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March 2018
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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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Easy To Make Pockets

Posted By on February 20, 2018

Pockets can easily be added to most of the garments you make, regardless of whether or not the original pattern has pockets, or you can add patch pockets to purses, tote bags, beach bags – whatever you’d like.

Many variations, kinds, and sizes can be made, once you know the basics of how to make pockets.  Today,  we’ll cover one of the most basic of all – the Patch Pocket.


For a professional looking patch pocket all edges must be true and even.  The best way to accomplish this is to make a pattern for the pocket.  After cutting the pocket out, cut two or three small notches along the rounded corners of the pocket so the seam will lie flat (Figure 1).  Turn and press all edges of the pocket and baste if necessary (Figure 2).

In order to get the right angles folded under on a pocket, you could make a cardboard pattern the “actual” pocket size (Figure 3).  Place the cardboard pocket pattern on top of the pocket piece and press the seam allowances over the cardboard edge.  You can leave the pocket plain or add a decorative trim to the top of the pocket by sewing four or five rows of stitching (Figure 4), or by adding seam binding to the top edge after it is turned, but before attaching it to the garment or bag.

To attach the pocket to the garment you can stitch close to the edge or up to 1/4″ away from the outside edges, whichever you would prefer.

The second pocket we’ll cover is an easy and quick way to make a side pocket for skirts, dresses, pants or shorts.

Normally, those patterns that have side pockets will have you cut out the pocket separately and attach them to the sides of the garments.  An easier and quicker way to make the side pockets is to pin the pocket piece to the front and back pattern pieces and cut it all in one.  When you sew the side seams, you’ll simply sew up TO the pocket, sew around the pocket, and continue sewing the rest of the side seam.

Clip into the corners (diagram 2) so the pockets will easily turn to the inside of the garment.

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60% off Last Few Sewing Repair Books

Posted By on February 13, 2018


SewWithSarah is converting all of our “physical” books to downloadable ebook format, so the LAST FEW print copies of Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer, Serger Repair For The Home Sewer, and The Complete Guide To Treadle Sewing Machines books have been marked down 60% — regular price $24.95, now $9.98 – while they last!  Hurry before they are gone!

Get your machines in top shape and serviced before you get started on spring and summer clothing.  Don’t waste time with your sewing machine or serger at the shop – do the servicing yourself following the step by step instructions included in these books.

HURRY – the 60% discount is good only for the few physical print copies we have left of the Sewing Machine Repair Book, Serger Repair Book, and Complete Guide To Treadle Machines book.  When these are gone, SewWithSarah will have the downloadable ebooks only.

While you’re in the sewing book shop, we have a huge bonus for you!  The Profitable Clothing Alteration Business manual is also discounted 60% — regular price $39.95 now $15.98.  We have only a few of the print books left at the 60% discount price.  When these last print copies of Profitable Clothing Alteration Business manual are gone, the price will go back to $39.95 and will be a downloadable ebook.

Now is your chance to get print copies of our best selling books at a 60% discount – no promo code necessary!  These prices are available only to our U.S. customers.

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Tutorial – Easy To Make Colorful Hair Ties

Posted By on February 6, 2018

Items Needed:

Pony Tail Bands; Ribbon 3/8″ – 7/8″ wide


You will need 3 colors (co-ordinating printed or solid) ribbon and 1 pony tail band for each hair tie.

Cut the three co-ordinating color ribbons in lengths of 22″ – 24″ long.


Fold the 3 ribbon pieces in half and put through a ponytail band.  Tie the ribbons to make beautiful ponytail ties.




Check out the other craft patterns at  In addition you will find many children’s and men/women’s sewing patterns as well in the “sewing patterns” section.

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How To Make Pleats

Posted By on January 30, 2018

Pleats can be rather daunting at times, and if you’re not familiar with the terms knife pleat, box pleat or continuous pleats, it might be scary when you know you want pleats of some kind in a garment or in a craft item.

Pleats are folds in the fabric that provide controlled fullness.  Pleating may be a single pleat, made as a cluster, or around an entire garment section.  Basically each pleat is folded along a specified line, normally called the foldline, and the fold is aligned with another line, called the placement line (see the diagrams below).  Patterns will vary as to what these lines are actually called and how they appear on the pattern.

BCC-49Most pleats are formed by folding a continuous piece of fabric onto itself.  Typically patterns will have arrows showing the direction of the fold for the pleats, as you can see on the left hand illustration above.  Pattern sections that are to be pleated will normally be cut out as a single layer

Each pleat is folded along its foldline, as you can see in the right hand illustration above, then brought over to align with its placement line.  The folded section between the fold and the placement line is called the pleat underfold; while its fold is referred to as the backfold of the pleat.

There are several styles of pleats, the most common being the knife pleat and the box pleat, as shown below.  Pleat folds can be soft or sharp, depending on how they are pressed, but any pleat will hang better if it is folded on the straight grain.

As shown in the drawing above, knife pleats have one foldline and one placement line.   All the folds are turned in the same direction all around the skirt.  Some garments may have one cluster of knife pleats facing one way and another cluster facing the opposite way as a decorative detail of the garment.


Box pleats have two foldlines and two placement lines.  The two folds of each pleat are turned away from one another, as shown above.  Some garments may have “inverted” box pleats, where there are two fold lines and one common placement line in front, so that the actual box pleat is hidden and only the under portion is showing.  Any type of pleating process will have directions on the pattern package to let you know how to make their specific type for that particular pattern.


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EASY Reversible Headband And Ear Warmer Pattern

Posted By on January 23, 2018


This has been a very cold winter stretching all the way into “sunny” Florida, where temperatures have been dipping into the teens.  Help!!

Protect your ears with this easy fleece headband/ear warmer combo.

Follow the easy step by step instructions and make several of the headband/ear warmers in no time at all!  Very easy to make and flattering to wear.

The headband/ear warmer takes only a small amount of fleece – you can make them all one color or reversible for two colors to go with more of your outfits.  With the pattern price of only $3.00, you can be ready to head outside and keep your head and ears warm in short order.

I even wear my headband/ear warmer if I’m wearing a hooded coat – keeps the breeze (aka cold air) off my ears! I’ve made a couple reversible ones for myself and love that I can easily change up my cold weather look without taking up a bunch of space!

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Six Success Tips for Sewing Businesses

Posted By on January 16, 2018

1) Find Your Niche

Some people think that focusing on a niche is thinking too small, but having a niche product line is actually a wonderful thing!  If you really want to compete with Sears and Toys ‘R Us, you can do that by offering better customer service or by providing more guarantees, but it is much easier to compete in a specialized niche.  Plus, when you focus on a niche you encourage repeat orders and referral business.

2) Skills & Abilities

You don’t have to be good at every aspect of business in order to be successful, but you do need to be realistic about what your abilities are.  If you’re not very computer literate then take an online class or buy a book, if you’re not very good with numbers and records then hire a part-time bookkeeper, and if you’re not great at writing ads or other sales materials then hire a freelance writer online at Elance.

3)  Use Technology

You don’t have to be a technical wizard to benefit from advances in technology.  Make it easy for your customers to contact you via email, create (or pay someone to create) a website that works for you 24/7, use Google Calendar to keep track of your life on the go, use a fax to email service so you can keep digital copies of everything, and use the Internet to learn about how to enhance your skills and market your business.

4)  Create a Website

Since you can get a domain name for about $10 a year and a website for around $5 a month, there is really no excuse not to have your own website.  Many word processor programs will create HTML pages from documents you’ve typed, and lots of good domain name registrars (we use and recommend GoDaddy) supply website templates that literally allow you to setup your own site over night, without the need for any web design skills.

5)  Positive Thinking

Napolean Hill wrote the all time best-selling business book “Think and Grow Rich” during the Great Depression in 1937.  Over 30 million copies have been sold because of its powerful message about how our thoughts control our successes and failures.  Simply put, whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right!  So look at any setbacks as learning opportunities, be persistent, and stay positive and you will be successful!

6)  Build Relationships

Advances in technology like cell phones, handheld games and the Internet tend to take the focus off of people, for example you can order a pizza online or use a board at a fast food restaurant to order then pay with a credit card without ever speaking to a person.  On the other hand, consumers like to feel that they’re being heard.  Build relationships with your customers by giving them the ability to communicate with you through a variety of methods such as via email, through your website, Facebook or Twitter.  By genuinely listening to your customers you will build bonds of loyalty and trust with them, which will only increase the success of your business.

You can get additional information from two of our Business Books —– Jumpstart Your Business….Proven Techniques & Strategies and 501 Tips & Strategies For Home Business Entrepreneurs.   Get your business going this year and make this your most best year ever!

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How To Repair Burns In A Carpet

Posted By on January 9, 2018

This is the time of the year that those of us with woodburning fireplaces can have problems with flying sparks that burn small holes in the carpet near the fireplace.  OR, even those who smoke can drop hot ashes from the cigarette and again singe or burn a hole in the carpeting.  Actually these small burn areas are not difficult to repair.

The first step in the repair job is to use sharp scissors and cut away all of the damaged pile, or loop, depending on the type of weave.  Snip the pile off as near the rug backing as possible.

Figure 1 shows a cross-section view of the burn before the damaged pile was removed.  Figure 2 illustrates a cross-section view of a burn after the damaged pile has been removed.

If you are fortunate enough to have scraps left from the time the carpeting was laid, you can cut pile from this for repairing.  If not, the pile can be cut from a corner in a closet where it would not be noticable.  The pile to be used for mending should be cut off in the same manner which was used to remove the damaged spot – by snipping it off just above the backing.  Cut the pile in small sections, just two or three tufts at a time.  After cutting, lift them with tweezers and lay each tuft carefully onto a plate or shallow pan so they may be easily carried to the location of the spot to be repaired.  If your rug has several shades of one color in the pattern or more than one color, be sure you cut the correct shade or color of pile to make the repair.

Glue, the type that is white in the container and dries transparent, is used for the repair.  Use a bottle with a nozzle dispenser and squeeze the glue onto the backing of the rug where the burned pile was snipped away (figure 3).  Be generous with the glue, but also be careful not to get it on the pile around the edge of the hole.   The rug backing will soak up the first application of the glue, so after a few minutes, put on another heavy application and start filling in the hole with the little tufts of pile.  Again use tweezers to handle the pile, and start filling in around the outer edge of the hole, so that the undamaged pile sill support the  tufts which are being carefully set into the glue.

Keep working round and round setting the tufts in rows (figure 4), working toward the center, until the entire exposed area of the rug backing has been covered with tufts of pile (figure 5).


It may become necessary to add a little more fresh glue as you work toward the center of the area.

Naturally, you will want to keep any traffic off the repaired spot until the glue has completely dried.  This can be done by placing a small chair, table or even a box or pan over it.

You will be happy to discover that if you repair a burned spot in your rug or carpet in this manner, it will be practically impossible to find where it has been mended and it will sithstand both wear and vacuuming.

WAIT A MINUTE!  Something tells me that this is the kind of repair job that could bring in some extra money!  Whether you actually have a burn hole or not, there are probably dozens of homes in your town or subdivision that DO have unsightly burn holes.  People tend to try to cover the burn spots with area rugs, but the burn hole is there!

The entrepreneur in me says “dig out a small piece of extra carpet, make a burn hole or two, then repair them per the instructions given and become an expert in repairing burn holes in carpets”.

After you’ve become an “expert” in repairing burn holes, put a small classified ad in the local newspaper, put little flyers in fabric shops, dry cleaners, and don’t forget to give information to the local carpet dealers as well.  Figure out how much time it takes to do the repair and charge accordingly.  Some homes may have several burn holes for you to fix, so I’d suggest that you don’t give a repair price over the phone – wait to see how many burn holes there are that need to be repaired, then figure the repair fee.

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