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August 2015
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Simple Laundry Secrets To Make Your Clothes Last Longer

Posted By on July 29, 2015

One of the best ways to make the most out of your hard-earned money is to take good care of things you already own.  The following list of laundry “secrets” of course are for all of us, but I’m thinking that for those of you that do any type of sewing or clothing alteration work, could make your own little “list” of these laundry tips, add your business information to the list and hand it out to all of your customers.  In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to give each customer a few extra to hand out to their friends and co-workers.  The list of laundry tips will be welcome information to all who get it, AND at the same time is getting word out about YOUR business.

1.  Treat stains as soon as possible

The secret to successfully getting rid of stains is to treat them as soon as you can. Vinegar, dishwashing liquid and shampoo are great stain removers! You can also carry a stain removal pen in your pocket or purse for when you’re on the go. Once the stain has been treated, simply wash the article of clothing as you normally would.

2. Keep them closed

Buckles and metal zippers easily snag on other clothing items. Make sure no zippers on jackets and pants are left unzipped during washing and drying.

3. Turn your clothes inside out

When clothing is turned inside out, buttons and zippers of shirts and pants are on the inner side, preventing them from damaging other items of clothing. Pants, especially jeans, are also often turned inside out during washing and drying so that they retain their dark color.

4. Don’t take color separation lightly

If you’ve got loads of laundry to deal with, don’t be tempted to just stuff everything in the machine all at once. Reds and blues tend to fade easily, and the last thing you want is for your favorite white shirt to turn light pink. At the very least, do a separate load of laundry for dark-colored clothes and a separate one for light-colored clothes.

5. Keep delicates in a bag

Underwear is pretty expensive—so you need to make the most out of it! Keep your delicates in a mesh bag or even an old pillowcase closed with two or three safety pins. This is also a great way to keep socks together during the entire washing and drying process.

6. Wash your clothes in cold water

Cold water is much gentler on clothing compared to hot water, since hot water tends to weaken clothing fibers such as elastic. Hot water can also cause shrinking for some fabrics, and can turn temporary stains into permanent ones. Apart from cleaning your clothes, cold water also uses less energy and is a whole lot cheaper!

Doing the laundry may take a little longer now—but the extra effort will definitely go a long way. Follow the tips above and you’ll keep your clothes in great condition for years to come!

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Which Do You Prefer………..

Posted By on July 27, 2015

There are “downloadable” books and there are “printed” books.  You know the difference…… downloadable books/classes/courses are the ones you get immediately upon your payment of the item and have instant access to it.  “Printed”, of course, are those books, patterns and so forth that are already printed and are mailed to you.  Which do YOU prefer?

Some websites, such as SewWithSarah have probably 90-100% of their products as downloadable.  SewWithSarah has only two categories that are printed and mailed (the Plus Size Children sewing patterns and the Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer in Spanish), and all other books and classes are downloadable.  Some websites, such as SewMachineRepair have only “Print” copies of books, and other sites give you a choice of which version you want.  An example of a website offering their book as a download OR print version is 101 Ways To Tie A Scarf –  you can read all about the book, then choose which type of book you prefer.  Another example would be if you’re thinking about starting a clothing alteration business, or wanting additional information on the subject, you can go to the website, AlterationBiz and once again, read the information and choose whether you want to download it immediately, or go with the print version.

We all have reasons for the method we choose.  This is the age of “I need it NOW”, so the vast majority of people select the “instant” download of everything.  I pretty much agree with that because when I’m in the middle of doing something and am looking for information on that particular subject, I want my information immediately, not a week from now.  On the other hand, those who buy the print copy of our Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer, or Sewing Machine Repair As A Home Business, say that they want the printed book so they can lay it out beside their machines and follow along with the instructions.

Some items, such as craft patterns,  crochet or knitting patterns are probably ALL downloadable on every website that carries them.  These types of patterns are so easy to download, using just 2-3 pieces of paper, that it just makes sense to go with the instant download on them.

Which do YOU prefer??



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How Much Fabric Should I Buy???

Posted By on July 22, 2015

One question that has been emailed to us literally dozens of times  is “if my pattern calls for 45″ wide fabric and I find 36″ wide fabric that would be perfect, how much should I get”?

We have the answer to all of you who have written in —- download and print the “fabric conversion chart” from  This chart gives fabric widths from 35/36″ to 66″ widths, and tells you if you need x number of yards of 45″ wide material, follow the chart to see how much you’d need of that 36″ wide fabric, or 54″ wide fabric, etc.   I carry this chart in my purse and can’t tell you how many times it has come in handy!  I’ve coated mine with “clear adheer” plastic coating so it won’t get torn or worn, and it has lasted for years.

And while you’re at the site you might want to check out the informational report on “Sew What’s Your Problem” - which deals with a lot of the main sewing machine problems that affect us all.  If you’re like me, I like to keep myself out of the Doctor’s office and my sewing machine out of the repair shop!!

We have a lot of super informational articles in our “Sewing Tips And Tutorials” section, that may just help you with a variety of  sewing issues.  Check out our SewWithSarah website and see what all we have for you.

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Updated SewWithSarah

Posted By on July 20, 2015

We have done a little “adding” and “rearranging” of the top bar at SewWithSarah to make it a little more user friendly.  You will now see a category for “Pattern Making”, which is specifically for all of our pattern making and pattern changing classes.  You can see everything at a glance.

The second change is adding the drop down box and title “Sewing Patterns”,  which at this time includes our variety of craft patterns, as well as the following sewing pattern categories:

Plus Size Boys Patterns

Plus Size Girls Blouse Patterns

Plus Size Girls Nightwear Patterns

Plus Size Girls Shorts and Slacks Patterns

Plus Size Girls Skirts and Dress Patterns

NOTE:  Don’t forget all of the Plus Size children sewing patterns are now 60% off (reg. $14.95 – now $5.98), as we clear out the physical patterns to make room for downloadable plus size children patterns.  These are going fast, so if you or somebody you know sews for plus size, overweight or obese children, check out the patterns soon.

We will be adding some adult average size and adult plus size sewing patterns soon, so keep an eye out for them.



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Write an Informational Report For Your Customers

Posted By on July 15, 2015

Now why would you want to give your customers an informational handout when you can simply talk to them when they come in to your shop?

If you deal in wedding dresses, wouldn’t it be nice if you could give each customer a small booklet or leaflet explaining how to take care of the wedding dress, and how they can preserve it.  You can talk to the customer, but they’re probably so excited about the upcoming event that they won’t hear a word your’re saying, and if they DO hear it, they’ll forget what you said by the time they get home.  With the little leaflet you hand out to them, you’ll be helping them more than you can imagine.

If you work with silks or specialty fabrics, a “report” or sheet of paper telling how to wash the fabrics, how to dry them, how to remove stains, etc can really be a life saver for your customers.

It would only take a few minutes of your time to brainstorm and come up with some ideas that would be helpful for your customers, regardless of what field of sewing you’re in.  You can make one or two or even three different handout sheets to give to your customers, depending on what it is that you do for them.

Be sure to put your name, address, phone number and your website address either at the top or bottom of the sheet so they’ll know where they got it, and if they make copies to hand out to their friends, the friends will also know how to find you.

By the way, these informational sheets or reports can be added to your website as content for other readers who visit your site — you never know how much additional business you can get just because you’re making yourself an expert in your field, and the fact that you are willing to help your customers by giving out the helpful hints.

If you’re already doing this, we applaud you, and give you the “thumbs up” for excellent work.  If you’re not already doing these things, think about what YOU would like to receive if you were the customer.

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Posted By on July 13, 2015

Just in time for Back To School Sewing!  All Plus Size Children Sewing patterns now 60% off.  Regular price $14.95 – you pay only $5.98 per pattern.

We’re phasing out our entire stock of physical sewing patterns for plus size children to make room for downloadable patterns for plus size children.  Check out the many styles that are available.

Plus Size Boys Patterns - size ranges are 4-5-6, 8-10-12 and 14-16

Plus Size Girls Blouse Patterns – all patterns have size ranges 4-5-6, 8-10-12 and 14-16 — 6 different styles to choose from

Plus Size Girls Shorts And Slacks Patterns –  5 different styles to choose from

Plus Size Girls Skirt and Dress Patterns – 3 different styles to choose from

Plus Size Girls Nightwear Patterns – One style to choose from

You  can make an entire wardrobe of school clothes that will fit your plus size or overweight child perfectly.  Compare your childs’ measurements and age to the corresponding size on our patterns.  For example, our size 8 has Chest – 34″, waist – 30″, hip – 36″.  Is this similar to your plus size 8 year olds’ measurements?  Check out the various size range sizes to see how they compare to your 10 year old or 12 year old, etc.  Because all of our Plus Size Children patterns were made using ACTUAL plus size children measurements, I believe you’ll find that our patterns will fit your child.  You don’t have to “try” to get that size 16 pattern to fit your 8 year old plus size child!

The blouses and jumper dress have interchangeable sleeve, neckline and length options.  Skirts, shorts and pants have a variety of length options, so you can make a number of garments from the same pattern and have different styles for each.

Shop early and stock up – styles and sizes are limited.  No coupon code is required.  All plus size children patterns 60% off – you pay only $5.98 per pattern.  PLUS, we’re giving a FREE GIFT with every order.

This sale of physical patterns is exclusively for US residents – the downloadable patterns will be available worldwide.

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Giveaway’s – A Boost To Business

Posted By on July 8, 2015

One of the best business building techniques is to offer something of value for free to your customers.  We’ve all been to Sam’s Club or similar discount clubs or grocery stores where, on certain days, they have people fixing small pizzas, or a new type of meat, etc that they give samples of to the customers as they shop.  They really aren’t giving you a “free lunch” – they’re enticing you to try, then buy, their new products.

Your business, whether a sewing, alteration, crafting or sewing machine repair business can come up with ideas for something FREE for new customers, just for trying your services.  If you have an online presence, you need to come up with something free for those who might visit your site — free information of some sort, buy one – get one free, or something similar depending on what type of website you have.

At, we have many FREE “introductory” classes.  For example, if have a basic dress or blouse that you simply love, but don’t want to make every garment the same, you can check out the free introductory “How To Change Necklines On A Commercial Pattern”.  This class gives information on not only how to change a single neckline, but also gives you “heads up” on the full blown neckline changing class that you can purchase.  Or, if you’re really tired of not being able to get store bought patterns to fit and you’d  like to try your hand at making your own patterns, you can try the free introductory class on how to make skirt patterns.  By utilizing the free “giveaway” introductory class, you can see how easy the steps are to follow, how well the skirt actually fits YOUR measurements, then you think “I can do this!”, so in most cases you’d want to go ahead and purchase the complete class.  There are many more free classes in our “tips and tutorials” section at SewWithSarah.

Do you see how the “free” giveway can help to build your business?  Spend some time thinking about what you might already have that you can rewrite or repackage into a free giveaway to potential customers.  If you’re in the sewing machine repair business, you could perhaps give away a spool of thread or seam ripper to new customers – some item that would be valuable to them, but not cost too much, as you would be buying them wholesale.  In addition, the customer you “gave” the spool of thread to might just ask if you have other thread available that she could buy because she “just ran out of white thread” and would have to make a special trip to the store to get more.   WOW!  You could just make an additional sale on top of the bill for repairing the sewing machine if you had a few extra spools of thread with you!

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Easy Tips For Efficient Sewing

Posted By on July 6, 2015

All of us in the sewing, alteration and crafting business know how valuable our time is, and that we really can’t afford to waste time on little things.  Once settled in to do some major sewing or crafting, we need to be able  to keep on the project with as few interruptions as possible.

Efficient sewing is really the name of the game when it comes to making the most of the available sewing time that we have.   Following are some things I’ve learned along the way.

* Clip the stitches from the beginning and end of each seam.  It you wait until the garment is finished, it becomes a major chore to go back and try to clip the loose threads.  And to just “let them go” makes a totally unprofessional look.  Be sure to have a waste basket handy or tape a small lunch bag to the side of your sewing machine table in which to toss the threads after clipping.

* Pressing the seams during the sewing process will produce a more professional looking garment, and will make it easier to sew the seams that will “cross” any of the seams already sewn.  Gently open the seams and press flat.  You will save time if you sew several seams, then press them all at once, before moving on to the next step.

* Sew as many seam lines as possible by finishing one seam, have another ready to sew in order to cut down on the loose thread ends.  By doing this you can simply clip the little stitch that’s between the two seams, move the previous pattern piece out of the way, and work on the next one in line.

* Clean the sewing area after each project.  With several projects on my table at the same time, it’s very easy for me just to start stacking things up – left over fabric, pattern pieces, etc.  I have a little sign behind my sewing machine which reads “a place for everything and everything in its place”.  The sewing room DOES look more inviting with everything organized rather than a messy, piled up area with just a “path” to the sewing machine.

What are some of the little things that you do to help keep your sewing time running smoothly and more efficiently?  We’d love to hear from you!

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$50+ Worth of Sewing Notions For $15.95 – Limited Quantity – Only 4 Left!

Posted By on July 6, 2015

Get more than $50 worth of name brand sewing notions for only $19.95 $15.95!  An assortment of top quality new, off the shelf, sewing notions that will be valued at over $50.  Examples of items that may be included are interfacing, machine and hand sewing needles, thread snips, pins, pin cushions, pattern paper, magnetic seam guides, elastic, bobbins, seam rippers, thread pullers, thread and much more!  Great for adding to your sewing notions stash, or super for someone learning how to sew.  Excellent for gift giving!  No two value packs are exactly the same.  Limited quantity.

There are only 4 value packs left, so “the early bird gets the worm” is certainly true for this giant sale of sewing notions and sewing supplies.

While you’re at the Sew With website, check out the other books, classes and informational articles available.


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Darts That Fit And Flatter

Posted By on July 1, 2015

Whether you’re sewing for yourself or for others, one of the most exasperating problems with darts on sewing patterns is to finally get the dress or blouse to fit right, but the dart ends up above the bustline or below the bustline.  We know it looks funny, with the dart not pointing TO the bustline, but rarely does the seamstress know what to do about it.  Whether you’re sewing plus size clothing, petite size clothing, or any size in between the same “dart” problems remain.



I have learned, with every new sewing customer, to measure their dart position, then measure the dart position on the pattern before anything ever gets cut out.  This practice has saved me a lot of grief many times, as the “problem” got corrected before it could become a real problem on the finished garment.

The following diagrams and instructions will help you get the dart position RIGHT on every future garment you make!











A. To find the correct position of your dart, measure from the shoulder to the bust point and mark that distance on your pattern.  If this mark is above or below the dart on the pattern, you’ll have to move the dart.  (NOTE:  Begin the “shoulder” measurement on your pattern below the seam allowance — don’t include the seam allowance in the measurement).

B.  The easiest way to lower a dart is to measure the necessary distance and make a mark at the dart point and along the side seams.  Connect the new marks and the dart is moved – shown by dashed lines.

C.  In order to restore the shape of the side seam to its original position, tape tissue paper under the dart so it extends past the side seam as shown.  Fold and pin the dart as if it were sewn and cut the tissue paper that extends past the seam line, following the original seam line.  Remove the pins and you have your new seam line.

D.  The same method is used for raising a dart.  However, if you have to raise it quite a bit, you’ll need to angle the dart (E) so that the top line of the dart doesn’t come too close to the armhole.  When you angle the dart, you need to use the same dart width at the side seam as it previously had.  Fold and pin the dart and redraw your side seam (C).

Another challenge with commercial (store bought) patterns is that some of them have NO darts, and you feel more comfortable with darts in your blouses and dresses.  Or perhaps you’d like to change the position of the dart that’s on the pattern, and just don’t know quite how to do it, or even remove the dart from the pattern altogether.  the “Darts That Fit and Flatter” online clothing alteration and sewing class includes all the information mentioned plus much more.  The sewing instructions are easy to follow and the sewing tips that are included make this a much needed class for those whose business is sewing for others.  You can find the information at

If you need extra help to get darts to fit because you are not quite the same as what patterns have allowed for, you can redo the darts with our Shape A Dart tool.

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