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How To Teach Kids To Sew

Posted By on May 22, 2018

Our kids have 2 days of school left, then comes the summer!!!!  At our house, ever since the kids were very young, we do “learning” things (and fun things as well)!

If you have young children, between the ages of 4 – 7, I would suggest you get some E-Z Sew Sewing Cards.    There are six different categories of items for the children to sew — and each category contains 6 different items.  These sewing cards will keep your young children busy for hours.

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For children ages 8 and over, I would suggest the Learn How To Sew book.  This book is great for beginners, showing them the parts of the sewing machine, then moving on to actually sewing basic stitches.  The book contains lots of hand sewing projects as well as projects for the sewing machine.

learnToSew

Summer time is a perfect time to teach children how to sew.  My grandchildren (now 12 and 14) have done all kinds of pillow projects, easy quilts as well as sewing skirts and cotton knit tops.  As a matter of fact, one of the girls last summer made the PATTERN for, then hand stitched a Narwhal Fleece Stuffed Toy!  You might be surprised what your children can do once you show them the basics of sewing and crafting.

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Common Web Design Mistakes To Avoid

Posted By on April 26, 2018

Whether you already have an online presence for your business, or if you’re just thinking about setting up a website, you should be aware of these common mistakes to avoid.

Typography Problems

There is really no excuse for misspelled words on a web page these days, since most every computer has at least one program with a spell checker.  The real issue with typography problems however, is the use of inconsistent fonts and illogical blocks of text.  Bolder and bigger are not necessarily better.

Use the same basic fonts throughout your website to create uniformity and keep your visitor’s attention focused on the message, not the delivery.  Only use large, bold or unusual fonts sparingly for effect.

Information Overload

The home page of any website sets the image of the company and creates the all important first impression for your visitors.  The mistake commonly made here is to overload the home page with too much information.

Don’t try to cram everything in to one page.  You only have a few seconds to grab your visitor’s attention – your goal should be to try to funnel their path through your site to the information or products they’re looking for, without making them click through too many pages.  The general rule of the thumb is the “three click rule”, if a visitor has to click through more than three links to get to the information they’re looking for, they are much more likely to give up and leave your site.

Optimize From The Start

Many people focus on things like color, content and function when designing a web site and they neglect to plan for search engine optimization.  SEO is extremely important to a site’s potential traffic level, as well as its ranking in search engines.  So, in order for your site not to be buried on page 12 or beyond in a search for your product, you need to plan your SEO strategy while designing the website, not later.

Be sure to include page titles, meta tags, keywords and alternate text for graphics from the very beginning.  SEO is essential to the online marketing of your site, but it isn’t difficult, so be sure to at least learn the basics and include them in your pages.

Bucking Convention

Trying to reinvent the wheel with unique buttons, non-traditional navigation or cute terms for common things may set your site apart from others, but it also serves to confuse customers who may not be Internet savvy or may simply not get your humor.  Changing traditional terms, such as using customer love instead of customer support or shopping bag instead of shopping cart may seem like a good idea, but not if they annoy or confuse your potential buyers!

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Save Money – Utilize Free Online Classes

Posted By on April 17, 2018

It is possible to SAVE hundreds of dollars each year by utilizing free online classes in order to learn and educate yourself in a variety of ways.

As an example, how many times do you take your machine(s) to the repair shop?  I know in the past when I was in such a hurry and things went wrong with my machine, the repairman would point out something minor that was the problem.  Usually the problem was something I SHOULD have been able to take care of myself!  To get you started in the right direction, check out a tutorial explaining how to check for problems on your sewing machine.  Once you get into the habit of doing your own troubleshooting, you will be able to decrease the times you have to put the machine in the shop.  When you’re comfortable working on the basic problems, you’ll probably want to be able to repair other problem areas that come up.  Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer book would likely save you not only many dollars, but also hours of downtime and frustration of having to leave a project to get the machine to a repair shop.

Other ways to save money by utilizing free online classes would be by learning the basics of pattern making and changing store bought patterns rather than buying patterns.  Try making a skirt for yourself or for a customer with the free skirt pattern making class.  If you have a regular customer that you do a lot of sewing for, and you already have a pattern that you’ve gotten to fit to a “T” for the customer (or a pattern for yourself), you might suggest that you could simply change up that basic pattern by changing the sleeve styles or perhaps make a new neckline or altering darts on your pattern.  Any one, or a combination, of these free online classes could save several hundred dollars over a period of time by not having to buy a new pattern in order to get different neckline styles or sleeve styles, etc and in reality you could make a whole wardrobe of clothes from just that one basic pattern.

And, speaking of saving money – for those who need a new gym bag, don’t run out to buy one!  Make your own gym bag with the free tutorial that’s offered at SewWithSarah.com.  You’ll also find free instructions on how to change men’s t-shirts into casual tops for yourself.  Hey, men’s t-shirts are MUCH less expensive than any blouse or top for women, so the savings could add up pretty quickly when you utilize that free online tutorial.

When times are tough and the economy is in a crunch, if you’re like me, I’ll be using as many FREE tutorials, classes and instructions as possible to keep my money in my purse and still be able to expand my business and do more for my customers.

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NEW! Plus Size Girls and Boys Swimwear Sewing Patterns

Posted By on April 11, 2018

Girlswimsuits_triple

Plus size boys swim trunks come in two size ranges — 8-10-12 and 14-16 and gives 3 lengths to choose from.  Your boys will be swimming in style when you use these perfect fitting sewing patterns.

The plus size girls bathing suits are AWESOME with two patterns to choose from!  The 3-piece mermaid swim suit includes a swim top, swim shorts and a perfect mermaid swim skirt.

The 2-piece swim suit comes with an optional tankini top.  These bathing suit sewing patterns come in 2 size ranges – 8-10-12 and 14-16.  Check the chart of measurements on each pattern to see which size your plus size child would need.

To make this a REALLY GREAT DEAL – from now through April 30, we’re giving you a 25% discount – using the promo code SewSpring – not just on the new swim suit patterns, but on ALL the plus size girls and plus size boys downloadable sewing patterns.

Check out the boys elastic waist or tie shorts/pants sewing pattern to get started on spring sewing.  Or, look at all the girls’ shorts, slacks, blouses and skirts sewing patterns.

Now through April 30, load your cart with plus size boys and plus size girls sewing patterns and get 25% off, using the promo code SewSpring.

All of our plus size girls and plus size boys sewing patterns are made using actual plus size / overweight childrens’ measurements, so compare YOUR child’s measurements to the measurement chart listed on the individual sewing patterns to see which size range will fit your child.

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Shape-A-Dart – Fits Patterns to YOUR Cup Size

Posted By on April 3, 2018

For a fit that flatters – use the Shape-A-Dart on commercial patterns to adjust the cup size to YOUR cup size.

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Why use the Shape-A-Dart tool? Misses size patterns are made with a standard “B” cup and half sizes are made with a standard “C” cup. If you wear a Misses size pattern and wear an “A”, “C” or “D” cup bra, your bodice will be baggy (A cup) or tight with wrinkles (C or D cup). The same thing applies to half sizes that wear an “A”, “B” or “D” cup bra. The Shape-A-Dart tool has PRE-MEASURED dart widths to correct darts on all commercial patterns, beginning with size 6 and going through 24 1/2, and includes sizes 38 to 46. Simply find your pattern size and PERSONAL bra cup size on the Shape-A-Dart and make the correction. Every pattern will give you “a fit that flatters”!

Do your blouses, dresses and jackets look like the “before” pictures?  With the dart position too high or too low, you know there is a problem with the pattern.  Simply adjust the dart on the pattern with Shape-A-Dart, following the easy instructions that are included, and you will have a perfect fitting garment and a “fit that flatters”!

Do your customers a favor and have one of these handy tools available in order to be able to adjust the cup size on the garments you’re sewing for them.

 Exclusively from SewWithSarah.

 

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How To Organize Your Sewing Time

Posted By on March 27, 2018

If you’re like us, there really needs to be at least 48 hours a day in order to get some stuff done!

However, since we only have 24 hours, part of which we really do need to sleep a little, do housework, cook, take care of kids’ activities, our own activities and errands, etc, we decided long ago that we simply have to have some kind of “organized” sewing and craft time.

Recently we had a note from a customer saying she has such a big fabric stash, unfinished projects laying around and ideas for new projects —– “it’s all so overwhelming, I don’t know where to start”!

We DO have a solution to the “being overwhelmed” problem.  As we can all attest to, when there is stuff laying around totally unorganized, there is really no motivation to dig in and start “somewhere” — it’s just easier to close the door and put it off until another day.

Here is our solution — AND it works very well for us, so we believe it is worth passing along.

1.  Go out and buy yourself a small spiral notebook – mine is 5″ x 7″ and has 100 sheets in it.

2.  Divide the notebook into sections — the sections may vary according to what you’re into (sewing, crafting, creating original patterns, etc), but my notebook has the following sections:
* To Do
* Patterns (that I’m working on or wanting to create)
* Projects to finish
* Articles to write
* Classes to construct

The TO DO section includes the bigger things I want to get done, such as “clean out and re-size the grandkids dresser” (take out all the stuff that’s too small and see what we have left) “Finish tax paperwork and take to tax man”, “Add helpful links to one of my websites” – stuff other than the ordinary cook, clean and wash clothes.

The PATTERNS section has 18 original sewing and craft patterns so far that I’m either working on or have ideas to make, along with a sketch under it so I don’t forget what I want to do with it.

The PROJECTS TO FINISH section includes some carry-over projects from last year that need to be finished before I start new ones, such as making and finishing certain little outfits for the grandkids (yours will vary according to what projects you may have laying around that are started and need to be finished).

The ARTICLES TO WRITE are ideas for sewing, crafting  and business articles that I have in mind to write, along with a couple of notes and thoughts about what I want the article to say (these are types of things that come to me in the middle of the night or while driving down the road, so if I don’t write them down, I will never remember them).

The CLASSES TO CONSTRUCT are simply classes that people have been requesting information about, such as a “western wear” class to be added to SewWithSarah.com –and other ideas for classes.

Now for the GOOD part — you’ll need to ADD ideas and things to do to each of the categories that you’ve made as you come up with new things.   THEN, as you finish something, mark that item off with a red pen!  Keep the notebook going all year — keep it with you wherever you are, just in case a great idea flashes across the brain and you can immediately write it down.

As you finish something in the “to do” section, mark it off;  when you’ve completed one of those projects that are laying around, mark it off.   Make up your mind to do SOMETHING every day – whether you spend 15 minutes on a project or an hour cleaning out that kids’ dresser, you will be able to mark something else off the list.  This is GREAT MOTIVATION to do something just so you can see those red marks indicating that you’ve finished something.

You will be surprised, at the end of the year, how many things you’ve not only added to the notebook, but tons of things that have gotten marked off, done, completed!!  We start a new notebook each January — transferring the undone items from the sections to the new notebook, then begin once again to add items to each section – mark off things as we get them done, etc.

We have found ourselves so much more productive since we started the notebooks — at a glance we can see what needs to be done next and get to work on it.   Try this method and let us know how it works for you.

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How To Sew Synthetic Leather

Posted By on March 20, 2018

Vinyl leathers are quite fashionable and may be found in all fabric departments.  These simulated leathers have a grained-leather appearance and are backed with cotton knit, which gives some stretch to the fabric.  They actually have the look and feel of genuine leather, are washable and easy to care for.  Do not dry clean vinyl.

Choose a pattern with simple lines.  Raglan or kimono sleeves are the easiest to work with.  Topstitching and self facings can be used if the vinyl is light-weight.  Jacket and coat fronts and collars may be interfaced with light-weight interfacing.  Carefully alter and fit the pattern before cutting and stitching.  Stitching, when removed, leaves marks.  Linings are optional, but add to appearance of the garment and to wearing comfort.  Be sure to choose a washable lining.

It is best to keep the synthetic leather fabric rolled until ready to cut.  Fold right sides out when cutting double layers.  Pins leave holes so only use in seam allowances.  The pattern pieces may be weighted or taped down while cutting.

For marking, use chalk or pencil.  Use paper clips or tape to hold the seam edges.  Include a woven seam binding in the seams that stretch easily, such as waist or sleeve seams.  Use a medium-long stitch, 8-10 stitches per inch.  Small stitches tend to cause vinyl to tear.  Be sure to test a scrap first.  Topstitching can be used on lightweight vinyls, 6-8 stitches per inch.  Use a sharp, medium needle, size 14.  Mercerized cotton or dacron and cotton thread should be used.  For decorative stitching, use buttonhole twist.  Use a piece of tissue paper between the vinyl and metal surface of the presser foot or throat plate to prevent the vinyl from sticking.

Darts should be tapered to a point and slashed, then finger-pressed open.  The last few stitches of the dart should be on the fold.  Do not backstitch the darts.  Each side of the dart can be topstitched if desired, or press the dart to one side and topstitch through all thicknesses.

Seam edges can be held open with a fabric glue, or when underlining is used, held down with overcast stitches caught to the underlining.

To make a topstitched seam, finger-press the seam allowance to one side of the garment, stitch 1/8 inch in from the seam line, through the seam allowance.  For a double topstitched seam, finger-press the seam open and topstitch on each side of the seam line.  Use a welt seam if desired.

Try grosgrain ribbon for the waist-band to prevent stretching and bulkiness.  On skirts that do not have a waistband, use a firm interfacing for inside facing rather than vinyl.

Bound buttonholes are easily made on vinyl fabric.  Machine made buttonholes have a tendency to stretch, so a firm interfacing must be used.

Turn the hem at the desired length and machine stitch 1/4″ from the raw edge. Hems may be glued or hand stitched by catching one or two threads in the knit backing.  Be careful and do not pull the stitching too tight.

For additional information and sewing projects using leather, check out our “Sewing With Leather” book.

 

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Ten Random Sewing Tips

Posted By on March 13, 2018

***I often buy old garments at garage sales or consignment stores just for the fabric so I do a lot of ripping and altering.  Single sided razor blades are great for this task since you don’t have to be delicate, but whether using a razor or a seam ripper, they get dull pretty quickly.  Try using an emery board to sharpen them.  It’s usually pretty easy to find one when you need it, and it does the trick quickly, even on the inner side of your seam ripper.

***I tend to use my favorite tissue paper patterns over and over, simply changing necklines and sleeve styles to make various designs, but the tissue patterns tear so easily.  I love to take the thinnest (and therefore least expensive) fusible interfacing and iron it on to the pattern pieces.  They last forever this way and I save bucks by re-using them instead of buying more.

***I’ll buy fabric sometimes because it’s on sale and I love it, or sometimes (more often than I’d like to admit) I’ll find the perfect piece for an exciting project, then never get around to it, so the fabric goes on a shelf or gets used for something else.  So, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing down the care instructions on the end of the bolt when I purchase the fabric.  Carry a small notepad in your purse, write down the care instructions on the label while your fabric is being cut, then pin it to the top so you’ll have the info handy whenever you get around to using the piece.

***The time I get to spend sewing usually comes at night, after the kids have gone to bed, so I’ve taken to only buying pins with large glass or plastic heads.  They’re so much easier to see in dim light, and they’re easier to handle too – so consider trading your standard pins in for some if you have any trouble with arthritis or your eyesight.

***Unfortunately, this is one I learned the hard way – if you’re making a garment out of several different fabrics (say an expensive cashmere coat with a poly/cotton lining), make sure beforehand that all the various fabrics and threads have similar care requirements.

***Always pre-shrink your fabric before cutting out your design.  Cut all raw edges with pinking shears or serge the edges before washing to keep the fabric from unraveling.

***I used to keep all the stray or extra buttons I collected in a tin container near the sewing machine.  For some reason the tin has become a kid magnet, so instead of dealing with another trail of scattered buttons, I’ve taken the hint from manufacturers and started sewing the extra buttons inside the garment.

***Like most people, I’m not one “standard” size all over, which makes it difficult at times to figure out what size pattern to buy.  The rule of thumb is to pick the most “important” measurement for that particular garment and buy the pattern size that most closely conforms.  For example, when buying a slacks pattern, the “main” measurement is the hip since that’s the hardest area to alter.  You can more easily adjust other attributes like the waist and length.  With tops or jackets, the bust measurement is the most important since it’s easier to alter the shoulder and waist areas.

***A great way to eliminate that annoying gap between the waistband and the top of the zipper is to make a habit of buying zippers that are 1” longer than a pattern calls for.  Stitch horizontally across the top of both sides of the zipper and clip off the excess before adding the waistband to eliminate unnecessary bulk.

***A really cool trick if you’re making a fancy garment, something nicely tailored, or a jacket or vest where the front might drape open, is to finish the back side of your buttons with a bead.  Sew on your buttons as usual, then with the last two to three passes of the thread, stitch a small matching bead on the inside of the garment.

Check out the “500 Kwik And Easy Sewing Tips” book for additional tips that you’ll love.

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Do You Have What It Takes To Be Successful? A Quiz!

Posted By on March 6, 2018

Do you have what it takes to be successful?  A quick quiz.

The great desire to be successful has always been a fact of life!  The word “success” means different things to different people.  For some, to be successful is to have your own business, so you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself.  To others, success is climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, while others visualize success as “being the best” – best at the sport they are involved in, being best at the job they work at, and so on.

Answer the following questions TRUE or FALSE, then check your answers against the opinions that follow.  You may not recognize all of the names quoted, but you can be assured that all of the people, whether familiar to you or not, were extremely successful in their own way.

1.  Success requires mastery of the endeavor you set for yourself.
2.  Everyone should realize his or her limitations and try to go no farther.
3.  It is very important to try to please everybody.
4.  One should believe in himself or herself.
5.  Success is achieved by being single-minded in purpose.
6.  Most successful people tend to be unemotional.
7.  Act successful, even if you’re not.
8.  An important element needed for success is to love what you do.
9.  The ability to handle the people with whom you work is a skill leading to success.
10.  Be sure you are right, then go ahead.

The answers listed below are the opinions of those people who are quoted.

1.  TRUE.  “The way to do is to be.” (Lao Tzu)
2.  FALSE.  “We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.” (Helen Keller)
3.  FALSE.  “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is to try to please everybody.”  (Herbert Bayard Swope)
4.  TRUE.  “Self trust is the first secret of success.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
5.  TRUE.  “I believe the true road to pre-eminent success in any line is to make yourself master of that line.” (Andrew Carnegie)
6.  FALSE.  “He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much.” (Mrs. A. J. Stanley)
7.  TRUE.  “Act as if it were impossible to fail.” (Dorothea Brande)
8.  TRUE.  “The first thing to do is to fall in love with your work.” (Sister Mary Lauretta)
9.  TRUE.  “The ability to handle men is the most valuable thing in the business world.  I will pay higher for that than for any other qualification.” (John D. Rockefeller)
10.  TRUE.  “Be sure you are right; then go ahead.”  (Davie Crockett)

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50% Off “500 Kwik And Easy Sewing Tips” Book – Now $4.98!

Posted By on February 27, 2018

Learn to sew faster, better and easier with this book.  Many of these time savers are so simple, you’ll wonder why you never thought of them before.  500 Kwik & Easy Sewing Tips contains the best of customer hints and tips accumulated over 25 years.  Spiral binding makes it easy to turn to each tip you need at the moment.  This could be the best book in your sewing room!  For a limited time we are giving you a 50% discount — regular price $9.95, sale price $4.98.  No coupon code is necessary.

Customers are raving about this book — check this out:  D. Bloss, MD wrote to us saying “I was looking through your ‘500 Kwik and Easy Sewing Tips’ book for a particular item, but found so many things I needed that I started putting sticky tabs on the pages of hints I knew I’d need for my next projects.  I have so many sticky tabs throughout the book that I’m wondering how I got along all this time without your terrific book!  Thanks for putting these hints and tips together – they’re great!”

While you’re looking through the SEWING BOOK section, don’t forget the 60% off the Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer book, the Serger Repair For The Home Sewer book, and Complete Guide To Treadle Sewing Machines Book —- they are all marked down from $24.95 to $9.98, while they last!

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