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November 2014
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Variations Of Thread

Posted By on August 11, 2014

Thread, in all its variations of color, weight, fiber and twist, has but two ideal destinies — it should end up as the unobtrusive way to hold something else together, or it should become the conspicuous, decorative, highly visible feature of something else.  Those two extremes, with no middle-ground role, are what all the variations are all about.

When thread fails in its first role, if it fails to hold something together or if it shows when it shouldn’t, it all boils down to a lack of attention to detail on the part of the seamstress.  Hundreds of shades of colors are offered in order that a shade can be selected which will best blend with, and disappear into, the fabric – specifically, a thread one shade darker than the fabric or than the fabric’s main color.  For plaids and other designs, the trick of using a second color for the bobbin may further the goal of blending.  Transparent thread can come in handy for the impossible-to-match fabrics.

In addition to color compatibility, the thread’s weight and fiber should relate to fabric.  Polyester threads, good for all natural and man-made fabrics, are essential for knit, stretch and permanent press materials and come in 100% polyester or in polyester core, wrapped with cotton.  Mercerized cotton threads (treated with caustic soda to add strength, smoothness, luster and affinity for dyeing) are suitable for light-to-medium weight, natural-fiber fabrics.  Special purposes require special threads:  heavy duty for coating, slip-covers, draperies; top cord for canvas, awning cloth, duck; quilting for heavy thicknesses; button and carpet for buttons, carpets, upholstery; silk for silk and wool fabrics; silk buttonhole twist for hand-worked buttonholes, sewing on buttons, thread loops, machine gathering (in the bobbin only).

Silk buttonhole thread is a recommended thread for the opposite purpose — the conspicuous one — and can be used for the upper thread.  Or two threads of polyester can be used in the upper needle.  This use of thread showing, is undoubtedly as inexpensive a way as possible to glorify many a sewing project.  From the traditional double-row orange stitches on jeans, to red-and-blue stitches on a mini-skirted tennis dress, to self-color stitches on a tailored suite, displaying thread is a thrifty designer’s master stroke.

For either extreme intention, hidden stitches or flaunted ones, never settle for less than finding the right needle (the finest size the fabric and thread will take), proper tension adjustment and correct stitch length (the longest which will still look good).

See additional information from a previous post entitled “Are You Using The Right Thread?”  Be sure to pay attention to detail when it comes to the thread in any sewing project — you’ll be happy you did, and the results will show your efforts.

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A Small Gift Can Make A Big Difference

Posted By on August 8, 2014

A small gift to a valued customer wouldn’t really sound like advertising, however it can have the same effect as advertising with much to gain for the business owner.

Effective advertising (gift giving) creates awareness and maintains a positive image of your business.  No customer is likely to forget where she was given special status, and will probably tell her friends about her “special” gift.  The gifts don’t have to be expensive ones – the monetary value of the gift is not important.  What is important is that you’re giving away something of value, and it is the act of giving that really counts.

Listed here are some ideas for your “gifts” – things that are usable by the customer and promote your business at the same time.

** Make a copy of a “fabric conversion chart”,  put your business name/address/phone number along the bottom, laminate it with self-adhesive laminating sheets (available at any office supply company), then fold it so it will fit into a small felt “pouch” (that you will also make), so it will fit into your customers’ purse as a handy reference the next time she goes fabric shopping.

** Check a novelty company to get pocket make-up mirrors with your name and address on the back.  The customer will keep this in her purse, so your company information will never be far from her.

** The same novelty company should also be able to provide you with key chains that you can put your logo on.  In this instance, just the logo would be best so the customer will actually use it and not just throw it in a drawer when she gets home.  The logo will be reminder enough that it came from you.

** Sun visors with a logo in the summer would make great gifts.  Again, just the logo will be fine, as a visor with your name plastered in bold capital letters will probably be put in a corner and not used.

** One of my very favorites that I got as a free gift is a calendar – 8 1/2 x 11 in size — across the top it says “Every day is a gift, that’s why it’s called THE PRESENT”, then it has all the months arranged around the outside with a small box right in the middle with the name of the company, address, phone number and website.  It was also laminated, so that one got stuck on my refrigerator.  WOW!  How many of YOUR customers could use something like that as a little Christmas gift this year — most computers have some kind of calendar making software that you could use and be able to print out a dozen or two to give away.  Think of all the people who will be seeing YOUR name on your customers’ refrigerator for the entire 2015 year!

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Twelve In One Magic Ruler

Posted By on August 6, 2014

For sewing, crafting, quilting and wood-working, the Twelve In One MAGIC RULER is a complete set of measuring devices all in one easy-to-use see-thru adjustable tool.  And it’s all done with the twist of a knob!  You’re not limited to just twelve variations of the MAGIC RULER.  Use your imagination according to the project you’re working on.  The obvious uses of the MAGIC RULER are these:









1. Yardstick
2. 35″ Scallop Template
3. Corner Maker
4. L-Square
5. T-Square
6. 45 degree Angle
(or any angle from 10 degree to 180 degree)
7. Inside Triangle Template
8. Outside Triangle Template
9. Inside Scallop Block Template
10. Outside Scallop Block Template
11. 4″, 5″, 6″, 7″, 8″ & 9″ Square Template
12. 13″ Square Template

And it’s all done with the twist of a knob!!

Use the Twelve In One MAGIC RULER for pattern making, altering commercial patterns, making quilt blocks, square templates for craft projects, scalloped edges on skirt and dress hems, sleeves, quilts, pictures, table cloths, and other crafts. Cut triangles for quilts and craft projects and use the corner maker for all perfect corners — all with the twist of a knob! Easy instructions included. Made of see-thru durable plastic for ease of use.

What would you pay for each of these tools if bought individually? $30 – $50, or more? The Twelve In One Magic Ruler will do it ALL for one low price of $17.95.

Check out the Twelve In One Magic Ruler at SewWithSarah.

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Buttonhole Elastic

Posted By on June 30, 2014

ButtonholeElastic2Buttonhole elastic is a wonderful product. I don’t think I could do without it.

Buttonhole elastic can be used in waistbands of maternity clothing – is easy to expand the waistline as needed.

For me, I use a LOT of it for my grandchildren’s clothing.  We have quadruplet grandchildren- 8 years old.  The little boys are sooooo small around the waist that sometimes a size 5  elastic waist pants will fit, however they are waaaaay tooooo short!    It is so easy to pull in the waist bands of size 7 & 8 shorts and pants with the buttonhole elastic, while the lengths are just right.  Well, I KNOW they’re gonna catch up with their big brother soon, who is 9, so in the meantime,  we use a lot of buttonhole elastic in their waist bands.

Another use for buttonhole elastic is if you’re making fitted sheets, or repairing fitted sheets, sew buttonhole elastic around the curved areas.  The “buttonhole” part lets it fold easily to be attached to the sheets, and is perfect when putting the sheets back on the bed.

I’m sure there are many other uses for this product – once you’ve tried it, you won’t want to be without it.

The buttonhole elastic is available on ebay and I’m sure JoAnns probably carries it as well.

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How To Use Fold-Over Elastic

Posted By on June 23, 2014

Fold over elastic has many uses, and is very easy to use.  This is a stretchy trim with a knitted-in foldline, so that it can be used as a binding and lie nice and flat. The biggest advantage is that it S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S! Fold-over elastic comes in a few different widths, a rainbow of colors, and in shiny or matte.   CraftStylish has a great tutorial on how to use the fold-over elastic.

If you’ve never used fold-over elastic, check out the tutorial from CraftStylish.  I get my fold over elastic on eBay – it comes in bulk – like 5 or 10 yard lengths, etc at super cheap prices!  I guarantee that you’ll be using fold-over elastic for all your trimmings – from aprons to knit tops to kids clothing and everything else you can find!  It’s super easy to use and looks great when finished!

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Projects For Cold Days!

Posted By on January 23, 2014

You’d think here in the “sunny” South, temperatures would be such that we could be working/playing outdoors all day.  Not this year!!  Temperatures here in Florida are supposedly going to drop to around 20 degrees tonight.  Now, being from Nebraska originally, I understand you all are saying – “what’s your problem?  That’s warm compared to our ‘below zero’ temperatures”.  Any way you look at it, most of the country is now in a “deep freeze” as the weather people like to say.

So, what to do with these long, cold, winter days?  As you probably know, I have a set of 8 year old quadruplet grandchildren (along with their big 9 year old brother), and if any of you have children that age, you know their rooms sometimes (most of the time?)  need a major cleaning.  I’ve checked out several things at Patterns2Go for items to make to try to help them get their rooms organized.

Under the Crafts category I found a laundry bag pocket.  I’m HOPING this will help get the dirty clothes in one spot and not left in the spot where they took the garment off.








And, I’m thinking a Snake Wall Pocket might just help keep some of the smaller things (note pads, pencils, crayons, etc) off the floor.



These, and many more items from Patterns2Go take only small pieces or scraps of fabric, so I’m sure I’ll be able to fill these cold days with some sewing projects.

We’d love to hear what you’re working on.


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Jiffy Grip Fabric

Posted By on November 16, 2013

Jiffy Grip non slip slipper sole fabric




Jiffy grip fabric has non slip rubber raised dot grippers on one side that makes it a perfect fabric for bottoms of childrens footed pajamas, house slippers and children’s soft sole leather shoes.  Other uses for this fabric includes gluing it to lamp bases to protect furniture, put it under area rugs and under placemats or table top padding to prevent slipping and sliding.

Jiffy Grip fabric comes in a package and is 11 1/4″ x 24″.  It is easy to cut and sew – can be glued as well, such as on lamp bases, or flower vases.  This product can also be used for shelf lining to prevent sliding and breakage of glasses and china.  Jiffy Grip is machine washable using warm water and dryable.


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Sewing For Men and Boys In Your Life

Posted By on November 8, 2013

When was the last time you tried to sew for your husband, teen age son or a boyfriend and simply threw up your hands and said “forget it!”  Those broad shoulders or extra long muscular arms can be a nightmare. Or, is the problem similar to what my brother calls the “Dunlop disease”.  He says his chest has fallen and now has “dunlopped over his belt” (aka a big belly).  Ok, Bill, for you and all others like you, we are very happy to say we have a pattern making class for men that will allow you to have patterns and clothing garments that will fit these, and any other problem areas.

At our Sew With Sarah website, we have classes on pattern making for average size men, big and tall men, pattern making for plus size boys and pattern making for skinny boys - that will help you with the problems listed above.  By taking the personal measurements for the man/boy you’re sewing for, you can have perfectly fitting clothes every time, because the patterns/garments will be made to THEIR measurements.

Check out Patterns That Fit You to find some ready made patterns for big/tall/large men.  These are night shirts/pants/pajamas that are uni-sex and can be used for women as well as men.  We’ve had many customers who have taken these patterns and made baseball style shirts and jogging pants for themselves and their husbands, so don’t consider the patterns just for nightwear.

And, lastly, don’t forget to visit our Plus Size Children site to find classes on making patterns for those hard to fit boys (and girls), as well as a complete section on ready made patterns designed for hard to fit plus size boys and girls.

Sewing is FUN and can be very rewarding when you have the tools needed to get a perfect fit for every person in your family.

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Working At Home ——- With Children

Posted By on November 6, 2013

The very sound of “working at home” is music to the ears of so many people nowdays — with gas prices soaring, costs of daycare, food, clothing and every necessity going higher and higher it’s no wonder the idea of working at home is something we would all love to do.  In addition, with cut backs and layoffs at many work locations, finding something to do as a work at home job may be the only alternative.

OK, so you’ve been sewing for years and years and you can now finally start a sewing business of some kind at home.  Perhaps you’ve been into crafting and creating unique items is your specialty.  Perhaps your children are a little on the plump side, so you can say that you’ve been sewing for plus size children all the years you’ve sewn for your own children, or you’ve been taking home clothing alteration work from fellow employees where you used to work, so you already have a little “business on the side” going.

Another highlight in working from home is the prospect of being able to spend more time with your children.

HOLD ON!  Are you planning to “work” at home, or “spend more time with the children”, which means not much work will be done.

The very FIRST thing that needs to be done is to set a schedule and stick to it!  The children and spouse have to realize that you’ll be needing time to get your work done – whether you’re sewing, doing alterations, making crafts, whatever it is, will take time to get completed.

My daughter has 2 1/2 year old quadruplets, and an older son who is 3 1/2 (gonna be 4 next month).  She has a very strict schedule for them — babies (quadruplets) take a nap at 9:30 in the morning — sometimes they sleep, sometimes they play for an hour, but they are in their rooms.  Then at 1:30 all five of the children are down for a nap.  They sleep until 4:30 or 5:00, which is her “quiet baby time” as well as WORK time.  After naps comes supper, playtime outside, bath, snacks and the babies are in bed at 8 pm; the older brother in bed at 9.  There is never a squabble or fight – it has been this way since the babies turned 6 months old.   She then can work from 9 pm until around midnight. I’m constantly amazed at the amount of work she gets done during those seemingly small periods of time.

If you have older children, plan to do your work while they are in school, then work out summer camps, etc for during the summer months when they aren’t in school.  If they are old enough to be able to help you, give them some little “jobs” to do, otherwise perhaps you can have a small desk on one side of the room where they can be coloring, reading, etc while you’re working.

The second item of importance is to have a designated work area.  The location is up to you – it might be setting up an office or work area in the garage, or in a spare bedroom.  Wherever the work area is, the children must be taught that it is indeed a work area, and they are not to go in and rummage around unless they have permission from you.  In addition, they must not disturb you while you are working unless there is an emergency.

Working from home with children in the house can be very tricky, however it CAN BE DONE!  I’m sure there are thousands of “work at home” moms that have figured this out, and I’m also sure there are many more that are struggling every day trying to get work done in order to get some money in to help pay the bills.

If you are just now contemplating working at home, make a tentative schedule ahead of time and make sure you, your spouse and your children are prepared for the adjustment.  It may take some getting used to, and the original planned schedule may need to be altered a little, but with patience and perseverance it can be worked out.

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How To Make New Sleeve Styles From One Basic Sleeve Pattern

Posted By on November 4, 2013

If you’re in a sewing business, whether you sew for children or for women, you can impress your customers by letting them know you can “change up” their pattern by making different sleeve styles than just the one that came with the pattern.  A basic short sleeve pattern is great, but by changing it to different sleeve types, you can make the entire dress or blouse look different.  You can save your customer money by making changes to one basic pattern, and end up giving her a whole wardrobe of designs.

Let’s start with the sleeve.  It’s very easy to change a sleeve into a new style, if you follow a few basic instructions.  For this tutorial, we’re going to change the basic short sleeve into a Bell Sleeve.








For the sleeve variation, you’ll be cutting the basic sleeve in one or more places, so I would suggest that you reinforce the back of the basic sleeve pattern with iron on pellon, so that the basic sleeve won’t get ripped.  When you make the NEW sleeve style, you may want to pin it to pattern paper and cut the new sleeve style, making a new pattern.

STEP 1:  For the bell sleeve, you will “cut” and “separate” the basic sleeve from the bottom.  On the basic pattern, draw in the center vertical line, then measure 2″ to the left and right of the center line, and draw two additional vertical lines.  Beginning at the bottom, cut each of the vertical lines almost to the top, keeping the main piece attached at the top.

STEP 2:  At the bottom of the sleeve, separate the “cut” sections so there are openings of 1 5/8″ between each section, as shown.  Lay the basic “cut” sleeve pattern onto pattern paper and pin the sections in place on the pattern paper.


STEP 3:  At the bottom of the center “cut” line, measure DOWN 3/4″ and make a mark.  Draw in the new lower sleeve line with a smooth curving line as shown in the above drawing.


Trace around the “new” sleeve pattern on the pattern paper so you’ll have a permanent pattern.  We also suggest that you cut out the picture that’s associated with the sleeve style and tape it to the new sleeve pattern, and perhaps even label it “Bell Sleeve”, so you can keep it to mix and match with other necklines and collars for garment variations.  This new sleeve pattern / style can be sewn according to the pattern instructions.


You can see how easy it is to change the basic sleeve into a completely different style.  If you would like to learn how to make TEN different sleeve styles from that ONE basic pattern, check out the sleeve changing class at

By offering this service to your customers, you will be able to increase your business and profits.  I would suggest that you make sample sleeves showing the new ones that you can make for the customer to see and choose from.  Since you’ll be using the sleeve from the customers’ pattern package to make any new sleeves for that particular customer, you can be assured that they will fit her.

If you’re sewing for plus size children, you can use the same class to change sleeve styles for children’s patterns.  Or Check the website PlusSizeChildren to see additional patterns and pattern making classes for children.

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