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December 2015
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Tutorial: How To Make A Robot Costume

Posted By on October 5, 2015

My Grandson looks AWESOME in the robot costume he actually made (with a little help from Mamaw, of course!)  This project is a “no-sew” creation and simple and quick to make!

Items needed: 1 large clear gift bag (for the body), 1 medium size silver gift bag (for the head) and lots of cool stickers!  First thing to do is remove the handles from the bags, since you’ll be making a robot “body” and “head”.  This costume would fit a child between the ages of 4-6 easily, of course depending on the size of the child.










Here’s my boy – the clear gift bag on the table and his HUGE sheet of assorted stickers.  He stuck nearly all of the stickers on the front and back of the clear bag.  We then cut a hole in the “bottom” section of the bag so it would go over his head and of course cut armholes in both sides so it would fit over his body.











Next, we took the mediuim size silver gift bag and held it up to his face to see where the eyes/nose/mouth would be, then cut out a cute little area for his face.  We then made a sign, “I Am A ROBOT”, just in case people couldn’t tell!   He also had been coloring the nice eagle picture, so wanted to put it on his robot “chest”.










Here’s my handsome robot – all ready for the big day!!!


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Change Men’s T-Shirts Into Casual Tops

Posted By on October 1, 2015

Fun  shirts to wear with jeans or shorts are easy to make from men’s T-shirts or undershirts.  These shirts come in a variety of colors and when trimmed, are inexpensive fashion-right tops.  You can purchase a package of three men’s undershirts for much less than the price of one woman’s top or blouse.  There are many ways you can decorate and trim these undershirts, and today I’ll give you a couple of examples.

For a blouson style you will need an undershirt one or two sizes larger than you would normally buy, 3 yards of cording and one yard wide double fold bias tape.









Before beginning, open up the wide double fold bias tape and press it flat.  Pin the bias tape over the shoulder seams from the neck down the middle of the sleeves, turning the tape under 1/4″ at each end.  Stitch each side of the bias tape and down the center (by pressing the double fold bias tape, there will still be the slight center mark that makes sewing down the center very easy).  Cut 4 cords the measurement of the tape casing plus 2″.  Insert the cords in the casings and tack the cords at the neck edge.  Make a knot at the cord ends.  Pull the cording to form shirring at the shoulder and tie the cording in a bow.  Determine the length of the blouson, or leave the undershirt the length it is.  Make two machine button holes 1/2 inch on either side of the center front at the hemline.  For the casing, press up 1″ and stitch.  Run cording through the bottom casing, knot the ends and tie the cord in a bow.  You can add additional decorations, appliques, etc to the front of the t-shirt as you desire.

To make a decorator  tank top from a man’s t-shirt, use a t-shirt in the size you normally wear and one package of rick rack, in your choice of color.










Pin and stitch the rick rack around the neckline and armholes of the t-shirt, and you’ll have a tank top that’s ready to wear.

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Are You Using The Right Thread?

Posted By on September 29, 2015

All of us that are in the sewing, clothing alteration or crafts businesses can get a little “lazy” sometimes and neglect some of the basic rules of sewing, such as changing our sewing machine needles, or making sure we’re using the right thread for the project at hand.

Thread type is chosen for its compatibility with the fabric’s structure and fiber content as well as the type of project being worked on.

There are many types of threads – carpet thread, darning thread, embroidery thread, crochet thread, basting thread, and buttonhole twist as examples. This post will deal only with the threads that are primarily used with most projects done on a sewing machine.

The following chart shows various types of sewing thread and their usage. Where size numbers apply, the higher the number, the finer the thread – the median size is 50. Where letters indicate the size, A is fine and D is heavy.


COTTON: A medium thickness (size 50) is available in a wide range of colors, and is used for sewing on light and medium weight cottons, rayons and linens. Cotton thread is usually mercerized, a finishing process that makes it smooth and lustrous, also helping it to take dye better. The lack of “give” in cotton thread makes it an unwise choice for knits or other stretchy fabrics, as the stitches will tend to pop.

SILK: A fine (size A) strong thread for sewing on silk and wool. Its fineness makes it ideal for basting all fabric types, as it does not leave holes from stitching or imprints after pressing. Because of its elasticity, silk is also suitable for sewing any type of knit. Silk thread is recommended for tailoring because it can be molded along with the fabric in shaped areas.

NYLON: A fine (size A) strong thread for sewing light to medium weight synthetics. This is especially suited to nylon tricot.

POLYESTER: An all-purpose weight (approximately size 50) is suitable for sewing on most fabrics, but particularly recommended for woven synthetics; also for knits and other stretch fabrics of any fiber. Most polyester threads have a wax or silicone finish to help them slip through the fabric with a minimum of friction.

COTTON-WRAPPED POLYESTER: An all-purpose weight (approximately size 50) for sewing on knits or wovens of synthetic or natural fibers or blends. The polyester core gives this type of thread strength and elasticity, the cotton wrapping gives it a tough, heat resistant surface.


COTTON; POLYESTER; COTTON-WRAPPED POLYESTER: These are coarse threads (approximately size 40) used where extra strength is required for sewing of heavy vinyl, coating or upholstery fabrics.

Regardless of the project you will be working on, it is very important to purchase a good quality thread. The “5 spools of thread for a buck” is not a bargain. The fibers of the “bargain” thread splits easily while you’re sewing and can cause knotting of the thread, breakage of the thread and can also cause a build-up of lint in the bobbin area and along the thread line from the spool to the needle. If you hold a length of the bargain thread up to a light you can readily see the frayed edges and roughness of the thread.

When buying thread for your project it is recommended that you select thread one shade darker than the fabric in order for it to blend in harmoniously. If the fabric is a plaid or multi-color print, select that color that is most dominant.

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WOW! Check out our wide variety of patterns on

Posted By on September 23, 2015

We are very thrilled to let you know that we have a ton of patterns at   We invite you to check out our stores – “Patterns2Go” and “SewWithSarah”.    We have Sewing patterns, quilt patterns, craft patterns, crochet patterns, toy patterns and some super easy pattern making patterns.

We have some of our most popular patterns available in our stores, as well as some brand new favorites that are already flying off the shelves.  Here are just a few of the ones selling like hot cakes:









The Anywhere “T” pattern.  Wear it as a dressy top or add jeans to it.




Don’t forget to check out the girls’ 3-Tier Gathered Skirt pattern at SewWithSarah:












We also want to let you know that we have FREE GIFTS for each visitor.  Check around the stores to see what all we have.  Be sure to bookmark the stores so you can come back often, as we have some awesome new patterns scheduled to arrive at the stores.



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How To Make A Bandana Blouse

Posted By on September 16, 2015

Bandana blouses are so easy to make, and bandanas come in a vast array of colors and designs, so every blouse can be different.  The step by step instructions are easy to follow, and the regular 18″ – 22″ bandanas will make tops for girls ages approximately 4 - 8 years old.










Place two matching bandana handkerchiefs together, with right sides together.  Measure and pin the sides 14″ up from the bottom, as shown (this is for the side seams).  The remaining distance from the 14″ to the top is for the armholes.   Next measure IN from each top side 4 – 5 1/2″ for the shoulder seams.  The opening at the top is for the head, so depending on the age of the child, you might want to do the shoulder measurement and pin with safety pins, rather than straight pins, so you can try the top on to be sure it fits over the head before doing the shoulder seams.  Sew the side seams and shoulder seams.  Turn right side out, and presto! A quick and easy bandana top.









Of course they’re gonna be a loose fitting top because you’re working with square bandanas.  The great thing is that you don’t have to worry about facings or hems because the bandanas have the tiny rolled hems when you start.

Here you can see the finished product!! Aren’t they just the cutest things ever (blouses AND little girls!)

















I will have to say that the little girls are very small and petite, so the “blouses” are actually little “bandana dresses” on them!  There you go — bandana DRESSES — another concept and item to make!

Oriental Trading has a super variety of bandana prints from the normal blue / red to tie-dyes and other designs.  You could make blouses and dresses for every little girl you know, or for craft bazzars, craft fairs etc.

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Is There REALLY Magic In Thinking Big?

Posted By on September 14, 2015

Everyone talks about “thinking big”, “set high and lofty goals” and “go for the gusto”!   Well what about it?  Do you think it actually works?  Or what can we do individually about growing our business, or writing an article, or learning a new skill?

I’m here to tell you a story about all the above quotes!  When we were stationed in the Air Force in Taiwan, I was very fortunate to have a young Taiwanese lady in our Sunday School class that was going to register for entrance into a local pattern making school the following week.  She asked me if I’d like to attend with her — I was THRILLED, because my ONE main goal while we were stationed there was to be able to learn the Oriental method of pattern making.

Well we went together to register in the school, which was 4 nights a week for 9 months (my husband was home with our 6 kids while she and I took a bus to the school).  There were about 60 girls in the classes, and I was not only the only American in the school, I was also the FIRST American to ever come to the school.

The young lady was my interpreter for the entire length of the school session — we all drew patterns in books, made garments (at home) of patterns we’d made in class, then tried them on for the teacher and all the other students to see.  Each time it was my turn to model something, there was a wave of giggling from the girls (I don’t know if they were embarrassed at someone who couldn’t speak their language, but I know I was embarrassed at being giggled at!)

I would say the “set high and lofty goals” and “go for the gusto” and sheer determination to learn the art of pattern making was what made me stick with it through the class.

The next challenge came when I graduated from the pattern making school, and other Air Force wives were coming to me asking me to teach them pattern making, because they knew they wouldn’t make it through the Taiwanese school.  So, I drew patterns on large sheets of paper and hung them around my living room for a few students at a time to draw from, and it didn’t take long to see that the process was a bit complicated and too bunglesome to work.

Here’s where my “thinking big” part of the story comes in.  I had a china cabinet with doors on the lower part.  I cleaned off one shelf and put a ream of paper on it, and made up my mind to draw a page (or two) of patterns and instructions a day until I had a book completed.  As I drew patterns and wrote step by step instructions, I’d lay the completed page face down next to the stack of white paper.  The first completed page looked pretty lonely next to the ream of paper beside it.  However, as I drew patterns and wrote instructions on a daily basis while the kids were in school, the “lonely” stack of completed pages grew, while the other side of white papers diminished.

Eventually, I actually accomplished the goal I’d been working toward, and finished my first book, Sarah’s Key to Pattern Drafting, just before we were transferred back to the US and to Nebraska.  After arriving in Nebraska, word got out about my ability to make patterns, and one of the major newspapers in Nebraska contacted me to do an interview.  WOW!  From that point to now, things have been happening – more books written, downloadable classes written, plus size children’s patterns designed, and much more.

So now, the moral of the story is this:  YES, there really is magic in thinking big!!  And I want to encourage everyone of you to set your goals high, then work out a plan to exceed them!  Don’t just “wish” for success — that doesn’t get you anywhere!  BELIEVE that you CAN succeed (which I had to think about every single day when my fingers were so tired of drawing I didn’t know if I could move them any longer!), and work out a plan of action that will help you meet and exceed your goals!

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The TWO Most Popular Home Business Books Are………

Posted By on August 31, 2015

After a week of our 50% off All Business Books sale, (use promo code BUSINESS),  there has been a definite trend going.  The top TWO most popular business books, followed closely by a third, are not at all a surprise to us, as these business books have always been super sellers for us.

1.  Sewing Machine Repair As A Home Business —  Sewing machine repair is one of the fastest growing professions in the world today!  More than ever before, a profitable home business is where people are making fortunes.  Job security in America has ended.  Build your own security right in your own home!  The average home business now earns over $50,000 a year, and growing.  You only get one whack at life.  Why not build your own home business that gives YOU freedom, security, prosperity and control of your life?

Sewing magazines, fabric stores, high schools and colleges are encouraging women to do their own sewing, as well as sewing for their children, husbands, boy-friends, etc.  Most of these women find true satisfaction and enjoyment in making the family wardrobes on their own sewing machines!

Sewing machines need to be serviced AT LEAST once per year or more if problems come up in the middle of a sewing project.  Sewing machines in places of business (dry cleaners, hospitals, schools, etc.) need to be cleaned and adjusted QUARTERLY.

“Sewing Machine Repair as a Home Business” gives complete instructions exactly how to repair a sewing machine and continues on through to how to advertise and market your services, gives all the forms and samples needed to get in business quickly.  It is interesting to note that it is just average everyday folks like you and me that are looking for a better way to earn a living, or have a desire to get more out of life, or simply want extra money for a new car, new carpeting in the house, college money for the children, that are getting into the home based businesses and are making fortunes from it!

2.  Profitable Clothing Alteration Business

Do you love sewing? Do you need a little extra money? Or a LOT of extra money? Would you like to stay home with the children instead of working a 9 to 5 job? Would you like to be in control of your own time? Does financial independence sound exciting to you? How about a new car? Would you like to take a “real” vacation this year? Clothing alterations could be your answer!

A lifetime of success can be yours simply by turning your sewing abilities in a profit making direction. Your success is closer than you may think! There are people everywhere in NEED of the service you can provide!

Who would be your customers? Teachers, secretaries, doctors, dentists, friends, neighbors, sales people – nearly EVERYONE in your town would be a potential customer. We’ll show you how to contact them and how to get them to refer you to all of their friends and co-workers. Turning your sewing hobby into a money making business can be done with VERY LITTLE money up front. In fact, we’ll show you how to get started with NO up-front money! We’ve even included a whole NEW section on special services YOU can provide, that no one else in town has even thought of! You’ll be the ONLY one offering these services, and your excited and happy customers will be back on a regular basis, and they’ll be telling their friends about your work!

“How To Start and Operate A Profitable Clothing Alteration Business” is a COMPLETE MANUAL for your part time or full time alterations business.

3.  Sewing For Plus Size Children As A Home Business

Sewing for plus size and overweight children is one of the most needed and practical professions in the world today. Never before have the money making opportunities been so great as in this field. Take a look around you and see how many children there are who aren’t “average” size and wouldn’t be able to wear clothing “off the rack” or fit into a pattern they’ve bought at the store. Look how the clothes fit that they are wearing. Are they tight and popping at the seams; or are they loose and hanging at the shoulders and too long in the sleeves, etc?

Most people, including those who sew, have no idea how to alter store bought patterns to fit the plus size, overweight children properly, and for sure wouldn’t know how to use the child’s own personal measurements to make a clothing pattern that would actually fit them.

This is where YOUR sewing experience comes in! A lifetime of success can be yours simply by directing your sewing abilities into a profit making direction. Your success is closer than you may think!

Sewing for Plus Size Children is a wide open field, with literally no competition. Those who learn how to fit overweight boys and girls will have a never ending supply of potential customers. If you already have a sewing machine you can turn your sewing hobby into an extremely profitable money making business with very little or no up front money!

There are other home business manuals, in addition to the three mentioned above.  Depending on what your interests are and the type of hobbies you do will determine the best fit for you.  Any way you look at it, this is the best time to get started in your own home business — and at 50% OFF, you just can’t get a better deal.  The 50% off sale (using promo code business) is good only through September 8, so why not check it out while you’re thinking about it?  You’ll be glad you did!!

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Start Your Own Business And SAVE 50% On All Business Books!

Posted By on August 25, 2015

School has started so this is the perfect time to start  your own business with a 50% discount on every downloadable business book at by using the promo code BUSINESS from now through September 8th.

Are you in need of a little extra money or a lot of extra money for bills, that special vacation or just to have some extra cash on hand  for the upcoming Holiday Season?

We have everything you need to know on a variety of 6 different profitable sewing related businesses you could start.  Each downloadable manual gives information you need to know in order to start that business:

Profitable Clothing Alteration Business

Sewing For Full Figure and Plus Size Women As A Home Business

Sewing For Plus Size Children As A Home Business

Sewing Machine Repair As A Home Business

Sewing Machine Embroidery As A Home Business

Sewing With Leather As A Home Business

From August 25th to September 8th, you can get a whopping 50% discount on any or all of our downloadable business books.

Use the code BUSINESS to get the discount.  Don’t wait – this sale is only good for 2 weeks, so get your books immediately and get on the road to earning the extra money you want!

Hurry on over to and start your shopping spree!

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Bobbin Basics

Posted By on August 19, 2015

The bobbin winder unit may be located on the side of the sewing machine or on top of the machine or some types have the rewind right in the machine.  Regardless of “where” you wind the bobbin, there are some general rules that apply to every bobbin on every machine.

** Always start with an empty bobbin.  Never wind one color over another color.

** Check the bobbins frequently to insure there are no nicks along the edge (which would have happened when the machine jammed or you broke a pin while sewing).  If there is a nick or the bobbin doesn’t roll smoothly on the sewing table, discard it immediately because it will cause future sewing problems, such as breaking thread and jamming in the bobbin area.

** Be sure to use the RIGHT bobbin for your machine.  If you’ve gotten some bobbins from another person, or perhaps extera bobbins from a machine you’ve bought, double check to make sure the bobbins are the correct type your machine calls for.

** Choose thread for the project that is identical in color and type as the one to be used for the upper thread.

** Wind the bobbin evenly across and in level layers.  The following illustration shows the “right” and “wrong” way to fill a bobbin.





** Don’t wind the bobbin so full that it would be tight and hard to insert into the bobbin case.  Most machines have an automatic “shut off” when the bobbin gets full, but if yours does not, be careful not to fill it too full.

** Keep the lint out of the bobbin area.  Lint and broken or frayed pieces of thread accumulate in the bobbin area, and can cause problems with sewing, so be sure to keep that area cleaned out.

** It is good to have extra bobbins on hand so you won’t be tempted to put one color thread on top of another color.  In addition, if you’re going to be involved in a rather long project that will require a lot of thread, such as quilting, or perhaps something that will need a lot of “satin” stitching, it would be a good idea to fill 2 or 3 bobbins with the thread that you’ll be using for the project so you won’t have to stop in the middle of the project and start filling bobbins.

Bobbin Basics is an excerpt from the Learn How To Sew book as well as in the Sewing Machine Repair For The Home Sewer book.

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8 Online Places To Sell Your Products

Posted By on August 17, 2015

Each person has different thoughts and ideas about what we want to sell online.  I am a pattern maker – I simply love to come up with new ideas, then follow through with making a sewing pattern or craft pattern for the item.  Others would prefer to actually MAKE the items, then sell the products.  Whether it be sewing, crafting, knitting, crochet or whatever skills they have, it’s the process of making these special items that excites them.

Regardless of whether you make sewing and craft patterns or actually make the products, there is a need to know WHERE we can go online to sell our stuff.  There are many places online where you can sell your wares, and I want to cover a few of them here.  Some you are probably familiar with, but others may be new to you.  I’d suggest you check them out to see if they would be a good match for your products.  In addition to being a place to sell your items, most of the websites also have forums, “community”, and/or blogs that you can participate in.




Craftsy is probably one of the most popular sites to take classes as well as sell your patterns.  They have a wide variety of categories that could be a great match for your patterns.  In addition to selling your patterns, if you can make “kits” to go with your pattern – you package up the pattern and materials to make the pattern – there is a big category for these items.  One of the best things is that Craftsy has no listing fees, no fees for selling your items, AND you get 100% of the profit from your sales.  You set up your own “store” and add as many patterns as you choose.  You will need a paypal  account, as the purchase amount goes directly there as soon as a sale is made.  Craftsy is a well-known name in the industry because of its diverse product offerings in multiple hobbies.






You Can Make This is a place where you can share your expertise and make money doing it.  This site is for patterns of all types – jewelry, sewing patterns, stitchery, crochet, craft and hobbies.  There is a 4 step process to getting your patterns online at this site.  You will need to register with them as a potential seller, provide a little information about yourself, then fill out and fax back to them the vendor agreement and W9 form.  They will look over the information and get back to you within 5 days.  After hearing back from them you will be able to submit your product idea to them as well as other information they require.  They will then review your idea, and if approved, you will go through the final steps to get your pattern online.  I have not submitted any products to them, but it appears that you may have to get each product idea approved in advance before adding it to the site.  You Can Make This collects payments of all items sold, and you get paid 50% of the sales price and are paid once a month.






DIY-Crush  is a website where you can sell just about any type of pattern you make – from embroidery to cross stitch to craft and sewing patterns and everything in between.  You are fully in charge of listing the descriptions, pictures and uploading your patterns.  There are no listing fees, however DIY Crush does take out 45% of the sales price of each item.  They have an instant payment feature that lets you receive your funds immediately to your Pay Pal account when a pattern is sold – you don’t have to wait until the end of the month.







ETSY is probably the best known place to buy and sell handmade PRODUCTS.  Their rule is that it has to be either handmade or vintage (20 years old or older).  Etsy is a vibrant community of buyers and creative businesses.  There are no membership fees with Etsy.  They do charge $0.20 to list an item for 4 months, or until it sells.  If it doesn’t sell within that time frame, you have the option of re-listing the product for another $0.20 or just keep it out of your store.  Once you sell an item, Etsy collects a 3.5% fee on the sale price.  When someone buys your item, they pay you through Etsy (the money goes straight to you), and you then ship the product to the customer.







ArtFire has been around since 2008 and has a ton of categories for both hand made products, such as clothing, jewelry, art, beading, and woodcraft items to sewing and craft patterns of all types. There are no listing fees, however there is a monthly fee for your store.  A “basic” store costs $12.95 per month and you get unlimited listings in the store.  They do have several other ranges in price for a store, graduating up to $20 per month for a “Pro Seller” account.  The Pro Seller account has extra features, but for someone getting started, the “basic” store would suffice.  In addition to having a blog and forum, ArtFire also has “Guilds” for sellers.  These Guilds vary in types, ranging from people in certain geographic areas, people who have similar interests, people who sell certain types of goods, and so on.  To join one of these Guilds would be a great way to meet other people, learn from other sellers and let them learn from your knowledge.





ShopHandmade is strictly for handmade items – those items you make yourself, not mass produced somewhere for resale.  You may sell craft supplies (both new or gently used) as long as they are in good condition.  I did a search for “sewing patterns” and came up with a couple, and did see some toddler shoes, which also was a pdf pattern, however because of their rules and because of the type of people shopping there, I would not put my patterns on the site.  There is no fee of any type to set up your store at ShopHandmade and you get 100% of the profit when you make a sale.  You simply set up your store as you choose, using your product descriptions and prices, and (because you had your pay pal address listed with the site when you registered to sell), every product sale goes directly and immediately into your pay pal account.






Ebay is familiar to everyone, so opening your own store on ebay may be something you’ve been thinking about.  In order to be eligible to open an eBay store you must have a PayPal account that has been verified.  You must also have an eBay seller account.  Even if your plans aren’t focused on the main eBay website, you’ll still need an eBay seller account to sell using an eBay store.  If you haven’t already, join eBay, then ensure that a current name, address and phone number are on file at eBay and place a payment method (bank account or credit card) on file from which your eBay fees will be taken.  Basic stores cost $15.95 per month and include your own storefront, the ability to add your own customized pages to the store, and discounted $0.20 per listing insertion fees for fixed-price (non-auction) items in your store.  There is also the option of having a “premium” store, which costs $49.95 per month, but does have the benefit of lower listing insertion fees of $0.05 per listing.  You can sell any type of handmade products, patterns, supplies or whatever it is that you want to sell.






glcMall is a site for selling all of your handmade products.  Their mission is for the home based craft business to be able to make a living selling their crafts online by connecting with customers worldwide. GLC Mall has no listing fees and has 4 store plans, depending on the amount of items you will be placing in your store.  The “Basic” store is completely FREE of any charges – the only drawback is that you can only list up to 12 items.   The “Basic Plus” store lets you list up to 100 items for a flat rate of $3.50 per month.  The “Semi-Pro” store lets you list up to 250 items for a flat rate of $6.95 per month, and the “Pro” store lets you list an unlimited number of items in your store for a flat rate of $12.00 per month.  Any of the flat rate fees actually sound pretty good; however I can’t imagine too many people having even 100 items to start off with, so the Basic Plus store for $3.50 per month is quite a bargain!  Once again you get 100% of the sales profit, going immediately into your pay pal account.

There are probably other places online that you can sell your products, but the above listing will get you started.  Depending on WHAT you are selling will determine the choice of venue that would appeal to you.  For example, ShopHandmade is strictly limited to handmade items, so those of us who make patterns of all types to sell would not look there to open a store. I DID see a few pdf patterns there, but I’m thinking most customers at that site are looking for products already made.  Go over the list and check out each website thoroughly before making the final decision of where you want to list your products.  Good luck and happy selling!!!


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