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Are You Stressed To The Max?

Posted By on May 9, 2017

Well, we’re almost to the half-way mark of the year.  Has your business done what you expected it to do so far this year?  Have you been keeping an eye on your first of the year goals and projections for the business?  Have you had issues and challenges within your family / home office that have put you on edge?  What about kids that are very soon to be out of school for the summer – are you prepared for this?

We are all aware of the fact that life is not “a bowl of cherries” or a “bed of roses”, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of exactly HOW MUCH STRESS can we take and still run a business, it’s time to take a step back and try to look at the whole picture.  With everything whirling around in your mind – family issues, business struggling and perhaps your own self esteem suffering, you’re probably thinking that it is next to impossible to “work your way out of the hole”.

Let’s look at the family issues — is it something that your partner or a friend or relative could help you sort out and work through?  Just talking to a mentor about a certain situation could lead to some answers that you might not be able to figure out while you’re barely able to cope with day to day pressures.

Next, let’s take a look at the business issues.  Sit down for a moment and try to determine what is the source of the problem.  Why has the business taken a turn for the worse?  Have you taken too many days off since the kids aren’t around during the day?  Have you not taken the time to promptly return phone calls that came in while you were out?  Have you let the stress build up so that it is almost impossible to think about those alterations that were due out last week, or the dress somebody needed by tomorrow and you haven’t started it yet?

If the problem is fixable, which is usually the case, you need to figure out some kind of strategy to fix the problem.  How about getting hubby to watch the kids a couple of hours tonight so you can get those alterations done, or get started on that dress.  Once you figure out how you can get the problem resolved, it is amazing how much better you will feel, and can actually get back to work.

If the problem is not immediately fixable, such as business slow down because of the economy, it might be time to work on some additional marketing ideas for the business.  Develop more contacts through your child’s school, local community events, etc and begin doing a little networking and, as always, have plenty of business cards ready to hand out.

Remember to always take one day at a time.  We always try to “plan and make projections” for the year; however you can’t look at the end of the year, look at today and tomorrow and the next day.  Do one thing at a time, keep busy and always try to improve on what you’re doing.  When you begin to feel the stress building – stop and take a deep breath, and tell yourself “I am ONE person – I’m doing all I can do, and I’m doing my very best – things WILL work out”.

For additional help, we have several business books that you can check out.  We believe these business books might be just the thing to jumpstart your business, and even give you some additional ideas to get more money into your business.

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NEW! Swim Suits For Plus Size Kids. Finally It Fits!

Posted By on May 2, 2017

Swim suits that fit overweight and plus size boys and girls are almost impossible to find!

Check out our gorgeous girls 3-piece Mermaid Swim Set pattern.  The pattern comes in two size ranges – 8-10-12 and 14-16 and these patterns are made with REAL plus size children’s’ measurements.  Your daughter/granddaughter will be the envy of all her friends!

We have the perfect swim trunks pattern for plus size boys as well.  The swim trunks come in two size ranges – 8-10-12 and 14-16 and have 3 different lengths.

Our swimwear patterns include downloadable full size pattern pieces and step by step illustrated instructions for easy construction of the garments.

You can compare your child’s measurements to our plus size children measurements on each pattern to see which size range would be the best.

While you’re getting ready for the beach, you might want to make something for yourself – the Convertible Beach Towel/Coverup!  It is quick and easy to make – you won’t leave the house without it!

Check out all the new stuff!

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Sewing With Leather as a Home Business

Posted By on April 25, 2017

If you’ve seen all the wonderful craft items, motorcycle and western chaps, and clothing garments made of leather and have been in envy of those who make those things, you now have the opportunity to learn how to make all those things yourself.

Denise, my partner and daughter, has recently completed a new book, Sewing With Leather as a Home Business, and it is jam packed full of everything you’ll need to know in order to professionally make such items as wallets, belts, bookmarks, eyeglass cases, leather chaps, soft sole leather baby shoes, leather padded picture frames and much more.

Leather products are all the rage now, and you can jump right into this lucrative business!  Sewing With Leather as Home Business tells you how leather is processed and what to look for when selecting your leather goods.  In addition, included in this complete manual are chapters on:

* Pattern Selection
* Pattern Layout
* Construction Materials
* Interfacing
* Seams
* Trimming
* Sleeves
* Sleeve Cap Directions
* Collars
* Pockets
* Darts
* Zippers & Waistbands
* Topstitching
* Hems, Lining & Edge Trim
* Buttonholes
* Leather as a Trim
* Leather Protection
* How to Craft Leather
* How to make Leather Chaps
* How to make leather soft sole baby shoes
* How to make a leather diaper changing station
* Wholesale suppliers
* PLUS complete section on the business aspect of selling what you sew
* AND best of all, information on where to get FREE leather for some projects (you can’t beat free!)

From leather chaps to leather belts, wallets and much more, this book tells you everything you need to know about sewing with leather and suede and how to get your business started.  Plus you’ll get FREE instructions on how to make a wide variety of leather products to sell.  Also learn where you can get FREE leather to help keep your costs down!

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Pattern Paper

Posted By on April 12, 2017

Whether you are a seamstress making clothing garments for customers, an alteration lady or a craft person, there is a regular need for some type of pattern paper.  In pattern making, it is mandatory that some type of pattern paper is used to make the patterns.

We sometimes tell people to check out their local newspaper office for “end rolls” of newsprint paper.  These end rolls sometimes have several yards left and they are very wide.  Grocery bags can also be used for making changes to patterns and for pattern making; however they would probably have to be cut apart and taped together for the bigger items.

The most practical type of pattern paper would be the type that could be re-used without tearing and can be pinned to fabric without tearing, etc.

There is only one type of pattern paper that we recommend — which is non tearable and is washable and dryable!

The pattern paper we recommend is Pellon’s Easy Pattern 830 pattern paper.

Pellon Easy Pattern Paper

Pellon’s Easy Pattern 830 pattern paper is 45″ wide and comes in 10 yard bolts, which I’ve found to be just the right amount for my current projects and have handy for additional projects.

 I use Easy Pattern 830 for every pattern I make, as well as for making craft patterns, and doing alterations on clothing items.  I have some patterns that were made over 15 years ago, and I can bring them out, press the pattern paper pieces, and they’re ready for me to use again.

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Add Big Income To Your Sewing Business…….

Posted By on April 4, 2017

Add big income to your sewing business…… sew for plus size and full figure women.

Many of you may already be doing some sewing for plus size women, but perhaps for many, you need to get the word out that you can and will sew for the full figure women.

If you would like to take the sewing an additional step, and learn to make patterns for those hard to fit plus size women, you could get a corner on the market.

At SewWithSarah.com, we have classes and sewing patterns designed just for the full figure and plus size women.  We have Pattern Making Classes, Pattern Changing Classes, as well as Sewing Patterns for full figure and plus size women. I would recommend that you begin with one of the easier classes, such as the skirt pattern making class or the slacks pattern making class.  These are downloadable, and inexpensive, classes, so you could get started immediately.  Go through the instructions and make a pattern following the measurements in the classes, then you’re ready to go to work on your first customer.   The sewing pattern category has a variety of styles of patterns ready for you to download and make for yourself or your customer.  We are adding new pattrens regularly, so keep an eye on this category.

Choose someone who is one that you know pretty well, and let her know that you’re just getting started in the pattern making field, and want to make a skirt (or slacks) for her using her particular measurements.  Once you’ve made a pattern or two, you’ll get the hang of it and feel more comfortable in marketing your new skill.

When you make a pattern according to an individual’s personal measurements, I would recommend that when you’ve finished with the garment, put the pattern, along with the person’s name and list of measurements into a manilla envelope to keep for future use.  On the outside of the envelope, put the persons last name, first name and date.  By marking the envelopes in this manner, you can file the envelopes in alphabetical order once you start to accumulate new customers — then when you need to get out one of the patterns for another garment, it will be very easy to find.

Making individual and personalized patterns for your full figure and plus size customers is something that will help grow your business as these women spread the word about what you can and have done for them.  Be prepared for many new customers as word gets out about your pattern making abilities as well as the great selection of perfectly sized sewing patterns just for the full figure and plus size women!

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How To Stay Motivated

Posted By on March 21, 2017

Staying motivated when working out of your house can be a real test for all of us.  Sometimes friends and family members can be the major robber of our business motivation and momentum – the problem is that they probably don’t even realize it.

When I first quit my day job and started writing books and doing sewing / craft items, it seemed like everyone thought I was on a permanent vacation!  It was nothing for friends or neighbors to simply stop by to visit or ask about going shopping, etc.  Or I’d get calls from one of the kids wanting me to babysit their sick child since the child was too sick to go to school but the mother needed to go to work.

It didn’t take long for me to learn the word NO!  Unless friends AND family realize that you are SERIOUS about working from your home, you will continually get comments like “you’re not WORKING – you’re at HOME”.  You have to put your foot down and insist that those well-meaning friends and family understand that the REASON you’re at home is because you have WORK TO DO!

It takes a great deal of motivation and “I WILL do this” attitude to get any home business off the ground and keep it going; therefore you must get the respect you need and deserve for making that happen.

Set a work schedule  – four days a week from this time to this time; school days while the kids are in school; 2 hours per night after the kids go to bed — whatever works for you is what it will take.  However, whatever schedule you set up – STICK TO IT!  Let those friends and family know what your work schedule is, so they won’t be just dropping by, etc.

You, individually, can also be a cause of lack of motivation by letting little non-work habits creep into your schedule.  Don’t read the paper during your scheduled WORK time; don’t decide to do a manicure while you’re “thinking” about the next step in the project you’re working on.

By keeping your mind on your goals (have you set some business goals?) you will be able to see that you are actually moving forward in your business, which will help keep the motivation and momentum going.  What are you working toward?  Extra money for a vacation?  Money for the kids’ education?  Money to help with the bills and keep food on the table?  Make a little list of what the extra dollars are for and keep that list by your sewing machine, near your computer or taped to your work table.  Every time you look at the list of reasons that you’re doing what you’re doing, you will put forth a little more effort, which will cause the momentum to grow and keep your business headed in the right direction.

We have a couple of books that could help you stay focused on your home business – “501 Tips & Strategies For Home Business Entrepreneurs” and  “Jumpstart Your Business With Proven Techniques”.   Check them out today.

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Is Your Business In A Slump?

Posted By on March 14, 2017

Nearly every business, whether brick and mortar store, online store or home business experiences a slow down or slump at certain times of the year.  Many businesses see this slow down at the beginning of the year – people are trying to figure out how to pay off those credit cards that went over the limit during the Christmas season or right around tax season, when a lot of us are trying to come up with the dollars owed to Uncle Sam.  Other times might be right after school lets out in the spring when families are only thinking about vacations, summer camps for the kids, etc.  Others may see this slow down right at the time school starts – school clothes, school supplies, new this and new that really do take a chunk out of the budget, so other areas of spending have to be cut back.

The thing to remember during these times is to recognize that these times DO COME, so to get down in the mouth, consider quitting the business, give up the website, or close your doors is nonsense!  This is the time to get PROACTIVE and use the little bit of extra time to do some business promotions, get the word out about your business and prepare for the onslaught of business AFTER the slow down ends.  I’m going to give you a few ways that you can become PROACTIVE to keep your business on the right track.

** If you’re in a craft or sewing business and make patterns to sell, this is a great time to use your extra hours brainstorming on new patterns that you could be working on.  Because there are two of us working on this blog and both do crafts and sewing as well as making patterns, we usually are working on new craft patterns, such as the Mermaid Tail Pattern and the Athletic Non-Slip Headband Pattern, and at this time are working hard on a bunch of new patterns for our Women’s Sewing Patterns category.  We’ll be having new ones coming into the store on a regular basis and we specialize in awesome designs for full figure/plus size women as well as the small-extra large women’s styles.

** Do you have a blog (Web log)?  If not, this is a good time to get one started.  You can write about anything you want – from talking about your personal life – letting others know how you manage to get to that stack of sewing or alterations and still take care of your family.  Or you can do a sewing/personal blog to mix together what you’ve been working on as well as cute pictures of your children or grandchildren and perhaps some snapshots of your latest projects you made for the little ones.  Or do a blog something like Denise’s “Shopper Strategy” that helps others save money as well as gives great information to the readers.

** Do you have something unique in your business that could be newsworthy?  Have you just started a new sewing niche?  Write up a press release to send to your local newspaper — they are always on the lookout for new material for their paper.  Who knows – you might make the first page or even the headline of the “local” section of your paper.  Think about how much this could increase your business.

** Are there some products or services that you’ve been wanting to start, but just haven’t had the time to get involved with?  Now is the time to take a second look at them, write down what additional things you could add to your business, and get started now while you have the time.

** Are you one who makes craft items?  From time to time we go through our boxes and shelves of fabric remnants and figure out what items we can make from them.  If you love making crafty things and want to know where and how to sell them you can check out our “business books” category and specifically the “How To Sell Your Handmade Items” book.  There are a LOT of places where your craft items can be sold – adding profits to your business!

I would say that while you’re considering and doing any or all of the things we’ve just talked about, you’ll run out of “free” time before you know it, and you’ll be looking for an extra few minutes here and there to do another post on the sewing forums or add posts to your own blog, make that new pattern you’ve put on your “to do” list, etc.

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Quit Buying Patterns – Redesign Ones You Already Have

Posted By on March 6, 2017

CollarNeckSleeves

As in a lot of different areas, we have to be creative in thinking of ways to save money.  One of the best ways I’ve found to save money for myself as well as customers I sew for is to change the style of the patterns already in use rather than buy new patterns just to get a different neck style, or different types of sleeves or collars, among other things

By using ONE basic pattern that you know fits well, you can make more clothes than would ever fit in your closet by just learning how to change the neckline into different styles, or how to change the basic sleeve into 10 different styles, or how to make collars to add to the basic pattern.

If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant, don’t go out and try to find nice looking maternity patterns – once again, simply use the patterns you have in your sewing room and convert them into maternity styles.

By doing pattern makeovers on the patterns you already own, you will be able to save probably one hundred or more dollars over the course of a year.  After all, the more you save by not buying patterns, the more money you’ll have to buy fabric!

All of the above mentioned pattern makeover and pattern changing classes are available in three different size ranges:  Petite, Average Size, and Full Figure/Plus Size.

Check out all the pattern making and pattern changing classes at SewWithSarah.com – you’ll be amazed at how many clothing styles you can make from just ONE BASIC pattern that you know fits you perfectly!  And, from now through March 25 ALL the pattern making and pattern changing classes will be discounted 50% by using the code change50.

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Dreading Spring Cleaning? Use Our Dust Busters For Easy Cleaning

Posted By on February 28, 2017

Regardless of what type of home business you have – sewing, alterations, crafting – there’s always cleaning that has to be done.  With spring cleaning just around the corner, we thought timing might be perfect to show you our variety of  “dust busters”.  The dust busters can be made with old towels or cheap towels found at yard sales or estate sales.  HEY!  Why not make up a few and make a little “spring cleaning helpers” corner in your customer waiting area (with price tags on each item) and see how fast they sell!

(A)  To extend the life of your sponge mop and make mopping much easier,  simply make a “mop cover” out of left over scrap terry cloth or an old worn bath towel.  Cut the terry cloth about 2 1/2″ – 3″ bigger than the mop, sew quarter inch elastic around the outside edge (the elastic piece should be the size of the sponge mop), and presto, a washable, durable mop head.  After use, just throw it into the washer and dryer so it will be clean for the next time.

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(B)  The same type of terry cloth cover can be made for your dust mop.  This new covered dust mop is perfect to get those hard to reach corners and walls by the ceiling as well as under the beds.

(C)  For a “broom duster” sew two old hand towels on three sides, leaving one end open.  Sew elastic around the open end (elastic from discarded panty hose is just about the right size!).  This cover will slip over a broom to use for dusting in those hard to reach places and perfect to get the cobwebs out of the garage or off the porch ceilings.  Once again, when finished simply throw it in the washer and dryer to clean it for the next time.

(D)  Still another dust buster idea is to take that old towel you used to make the mop covers out of and cut a strip the length of the towel and 2 1/2″ wide.  Sew the strip with 1/4″ seams and turn right side out.  This strip easily slides onto a yardstick, which can be used to slide under the refrigerator, washer and dryer for quick cleaning.  When finished, throw it into the washer and dryer along with the other dust busters, so they’ll be clean for the next time.

By doing a quick and easy “dust buster” spring cleaning, you’ll be able to spend more of your time in the sewing room!

For additional hints and tips, check out our “500 Kwik & Easy Sewing Tips” book.   Only $9.95 – you’ll be glad you did.

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Make Athletic Non-Slip Headbands For Pennies!

Posted By on February 21, 2017

It’s about that time of year when it warms up enough we can get outside and run!  OR jog or walk.

But wait – it’s windy some days and even if it isn’t windy, there always seems to be a problem with our headbands.  They move around – won’t stay where you want them – so much for the hair style!

Introducing our NON-SLIP Athletic Hair Band patterns.  These headbands are super easy to make and contain one secret item that keeps the band from slipping.  The non-slip athletic hair bands can be made for pennies and you NEVER have to worry about them moving or slipping around.

The best part is that you can make dozens of bands in any width you’d like.  Make one to match each of your outfits – all for just pennies.

Hint………don’t show off all your new non-slip athletic headbands too much – all your friends will be begging you to make some for them!

Or, wait!  Does this sound like a possible super exciting money maker??? Check them out – Athletic Non-Slip Headband patterns! Only $3 for the pattern!

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