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Darts That Fit And Flatter

Posted By on July 1, 2015

Whether you’re sewing for yourself or for others, one of the most exasperating problems with darts on sewing patterns is to finally get the dress or blouse to fit right, but the dart ends up above the bustline or below the bustline.  We know it looks funny, with the dart not pointing TO the bustline, but rarely does the seamstress know what to do about it.  Whether you’re sewing plus size clothing, petite size clothing, or any size in between the same “dart” problems remain.

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I have learned, with every new sewing customer, to measure their dart position, then measure the dart position on the pattern before anything ever gets cut out.  This practice has saved me a lot of grief many times, as the “problem” got corrected before it could become a real problem on the finished garment.

The following diagrams and instructions will help you get the dart position RIGHT on every future garment you make!

RAISING AND LOWERING AN EXISTING DART TO THE RIGHT POSITION ON YOUR PATTERN

 

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A. To find the correct position of your dart, measure from the shoulder to the bust point and mark that distance on your pattern.  If this mark is above or below the dart on the pattern, you’ll have to move the dart.  (NOTE:  Begin the “shoulder” measurement on your pattern below the seam allowance — don’t include the seam allowance in the measurement).

B.  The easiest way to lower a dart is to measure the necessary distance and make a mark at the dart point and along the side seams.  Connect the new marks and the dart is moved – shown by dashed lines.

C.  In order to restore the shape of the side seam to its original position, tape tissue paper under the dart so it extends past the side seam as shown.  Fold and pin the dart as if it were sewn and cut the tissue paper that extends past the seam line, following the original seam line.  Remove the pins and you have your new seam line.

D.  The same method is used for raising a dart.  However, if you have to raise it quite a bit, you’ll need to angle the dart (E) so that the top line of the dart doesn’t come too close to the armhole.  When you angle the dart, you need to use the same dart width at the side seam as it previously had.  Fold and pin the dart and redraw your side seam (C).

Another challenge with commercial (store bought) patterns is that some of them have NO darts, and you feel more comfortable with darts in your blouses and dresses.  Or perhaps you’d like to change the position of the dart that’s on the pattern, and just don’t know quite how to do it, or even remove the dart from the pattern altogether.  the “Darts That Fit and Flatter” online clothing alteration and sewing class includes all the information mentioned plus much more.  The sewing instructions are easy to follow and the sewing tips that are included make this a much needed class for those whose business is sewing for others.  You can find the information at PatternsThatFitYou.com.

If you need extra help to get darts to fit because you are not quite the same as what patterns have allowed for, you can redo the darts with our Shape A Dart tool.

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$50+ Worth of Sewing Notions For $15.95 – Limited Quantity – Only 6 Left!

Posted By on June 29, 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 and sewing supplies value packs.  Check them out at the SewWithSarah website.  There are only 6 value packs left, so “the early bird gets the worm” is certainly true for this giant sale of sewing notions and sewing supplies.

Get more than $50 worth of name brand sewing notions for only $19.95 $15.95!  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 Sarah.com website, check out the other books, classes and informational articles available.

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Procrastination…..The Art Of Wasting Time

Posted By on June 24, 2015

WOW!  Did I push a “hot” button here????   How much time is actually “wasted” when we procrastinate?  And why do we procrastinate, anyway?

For many folks – me included – it’s just hard to get started on certain projects.  My focus isn’t just “right” or perhaps there’s the “dread” of starting something that appears to be difficult or a little out of the ordinary.  Here’s what I do …….  I’ll walk around, get a couple cups of water, maybe round up some clothes for the washer, maybe even pick up a few of the grandchildrens’ toys, check out the window to see if perhaps UPS has brought anything to the door and didn’t ring the doorbell.  Want to take a guess at how much time I’ve already “wasted” by doing my “procrastination dance”?  Don’t just sit there and smile – I know you’ve done it too!!  The “dance” may be a little different, but it’s still the procrastination that’s keeping us from moving forward.

Here’s what we’re gonna have to do —- how about if we work together on this!!

1.  GET STARTED

Sometimes the hardest part of a job (whether it’s cutting out an outfit to sew for somebody or tackle a stack or alterations or simply sit down to write an article to post on your website) is getting started.  I’ve found that if I get the fabric and pattern on the table, it seems to be easier to go from there.  Or, when I’m trying to get stuff together to work on a new pattern making class, just opening a new page in my word program and throw a title on the page is all it takes to get the ball rolling.  Do something, anything — just get the project started.

2.  DO THE MOST DIFFICULT  JOB FIRST

We all have numerous items on our “to do” lists, so I’ve found if I tackle the major one first, it just feels soooooo good to get it done and marked off.  Otherwise, I can spend all day doing the small tasks, and at the end of the day I’m right where I was at the beginning of the day — procrastinating on that big / difficult job.

3.  DON’T PANIC

Get yourself organized and ready to start that major project.  Be sure you have all the necessary items so you won’t be stuck half way through and have to make a trip to the store to purchase something in order to get it finished.  Once you’ve made sure you have everything you need, simply begin —- lay out the pattern on the fabric,  get the outline ready for the article you need to write — whatever the project is, you’re started now, so calmly get to work.

4.  TREAT YOURSELF

Hey! I’ll go along with this!!!  After I’ve worked my way through a huge project or two, I feel like I’m ENTITLED to a reward!  And you should be too.  A friend of mine likes to “reward” herself by taking an afternoon off and going to a movie.  I’m not really a “movie” person, and don’t feel like I want to take that much time, however I certainly don’t mind taking a break and catching up on some reading or doing a little surfing of the net to see what I can find.  Think about your reward, and work for it.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Children’s Sewing Cards On Sale – $4.95 per set!

Posted By on June 22, 2015

Children’s sewing cards have two distinct functions at our house!  First and foremost, they are laying the groundwork for teaching children to sew, which will result in a lifetime of pleasure and/or income for the children.  Secondly, they are wonderful for letting kids think they are “helping” me sew while I’m trying to do a little catch up work with the grandchildren here.  Now is the perfect time to stock up on sewing cards and give those “bored” kids something to do.  Each set contains 6 sewing cards designed to keep children “sewing” for hours!  Let them share their cards with siblings or even have a friend over to “sew”.  Now through June 30 you can get each set for just $4.95 each!  (Normal price is $7.95 each).

The children’s sewing cards come in a variety of shapes and categories, ranging from general items to specific things like cowboy cards, farm cards, circus cards, etc.   Sewing cards are simple to make –  just download the set you’d like, (white cardstock is the best to print them on), then, using a single hole puncher, punch all the black dots all around.  You can then use assorted colored pieces of yarn (about 18-24 inches long, or carpet thread, or old shoe strings) for the child to sew.  (You can put a self-adhesive clear laminating sheet on each one if you’d like)   Here are a couple samples from the E-Z Sew Sewing Cards website page.

Assorted E-Z Sew Sewing Cards                         Circus E-Z Sew Sewing Cards

There are six different sets and each one of them is sure to please the children!  The “sewing” aspect of these cards helps with hand / eye coordination with toddlers and young children,  and lets them think they are working as hard as the person who is actually trying to get a sewing or craft project done.

For the older children, you can start them on some hand sewing projects from the Learn How To Sew book, then move on to learning how to use the sewing machine.  The Learn How To Sew Book is on sale for $14.95 until June 30 – Regular price is $19.95).  This book is downloadable, so you’ll have it immediately to start working with!

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Buttonholes For Profit

Posted By on June 17, 2015

With the economy as it is, many people are now wanting to learn how to sew in order to cut expenses, as well as wanting to learn how to do alterations so they can “keep” their current wardrobe as long as possible.

As an experienced seamstress, there can be a lot of profit for YOU because of the growing trend of increasing numbers of home sewers.

Those who are “learning” how to sew would gladly come to those of us who already know how to sew for instruction.  You can easily hold sewing classes in your home or in a community center for those who want to learn, and earn extra cash for yourself.

The next idea is this — those individuals who are learning how to sew will NOT be an expert in making buttonholes.  In fact they may try their best to stay away from any type of garment that takes buttons (or even zippers).  YOU could make the buttonholes for those “new” sewers and they would be able to finish the rest of the garment.

Take a picture of several types of buttonholes and make a flyer describing them, and what you would charge for making them, then put the flyers up at local fabric stores, at the post office, laundramat, and other places that allow flyers to be placed on their walls.   Let your friends know what you’re doing – maybe even get a few inexpensive business cards made to pass out.

Buttonholes are the most intimidating part of sewing, and I know for a fact that when I  talk to people, they all say that when they were just learning how to sew they would GLADLY have paid someone to just do the buttonholes!

As we’ve mentioned before, the possibility of increasing business for your shop is there, we just all have to think a little bit in order to come up with those ideas of HOW to increase the business.

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How Productive Are You Now That Summer Is Here?

Posted By on June 15, 2015

Summer brings on an unlimited number of situations that keep us from being really productive!  Kids are out of school, friends and family come in from out of town for visits, perhaps gardening takes away from your “work” time, plus other things.

I’ve already come across a few of those situations!  Grandchildren come to stay a few days, out of town company and my garden REALLY needs some attention.

OK, now what do we do about this?  I’ve made a goal to do a minimum of 1 hour of sewing EVERY day, regardless of who is here or what else needs to be done.  Sometimes I stay up a little later, sometimes I get up a little earlier in the morning and sometimes I work in the sewing while the grandchildren are taking a nap.   Some days I can get in a couple hours of sewing, and of course I still have a FEW days that I can work my full schedule of sewing.

I refuse to let summertime give me excuse after excuse to fall down on my work schedule – after all, I still have customers waiting on work to be done, and I’m still making things for our festivals, so there’s no way to be able to take the summer off.  Neither do I want to feel stressed to the max all summer because I can see those piles of sewing out of the corner of my eye every time I pass my sewing room!

I’ve found that it does take a little bit of extra scheduling time to be able to do just a little bit of sewing every day, but it certainly helps take the stress off when I can feel good about the “hour” of sewing I’ve been able to accomplish each day.

I’d like to find out how many of you manage to keep up the sewing for your alteration business, sewing business or craft business during the summer interruptions.  I’m sure that you all are like me and just can’t “close down” the sewing room for the summer.

Let me think here a minute — how many days left until school starts??????  Just kidding!

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Do You Crochet?

Posted By on June 11, 2015

I believe most people, myself included, have additional hobbies or interests other than just sewing.  While all facets of sewing can take up most of our time, somehow we find a little time for baking our famous pies and cakes, gardening, knitting or crochet.   My daughter, an avid sewer, pattern designer and all things computer related, also LOVES to crochet! She has been crocheting since high school and has turned out some amazing things.  Now comes the problem — nearly everything you see is “winter” oriented – scarves, sweaters, mittens, etc.   Since her high school years, Denise has been collecting SUMMER CROCHET items, and now has put a ton of them into a book, entitled… you guessed it….. Summer Crochet!

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Summer Crochet: 75 HOT Summer Crochet Projects includes  items to crochet, ranging from wearable items to home decor to jewelry to toys and all kinds of really cool kitchen and barbecue items!

This new book, loaded with all things crochet for summer is available as a Kindle book  as well as a print version.    If you are a crochet type person, do yourself a favor and check it out.

 

 

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How To Sell Your Knowledge To Others

Posted By on June 10, 2015

I’m sure most everyone has something special that they make, or do, that gets compliments from all who see them. You might make the prettiest, one-of-a-kind baby quilts, or because of the shortcuts you use while sewing, you can make clothing garments faster than anybody else!

I can see the smiles already — you’re thinking about the compliments or rave reviews that you received just last week!

Now let’s take this one step further!  Those people that are complimenting you and saying “I wish I knew how to do that” are SERIOUS – they actually DO wish they could do what you do best.  And if your customers and friends would like to know how you do certain things, think about the thousands and millions of people around the globe that would probably also like to be able to do what you do best.

Have you ever considered writing down your information into a small booklet or article that could be placed on your website and PURCHASED by others around the world?

SewWithSarah.com was started because of what I’ve just been telling you.  Wherever we moved while in the military, people found out that I’d taken pattern making classes, and they wanted me to teach them how to make patterns.  So I would hold classes on the base for those who wanted to attend, but it never failed — word was really spreading about my classes when we’d be ready to transfer to another base — so the women would beg me to send them information, so they could make their patterns rather than buying the patterns that they couldn’t get to fit right, etc.  There you go — what better way to teach the pattern making than through downloadable classes.  I always gathered all email address and mailing addresses as we were ready to transfer so I could have a way to get hold of them once we got settled at the new base.  Now, that isn’t necessary because the information is online, not only for those individuals, but also for anyone in this country and overseas that would like to try their hand at pattern making.

YOU could be doing the same thing with the things that you do best!  Put together a booklet, a class or an article to place on your website or in your blog and you could add some extra income to what you already do.

If you’re apprehensive about doing the writing, and really don’t know where to start, I would highly recommend you look at “How To Write Ebooks That Sell” — this is the most helpful site and ebook I’ve seen and it will give you the direction you need to get YOUR information out to the public.  One good thing about putting your information together in a book or class or downloadable pattern, etc is that you only have to do it ONCE, and it will stay online for everyone in the world to see and perhaps purchase.  You don’t even have to be awake to make the sale — if it’s on your website or blog, or a Kindle book set up at Amazon,  it’s there 24-7 for others to see.

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Preparing Fabric For Sewing

Posted By on June 8, 2015

Many times we go to the fabric store, buy the patterns and fabric we’ve been thinking about, and immediately head home and start cutting out the garment or craft item.  This might work for most fabrics, most of the time; however it only takes one major mess-up to make a really bad day and perhaps cost us dearly because we’ve just ruined an expensive piece of fabric.

Proper fabric preparation is essential prior to cutting the fabric, and you need to understand the basic facts of fabric structure before starting on the project.  A firmly woven strip called selvage is formed along each lengthwise edge of the finished fabric.  Grains indicate the yarn direction — lengthwise or crosswise.  Any diagonal that intersects these two grainlines is bias.  Lengthwise grain has very little give or stretch.  Crosswise grain has more give and drapes differently, giving a fuller look to a garment.  Bias stretches the most — a bias-cut garment usually drapes softly (example circular skirts), but also tends to be unstable at the hemline.

If the fabric you just brought home is not cut evenly, there are two methods for straightening the ends:

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A.  Tearing is suitable for firmly woven fabrics.  First make a scissors snip in one of the selvage edges; hold the fabric firmly and rip across to the opposite selvage.  If the strip runs off to nothing part of the way across, repeat the process beginning farther from the edge.  The “tearing” process will follow the thread line where you did the cutting, therefore making the edge straight when you get to the opposite selvage.

B.  A drawn thread is better for soft, stretchy or loose weaves.  Again snip the selvage edge and pick up one or two of the crosswise threads and pull gently, as shown in the diagram.  You will need to pull the thread and push the fabric until you reach the other selvage edge.  Cut along the pulled thread line and you’ll have a straight edge for the fabric.

Re-aligning the grain

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After straightening the ends, fold the fabric lengthwise, bringing the selvages together and matching the crosswise ends.  If the fabric edges fail to line up on three sides (as shown above), or if the edges line up but the corners do not form right angles, the fabric is off grain and must be re-aligned before cutting.

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Dampening the fabric is the first step in re-aligning it.  This relaxes the finish, making the fabric more pliable.  Fold the fabric lengthwise, matching the selvages and ends; baste the edges together.  Enclose the fabric in a damp sheet (as shown above) and leave several hours; or moisten the fabric itself, using a sponge or spray bottle.  Be sure to pretest a small area – if water damages the fabric, omit this step.

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Next, the fabric is stretched on the bias.  This is usually sufficient to put it back in proper shape.  Pull gently, but firmly, until the fabric is smooth and all corners form right angles.  Use caution, however, because too much stretching can cause further distortion.  Lay the fabric on a flat surface to dry then press if necessary.

Sounds like a lot of work just to get the fabric back to the proper grain, but if you are making a suit or dress out of very expensive fabric, you will be very glad you took the time for this procedure.

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In Sewing…..Pressing Matters

Posted By on June 3, 2015

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

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

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

Pressing the seams during the sewing process makes it easier to sew the seams that will “cross” any of the seams already sewn.  Gently open the seams and press flat.  You will save time if you sew several seams, then press them all at once, before moving on to the next step.

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

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

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

**As a side note, did you know that if you press or iron when you’re angry, it will cause you to have a “heavy” hand and perhaps cause damage to some garments you’re ironing?  Sooo, put a smile on your face and let’s get to work!

For additional sewing tips and tutorials, visit our SewWithSarah website.

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