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March 2015
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40% Off Our Most Popular Repair Books!

Posted By on February 10, 2015

Getting ready for spring/summer sewing?  Be sure your sewing machines and sergers are in tip top shape so you can get into the sewing projects — you DON’T want to have them in the repair shop!

Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer is our all time most popular book!  This one book will help keep your machine humming in your sewing room and not in a repair shop.  From now through Feb 17, you can grab this book at a 40% discount.  Simply use the promo code “sewing” (without the quotes) to get your discount.



The Serger Repair for the Home Sewer, Complete Guide to Treadle Sewing Machines and Sewing Machine Repair As A Home Business are all included in the 40% discount – for one week only.  Now is a great time to get these books into your sewing room – just in time for spring and summer sewing projects!  Again, use the promo code “sewing” (without the quotes) to get your discount.

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Sewing Shortcuts are a Lifesaver to Seamstresses Short on Time!

Posted By on February 5, 2015

When a deadline for doing a sewing job is very near, shortcuts can mean the difference between it being wise or foolish for an expert or novice to undertake the project.  For those who dislike detail or those whose temperaments demand that a project must go quickly, shortcuts can mean the difference between continued interest or giving up on the project completely.

Quality must not be sacrificed, and it needn’t be if the entire project is viewed with shortcuts in mind.  Consider some of the following shortcut suggestions.

**If your customer has a more-than-one size figure, it may be easier to ask her to purchase separate sizes in patterns for the top and bottom of a garment, just as when buying ready to wear.  Or buy patterns styled for the easiest fit that have a minimum of “fitting” requirements.

** Use chalk for markings when you can as it washes away easily.

**Cut the fabric with right-sides together; the wrong side will then be exposed for quick marking.

**Sew the center seams right after removing the pattern from the fabric.

** Fold the pattern pieces as you go so they don’t get lost or torn.

**When you reach the end of a seam, and before fastening off, check to see if there is another seam that can be fed into the machine; this will make fewer starts and stops, and clipping of loose threads.

**When you don’t have a second seam to feed into the machine, always clip the threads “as you go” to eliminate the need for finding and clipping all loose threads when finished with the project.

**Substitute basting tape or basting-adhestive glue stick for basting stitches whenever practical, even for holding zippers in place.  This will eliminate the need to spend time on removal of basting stitches.

**With fusible webbing, fuse pockets in position for top-stitching; fuse hems instead of hand sewing them; fuse facings.  (Of course the use of this shortcut would be determined by the type of fabric being used).

**When practical, sew in sleeves before sewing the side seams and sleeve seams.  If done in this manner, you can make one “side seam” stitching from the cuff to the waist or to the hem of the garment.

For additional helpful articles, visit  Check out the pattern making books/classes and repair books that can give your sewing time a boost.

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Converting Store Bought Patterns Into Maternity Styles

Posted By on January 28, 2015

Nice looking stylish maternity patterns and maternity clothing are usually very hard to find – especially if you’re not an “average” size.   Petite maternity clothing or plus size maternity clothing are very difficult to match the size you really need.  Even if the size is available, how many different “styles” of maternity clothes are available.  Pregnant women usually have very little to choose from, and if you’d like to have “modest” styles, there is almost nothing available.


Changing  regular “store bought” patterns into maternity styles is exactly what it sounds like — take the normal patterns that you like to use, and have on hand and change them so they can be used as maternity patterns.  Our practice blouse begins with a simple top that has a back neck zipper closure.





This first pattern is using any back zipper closing top that you like to wear.  We’re going to add the yoke and fullness to make it into a maternity style.


1.  To determine where to begin the “yoke” portion, measure up 4.5 cm (1 3/4″) from the horizontal lower armhole line, as indicated above.  If your blouse pattern doesn’t have a horizontal lower armhole line, simply draw in your own line, then use that line as a guide to position the cutting line for the yoke.  Extend the new yoke line 7 cm (2 3/4″) out as shown on both the front and back bodice pieces (this will be the extra allowance for the gathers.


2.  At the lower front measure down 3 cm (1 1/4″) to allow for the tummy expansion, and draw in the new slightly curved line.


3.  At the lower armhole point measure out .5 cm (1/4″) to give the extra room needed in the armhole area.  (NOTE:  If you’re using a pattern that has sleeves, you’ll want to measure out the .5 cm (1/4″) on the lower sleeve edges as well, and re-draw the curve on the sleeve (if you neglect to do this, the sleeve won’t fit into the opening.)




4.  When finished drawing in the new “yoke” line and adjusting the armhole edges, etc, you are ready to cut the paper pattern pieces.  After cutting the yoke portion from the remainder of the front bodice, it is necessary to “remove” the dart.


5.  On the paper pattern draw a short vertical line from the bust point to the yoke.  Next cut the short vertical line to the bust point (this is done on the paper pattern, NOT on the fabric!).  Fold the original dart together.  As you fold the original dart, it will spread the “cut” line on the pattern and will get rid of the original dart, as well as make a little extra room for gathers.


6.  The back yoke is drawn and cut from the bottom part of the pattern in the same manner as the front.


7.  When you pin the pattern pieces to the fabric, be sure to leave enough room between yoke and lower bodice to draw in the new 5/8″ seam lines (shown here with dashed lines).


8.  When doing the sewing of the garment, of course you’ll be putting the front pattern piece and the yoke on a fold, and the back yoke and lower pattern piece will be along a selvage edge because of the zipper closure.


9.  Pin and sew the front and back lower bodice pieces to the respective yokes, gathering the lower bodice onto the yoke.  After this part is finished you can follow the pattern package sewing directions for the remainder of the of the blouse.


You can see how easy it is to change a store bought pattern into a maternity blouse.  Just a few simple changes to the patterns will give you a huge wardrobe of maternity clothes!  In addition, many of the maternity clothes can be changed back into regular clothing after the baby is born! Whether you’re looking for maternity dresses, maternity evening wear, maternity bridal gowns, maternity pants or whatever type of maternity clothes and maternity wear you’d like, this on line downloadable sewing class is all you need to get started on your sewing projects. There are two “converting store bought patterns into maternity styles”  classes available – one for the regular S-XL size ranges, and the Full Figure class for those who are 1X – 8X size ranges.


          MAT101 – Converting Store-Bought Patterns into S-XL Size Maternity Patterns – $14.95



MATF-101 – Converting Store-Bought Patterns into Full Figure Maternity Patterns – $14.95


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How To Start Your Home Business

Posted By on January 26, 2015

The goal of Sewing is to give information, tips and inspiration to those who have a small to medium size business AND for those who would like to earn a living through their own endeavors.

It has come to our attention that we’ve told you how to become an expert in your field and how to have loyal customers, but we’ve neglected to give a basic outline of how to actually start your own home business.  It is our desire to help the new home business entrepreneurs get through the “learning curve” with as few mistakes as possible.  Even those who have been in a home business for years will pick up some pointers and will say “why didn’t I think of that?”.  Here are a few tips that would apply to nearly every home business, whether it’s sewing, crafting, alterations or whatever your interests may be.

**Never use “grocery” or “rent” money to begin ANY business.  There is no business that can guarantee success, much less “overnight” riches.  If you don’t even have the basic $100 or so that many businesses can be started with, we suggest you save amounts of money each week until you do have enough to start.  Proceed cautiously and keep in mind that few miracles occur in any business.  Rule out luck and use your ability, perseverance and judgment to utilize all attributes of a successful business person.  Keep costs at a minimum, use what’s available and keep it simple.

**Open a separate business checking account for your new home business.  Use this account only for business.  This will make your end of year accounting much easier, in addition to knowing immediately what money is coming in and what you can spend on advertising, new products, etc.

**When selecting space in your house for an office or work area, keep in mind that the location can have a direct impact on how well you run your business.  If you don’t “like” your office you probably will spend as little time as possible there and you certainly won’t get much done!  Is the heating and cooling system adequate in your office?  If you’ve chosen to put the office in the garage, spring and fall weather might make working conditions okay, but summer heat and winter cold will prevent you from working in your “office” unless you make some changes.  If you’re using a spare bedroom, can you arrange things so you can look out the window while you’re on the computer, or have outside lighting while cutting fabric, etc?

**If the working area you’ve chosen has limited space (such as a spare small bedroom), it becomes easy to make a “pile” of papers here, a “stack” of letters over there, a separate “pile” of letters to answer later, etc.  Eliminate the clutter and take care of work as it comes in — answer the letters immediately, file the papers NOW, open and go through the “stack” of letters you’d saved for “later” – get the table cleaned off!  Set a time EACH DAY to take care of the “will get to it later” items – and don’t wait until “later”!

**A manila “expando” file is perfect for keeping all your cash and paid-by-check receipts.  An expando file sectioned off by “months” will work nicely.  You can make labels for the various categories of receipts — Advertising, office supplies, postage, telephone bills, equipment purchase, etc and place the new labels on top of the “month” separation headings.  At the end of the year all receipts will already be categorized and ready to be totaled for income tax filing.  Oh, yes, speaking of POSTAGE receipts – keep EVERY business related postage receipt, even if it was just for one stamp.  You’ll be amazed at how much these add up over a years’ time.

**You should be prepared to stay in business for at least a FULL YEAR in order to get things running smoothly and profitably.  Give it your all!

**The number one reason for business failure is management – or the lack of it.  The lack of knowledge, experience, imagination, ambition, preparation, determination, unexpected competition and a waning of motivation.  Eliminate as many entrepreneurial risks as possible at the beginning – know what you want and be determined to go for it!

**Enthusiasm is contagious.  Choosing to look at the world with enthusiasm, confidence and a sense of humor is a choice YOU must make.  Avoid pessimists – they can poison life and your outlook on life!

**THOUGHTS determine what you want… ACTION determines what you get!!

Lastly, and this little tidbit is free — it’s amazing how much more  can be accomplished in a day if you get up 30 minutes earlier than usual!  That’s for early risers like me, my daughter would say “if you stay up 30 minutes LATER than usual”.  Whichever works for you, the extra 30 minutes x 365 days makes all the difference in how committed you are to making your home business work!

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Working With Plaids and Stripes

Posted By on January 22, 2015

Do you tremble a bit when a customer brings in stripes or plaids for you to work with?  Are you a little uneasy and just “hope” you’ll be able to do a good job?

Plaids and stripes are not that difficult to work with when you know a few rules, and most especially if you can make up a chart for your customers to educate them about “even” and “uneven” stripes or to make them aware of whether the stripes on a piece of fabric runs “lengthwise”, “crosswise” or “diagonally”.

All of the rules for cutting stripes and plaids can be summed up in one dire warning.  Don’t cut until you are sure everything is going to turn out all right!

Following are some hints and pointers regarding stripes and plaids that must be taken into account as you prepare the fabric for cutting.

**Stripes can run lengthwise, crosswise or diagonally.  To test lengthwise stripes – make a lengthwise fold, right sides of fabric together; turn back one corner to form a right anged fold — EVEN stripes will match along the angle in width, color and sequence; UNEVEN stripes will not match in all three respects.

**In nearly the same way, test cross-wise stripes by folding the fabric CROSSWISE and turn back a right angle corner – check for a match.

**Test diagonally striped fabric by placing the fabric with (unfolded) surface right side up; for diagonals running from upper left to lower right, turn back a lower left hand corner; for diagonals running the opposite direction, turn back the lower right hand corner – check for match in all respects.

**EVEN stripes are easiest to work with and can meet to form a chevron “V” without difficulty.  UNEVEN lengthwise stripes will chevron only if the fabric is reversaible.  UNEVEN cross-wise stripes will chevron on shaped, curved or bias seams.

**PLAIDS require more careful scrutiny.  Fold a plaid in the same way as a lengthwise stripe, but examine the outside edges of the folded corner, as well as the angle.  Everything must match, in all directions.

**When purchasing plaid fabric, always buy half a yard extra to allow for matching.  Then plan how the plaid or stripe should run.  Do you want the main lines to run bias, across or up and down.  If the fabric pattern is bold and large, more care is required than for a smaller stripe or plaid.

**Stripes and plaids cannot match in every area, so give priority to side, front armhole and waist seams, or to points where an upper and lower garment meet.

**Make all pattern alterations before laying them on the fabric.  Cut out even stripes and plaids on pinned double layers, if desired, but cut uneven ones singly and use them with the “with nap” pattern layout.

The extra precaution taken at the beginning of the project will be well worth the effort as your customer proudly shows off the completed garment.

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ANNOUNCING Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer in Spanish!

Posted By on January 14, 2015

If you or anybody you know speaks Spanish, you will be happy to know that now has their best seller, Sewing Machine Repair for the Home Sewer in Spanish!








¡Hágalo usted mismo reparación de la máquina de costura! ¿Suene como una idea lejos traída? No así pues, según Reuben O. Doyle, un reparador de la máquina de costura de 25 años y del autor “de la reparación de la máquina de costura para la alcantarilla casera”. “adentro sobre el 75% de los trabajos de la reparación que consigo, el sewer/crafter casero habría podido manejar fácilmente el trabajo si solamente sabido qué buscarían.

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Quick And Easy Apron

Posted By on December 16, 2014

How many times have you needed a quick little gift for the hostess of a party or to use as a little thank you for somebody special?  We have the perfect quick and easy apron that could be whipped up in no time, and would be a very thoughtful gift.











Materials needed:  one hand towel or printed kitchen towel, 2 1/2 yds bias tape to match one of the colors and thread to match.

Hand towels and kitchen towels are usually 16″ to 18″ by 27″ to 32″, so pick one that will suite the person that will be getting the gift, and begin the little project.

1.  Fold the towel in half lengthwise and cut away the portions shown in the diagram — leaving 9 1/2″ at the center top.  Measure down 9 1/2″ along each side, and cut out the curving line as shown.

2.  To apply the bias tape, fold the 2 1/2 yards of tape to find the center.  Measure about 10″ each way from the center and pin this point to the upper edges of the bib.   (This measurement may be varied to fit the individual — the lower edges of the bib should be at the waistline when the strap is adjusted around the neck.)

3.  Baste or pin the bias tape along the bib to the waistline at the edge of the towel.  The remaining length on each side will be for the ties.  Beginning at the end of one tie, sew along the edge of the bias tape, continuing from the end of the tie, along the edges of the bib, up and around the neck strap and around to the end of the other tie.  Be sure to fold in a little at the end of the tie to finish the tie end.

NOTE:  Try one for yourself just to check out the tie lengths — depending on the size of the person you are making the apron for, you may need to use 3 to 3 1/2 yards of bias tape to insure that the ties are long enough.

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Posted By on November 18, 2014

It’s our biggest sale of the year at!  From Nov 18 to Nov 24 – 50% off everything in the store – from patterns to books to sewing notions.

If you’re wanting to start a home business, check out the “Business Books”.  If you’re interested in keeping your sewing machine and serger out of the repair shop, check out the “Sewing Books” category.  If you or someone else you sew for are hard to fit, check out all the pattern making and pattern make-over classes, or review the “Patterns” category for lots of great patterns you could make for friends and relatives for Christmas.  Take this opportunity to stock up on sewing notions for yourself or make a gift bag for someone just learning to sew!

50% off EVERYTHING in the store – no exceptions for one week only, use promo code BIG50.

Thanks so much for visiting the website!

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How To Make a Washcloth Doll

Posted By on November 6, 2014

This months’ project is a quick and easy washcloth doll that could easily be a best seller at your next craft fair or a favorite toy for the small children that you know.












Each washcloth doll takes one terry washcloth — use white, or peach color or brown, as you would like, small scraps of fabric for the pants and hat, and a small length of eyelet lace for the top (blouse).













Fold the washcloth in half and mark the center with a pin.  Roll the two opposite edges toward the center (fig 1).

Cut the top center line 2 1/2″ down from the top for the arms, and 3 inches up from the bottom for the legs (fig 2).  Tack down the raw edges.

Fold the top backwards on the fold line as indicated on the diagram (fig 2).  Lay a string through the top of the head; wind a string around the neck and tie firmly.  Then tighten the string at the top of the head and tie.  Tack the arms to the sides of the body with a few stitches (fig 3).

Weave the ends of the hands together and wrap the thread up from the ends of the arms about 5/8″ to form the wrists (fig 4).










Embroider the face, following the diagram above, making the eyes blue, brows and nose brown and mouth red.  Hair:  For a girl doll make yarn loops around the face in desired color; for a boy, cover the back of the head with long yarn stitches, taking a few shorter stitches in the front.

Clothing:  Cut two 5″ strips of eyelet or peasant type embroidered trimming for the blouse – cross in front and back and tack to the doll.  For boy doll, follow the chart to make a pants pattern, letting each square equal one inch.  Cut four, stitch right sides together to form trousers; turn right side out.  Fold under the raw bottom edges and crease.  Pull pants onto the doll and tack around the top.  Cover the stitches with bright ribbon sash.  For a girl doll, cut a circle 5 inches in diameter; cut a small circle out of the center and slip over the doll, tacking the skirt to the waist.  Cover the stitches with a bright ribbon sash.

For the bonnet, cut two hat pieces (for the pattern enlarge the chart above, letting each square equal one inch),  Join the bonnet at the ends with whipstitches and tack the hat to the head at a jaunty angle.  Tie a ribbon at the neck to resemble a scarf.


Read the particular pattern to see how big each square should be — the ones used for this pattern should equal one inch.  On a sheet of paper, rule off the same number of squares in the same arrangement as shown on the chart, according to the scale given.  These crossing lines guide you to drawing in the scale.  Put all lines in the same positions on the large squares as they are in relation to the small squares on the chart.

An easier way to enlarge a chart to one inch squares is to copy the chart that needs to be enlarged and use a photocopier to enlarge the pattern until the squares equal one inch squares.  The pattern will be ready to cut and you don’t have to draw in the lines.

I’ll just bet if you make several of these dolls to sit in various spots in your customer waiting area (with price tags on them) – you’ll be busy with all the orders you’ll be getting!

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In Sewing……Pressing Matters

Posted By on October 30, 2014

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.

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