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May 2015
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How To Organize Your Fabric Stash

Posted By on May 19, 2015

My fabric cabinet(s) are filled to the top of most shelves with fabric of all sizes and yardages.  I just can’t seem to walk by those fabrics in the stores that are “calling out for me!”  I love fabric sales and it never fails – I also find regular priced stuff I just can’t live without.  We’ve had a number of people who’ve emailed us about this same “problem” — what to do with the cabinets, drawers and stacks of fabric.

OK, I’m going to try to offer a few suggestions and one thing that I do a couple times a year, and hopefully the suggestions will help you out.

** Take a day (or two) and go through ALL the fabric that you have.  There may be some at the bottom of the stack that has been hidden for months or years that needs to come out.

** Refold all the fabric and put into stacks of “similar colors”, “similar yardages” or some other method whereby you will at least know what you have.

** Twice a year (spring and fall)  the sewers in my subdivision have a “fabric swap”.  We all bring fabrics that we really don’t think we’ll ever use, then trade fabric yardages with the others.  For example, if I bring 5 pieces of fabric, I’ll get to pick 5 other pieces of fabric that the others have brought.  We spend a couple hours having coffee and goodies, while exchanging the fabric.  Of course, I haven’t gotten RID of any fabric – just replaced what I really didn’t want anymore.  However, the good thing is that I now have fabric that I hopefully WILL use!

** The PatternReview website has a “fabric stash” contest a couple times a year where you have a certain amount of time to sew as many items as you can (clothing and craft items).  You use patterns you already have and fabric you already have.  The purpose is to get you into those closets and drawers and USE what you have and get back into the sewing room!   From the number of items the last winner made, I’d say she probably LIVED in the sewing room for the previous month or so!!

** Some of my sewing friends have those big clear plastic stackable boxes for their fabric.  They sort it by colors – each clear box has a certain color (blues or greens, etc), then they have them stored on shelves at the back end of their garage.  Works out great if you have a lot of fabric – and it’s all easy to see.

** If there are a number of pieces that you just don’t think you’ll be using at all, think about donating them to Good Will, or to a group that holds sewing classes – perhaps those in the sewing classes could put your extra fabric to good use.

** The very best suggestion of all is USE IT!  Go ahead and get those clothing garments made, or start working on some craft items that you’ve been wanting to make, but just haven’t gotten around to it.  Once you get the sewing machine humming, you might be surprised at how quickly the fabric stacks disappear.

If you have any other suggestions for what to do with a stash of fabric, feel free to drop us a line – I’m sure our readers would love to hear other suggestions.

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Super 50% Off Summer Sale

Posted By on May 14, 2015

From now through May 31 use the code SUMMER to get a whopping 50% discount on ALL downloadable Pattern Making and Pattern Changing classes at!

Do you have a basic dress/blouse pattern that you FINALLY got to fit perfectly, but don’t want every dress and blouse the same?  Use our “pattern changing” classes to make 10 different sleeve styles or 8 different neckline styles for that basic pattern, or change the position of the darts or take out the darts if you’d prefer.  You can have an entire wardrobe of fantastic clothes, all from that ONE basic pattern!   We have 2 categories of pattern changing classes:

Pattern Make-overs for Average Size

Pattern Make-overs for Full Figures

OR, try your hand at pattern making.  All of our pattern making classes have step by step instructions with diagrams and illustrations.  Use your own measurements or those of the person you’re sewing for and we’ll show you how you can get perfect fitting garments EVERY time!  We have a variety of pattern making classes, including:

Pattern Making For Men

Pattern Making For Average Size Women

Pattern Making For Plus Size Women

Pattern Making For Boys

Pattern Making For Girls

Fill your cart with all the downloadable classes it will hold –  ALL at a Super 50% Discount, using the promo code SUMMER and get ready for summer sewing now!

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How To Cut New Facings

Posted By on May 13, 2015

If you have done some altering and changing along the neckline and/or sleeve edges, the facing pattern that came with the pattern will no longer be usable for the changed neckline or sleeve.  You will need to cut new facings that will fit the changed area, as shown in the following diagrams.




Cutting the neck facings

To illustrate the method of cutting facings, the above drawing shows a simple sleeveless, collarless blouse that will have a zipper in the back.  Lay the paper pattern on the fabric.  Cut along the outside seam lines.  The facings will be cut from the remaining material.





In the above drawing the printed area indicates fabric and the shaded area indicates the areas where the front and back bodice have been cut from the fabric.  The front and back bodices are the bodices previously cut out of the fabric and positioned on the remnants to indicate how to cut out new facings for the front and back neck.  Be sure to put the center front neck on the fold and the back neck along the selvage edge, as was done with the bodices.  after cutting the neckline and down 6 cm (2 3/8″) along the shoulder line, flip the bodice and fabric over and cut the neck facing 6 cm (2 3/8″) wide, as shown with dotted lines.

By making new facings for your altered pattern, you can be sure that the facings will fit the area, whereas the original facing in the pattern package would no longer fit an altered neckline.

Cutting the armhole facings





After cutting the altered front and back neck facings, the last step in cutting the blouse is cutting the armhole facings.  The easiest way to cut armhole facings is to turn the bodices around and position the bodice armhole into the area of the cut out armholes as shown, and pin the bodice to the fabric.  cut along the altered armhole edge and 6 cm (2 3/8″) along the side and shoulder edges, then flip the bodice over and cut the facings 6 cm (2 3/8″) wide as shown in dotted lines.

When altering a blouse, top or dress bodice, the advantage of cutting the front and back armhole facings separately is that they can be cut from small scraps, whereas one-piece armhole facings require a much larger piece of fabric.

This information is also in all of our Pattern Making and Pattern Changing classes on

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Add New Life To Your Sewing – Make Baby Items

Posted By on May 6, 2015

Sometimes when inspiration hits, it’s like “WOW! two brain cells rubbed together this time”!  That’s exactly how I felt when it suddenly dawned on me how many new customers I was getting after I started spreading the word about sewing nursing garments, which meant many new babies are now in my “client market”.

I suddenly realized that ALL of these new customers needed baby things as well as the nursing garments!  Then when I stopped to really think about it, it occured to me that many of my regular customers would, from time to time, need baby gifts for baby showers, birthdays, Christmas, etc.  In addition, each of my customers knows others who are pregnant and needing baby gifts as well.

I started making a few notes about how I could capitalize on this new-found “baby” market!  Then I went to work making a portion of my customer waiting area into a small “baby world”.  I made some baby/toddler/child items such as the portable diaper changing station, unique crinkle toys,  a childs sleeping bag, a few fabric toy blocks, a set of bibs and a few other items and attached them to the wall and on top of a portable playhouse that I’d made as a little playhouse for the children who come in.  In addition to putting price tags on the items themselves (including the portable playhouse), I made a list of all the items with prices, and a heading of “Suggested gifts for babies / toddlers”.

YIKES!!  Where had my brain been all these years!  My original plan was to make the item as somebody would inquire about my sample and place an order, but almost immediately somebody came in and went on and on about how unique the portable diaper changing station was, and wanted to buy THAT one because she had a baby shower that night.  Even though she’d already gotten a gift, this was so unique that she just had to have it too.

My “original plan” got shot down quickly, so I put together a shelf beside the “baby world” corner and started making a few of each of the items that I had on display – put them in zip lock bags, put a little label on the bag with my logo and “custom made by” on the bag, and presto! I was in the baby gift business as well as sewing!

Whether you’re in a sewing, alteration or craft business, these items could add some extra dollars for you, and would be readily available for the customers to look over and purchase as they come in for your main business.

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$50+ Worth of Sewing Notions For $14.95 – Limited Quantity

Posted By on May 4, 2015

Our first time ever 48 HOUR SALE on the Sewing Notion Value Packs was a huge success.  We had a number of people writing in to say that they were really disappointed that they’d missed the sale.  We’re writing them and giving our Sewing Business Blog readers another “short” opportunity to get their hands on the sewing notion value packs.  Check them out at the SewWithSarah website

Get more than $50 worth of name brand sewing notions for only $19.95 $14.95!  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.

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

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Altering Store Bought Patterns For Overweight Children – Abdomen

Posted By on April 23, 2015

Large abdomen (stomach) is one of the main problems with plus size children, overweight children and obese children.  A large abdomen will cause skirts and pants to be too short in front and cause skirts to ride up in the front.









To correct the store bought (commercial) pattern, draw a horizontal line across the fullest part of the abdomen on the pattern.  Cut the line, beginning at the center front and cut to within 1/2″ from the side seam.  Separate the pieces the necessary amount and tape in place, as indicated.  Redraw the center front line, as indicated with dashed lines, from the bottom to the top, keeping the original line straight.  This correction will make the waist larger so you will have to make the “fullness” into a small amount of gathers, which would give a little extra fullness for the large tummy.

For more in depth information about altering patterns for overweight children, plus size children and obese children, check out our book “Altering Store Bought Patterns for Hard To Fit Children”.   This book contains 70 pages and covers the alteration process for every garment you’d want to make for boys and girls, including large abdomens, large hips and derriere, larger than normal chest, adjusting the crotch length and much more.  Each alteration process has step by step instructions and diagrams.

If you’d like to try your hand at making your own patterns for overweight children, plus size children and obese children, we have classes available for both boys and girls!  Simply take the measurements of the one you want to sew for and follow our step by step instructions on how to make dozens and dozens of patterns.

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Announcing Plus Size Children Patterns

Posted By on April 15, 2015

Recent statistics have indicated that nearly nine million American children are categorized as “overweight”. Buying or making clothes for the plus size child can be a very stressful and difficult process as there is literally NO standard size that fits properly.

We are excited about our line of clothing patterns for plus size children that we designed according to actual REAL measurements of plus size children, so that patterns will fit the majority of plus size children, are now available at

Compare our pattern measurements to your child’s and you’ll see which size range you’ll need.  Each pattern has an enlarged view (click on the pattern number link), which gives the measurement chart for each size range, as well as the fabric requirements for each pattern.

We have a wide variety of pattern styles for plus size girls and boys that you can see in the following categories:

Plus size girls blouse patterns

Plus size girls skirt/dress patterns

Plus size girls shorts/Slacks patterns

Plus size girls nightwear patterns

Plus size boys patterns

My friend has a 9 year old daughter who has a 36″ chest, 34″ tummy and 38″ hips. Buying pre-made clothes for her is impossible since a skirt that fits in the waist has a length that goes past the feet, and long sleeves hang several inches below her fingers in order to get a size that fits in the chest and shoulders. My friend decided to try making some clothes, only to find similar problems with patterns. Thinking the new “plus” sizes would fit, she was disappointed to find that, while a 16 Plus would fit the chest, the “waistline” hung about 2-3 inches below her waist, the skirt length was way too long, the neck and armholes were much too large and the shoulder width fell way off the shoulder. After all, the measurements used in the store-bought patterns are for a “chubby” 16 year old, they’re not designed for an extra chubby 9 year old.

OUR plus size childrens patterns are made from actual plus size childrens’ measurements.  These patterns have been an instant hit, as D. Bloss tells us “for the very first time ever, I’m able to make clothing that fits my plus size daughter!  The size 10 in your size range 8-10-12 has measurements almost identical to my daughters – it’s almost like you’ve used HER measurements in designing the patterns!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

If you are sewing for hard to fit plus size children, these patterns might just be the answer to your fitting issues! Check them out now and get 15% off all plus size kids patterns with promo code PLUS15 – good through April 30, 2015..

Hurry on over to and start your shopping spree!

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Scissors, The Cutting Edge

Posted By on April 13, 2015

Scissors play a very important part in the sewing process, and are not something to be thought lightly about.

Gingher Pinking Shears











When a scissors’ blades slide by each other, the resulting cut can be the intended one or a disaster, the outcome largely predetermined by the scissors’ design, construction, strength and suitability for the task being performed.

Technically, scissors are generally 3 to 6 inches long and have equal size ring handles; shears, 6 inches or longer, have a ring handle for the thumb and larger handle for two or three fingers.

Scissors should perform almost as an extension of fingers and seamstresses should have a selection of excellent and appropriate scissors. To be avoided are such frustrations as forcing the blades to cut, using blunt ends where only sharp points will reach, cutting in the air instead of on the table, and cramping the fingers by using uncomfortable handles or too heavy shears.

For fabric cutting, scissors should cut easily through the paper patterns, as well as layers of material. Bent handles will keep the entire operation on the table, while straight handles will force a lifting of the scissors, pattern and fabric, resulting in sagging of the fabric and possibly an inaccurate cut. Cutting should be done in long even strokes, blades never completely closing.

When at the sewing machine, use thread clipper scissors, sewing scissors (for snipping, ripping, cutting light material, slashing seams, and other close work), and shears for cutting heavy seams.

Buttonhole scissors make perfect buttonhole slits and are uniform in size.

Pinking and scalloping shears give ravel resistant seam finishes and, in addition, pay for themselves by cutting decorative trims of non-woven materials, such as suede, felt and plastic.

Good quality scissors and shears can be sharpened and adjusted, will not rust, and will outperform ones of poor quality and construction.

Only a minimum of care is needed. They should be kept clean by cleaning off the lint after each use. The screw should be lubricated with sewing machine oil occasionally. Avoid cutting over pins, and protect the points during use and when they are stored. Use the scissors and shears only in ways and on materials for which they were intended, and they will last for a good number of years.

For other sewing tips and tutorials, visit

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Button, Button, Who Has …..

Posted By on April 8, 2015

the prettiest button?  The answer is:  the gal wearing the most eye-catching, zingiest buttons, the ones that absolutely make an outfit!  Perhaps she has jewelry to match.  Maybe she made the buttons herself!  Any way you look at it, the button game is one that we could all easily play, if we just take a little time to think about what all we can do with buttons.

There are many handy products that can result in fashion magic, as far as buttons are concerned.

The matching jewelry mentioned above is achieved easily by purchasing earring bases which are especially made for attaching buttons.  You can mount your favorite commercial or home-covered buttons on silver or gold findings for shank or clasp earrings, scatter pins, cufflinks, tie tacks or finger or scarf rings.  The list just given could keep you busy for several hours!

Covering buttons is a cinch with the proper equipment.  Many garments look fabulous with large or small covered buttons, then add earrings to match to complete the look.  There are several types of kits for covering buttons, and the kits come in a variety of sizes and in styles of half ball, flat, two-tone (a half ball plus a rim, each separately covered), and the kind with a metal rim and fabric covered center.

Commercial buttons offer such a myriad of intriguing designs that a display of them looks like a hobbyist’s collection.  You can get small to large round, square, triangle and assorted shapes that can be plain through such designs as flags, liberty bells, eagles, baseball decals – you name it, you can find buttons to meet the need.

In addition to shapes and sizes, materials that buttons are made of also lend unique qualities.  There are porcelains, glass, wood, metal and plastic buttons.  The influence of cultures from all around the world is seen in various button designs.

Don’t just put buttons on your blouses and dresses - buttons have dozens of applications.  Use buttons as decorations on purses, tote bags, on your shoes, on a belt or make scatter pins from decorative buttons.  Use buttons as part of decorative wall hanging, or let the kids have a length of yarn, string a few large buttons on it and tie the ends for a perfectly good necklace.

What other uses can you come up with for buttons?  Let us know and we’ll pass them along to our readers.

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Increase Sales – Sew For Big Husky Men

Posted By on April 6, 2015

From time to time we try to give updates and information on how to increase your sewing business.  Expanding the sewing and craft business is necessary in order to “increase the bottom line”.

How much sewing do you do for men?  If anybody answered that they actually DO sew for men, how difficult is it to get the patterns adjusted for those “not so average” sized men? I’ve been there and done that!  Even if you have a nearly average man, there may be extra broad shoulders, longer than average arm, and other not so average challenges to deal with.  Then we move on to the big, tall and husky men!  These men may be tall, BUT there also are short, stocky and the type whose chest has fallen and now has “dunlopped over the belt” (that’s my brother’s story, and he’s sticking to it!).  In other words, the big bellies!

We do now have available a pattern making class for big husky men that we believe could help dramatically increase your sales for the  year!  After reviewing and learning the steps to make patterns according to the individual measurements of those super hard to fit men, you will certainly have the corner on the market in that area.

Look around the next time you’re out and about and see how many men fit into the husky, overweight and super hard to fit category.  These are all potential customers.  It would not be difficult to bring in dozens of new customers — just get the first customer, make some clothing garments for him and soon the whole town will know about your sewing skills!

Even those men who appear to be “average” have fitting issues with broad shoulders, long torsos or other fitting issues.   You can make patterns easily to fit those men also by checking out our  pattern making class for “nearly average” men.

Start now and see how quickly you can raise your bottom line by venturing into new areas of sewing!

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