5 Ways to Make Money with Your Sewing Machine

There are plenty of ways to make some extra money. If you know how to sew, you can make some extra cash with your sewing machine. There aren’t that many people anymore in the U.S. who have sewing skills, so if you do, you should take advantage of that opportunity and offer your sewing expertise to make a profit. There are several ways you can make money with your best sewing machine, and this article will show you some of the best.

1. Alterations

The average American wouldn’t know how to even sew a hem if they’re life depended on it. All you need to do is offer your services to busy folks who can’t sew, and you’ll have more business than you’ll ever need. Offer to replace zippers, sew unraveled hems, and make other alterations. Talk to a consignment shop or fabric store owner if you can set up shop for a percentage of your profit. You can also work strictly from home, doing alterations for friends and family, growing your business by word-of-mouth.

2. Costumes

Costumes aren’t only for Halloween, and aren’t only worn by children. There is a huge market for costumes for renaissance fairs, civil war reenactments,dances, parades, all types of clubs and ceremonies, holidays and many other special events where people might want to wear costumes. Costumes are needed for plays, drama clubs and theater groups as well. Museums, churches, and entertainers like clowns or magicians, and small film makers may be in need of a reasonably priced costume designer and maker. You can design and create custom costumes, or have a costume store and rent them out by the day or event.

3. Weddings

You can specialize in making wedding dresses and other wedding attire. There are many weddings every year, and every bride wants her own special dress, and clothing for her wedding party as well. Advertise in the phone book. Let caterers, photographers, and other businesses that might be involved with weddings know about your service.

4. Special Needs Custom Clothing

There aren’t many clothing options available for those with special needs. You can do a great service to those with disabilities and other special needs if you specialize in custom clothing and alterations. Contact nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals about your service. You will need designing skills as well as sewing skills.

5. Stuffed Toys

You can design your own unique line of stuffed toys. Sell your toys at a craft fair booth, or try selling wholesale to retailers or specialty shops. Attend trade shows to attract potential buyers. You can make one-of-a-kind stuffed toys, and charge more per toy. You can also make stuffed toys with a local theme, and sell at craft fairs or a farmer’s market

How to Make a Clutch Purse

When you think about learning how to sew you might think of all the new clothes you can make, all the curtains and bedding you can create – but most people don’t think of the purses they can make. However, there’s a simple clutch purse that can be made by machine and most beginners will find it super easy to create. There are lots of different options for how the purse will look when finished so you’ll likely want to make more than one.

To start making the purse simply cut two rectangles of cloth. There is no definite size to cut the cloth; you can make the purse as large or small as you want. Cut the width of the cloth to the width you want the purse to be. Decide on how tall you want the clutch to be then cut the length of the material to three times that figure. Cut both pieces at the same time to ensure they are exactly the same size. The fabric should be cut with right sides together.

To sew the rectangles together start on one short side. Stitch only a couple of inches on this side, so that you’re sewing directly to the corner. These few stitches to the corner will make it easier to make a crisp corner on the finished purse. Now sew down one long side, across the other short side, then up the other long side. Go around the last corner and take a few stitches, then stop and back-tack. So, you should have three sides completely sewn and one side that has only the corners stitched in. Turn the fabric right-side-out. Press the fabric then stitch the opening closed. Back-tack to start, then stitch across the opening, then back-tack once again. Keep the stitches very close to the edge as you stitch the opening shut.

With the above design you’ll have a square or rectangular purse with a flap that is straight across. You can create a different design by cutting one end of the two cloth pieces into a point. Stitch the corner of that side, sew around the perimeter, then stop after forming the second corner. Turn the purse inside out, press with warm iron, then pin the opening shut. As you pin the opening form the point of the purse flap. Stitch this closed then continue making the purse.

If you want the clutch purse to have outside pockets now is the time to add them. Cut the pocket shapes and hem across the tops of them. Position them on the purse and pin in place. Make sure you have the purse folded right so that the pockets don’t end up being upside-down. After you’re sure they’re properly positioned stitch around them using a straight stitch.

One piece of the cloth will become the outside of the purse and the other piece will now be the lining of the purse. Because of this, when you first cut the fabric, you can cut one piece to be the purse design and a different cloth piece as the liner. The finished purse is washable but that poses a problem. After laundering the liner can wad up and fail to keep the outline of the purse itself. To prevent this stitch the purse and liner together. That is, create a pattern, like channels or rows of stitches, so that the two cloth pieces are connected. The pattern doesn’t have to be large and all over the purse; you can just take a stitch or two, here and there, all over the purse.

Set the fabric on a flat surface so that the area you stitched shut is facing you. Fold this area up, about a third of the way, then pin the sides together. This will form the pouch of the purse and the remaining fabric will fold down and form the flap of the pocketbook. After you’ve pinned the sides together stitch down each side. Turn the purse inside-out so that the new stitches are on the inside of the purse. Now you’ll simply fold the top fabric over to make the flap. Sew a piece of velcro on to use as a closure for the purse. Or, visit a fabric store and purchase a metal or other closure.

Whether you make a purse with a straight flap or a pointed one you can then use a decorative item to cover the stitches for the velcro. If you purchase a closure you’ll often end up with a metallic piece that shows on the outside. If you’re using an ordinary snap or velcro it’s a good idea to attach a piece that will cover the stitches. The piece you use can be an old earring, brooch, large button or even a painted wooden shape that you glue on. Use fabric glue to attach any sort of embellishments.

Turn the clutch into a totally different purse by simply stitching on a strap. Cut the strap from wide cloth then fold the edges in. Fold the strap in half then stitch down the center. Pin the strap in place on the purse then sew it on. You’ll love any of these purses which can be made to coordinate with all your clothing. Make smaller versions for little girls, too. The purses are easy and perfect for someone just learning to sew.

Beginner Sewing Tips: Reduce Frustration and Save Time with These Sewing Tricks

Sewing is one of those skills my mom felt obligated to teach me as a child. At that time, I wasn’t interested in pursuing the craft. Flash forward a few (okay, more than a few) years later and I am hooked on sewing.

When I started sewing again it wasn’t like riding a bike. I could not remember anything my mom taught me. I did some research on the Web to determine what I needed to get started. Armed with all of my sewing tools, I plunged right into sewing with a pattern that claimed to be “easy.” It turned out to be quite an interesting experience. The easy shirt was not so easy to make. To make matters worse, I hated the style of the shirt. My first sewing project ended up at Goodwill and I ended up discouraged.

No, I didn’t pack up my sewing machine. I kept going, learning how to sew by trial and error. Here are some beginner sewing tips that will help make your sewing more enjoyable and discouragement free.

Sew in Stages

I sew in stages. I have discovered sewing in stages minimizes mistakes and keeps me interested in my sewing project. Stage One involves washing the fabric, reading the pattern, and cutting the pattern pieces. Stage Two involves pinning the pattern pieces to the fabric, cutting the fabric, and marking the fabric. Stage Three is sewing the main body of the garment. Stage Four is for finishing hems, sewing on buttons, and adding any embellishments. Sewing in stages allows me to have several projects going at once without the risk of confusion.

Read the Pattern Instructions

Read the pattern instructions before you start sewing. Underline or highlight anything you might miss while you are in front of the sewing machine. Read the pattern instructions before you start cutting the fabric. It will show you how to lay out the fabric. Pay attention to whether the fabric is folded, how many pieces to cut, and the placement of the pattern on the fabric grain line. Read the pattern instructions (get the hint) before you start sewing each section. Once again, highlight or underline anything that you want to pay special attention to for that sewing section. I also like to make notes on the pattern instructions as I go along. Believe me, you will thank yourself for taking the time to make notes when you decide to use this pattern again.

Use your Needle

Use your sewing needle and thread to baste together pattern pieces before you sew. Hand basting will allow you to check the fit of your garment before using the machine to sew. It is much easier to rip out long hand sewn stitches than machine stitches. Hand basting will also lessen the chance of damaging your fabric. Pick up a block of beeswax from your fabric store to coat the thread. This will keep the thread from tangling. I usually buy cheap, bright colored sewing thread to use for basting. Hand basting has saved me tons of sewing time, especially with zippers and waistbands.

Iron Away

Your iron is your best sewing friend. Iron the pattern pieces (on low heat) before cutting. Iron your fabric before cutting. Press seams after sewing to set stitches and keep seams from puckering. Press hems up before sewing to ease any excess fabric and keep your hems flat. I keep the ironing board by my sewing machine while I am sewing. I use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric while pressing seams and hems. I also use a dressmaker’s ham for curved edges.

The most important thing to remember is that sewing is supposed to be fun. Turn on your sewing machine, slip in your favorite CD or DVD, grab a glass of wine, and enjoy the creative experience of crafting your own garments.

Sewing Machine and the Invention of Chain Stitching

Sewing is an art of stitching of cloth, leather and furs as well as other materials. Needle and thread are widely involved in this ancient art. From the Paleolithic age of history of mankind the use of sewing could be seen as an art to predate the plaiting of cloth. It was around at the time of 30,000 B.C. It was used mainly for clothing and for other household furnishing. Sails, bellows, banners and skin boats are also produced with the help of this art called sewing. Some other useful items are also shaped out from flexible materials for instance leather and canvas. Sewing is also universally used in industrial world and for this purpose it is done by sewing machine.

A sewing machine has a complex set of arms and gears. It slices cotton through the layers of the cloth and semi-securely interlocks the yarn. The sewing machine can usually compose a great range of plain and decorative stitches. Chain stitch was used in the older stage of the history of sewing machine.

Early history of chain stitching

Before a machine was invented in practice, hand was usually used for sewing. In the early age of embroidery the needle was not used for joining stitches but for decorative purpose. In that time the needle was changed to create a fine steel hook. In Portugal it was called ‘agulha’, in Spain it was called ‘aguja’ and ‘crochet’ in France. The invention of chain stitch was formed by those earlier types of stitching. In the formula of chain stitching the needle was partly pushed through withdrawn and fabric and a loop of thread was left. The successive stitch would move through the first ring of stitching by creating another loop for the next one, which eventually forms the shape of a chain. Hence the name of the stitching has become chain stitching.

The first man who is known for his attempt at a mechanical gadget for sewing was Charles Weisenthal. He worked in England and was given British Patent No. 701 in the year of 1755. The patent was given for a double pointed needle with the eye at the single end. Thomas Saint was awarded British Patent No. 1764 in the year of 1790. His devise had the overhead arm for the needle and a outline of tensioning system. It was to develop into a general feature of later machines.

Various attempts had been taken and also awarded for receiving patents between the times of 1795-1830, but none of them were used to any degree of success. Barthelemy Thimonnier was the major inventor who did not try to duplicate the human hand stitch but looked for a path of verdict a stitch that could be produced quickly and also easily by the machine. He was awarded the French Patent in the year of 1830.

In the Thimonnier’s design the cloth was carried on a hollow and a horizontal fixed arm with a hole on the topside. The needle was anticipated through at the lowest part of its stroke. A hook was located inside the fixed arm and it was partly rotated at each stroke in order to envelop the thread around the needle at each of the stroke. Then the needle passed the thread back through the upward motion of the material of its stroke. The chain stitch is formed by it and helped to hold the cloth together. The Thimonnier’s machine was motorized by the way of a foot pedal. In this way the method of chain stitching was invented.

Choosing the Perfect Beginner’s Sewing Pattern

Sewing can be an enjoyable hobby for those that have a crafting background. Although it is related to other crafting hobbies, and you’ve probably used a beginner sewing machine at least a few times before, it can be an entirely different world to make your own apparel. To help you choose your first pattern wisely, here are some tips to give you a better chance at making this hobby something you’ll stick with.

  • Stick with your skill level

Many crafters start out with some very ill-fitting garments that they’ve sewn and decide to quit altogether. Just like with anything you need to stick with it a little longer to give yourself time to fine tune your skills. The worst mistake that beginning seamstresses make is attempting a first project that is beyond their skill level. Even if the idea of starting out by sewing some pillow cases seems ridiculous it can help you to get a feel for the machine you are working with. Don’t attempt a notched suit jacket at first; you will need to work your way up to it.

Even if a pattern states it is ‘easy,’ you should consider a few things. Look at the back of the pattern packet and glance at the potential number of seams required to complete the project. If it looks like there are a lot of shaping seams, avoid this pattern. Easy apparel options include simple A-line short skirts or accessories like a tote bag. Don’t begin with pants, button down shirts, knit material dresses, or the like. You will find that you can easily go over your head and lose the excitement of sewing before you start.

  • Notions

Another way to know whether your pattern is beginner friendly is by looking at the list of notions. Notions are other items besides fabric that you will need to complete your project (e.g. thread, seam binding, etc.). You will do best to avoid patterns that require a line of buttons (one button is okay, but only if you have a good basic pattern), invisible zippers, and other types of notions that require changing the presser foot in the middle of the project. It takes a little while to get used to using different presser foots, so keep it simple. You can find the list of notions on the back of the pattern packet; it will be listed somewhere near the top for whatever view you want to do.

  • Fabrics

All fabrics are not created equal. Some are thick, some are fuzzy, some are slippery, and some are just perfect for beginners. The more ‘perfect’ beginner fabrics include 100 percent cotton or cotton polyester blends. These do shrink a little (remember to wash all fabrics before using), but they are lightweight, sturdy, and easy to work with. A great beginner sewing pattern will list either of these options in the suggested fabric section on the back of the pattern packet. Even though you can sometimes use different fabrics than those suggested, you are running a big risk; each pattern is designed using certain fabrics because they fit and flow correctly on the body.

  • Choose a pattern that will look good

Another rule of thumb that is important to keep in mind while hunting down your perfect beginner sewing pattern, is to only choose a style that will look good. If you don’t like short skirts because of your huge calves, than don’t pick a short skirt pattern. Likewise, if the design of the pattern is something you know you don’t look good in, don’t choose the pattern. You are setting yourself up for failure if you override your logic on this issue.

Without a doubt sewing can be a great hobby and a money saver too. For your beginner’s sewing pattern, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be more likely not to hide your sewing machine away in the garage for another 10 years.

Review of J and M Sewing Custom Seamstress

I pride myself on being an excellent internet researcher. I don’t buy anything online until I’ve explored every possible avenue and unless I’m sure I’ll be spending my money wisely. So, I initially felt confident when I stumbled upon J and M Sewing Custom Seamstress Shoppe online and saw that they made patriotic window valances. We are decorating our son’s nursery in an American flag/rocket ship theme and I was looking for something to go over the window to tie everything in the room together. But, American flag valances aren’t available everywhere (believe it or not), so J and M again seemed to be a great choice for us. The picture online showed a red background with white stars and from what I could tell seemed to be a heavyweight material and just the right color.

I also liked that I could custom order it to fit the window exactly, so I accepted the high price $30.99 (plus $7.95 shipping) for a 5 foot wide, 2.5 feet long valance. One week later, I received the valance in the mail and couldn’t believe it when I opened the package. As you will see from the pictures I took of the valance, it is extremely poor quality. The material they used isn’t even as thick as a sheet and is completely see-through which is even more noticeable with you actually put it on the window and the sun shines through. Also, they must’ve been zoomed in so close when they took the picture of the material on the order page online because the stars were so small they looked like polka-dots and you can’t even tell they’re stars when the valance is hanging on the window.

So, after being totally disappointed that I’d spent $38.94 on a very poor quality valance, I called Melanie at J and M the next day to speak with her about it. At first she told me that she couldn’t refund my money or exchange it because it was a custom order. Then, after I told her how I felt about the quality and that the stars were too small she said that she could exchange it, but that I’d have to pay for the shipping to return the valance (another $7.95) and then the shipping on the new valance (another $7.95).

I told her that I didn’t really want to spend another $16 dollars on the valance, so she said that she would allow me to get a refund after all but that I’d have to pay a 25% restocking fee and again, the shipping to return the valance ($7.95). I felt like my only option was to get another valance, so she told me to take a look online an pick out one, but there really wasn’t anything that matched our theme. I talked it over with my husband and he agreed that he didn’t really like any of the other possible options on their site, and that we’d just have to pay the shipping and restocking fee but at least we’d get some of our money back to put towards another valance.

I called her back 10 days after I’d initially spoken with her and she then said that I had past the 7 day policy and that she could no longer do anything to help me. Those were her exact words…”there’s really nothing I can do for you.” Take a look at the pictures attached and you see what I mean. I definitely don’t recommend buying anything from J and M.

Basic Essentials in Sewing Zippers

Zippers radically changed how we managed ourselves in dressing up everyday whenever we were on-the-go. Have you ever thought of how bothering it would be if these zippers were not invented? We would probably get late at work, school and the like more often for we still have to fasten dozens of hooks and eyes on our clothing every time we go. Dressing up before only give us more hassle and wearing clothes uncomfortably as well. But nowadays, we just simply zip up our clothing – and now we are ready to go!

Most novices in sewing fear the patterns involving zippers. They often avoid patterns with zippers for they are scared not to do it correctly, for it seemed to be a very difficult job. They find it hard to sew zipper tabs successfully and neatly. But the fact is that it is definitely not as hard as most think as long as you take time to learn the basics in order to do it right.

Here are some of the tips and tricks in sewing zippers:

Centered Zipper

The most common zipper opening is the centered zipper. It is sewn centered down the back or front of a garment. This type usually used in sewing purses, pillows, and other pieces which requires a centered application. Centered zippers are best suited for everyday clothes, most especially for heavyweight fabrics that has thick pile or those which needs to be matched at seam, like denims.

The zipper in a centered closure is concealed by two equal flaps of cloth running along on either side. When done, two lines of stitching zippers are readily seen from the right side.

Lapped Zipper

When the use of zippers has grown into popularity, most were sewn in a pattern of a lapped closure. In a lapped zipper, the zipper’ teeth is better concealed. This is often the preferred application for dressy clothing or when the zipper does not perfectly match the fabric used. It is also the best choice for delicate fabrics or pile fabrics that can catch in the zipper teeth. And with this preference, you are assured not to damage your garment from getting caught by the zipper teeth.

A lapped zipper is covered by one fabric flap only and a single stitching line which is visible from the right side. These are often used in the left side-seams of pants and skirts.

Zipper Foot

Using a standard sewing-machine foot is not convenient in sewing zippers since a standard foot’s “toes” prevent it from stitching close enough to the zipper teeth. A zipper foot typically has a single toe thus it can come very near to the zipper teeth which aid you in sewing the zipper successfully.

If you do not have a zipper foot, you may check with your local machine dealer. The zipper foot need not be specifically made for your machine, as long as it can be attached properly and is centered over feed dogs for an evenly feeding of fabrics. .

When using a zipper foot, you may adjust the position of the sewing machine needle if it requires you to do so. In most cases, the needle should be positioned to the left of the zipper foot’s toe. And when unsure about the right thing to do, just read along with your sewing machine manual for reference.

Zipper Tab

Sewing neatly around the zipper tab is a common difficulty to most. The best answer to avoid sewing around the zipper tab is to buy a zipper that is one to two inches longer than you required. The excess length will extend at the opening of the top edge and just trim it to the desired length after insertion.

Zippers Pucker

Oftentimes, zippers pucker when sewn on lightweight fabrics. To avoid such problem, consider interfacing the seam allowances before inserting a zipper. In this way, it will provide a neat and crisper look that is less likely to pucker.

Basting Tape

If you do not like basting, you may use wash-away basting tape instead. Basting tape is a thin, double-sided tape which works in place of pins to hold heavy and stiff fabric in place accurately until zippers can be properly sewn to the seams of your garments.

You can now sew a zipper on your own garments with confidence. Bear in mind that practice makes perfect – so keep sewing!