows the inventory number and price, and the garment is ready to be tagged and put away. When I go to shows, I bring a copy of my inventory sorted by item number. Whatever I sell, I check the tag for the item number and mark it sold in my inventory. Then when I get home, I update the version I have on my computer and I remove the sold item(s) from the webpage. I can also sort my inventory by description if I need to determine what items I am running low on for reordering of blank stock.
I have tried multi-purpose tracking inventory/invoice systems such as Access, and they were more complicated than I wanted. BTW, for consignments you could make a slight change to item number by adding 'CS' as an identifier in front of the number (for consignment sales). I'm always in favor of whatever makes logical sense to you.
Whichever way you decide to track your inventory, you need to be dedicated and consistent or it won't be much help to you.
Good luck in your business!