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How To Alter Skirt Patterns For Plus Size/Overweight Children

Posted By on October 11, 2016

Regardless of what size pattern you buy for your plus size/overweight child, there are always changes that need to be made.  Sometimes a single change will do it, and other times there may be 2, 3, 4 changes necessary before the store bought pattern will actually fit the plus size child.  We are starting a series of alterations to patterns that may be needed in order to get the fit you want for your plus size child.

The first clothing garment we will work on will be the skirt.  Many of the overweight children have a large protruding stomach, so we’ll start with that issue.









LARGE ABDOMEN (stomach) – the skirt will be too short and will ride up in the front.  Draw a horizontal line across the fullest part of the abdomen on the pattern as indicated.  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 shown.  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.











A.  WAIST/HIP – check your child’s waist and hip measurements and compare them to the measurements on the pattern.  If the amount of change is the same for both, make the necessary change at the center front and center back lines.  draw in the new skirt lines as shown with dashed lines.

B.  LARGE WAIST – To make just the waist larger, extend the front and back waist line each 1/4 of the total necessary amount.  Draw in the new waist to hipline curve as shown with dashed lines.

These alterations to store bought patterns is an excerpt from the book “Altering Store Bought Patterns For Plus Size Children”.  Additional pattern making classes (for boys and girls) and full size clothing patterns for plus size children can be seen at Sew With (pdf/downloadable patterns in “sewing patterns”) and for patterns already printed and ready to mail out.  If you have a lot of plus size children in your area, you might want to consider going into a business sewing for them – check our our Sewing For Plus Size Children As A Home Business manual.


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Be Creative With Children’s Clothing

Posted By on October 4, 2016

Whether you’re making new clothing items, altering outgrown clothing or just want to add something “extra” to a childs’ garment, we have a few suggestions for you.

When my daughter was in elementary school I made “patchwork” pants for her as well as a “patchwork” jacket.  Her friends LOVED her special clothing, and immediately I started getting calls from the mothers asking if I could make their daughters “patchwork” clothes like my daughter had.  These are easy to make and can use up some of your scraps!

patchwork skirtpatchwork jacket

Cut your skirt, slacks or jacket pattern out of muslin and sew in any darts.  Next, arrange your fabric scraps to cover the muslin pieces (begin at the top and pin the scraps as you go, overlapping them as you work your way to the bottom).  When the muslin pieces are covered with fabric scraps, take it to the sewing machine and do a satin stitch all around each piece, securing it to the muslin.  After securing all the fabric pieces on the muslin pieces, sew the slacks, skirt or jacket pieces together.  Add a zipper, waistband and hook/eye closure as needed for that particular garment.  Children love these “patchwork” garments!

** A “different” way of lengthening a child’s skirt or dress is to cut OFF the hem, then insert a wide band of lace or trim and sew the hem back on under the trim.  You might want to add a piece of the same lace or trim on a pocket, or make a design out of the trim to place somewhere else on the skirt or dress to make it look like it “belongs” there rather than being an addition.

** When making elastic waist skirts, shorts or slacks for children, if you sew a small square of contrasting colored fabric at the center back casing (where tags would be if the garment was purchased), it will be easy for the child to tell the front from the back when dressing.

**Don’t give away your old clothes when you clean out your closet.  Your “last year’s” styles and designs are not worn out – maybe just outdated.  Use these clothes to make a wardrobe for your child.  See the book “Make a Child’s Wardrobe From Your Old Clothing” for a multitude of ideas.

**If you’ve made a fancy dress for that “special occasion” picture of your child, try making a padded fabric picture frame from the same fabric.  This special photo makes a great gift for grandparents.

** To help prevent loss of buttons on purchased clothing for children, reinforce the buttons with dental floss BEFORE the children wear the garment.  The buttons will NOT disappear from the garment.

** And speaking of buttons, there is nothing written in stone that says you HAVE to sew four hole buttons a certain way.  Especially in children’s clothing, try sewing them on “decorator” fashion – see samples below:

decorator buttons

The above tips are from the 500 Kwik & Easy Sewing Tips book.  Check out the “sneak preview” of other tips in the book and what people are saying about it.


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Tips For Sewing Specialty Fabrics

Posted By on September 19, 2016

Sometimes when we “get on a roll” with the sewing projects we’re doing, it is so easy to simply sew everything using the same type of thread, and not even think about changing the needle when changing fabrics.  We’ve collected a variety of tips that we all need to think about before changing from one fabric type to another.   Other tips help with purchasing specialty fabrics, cutting the fabrics, storing the fabric or completed garment.  There are many variables when working with those specialty fabrics.  Here are a few things to think about:

** On some fabrics it is almost impossible to tell the right side from the wrong side.  Here are a couple pointers:

A. On tricot or a sweater knit, if you pull on the crosswise “grain”, the fabric will curl to the right side.

B. On double knits, look for the small selvage holes.  They will appear to be “pushed in” on the right side.

** And speaking of fabric “curling”, single knits and tricot have a tendency to curl at the edges and make sewing difficult.  Try spray starch along the edges – the seams will lay flat for stitching.

** After you’ve cut out a garment from your specialty fabric, make a couple of 8″ squares of the fabric that you can use later to test fusible interfacings on, to test thread colors, or to test stitch length if you’re doing any topstitching.  Also use it to make a sample buttonhole if you’ll be needing buttonholes, to check what they will look like before making one on the actual garment.

** In some types of fabric, such as chiffon, you may find the needle will drag the fabric down into the needle hole when you begin to sew.  Make sure you are using a fine needle, have the tensions set properly, and if the problem still exists, place a piece of gummed tape over the needle hole in the throat plate of the machine.  The tape will prevent the fabric from being “pulled” down, and can be removed easily later.

** The advantages of using silk thread for sewing “drycleanable” fabrics include its strength, elasticity, smooth finish and freedom from tangling.  The strength and elasticity makes for longer wear and less popping of seams at points of strain.

** When cutting any type of knit fabric, never let it hang down off the table, as that may stretch it and change the size.

** Some silks are washable – to be sure, take a small square or corner of the fabric and cover it with a damp cotton cloth.  Press the cotton cloth with a hot iron for a few seconds.  If any color shows on the cotton, the garment should be taken to the dry cleaners.  If no color shows, the best way to wash silk is in warm water, by hand, using a mild soap.

** Use extra fine pins for pinning silks – “silk” pins are too coarse for silk.

** When storing sheer or knitted silk, store it flat.  If you must hang a silk garment, pad it well with tissue paper and cover it with muslin or other cloth.

** Speaking of silk – if you let your silk garments air dry, they may turn yellow.

** Be very careful if using steam on silk – you may end up with water spots on the garment.

The above tips are an excerpt from the book 500 Kwik and Easy Sewing Tips.  This book contains so many tips, you’ll find yourself  “bookmarking” every page.  And at the super $9.95 price, this may be the most used book in your sewing library!



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7 Kwik And Easy Sewing Tips

Posted By on August 31, 2016

Sometimes when we’re sewing or crafting,  just the smallest tip can be the AHA! moment that either can make our projects go faster or help us improve in an area that needs some help.  I’m always on the look out for tips that I can readily put to use.  As with most of you, my time is limited for all the projects that I have lined up, so any bit of help is appreciated.

** The easiest way to mark evenly spaced buttonholes is to use the Simflex expanding gauge!  Open the gauge so that the points are the correct distance apart, then mark the positions for the buttonholes.  This can also be used for hemming, shirring, pleats and many other things.


** An easy way to mark the position of a snap — sew on the pointed half first then rub chalk on the point and lay the fabric to where the snap should be.  The chalk will rub off in the exact location for the other part of the snap.

** It will save a great deal of “total working time” on a project if you will take care of the thread ends as each bit of stitching is completed. If you fail to do this, it will take extra time when the project is finished to trace out each loose hanging piece of thread in order to clip it.  If you just leave the loose pieces of thread hanging, it will detract from the overall professional look of the garment.

** When you purchase fabric for a specific pattern, but cannot make it up right away, store the fabric, pattern, zipper, thread and any trim or buttons TOGETHER, preferable in a zip-lock bag.  By doing this, the sewing project will go much faster and be much more enjoyable when you do get to it, than if you have to start searching for the notions.

** Periodically go through ALL your stacks of fabric just as a reminder of what you do have available.  Some new ideas may come to mind as to what you can do with pieces you already have, as opposed to running out to buy something new.  This one tip has helped me MANY times as I’m teaching my grandchildren how to sew.  We look through the fabric I have to see if something might be useful for the project they’re wanting to work on.  We have saved many trips to the fabric store by using fabric that I already have on hand.

** For all your measuring at the machine needs (hems, borders, trims, etc), the EZ HEM GUIDE is perfect.  The adhesive backed measuring guide fits perfectly in the throat area of the sewing machine, resulting in accurate measuring on everything you sew.

EZ Hem Guide


** As with other facets of life, sewing will be done better if you set some GOALS.  Decide when you start a project when you want to complete it – write the date down – cut out date, 1/2 finished date, completion date, etc, then FOLLOW THROUGH with the goal!  You’ll feel great when you’ve accomplished it.  By setting the goals for each project, you’ll find that you will be able to get more done with much less procrastination.

This article is an excerpt from the book, 500 Kwik And Easy Sewing Tips, written by Sarah Doyle.  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!



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Look What We Found!!!

Posted By on August 24, 2016

While moving our office, we found some vintage copies of Sarah Doyle’s first book, “Sarah’s Key To Pattern Drafting”.



“Sarah’s Key To Pattern Drafting” book includes step by step instructions and diagrams for custom making your entire wardrobe – slacks, shorts, skirts, blouses and dresses.  This is our original book with patterns and designs for women – whether you are tall, short, heavy or thin, this book is for you!  You can check out the table of contents here to see everything that’s in the book.

Our loss is your gain!  We’re marking these books down from the original $24.95 to $14.95.  Supplies are extremely limited and when they’re gone, there will be no more.

No coupon code is necessary – books are marked with the sale price.  Grab your copy soon as these super popular books won’t last long!

NOTE:  Because of the high cost of international shipping, this book is available only to customers within the U.S.

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Plus Size Children Patterns Are NOW Downloadable!!

Posted By on July 25, 2016

Just in time for back to school sewing, we’re excited to announce that all of our Plus Size Children patterns are now downloadable for immediate access!  The very best thing is that there are no longer any shipping fees to pay AND you can get started on your sewing projects right away!!

Check out the variety of patterns we have in the following categories:

Plus Size Boys

Plus Size Girls Blouses

Plus Size Girls Slacks and Shorts

Plus Size Girls Dress and Skirts

Plus Size Girls Nightwear

Check the measurements of YOUR plus size / overweight boys and girls and I’m sure they will match our sizing, as all of our patterns are made using REAL plus size children’s’ measurements.

Each of the patterns comes in two size ranges – 8/10/12 and 14/16.  If your child has a 32” waist, for example, you would need to use the size 10 pattern based on the included chart.  If your child has a 36” waist, you would need to use the size 14 pattern.


Each pattern comes with several variations that you can make, giving you many styles that can be made from each one.  The children you sew for will thank you for making them clothes that fit and flatter!

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How To Be Successful – Develop An Entrepreneurial Mind

Posted By on June 22, 2016

Developing an entrepreneurial mind is probably one of the greatest keys to success available to all of us.  The entrepreneur within you will determine to a great extent just how successful you and your business will be.

Those who treat their home business as if it was “just a hobby” are only fooling themselves.  If what you do is really “just a hobby”, then don’t go around talking about how your “business” just isn’t getting off the ground, or that you don’t have any steady customers, etc.  Remember your phrase “just a hobby” is in reality the amount of work you’re putting in – very little!

Now let’s talk about the “business” and how your entrepreneurial mindset CAN get the business off the ground!

Set some priorities.  If you’re trying to get ready for a really big craft fair next month, which do you think is more important – spending a “weekly day at the spa”, or staying in the workshop getting prepared for the craft fair?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out, but we hear all the time from people who can’t seem to live without their “day at the nail boutique” or “weekly afternoon get together with friends” to talk over coffee and rolls.

Time is money.  How very true this is!  I’ve read articles about the requirements of people going into their own home business.  The articles try to pound in the heads of those individuals wanting their own business that home businesses are NOT a 9-5 job!  They say that if you’re not willing to sacrifice 50-60 hours a week at least the first few years to get the business going, then it’s pretty much a no-brainer that your business won’t go very far.  Hard work is part of building a home business, and the harder you work, the more successful you will be.

Don’t procrastinate!  I have a friend who always waits until the last minute to do everything!  She teaches online college classes and waits until the last minute to do the grading, then gets all out of sorts if something doesn’t go right with the computer, or somebody didn’t send in the right paperwork.  DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!  I’m the type of person that if something needs to be done for next week, I’ll do it TODAY, just to make sure everything can be worked out and in order BEFORE next week comes.  By getting organized you’ll also feel the energy level increase and you will just feel better about life in general.

Don’t be afraid to fail.  I’ve read over and over again “the only failure in life is if you fail to try”!  Look at Thomas Edison and so many of the great inventors – how many times did they “fail” before their invention actually worked like it should.  If you never take a risk because of the fear of failure or what your friends may say, you need to do some re-thinking!   Never failing really boils down to the fact that you’ve never really tried.  So, get out of your “comfort zone” and get some notes written down as to what you would like to accomplish in your business, then go for the gusto!  You CAN do it!

For additional information on how to jumpstart your business, How to sell your handmade items and 501 tips and strategies for home business entrepreneurs, visit SewWithSarah.   Summer is usually when sales slow down, so is the perfect time to check out the tools to help get your business moving again!

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6 How-To Tips For The Sewer / Crafter

Posted By on May 16, 2016

Many times during the sewing / crafting process we seem to have our heads in the clouds as we fast forward through the current project.  Of course, most of us have been sewing or crafting for so long, we can just about do anything with our eyes shut.  Right?  Actually that’s where most of the problems begin — we no longer “think about” the minor things that can cause big sewing problems.  I’m going to outline just a few of the things that we take for granted, yet sometimes neglect to do.

** Always turn the hand wheel of your sewing machine toward you, never turn it away from you once the machine has been threaded.  Also never run a threaded sewing machine unless there is a piece of fabric under the presser foot; this is probably the easiest way to jam the machine, break needles and throw the machine out of timing!  To eliminate the possibility of a child doing damage to your machine, always unplug it after finishing for the day.

** When beginning or ending a seam, make sure the take-up lever is in its highest position.

** Be sure that the needle is in the center position when straight stitching.  Never straight stitch with the needle in the left or right positions (an exception to this is when using a zipper foot).

** In some types of fabric, such as chiffon, you may find the needle will drag the fabric down into the needle hole when you begin to sew.  Make sure you are using a fine needle, have the tensions set properly, and if the problem still exists, place a piece of gummed tape over the needle hole in the throat plate of the machine.  The tape will prevent the fabric from being “pulled” down, and can be removed easily later.

** Back-stitching at the end of a line of machine stitching firmly fastens the end, but sometimes can cause puckering of the fabric.  To prevent this, hold the fabric taut as you continue to operate the machine, taking several stitches in the same spot in the fabric.  These several stitches will secure the thread, but use your own judgement in using this method, as you could cause damage to very fine lightweight fabrics.

** To protect your sewing machine while it is not in use, you should place a piece of fabric under the presser foot and lower the foot onto it.  Also, be sure to cover the machine, as any dust settling in and around the moving parts can cause sewing problems later on.

** Never oil your sewing machine without first cleaning it as well as you can, removing all the dust, lint, and pieces of thread from the bobbin area and throat plate area.

** There are three main points to be aware of each time the sewing machine is used:  1) Make sure the take-up lever is at its highest point when stitchine is started and when the work is being removed from the machine.  2)  Always drop the presser foot before changing the tension on the upper thread (if the presser foot is in the up position, you can turn the dial all day long, and the tension won’t change!)  3)  When winding the bobbin, always thread the lose end of the thread through the hole in the side of the bobbin.  If this loose thread end is held firmly, it will break off, leaving a smoothly wound supply of thread in your bobbin.

While most of these tips are no-brainers, it only takes a few minutes of carelessness to jam a machine, break a needle, and in the end cause a perfectly easy project to go haywire!

These hints are an excerpt from Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer.  For complete information and instructions on keeping your sewing machine in tip top condition and out of the repair shop, you can check out the information at   If you’re one that prefers the instant information via downloadable book, check it out at

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50% Off All Plus Size Kids Patterns

Posted By on May 12, 2016

We have GREAT news!!  We’re in the process of making all of our Plus Size Children patterns downloadable – to make them instantly available to everyone, whether you’re in the U.S., or around the world!!

During this transition period, we’re selling the remaining few of our Plus Size Children physical patterns at a huge 50% discounted price.  The price is normally $14.95, and while these last, we’re marking them down to $7.50 (no coupon code required).  When you get to SewWithSarah, just hover over “sewing patterns” to see all the Plus Size Children pattern categories.

Check out the following pattern categories:

Girls Blouses   Girls Skirts/Dresses    Girls Shorts/Slacks

Boys Patterns

Compare YOUR overweight / plus size boy/girl measurements to our size chart (below).  Our plus size kids patterns are all made according to REAL plus size children measurements, so in most cases the measurements of your 10 year old (example) would be right on, or very close to our size 10 size.  These patterns come in 3 size ranges:  4-5-6, 8-10-12 and 14-16.


The above size chart came from a blouse pattern, thereby stating the amount of fabric needed — each pattern has the same sizes, with corresponding fabric requirements for that particular pattern style.

These patterns are going fast — and once the physical patterns are gone, you will have to wait for the downloadable patterns to be put online.  Remember, we’re giving you a 50% discount — no coupon code required while they last — no backorders.

NOTE:  Because of shipping costs, the  physical patterns are only available to customers within the U.S.

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What If Your 10 Year Old Has A 34″ Waist????

Posted By on May 3, 2016

My friend was getting frantic!  Her 10 year old son with a 34” waist wasn’t fitting into ANY type of pants.  Even a boys’ size 14-16 pants had only a 28” waist.

She bought him a pair of 34” waist MEN’S Levi jeans, thinking that would do the trick.  Look at how they fit this 10 year old…..












I told her we could do a perfect fit for him using our Plus Size Children Pattern 6105 – boys jeans, and use the 8-10-12 size range.  The size 12 measurements were exactly what her son needed.  Check out how the Plus Size Children pattern fit…












In case it is your 10 year old daughter or granddaughter with the 34” waist, we also have plus size children girls’ jeans pattern that will fit her.

Additional Plus Size Children patterns are available including:

Plus Size Girls Blouses, Plus Size Girls Skirts/Dresses, Plus Size Girls long pants/shorts.

Overweight boys and girls want to have comfortable clothing that fits right and looks good on them.  Plus Size Children patterns were made specifically for the overweight children, using actual measurements from plus size children.

If you’re needing pattern paper for making patterns or altering patterns, my recommendation is the Pellon Easy Pattern 830 pattern paper.  Pellon Easy Pattern 830 is 45” wide and is even machine washable.


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