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If It’s To Be, It’s Up To Me

Posted By on June 6, 2017

“If it’s to be, it’s up to me” is one of my favorite quotes!  I have it tacked to the wall in my office along with a few other quotes.  This is a reminder to me that it is NOT a favorite employee that’s gonna make my business what it needs to be, neither is it going to be a friend, a mentor or a family member — it’s UP TO ME!!  I’m the one that needs to set the goals for my business, then work toward those goals with all the focused action that I can muster.

It makes no difference if your business is an online website, blog, brick & mortar store or a business in your home – the same principle applies — it’s up to YOU to ensure that your business goes in the direction YOU want it to go.

I once read about a man who would take 30 minutes a week to just sit and reflect on what his business could be, and what steps he could use to take the business to the next level.   I found that very interesting, and have quite often stopped to think about what could be done in my business to gain new customers, make more sales, add additional products, etc.

Please understand that “reflecting on what the business could become” is not daydreaming, wishful thinking or hoping for good things to come —- it is to be clear on what the purpose is and setting worthwhile and realistic goals.  Map it out!  Write down specific goals and dates for those goals to be completed.   Believe in your goals, and believe in your abilities.  Visualize your success.  Dismiss any distractions and difficulties – keep your eyes and your heart on your goals.

By reminding yourself of the “if it’s to be, it’s up to me” principle, you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish toward realizing those goals, and watch your business grow.

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Patterns For Big/Tall Men and Plus Size Women!

Posted By on May 30, 2017

We have had quite a few people write to us wondering if we have other “plus size” patterns in addition to the Plus Size Boys and Girls Patterns.  To this we say a resounding YES!  We’ve been adding more and more patterns for the Big and Tall Men and Full Figure/Plus Size Women’s categories.  (We also have regular S-M-L-XL patterns for men and women.

We have a good selection of men’s patterns ranging from Casual Elastic Waist or Tie Waist pants and shorts to Baseball Style Shirt patterns, Nightshirt pattern and Custom fit leather chaps.

In addition, we have a big variety of full figure and plus size women’s tops, Classic Elastic Waist or Tie Waist pants and shorts, Beach Cover-up, Split skirt pattern, Straight skirt and flare skirt pattern, all in our men/women’s sewing patterns shop.

You’ll LOVE the Camisole Top that has FIVE neckline styles to choose from!  You can make a whole wardrobe of tank tops / camisoles from this one pattern.

7505Pix

Check back often as we have many more patterns coming up!!  We have not forgotten the big and tall men or the plus size and full figure and curvy women!

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Can You Sew During The Summer With Kids Home From School?

Posted By on May 23, 2017

It can be a major challenge keeping up with your business, whether it be sewing, doing alterations, craft projects or making those items to sell online when the kids are out of school for the summer.  This would be a perfect time to get the kids interested in sewing and craft projects.

I have a few suggestions that might help get you started.  For the younger children (3-7 age range), you can easily get them started learning how to sew with our “E-Z Sew Sewing Cards”.  There are six different categories (circus, farm, sea creatures, space, assorted and cowboy).  Each category comes with six different items to sew.  The child can use a shoe string to sew the objects, or an older child could use a long blunt needle, threaded with yarn to do the sewing.  My grandchildren spent HOURS sewing the various objects while I was doing my regular sewing!

If your children/grandchildren are old enough to do some regular sewing machine sewing, you might want to check out the “Learn How To Sew” book.  This book gives YOU information you’ll need to get them started, as well as sample sewing pages that they can “sew” with no thread in the machine.  As you move forward in the sewing process, this book contains hand sewing projects, as well as many simple items the child can easily cut out and sew on the machine.

My 11 year old granddaughters are very creative and are doing a great job of sewing simple things.  This summer they will be making simple pull over blouses and skirts.  One granddaughter says she wants to make a quilt, so that’s on our list.  Another granddaughter (also 11) has already gotten the “pattern making” bug — she has made the pattern for a narwhal stuffed toy, then proceeded to make the toy.  She just decided one day what she wanted to make, got some paper out, drew out the pattern, then did the cutting, hand sewing and stuffing!  I’m really proud of her – great beginning for a life long love of sewing, crafting and creating!  Here’s a picture of her narwhal stuffed toy:  She did step by step directions on how she made it – so we’ve added her pattern project to our craft pattern page.  We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

NarwhalF1

It’s never too early to start teaching the kids how to be creative.  I’ve already made a list of projects for my grandchildren for the summer — don’t wait until the last minute then get flustered because you weren’t prepared for the.

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Are You Stressed To The Max?

Posted By on May 9, 2017

Well, we’re almost to the half-way mark of the year.  Has your business done what you expected it to do so far this year?  Have you been keeping an eye on your first of the year goals and projections for the business?  Have you had issues and challenges within your family / home office that have put you on edge?  What about kids that are very soon to be out of school for the summer – are you prepared for this?

We are all aware of the fact that life is not “a bowl of cherries” or a “bed of roses”, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty of exactly HOW MUCH STRESS can we take and still run a business, it’s time to take a step back and try to look at the whole picture.  With everything whirling around in your mind – family issues, business struggling and perhaps your own self esteem suffering, you’re probably thinking that it is next to impossible to “work your way out of the hole”.

Let’s look at the family issues — is it something that your partner or a friend or relative could help you sort out and work through?  Just talking to a mentor about a certain situation could lead to some answers that you might not be able to figure out while you’re barely able to cope with day to day pressures.

Next, let’s take a look at the business issues.  Sit down for a moment and try to determine what is the source of the problem.  Why has the business taken a turn for the worse?  Have you taken too many days off since the kids aren’t around during the day?  Have you not taken the time to promptly return phone calls that came in while you were out?  Have you let the stress build up so that it is almost impossible to think about those alterations that were due out last week, or the dress somebody needed by tomorrow and you haven’t started it yet?

If the problem is fixable, which is usually the case, you need to figure out some kind of strategy to fix the problem.  How about getting hubby to watch the kids a couple of hours tonight so you can get those alterations done, or get started on that dress.  Once you figure out how you can get the problem resolved, it is amazing how much better you will feel, and can actually get back to work.

If the problem is not immediately fixable, such as business slow down because of the economy, it might be time to work on some additional marketing ideas for the business.  Develop more contacts through your child’s school, local community events, etc and begin doing a little networking and, as always, have plenty of business cards ready to hand out.

Remember to always take one day at a time.  We always try to “plan and make projections” for the year; however you can’t look at the end of the year, look at today and tomorrow and the next day.  Do one thing at a time, keep busy and always try to improve on what you’re doing.  When you begin to feel the stress building – stop and take a deep breath, and tell yourself “I am ONE person – I’m doing all I can do, and I’m doing my very best – things WILL work out”.

For additional help, we have several business books that you can check out.  We believe these business books might be just the thing to jumpstart your business, and even give you some additional ideas to get more money into your business.

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NEW! Swim Suits For Plus Size Kids. Finally It Fits!

Posted By on May 2, 2017

Swim suits that fit overweight and plus size boys and girls are almost impossible to find!

Check out our gorgeous girls 3-piece Mermaid Swim Set pattern.  The pattern comes in two size ranges – 8-10-12 and 14-16 and these patterns are made with REAL plus size children’s’ measurements.  Your daughter/granddaughter will be the envy of all her friends!

We have the perfect swim trunks pattern for plus size boys as well.  The swim trunks come in two size ranges – 8-10-12 and 14-16 and have 3 different lengths.

Our swimwear patterns include downloadable full size pattern pieces and step by step illustrated instructions for easy construction of the garments.

You can compare your child’s measurements to our plus size children measurements on each pattern to see which size range would be the best.

While you’re getting ready for the beach, you might want to make something for yourself – the Convertible Beach Towel/Coverup!  It is quick and easy to make – you won’t leave the house without it!

Check out all the new stuff!

SWSswim_email

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Sewing With Leather as a Home Business

Posted By on April 25, 2017

If you’ve seen all the wonderful craft items, motorcycle and western chaps, and clothing garments made of leather and have been in envy of those who make those things, you now have the opportunity to learn how to make all those things yourself.

Denise, my partner and daughter, has recently completed a new book, Sewing With Leather as a Home Business, and it is jam packed full of everything you’ll need to know in order to professionally make such items as wallets, belts, bookmarks, eyeglass cases, leather chaps, soft sole leather baby shoes, leather padded picture frames and much more.

Leather products are all the rage now, and you can jump right into this lucrative business!  Sewing With Leather as Home Business tells you how leather is processed and what to look for when selecting your leather goods.  In addition, included in this complete manual are chapters on:

* Pattern Selection
* Pattern Layout
* Construction Materials
* Interfacing
* Seams
* Trimming
* Sleeves
* Sleeve Cap Directions
* Collars
* Pockets
* Darts
* Zippers & Waistbands
* Topstitching
* Hems, Lining & Edge Trim
* Buttonholes
* Leather as a Trim
* Leather Protection
* How to Craft Leather
* How to make Leather Chaps
* How to make leather soft sole baby shoes
* How to make a leather diaper changing station
* Wholesale suppliers
* PLUS complete section on the business aspect of selling what you sew
* AND best of all, information on where to get FREE leather for some projects (you can’t beat free!)

From leather chaps to leather belts, wallets and much more, this book tells you everything you need to know about sewing with leather and suede and how to get your business started.  Plus you’ll get FREE instructions on how to make a wide variety of leather products to sell.  Also learn where you can get FREE leather to help keep your costs down!

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Pattern Paper

Posted By on April 12, 2017

Whether you are a seamstress making clothing garments for customers, an alteration lady or a craft person, there is a regular need for some type of pattern paper.  In pattern making, it is mandatory that some type of pattern paper is used to make the patterns.

We sometimes tell people to check out their local newspaper office for “end rolls” of newsprint paper.  These end rolls sometimes have several yards left and they are very wide.  Grocery bags can also be used for making changes to patterns and for pattern making; however they would probably have to be cut apart and taped together for the bigger items.

The most practical type of pattern paper would be the type that could be re-used without tearing and can be pinned to fabric without tearing, etc.

There is only one type of pattern paper that we recommend — which is non tearable and is washable and dryable!

The pattern paper we recommend is Pellon’s Easy Pattern 830 pattern paper.

Pellon Easy Pattern Paper

Pellon’s Easy Pattern 830 pattern paper is 45″ wide and comes in 10 yard bolts, which I’ve found to be just the right amount for my current projects and have handy for additional projects.

 I use Easy Pattern 830 for every pattern I make, as well as for making craft patterns, and doing alterations on clothing items.  I have some patterns that were made over 15 years ago, and I can bring them out, press the pattern paper pieces, and they’re ready for me to use again.

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Add Big Income To Your Sewing Business…….

Posted By on April 4, 2017

Add big income to your sewing business…… sew for plus size and full figure women.

Many of you may already be doing some sewing for plus size women, but perhaps for many, you need to get the word out that you can and will sew for the full figure women.

If you would like to take the sewing an additional step, and learn to make patterns for those hard to fit plus size women, you could get a corner on the market.

At SewWithSarah.com, we have classes and sewing patterns designed just for the full figure and plus size women.  We have Pattern Making Classes, Pattern Changing Classes, as well as Sewing Patterns for full figure and plus size women. I would recommend that you begin with one of the easier classes, such as the skirt pattern making class or the slacks pattern making class.  These are downloadable, and inexpensive, classes, so you could get started immediately.  Go through the instructions and make a pattern following the measurements in the classes, then you’re ready to go to work on your first customer.   The sewing pattern category has a variety of styles of patterns ready for you to download and make for yourself or your customer.  We are adding new pattrens regularly, so keep an eye on this category.

Choose someone who is one that you know pretty well, and let her know that you’re just getting started in the pattern making field, and want to make a skirt (or slacks) for her using her particular measurements.  Once you’ve made a pattern or two, you’ll get the hang of it and feel more comfortable in marketing your new skill.

When you make a pattern according to an individual’s personal measurements, I would recommend that when you’ve finished with the garment, put the pattern, along with the person’s name and list of measurements into a manilla envelope to keep for future use.  On the outside of the envelope, put the persons last name, first name and date.  By marking the envelopes in this manner, you can file the envelopes in alphabetical order once you start to accumulate new customers — then when you need to get out one of the patterns for another garment, it will be very easy to find.

Making individual and personalized patterns for your full figure and plus size customers is something that will help grow your business as these women spread the word about what you can and have done for them.  Be prepared for many new customers as word gets out about your pattern making abilities as well as the great selection of perfectly sized sewing patterns just for the full figure and plus size women!

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How To Stay Motivated

Posted By on March 21, 2017

Staying motivated when working out of your house can be a real test for all of us.  Sometimes friends and family members can be the major robber of our business motivation and momentum – the problem is that they probably don’t even realize it.

When I first quit my day job and started writing books and doing sewing / craft items, it seemed like everyone thought I was on a permanent vacation!  It was nothing for friends or neighbors to simply stop by to visit or ask about going shopping, etc.  Or I’d get calls from one of the kids wanting me to babysit their sick child since the child was too sick to go to school but the mother needed to go to work.

It didn’t take long for me to learn the word NO!  Unless friends AND family realize that you are SERIOUS about working from your home, you will continually get comments like “you’re not WORKING – you’re at HOME”.  You have to put your foot down and insist that those well-meaning friends and family understand that the REASON you’re at home is because you have WORK TO DO!

It takes a great deal of motivation and “I WILL do this” attitude to get any home business off the ground and keep it going; therefore you must get the respect you need and deserve for making that happen.

Set a work schedule  – four days a week from this time to this time; school days while the kids are in school; 2 hours per night after the kids go to bed — whatever works for you is what it will take.  However, whatever schedule you set up – STICK TO IT!  Let those friends and family know what your work schedule is, so they won’t be just dropping by, etc.

You, individually, can also be a cause of lack of motivation by letting little non-work habits creep into your schedule.  Don’t read the paper during your scheduled WORK time; don’t decide to do a manicure while you’re “thinking” about the next step in the project you’re working on.

By keeping your mind on your goals (have you set some business goals?) you will be able to see that you are actually moving forward in your business, which will help keep the motivation and momentum going.  What are you working toward?  Extra money for a vacation?  Money for the kids’ education?  Money to help with the bills and keep food on the table?  Make a little list of what the extra dollars are for and keep that list by your sewing machine, near your computer or taped to your work table.  Every time you look at the list of reasons that you’re doing what you’re doing, you will put forth a little more effort, which will cause the momentum to grow and keep your business headed in the right direction.

We have a couple of books that could help you stay focused on your home business – “501 Tips & Strategies For Home Business Entrepreneurs” and  “Jumpstart Your Business With Proven Techniques”.   Check them out today.

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Is Your Business In A Slump?

Posted By on March 14, 2017

Nearly every business, whether brick and mortar store, online store or home business experiences a slow down or slump at certain times of the year.  Many businesses see this slow down at the beginning of the year – people are trying to figure out how to pay off those credit cards that went over the limit during the Christmas season or right around tax season, when a lot of us are trying to come up with the dollars owed to Uncle Sam.  Other times might be right after school lets out in the spring when families are only thinking about vacations, summer camps for the kids, etc.  Others may see this slow down right at the time school starts – school clothes, school supplies, new this and new that really do take a chunk out of the budget, so other areas of spending have to be cut back.

The thing to remember during these times is to recognize that these times DO COME, so to get down in the mouth, consider quitting the business, give up the website, or close your doors is nonsense!  This is the time to get PROACTIVE and use the little bit of extra time to do some business promotions, get the word out about your business and prepare for the onslaught of business AFTER the slow down ends.  I’m going to give you a few ways that you can become PROACTIVE to keep your business on the right track.

** If you’re in a craft or sewing business and make patterns to sell, this is a great time to use your extra hours brainstorming on new patterns that you could be working on.  Because there are two of us working on this blog and both do crafts and sewing as well as making patterns, we usually are working on new craft patterns, such as the Mermaid Tail Pattern and the Athletic Non-Slip Headband Pattern, and at this time are working hard on a bunch of new patterns for our Women’s Sewing Patterns category.  We’ll be having new ones coming into the store on a regular basis and we specialize in awesome designs for full figure/plus size women as well as the small-extra large women’s styles.

** Do you have a blog (Web log)?  If not, this is a good time to get one started.  You can write about anything you want – from talking about your personal life – letting others know how you manage to get to that stack of sewing or alterations and still take care of your family.  Or you can do a sewing/personal blog to mix together what you’ve been working on as well as cute pictures of your children or grandchildren and perhaps some snapshots of your latest projects you made for the little ones.  Or do a blog something like Denise’s “Shopper Strategy” that helps others save money as well as gives great information to the readers.

** Do you have something unique in your business that could be newsworthy?  Have you just started a new sewing niche?  Write up a press release to send to your local newspaper — they are always on the lookout for new material for their paper.  Who knows – you might make the first page or even the headline of the “local” section of your paper.  Think about how much this could increase your business.

** Are there some products or services that you’ve been wanting to start, but just haven’t had the time to get involved with?  Now is the time to take a second look at them, write down what additional things you could add to your business, and get started now while you have the time.

** Are you one who makes craft items?  From time to time we go through our boxes and shelves of fabric remnants and figure out what items we can make from them.  If you love making crafty things and want to know where and how to sell them you can check out our “business books” category and specifically the “How To Sell Your Handmade Items” book.  There are a LOT of places where your craft items can be sold – adding profits to your business!

I would say that while you’re considering and doing any or all of the things we’ve just talked about, you’ll run out of “free” time before you know it, and you’ll be looking for an extra few minutes here and there to do another post on the sewing forums or add posts to your own blog, make that new pattern you’ve put on your “to do” list, etc.

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