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January 2015
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How To Start Your Home Business

Posted By on January 26, 2015

The goal of Sewing is to give information, tips and inspiration to those who have a small to medium size business AND for those who would like to earn a living through their own endeavors.

It has come to our attention that we’ve told you how to become an expert in your field and how to have loyal customers, but we’ve neglected to give a basic outline of how to actually start your own home business.  It is our desire to help the new home business entrepreneurs get through the “learning curve” with as few mistakes as possible.  Even those who have been in a home business for years will pick up some pointers and will say “why didn’t I think of that?”.  Here are a few tips that would apply to nearly every home business, whether it’s sewing, crafting, alterations or whatever your interests may be.

**Never use “grocery” or “rent” money to begin ANY business.  There is no business that can guarantee success, much less “overnight” riches.  If you don’t even have the basic $100 or so that many businesses can be started with, we suggest you save amounts of money each week until you do have enough to start.  Proceed cautiously and keep in mind that few miracles occur in any business.  Rule out luck and use your ability, perseverance and judgment to utilize all attributes of a successful business person.  Keep costs at a minimum, use what’s available and keep it simple.

**Open a separate business checking account for your new home business.  Use this account only for business.  This will make your end of year accounting much easier, in addition to knowing immediately what money is coming in and what you can spend on advertising, new products, etc.

**When selecting space in your house for an office or work area, keep in mind that the location can have a direct impact on how well you run your business.  If you don’t “like” your office you probably will spend as little time as possible there and you certainly won’t get much done!  Is the heating and cooling system adequate in your office?  If you’ve chosen to put the office in the garage, spring and fall weather might make working conditions okay, but summer heat and winter cold will prevent you from working in your “office” unless you make some changes.  If you’re using a spare bedroom, can you arrange things so you can look out the window while you’re on the computer, or have outside lighting while cutting fabric, etc?

**If the working area you’ve chosen has limited space (such as a spare small bedroom), it becomes easy to make a “pile” of papers here, a “stack” of letters over there, a separate “pile” of letters to answer later, etc.  Eliminate the clutter and take care of work as it comes in — answer the letters immediately, file the papers NOW, open and go through the “stack” of letters you’d saved for “later” – get the table cleaned off!  Set a time EACH DAY to take care of the “will get to it later” items – and don’t wait until “later”!

**A manila “expando” file is perfect for keeping all your cash and paid-by-check receipts.  An expando file sectioned off by “months” will work nicely.  You can make labels for the various categories of receipts — Advertising, office supplies, postage, telephone bills, equipment purchase, etc and place the new labels on top of the “month” separation headings.  At the end of the year all receipts will already be categorized and ready to be totaled for income tax filing.  Oh, yes, speaking of POSTAGE receipts – keep EVERY business related postage receipt, even if it was just for one stamp.  You’ll be amazed at how much these add up over a years’ time.

**You should be prepared to stay in business for at least a FULL YEAR in order to get things running smoothly and profitably.  Give it your all!

**The number one reason for business failure is management – or the lack of it.  The lack of knowledge, experience, imagination, ambition, preparation, determination, unexpected competition and a waning of motivation.  Eliminate as many entrepreneurial risks as possible at the beginning – know what you want and be determined to go for it!

**Enthusiasm is contagious.  Choosing to look at the world with enthusiasm, confidence and a sense of humor is a choice YOU must make.  Avoid pessimists – they can poison life and your outlook on life!

**THOUGHTS determine what you want… ACTION determines what you get!!

Lastly, and this little tidbit is free — it’s amazing how much more  can be accomplished in a day if you get up 30 minutes earlier than usual!  That’s for early risers like me, my daughter would say “if you stay up 30 minutes LATER than usual”.  Whichever works for you, the extra 30 minutes x 365 days makes all the difference in how committed you are to making your home business work!

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Working With Plaids and Stripes

Posted By on January 22, 2015

Do you tremble a bit when a customer brings in stripes or plaids for you to work with?  Are you a little uneasy and just “hope” you’ll be able to do a good job?

Plaids and stripes are not that difficult to work with when you know a few rules, and most especially if you can make up a chart for your customers to educate them about “even” and “uneven” stripes or to make them aware of whether the stripes on a piece of fabric runs “lengthwise”, “crosswise” or “diagonally”.

All of the rules for cutting stripes and plaids can be summed up in one dire warning.  Don’t cut until you are sure everything is going to turn out all right!

Following are some hints and pointers regarding stripes and plaids that must be taken into account as you prepare the fabric for cutting.

**Stripes can run lengthwise, crosswise or diagonally.  To test lengthwise stripes – make a lengthwise fold, right sides of fabric together; turn back one corner to form a right anged fold — EVEN stripes will match along the angle in width, color and sequence; UNEVEN stripes will not match in all three respects.

**In nearly the same way, test cross-wise stripes by folding the fabric CROSSWISE and turn back a right angle corner – check for a match.

**Test diagonally striped fabric by placing the fabric with (unfolded) surface right side up; for diagonals running from upper left to lower right, turn back a lower left hand corner; for diagonals running the opposite direction, turn back the lower right hand corner – check for match in all respects.

**EVEN stripes are easiest to work with and can meet to form a chevron “V” without difficulty.  UNEVEN lengthwise stripes will chevron only if the fabric is reversaible.  UNEVEN cross-wise stripes will chevron on shaped, curved or bias seams.

**PLAIDS require more careful scrutiny.  Fold a plaid in the same way as a lengthwise stripe, but examine the outside edges of the folded corner, as well as the angle.  Everything must match, in all directions.

**When purchasing plaid fabric, always buy half a yard extra to allow for matching.  Then plan how the plaid or stripe should run.  Do you want the main lines to run bias, across or up and down.  If the fabric pattern is bold and large, more care is required than for a smaller stripe or plaid.

**Stripes and plaids cannot match in every area, so give priority to side, front armhole and waist seams, or to points where an upper and lower garment meet.

**Make all pattern alterations before laying them on the fabric.  Cut out even stripes and plaids on pinned double layers, if desired, but cut uneven ones singly and use them with the “with nap” pattern layout.

The extra precaution taken at the beginning of the project will be well worth the effort as your customer proudly shows off the completed garment.

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ANNOUNCING Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer in Spanish!

Posted By on January 14, 2015

If you or anybody you know speaks Spanish, you will be happy to know that now has their best seller, Sewing Machine Repair for the Home Sewer in Spanish!








¡Hágalo usted mismo reparación de la máquina de costura! ¿Suene como una idea lejos traída? No así pues, según Reuben O. Doyle, un reparador de la máquina de costura de 25 años y del autor “de la reparación de la máquina de costura para la alcantarilla casera”. “adentro sobre el 75% de los trabajos de la reparación que consigo, el sewer/crafter casero habría podido manejar fácilmente el trabajo si solamente sabido qué buscarían.

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Quick And Easy Apron

Posted By on December 16, 2014

How many times have you needed a quick little gift for the hostess of a party or to use as a little thank you for somebody special?  We have the perfect quick and easy apron that could be whipped up in no time, and would be a very thoughtful gift.











Materials needed:  one hand towel or printed kitchen towel, 2 1/2 yds bias tape to match one of the colors and thread to match.

Hand towels and kitchen towels are usually 16″ to 18″ by 27″ to 32″, so pick one that will suite the person that will be getting the gift, and begin the little project.

1.  Fold the towel in half lengthwise and cut away the portions shown in the diagram — leaving 9 1/2″ at the center top.  Measure down 9 1/2″ along each side, and cut out the curving line as shown.

2.  To apply the bias tape, fold the 2 1/2 yards of tape to find the center.  Measure about 10″ each way from the center and pin this point to the upper edges of the bib.   (This measurement may be varied to fit the individual — the lower edges of the bib should be at the waistline when the strap is adjusted around the neck.)

3.  Baste or pin the bias tape along the bib to the waistline at the edge of the towel.  The remaining length on each side will be for the ties.  Beginning at the end of one tie, sew along the edge of the bias tape, continuing from the end of the tie, along the edges of the bib, up and around the neck strap and around to the end of the other tie.  Be sure to fold in a little at the end of the tie to finish the tie end.

NOTE:  Try one for yourself just to check out the tie lengths — depending on the size of the person you are making the apron for, you may need to use 3 to 3 1/2 yards of bias tape to insure that the ties are long enough.

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Posted By on November 18, 2014

It’s our biggest sale of the year at!  From Nov 18 to Nov 24 – 50% off everything in the store – from patterns to books to sewing notions.

If you’re wanting to start a home business, check out the “Business Books”.  If you’re interested in keeping your sewing machine and serger out of the repair shop, check out the “Sewing Books” category.  If you or someone else you sew for are hard to fit, check out all the pattern making and pattern make-over classes, or review the “Patterns” category for lots of great patterns you could make for friends and relatives for Christmas.  Take this opportunity to stock up on sewing notions for yourself or make a gift bag for someone just learning to sew!

50% off EVERYTHING in the store – no exceptions for one week only, use promo code BIG50.

Thanks so much for visiting the website!

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How To Make a Washcloth Doll

Posted By on November 6, 2014

This months’ project is a quick and easy washcloth doll that could easily be a best seller at your next craft fair or a favorite toy for the small children that you know.












Each washcloth doll takes one terry washcloth — use white, or peach color or brown, as you would like, small scraps of fabric for the pants and hat, and a small length of eyelet lace for the top (blouse).













Fold the washcloth in half and mark the center with a pin.  Roll the two opposite edges toward the center (fig 1).

Cut the top center line 2 1/2″ down from the top for the arms, and 3 inches up from the bottom for the legs (fig 2).  Tack down the raw edges.

Fold the top backwards on the fold line as indicated on the diagram (fig 2).  Lay a string through the top of the head; wind a string around the neck and tie firmly.  Then tighten the string at the top of the head and tie.  Tack the arms to the sides of the body with a few stitches (fig 3).

Weave the ends of the hands together and wrap the thread up from the ends of the arms about 5/8″ to form the wrists (fig 4).










Embroider the face, following the diagram above, making the eyes blue, brows and nose brown and mouth red.  Hair:  For a girl doll make yarn loops around the face in desired color; for a boy, cover the back of the head with long yarn stitches, taking a few shorter stitches in the front.

Clothing:  Cut two 5″ strips of eyelet or peasant type embroidered trimming for the blouse – cross in front and back and tack to the doll.  For boy doll, follow the chart to make a pants pattern, letting each square equal one inch.  Cut four, stitch right sides together to form trousers; turn right side out.  Fold under the raw bottom edges and crease.  Pull pants onto the doll and tack around the top.  Cover the stitches with bright ribbon sash.  For a girl doll, cut a circle 5 inches in diameter; cut a small circle out of the center and slip over the doll, tacking the skirt to the waist.  Cover the stitches with a bright ribbon sash.

For the bonnet, cut two hat pieces (for the pattern enlarge the chart above, letting each square equal one inch),  Join the bonnet at the ends with whipstitches and tack the hat to the head at a jaunty angle.  Tie a ribbon at the neck to resemble a scarf.


Read the particular pattern to see how big each square should be — the ones used for this pattern should equal one inch.  On a sheet of paper, rule off the same number of squares in the same arrangement as shown on the chart, according to the scale given.  These crossing lines guide you to drawing in the scale.  Put all lines in the same positions on the large squares as they are in relation to the small squares on the chart.

An easier way to enlarge a chart to one inch squares is to copy the chart that needs to be enlarged and use a photocopier to enlarge the pattern until the squares equal one inch squares.  The pattern will be ready to cut and you don’t have to draw in the lines.

I’ll just bet if you make several of these dolls to sit in various spots in your customer waiting area (with price tags on them) – you’ll be busy with all the orders you’ll be getting!

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In Sewing……Pressing Matters

Posted By on October 30, 2014

To achieve the professional look in sewing, it is absolutely essential to press as you sew. In addition to the iron and ironing board, it is helpful to have pressing cloths and a tailor’s ham.

Fiber, texture and thickness of the fabric determines how the fabric is pressed. Fiber content dictates the temperature of the iron, and texture dictates the method of handling the fabric.  The iron must be set at the right temperature for the fabric content  Always try a test swatch before pressing your garment.

Press each piece and seam as the garment is constructed. Use pressing strokes – an up and down lifting motion of the iron.  This avoids stretching or distorting sections of the garment.  Steam can shape the fabric and eliminate fullness.  To set creases and press permanent press fabrics, use a press cloth.

Pressing the seams during the sewing process makes 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.

Always press on the wrong side to guard against shine. Remember not to over-press. This results when too hot an iron is used, leaving the iron in one place too long, too much moisture or using an inadequate press cloth.

Remove pins and basting stitches before pressing. Pins mar the fabric and soleplate of the iron; basting stitches may leave an imprint.

When pressing the details of a garment, press the entire piece and not just the area around the dart, or particular detail you are working on. When the entire garment is finished, give it another pressing to get out any wrinkles that may have formed while you were sewing.

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Easy Ways To Change Your Blouse/Dress Pattern

Posted By on October 23, 2014

If you’re like the majority of us, buying a pattern is the easy part.  Getting that pattern to FIT properly is the hard part.  The “problem areas” can be as different as night and day, but whether the hips are too tight if the top fits, the shoulders are too wide if the bust area fits, or “there’s no way I can get this waist to fit” – the bottom line is that it can take considerable time to get that new pattern to fit properly.  Once all the kinks are worked out and we can do the “happy dance” because the pattern FINALLY FITS – the next issue pops up.  The first dress looks great, but who wants every dress from this day forward to be the same style?


INTRODUCING – pattern makeovers!  That perfectly fitting basic blouse or dress pattern can now be changed into dozens and dozens of new styles simply by making different sleeve styles, different necklines or changing the darts in the pattern.  The pattern make-over classes give complete instructions on how to make TEN different sleeve styles from 1 basic sleeve, how to make EIGHT different neckline styles from 1 basic neckline, a complete instruction kit for making and changing the darts in the pattern to different locations, or add a dart or take a dart out of the pattern.  The pattern makeover classes are available in average sizes and full figure/plus sizes.

Now for the great news!!  The complete course for neckline make-overs and sleeve make-overs costs $9.95. The how to alter darts and Converting Maternity Patterns cost $14.95.  You can get a whopping 40% discount on each of the 4 complete courses now through October 31 by using the code MAKEOVER.  The sleeve and neckline changing classes will be $5.97 and the altering darts and converting maternity patterns classes will be $8.97 through midnight October 31.

Buy one or several of the classes and you can use that one perfectly fitting blouse/dress pattern and make literally DOZENS of new styles!


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Teach Your Child To Sew

Posted By on October 20, 2014

Now that cold weather is upon us, it is a perfect time to bring out some scraps and teach your child to sew.  Or, if you have young children, sewing cards would be a great way to get them started sewing, while you’re busy at your sewing machine. The e-z-sew sewing cards come in 6 different variations.  You simply print them on cardstock, then with a single hole puncher, punch out the spots marked, add a length of yarn, and presto!  Your child has a set of cards to sew.  You might want to make several sets so their friends can also try their hand with them.









For the older children, I’d recommend the Learn How To Sew book –  If you already know how to sew and need help teaching a child, grandchild or friend.  Look no further!!  “Learn How To Sew” is the book you need!  Whether you’re a pre-teen, teenager, senior citizen or anywhere in between, this book will teach you how to sew!











I have boxes of assorted sizes and colors of scrap fabrics, and my grandchildren LOVE to look through the fabrics to make pillows for their dolls, or decorations for a box that they’re using for their “stuff”.  Just take a little time with your child or grandchild and let them be creative!  You might be surprised at what all they’ll come up with!

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SimFlex Expanding Sewing Gauge

Posted By on October 16, 2014

The SimFlex Expanding Sewing Gauge gives you fast and accurate measuring.  It is quick and easy to use.







At first glance, you’d think it might only be for measuring button/button hole spacing.  While it is PERFECT for measuring accurace spaces for buttons and buttonholes, it has many other uses.

The SimFlex Expanding Sewing Gauge is great for use in shirring and smocking.  Simply flex the gauge to the distance desired between the gathers when shirring or smocking, mark the sewing lines with chalk or washable marker.

This sewing gauge can also be used for measuring pleats, tucks and gathers in draperies and skirt and dress pleats.

For the quilters, this gauge can be used to mark several bias or straight strips at a time.

This sewing tool costs $15.95 and is available from  The sewing tool comes with complete instructions for the various uses of the product.
I would highly recommend this tool.  The time saved by getting instant and accurate measuring distances for such a variety of applications makes it well worth the money spent on it.


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