Saturday, December 26, 2009

Are your kids home for the holidays? Do they need something to keep them busy?

 Express Yourself with Buttons!
Have time off from school? Need a good project? Come back to school with new, really cool jeans. Decorate with buttons. Buttons are fun and easy to collect. They come in all shapes and sizes at all costs—from five cents for a simple plastic button to $50–$60 for an antique glass button. Once you know how to sew on a button, you can start imagining all sorts of decorative uses and locations for them. 
Your child has a closet full of clothes, but …nothing to wear”.  How many pairs of jeans do they own? Why not personalize a few pair, redesign their look, make them individualized!  It’s so easy and so, so inexpensive. 

  • Now go find some buttons. Do you have an old button box for lost buttons – this is a great time to use them.  Check out a craft store or the local “dollar store” and browse the thousands of buttons that are available. There are buttons in every color and shape – flowers, animals, people, activities, etc. Try to buy the buttons with 2 or 4 holes, not a shank (the little piece on the back of the button for the thread). Shank buttons may not lie flat on your jeans. Buy a needle or some thread. Don’t worry about matching the thread to your jean color; in fact, use different colors to add more pizzazz to your pants. Mix and match - use embroidery thread or yarn if it will go through the button holes. 
  • Think about what you would like on your jeans. Maybe a flower? A design? Anything goes! Draw it on paper and then with chalk or a marking pen that will come out when washed, draw what you want onto your jeans. How about buttons down the side seams?
Okay, ready? Jeans, buttons, needle, drawing  – GO!
  • Cut your thread about 36-40 inches long. Buttons need a double thread, meaning two strands to make the button more secure, especially for something like jeans that you may be washing more than other clothes. Pull the two ends of the thread together at the same length and knot the ends together.  
  Check out the Sneak Preview pages 21-22 for specific instructions on sewing on buttons.
Once you know how to sew on buttons, you can experiment with any clothing article. Perk up an old sweater with some new fancy buttons, sew some buttons around the collar of a plain T-shirt, how about sprucing up some some old Keds! How about your initials on the back pockets (best to do with tiny buttons)!
Go wild! Buttons can go anywhere - back packs, textbook covers, jean jackets. Try some sequins in-between the buttons to add shine and glamour. 
Love what you did on your jeans, but want even more?  Stitch a few embroidery stitches for the stems and leaves - it couldn’t be easier.  But, that‘s for a later blog.

Monday, December 14, 2009


To the Crafters and Quilters ………
Need a Great Gift Idea?

To all of you crafters and quilters out there – are you tired of being asked to sew on buttons or mend garments for your friends and family?

Do you have friends afraid to touch a needle and thread?

Want to have to have a quilting party, but have friends who really don’t know the basics of hand sewing.
Try this idea. As an avid sewer for most of my life, I was continually asked by friends and co-workers, to mend their garments. I was always replacing and re-sewing their lost buttons and ripped hems, then, I decided to change my approach. I told them that they had a choice – to pay $10 to sew on each button or I would show them how to do it themselves. Invariably, most chose the latter.

This book would be perfect book for them to learn the basics.

Crafters – ever read directions for your projects that include some basic sewing, but no instructions are given. This is the perfect book to accompany your crafting directions.

While my book caters to non-sewers, it is certainly a book every sewer needs in their collection. Who doesn’t need a quick reference to mending fixes? Chapters include basics from threading a needle and sewing on buttons to more advanced lessons, such as fixing seams and buttonholes, ironing techniques, repairing broken zippers, among other lessons.


HELP ……. There’s No Time!
Is your favorite blouse is missing a button…the pants your son wants to wear to school have a ripped seam…the badges need to be sewn on your daughter’s scout sash before tonight…
If you are someone who panics when these everyday occurrences happen — because you don’t know how to sew — you aren’t alone. Tailors and dry cleaners make a nice profit when they are called upon to do these simple mending chores — especially if it’s a rush job!
Why not do these mending chores yourself?
What does it take to learn to hand mend? Some thread, needles, pins, a pair of scissors, a little patience and practice, practice, practice. Everyone — adults, young adults, teens, even children — can learn to do basic hand mending. Saving money and time is just a few stitches away!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Here’s an easy, quick way to save money, time and gas!
Everything costs more — food, school supplies, gas, clothes…Need some relief? It’s easier than you think, at least with clothes.
Do you have clothes in the back of your closet or piled in the laundry room that need a little repair. There might be a loose or missing button, snap or hook, or a hem that has come unstitched, or a small ripped seam. Before heading to the tailor or cleaners to pay them to do the repairs, or going to a store to buy new clothes, rescue some of those forgotten garments yourself. All it takes is a few basic mending skills.
Think you can’t do it because you never learned how to sew? Think again. In my book, I show non-sewers how to mend your own clothes in a cost-and time-effective manner. From threading a needle to sewing buttons to hemming to pressing tips, the book helps anyone (from young children on up) become a do-it-yourself tailor almost instantly.
  • Loose or missing button? Parents, kids – learn to sew buttons on in a just a few minutes. Presto! One or more garments back in circulation.
  • Love a blouse or sweater, but you never wear it because the buttons look awful? There are so many interesting buttons to choose from in any fabric or superstore. Change the buttons in about 5 minutes and voila, it’s ready to wear again.
  • Make a new coordinated outfit by just changing the buttons on a shirt or sweater to coordinate with a favorite pair of pants or skirt.
Hems and Seams
  • Pants will last much longer if hemmed and not dragged on the ground (ruining not only the hem, but the whole bottom of the pants). Don’t roll them up, they’ll just flop down. Hem them in just a few minutes
  • Love a particular skirt, but think it doesn’t look right? If it’s just a bit too long for the current styles, hem it and wear it! (Extra tip: make a deep hem and wait to see what the styles are for next year. Who knows, maybe they will be a bit longer and by letting the hem back out you’ll still have a great skirt to wear.)
  • If your favorite sweat pants have a hole in an inappropriate place, patch or mend that little rip in the seam so it doesn’t get any bigger. Now they are ready to wear again.
  • Kids growing like weeds? When hemming their clothes, don’t cut off the extra fabric; just make deeper hems by folding up. In this way, as the kids grow taller, you can take down the hem at any time and there is no need to buy a replacement garment for clothes that still fit, except for the length.

Another savings tip
  • Shop at consignment/ thrift stores or at garage sales. Often the garments there are great, except they are missing a few buttons or a seam is ripped. Buy them and fix them yourself. You just got a real bargain!
Using any or all of these tips can definitely help anyone stretch their clothes budget!