Everyone has a story. I love that. One of my favorite things is to hear other people’s stories. So, please leave me a comment in the box at the bottom of the page and tell me yours!
And my story?…the truth is I never intended to start a blog!
My name is Linda and I have been sewing since my father taught me how to sew at age seven! My childhood years were spent constructing clothing and honing my hand stitching skills in embroidery and quilting. In college, a tailoring class gave me even more education and confidence in my craft. In 1983, I graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Textiles and Clothing. I have owned and operated a bridal business since 1984, first constructing bridesmaid dresses and later focusing on bridal and every day alterations.
My purpose in writing this blog these last 15 years is to teach you how to sew and alter clothing and home decor for fun or profit. My hope is that this will be a valuable destination for you to learn many techniques and tips so you can be even more proficient in your sewing skills.
My husband and I have been married 38 years! He’s a CFO and an incredible fisherman (used to be a guide) and hunter. We have two awesome daughters ages 34 and 36. The older one is married to a wonderful man and they have 3 adorable kids. Our younger daughter lives close by and works in the mortgage industry. We all love the Lord Jesus Christ and revel in his amazing gift of salvation!
I’m fond of the cottage and farmhouse styles and I love the colors blue, green and pink. When I’m not sewing, you’ll find me reading, gardening, playing with our grandchildren or hanging out with friends and family near and far. We have a cat named Bob and 10 fish in a small pond in the backyard.
Enjoy this site. I welcome your feedback in the comment box, below, and on every page!
I’m Passionate about:
If you have any sewing related questions, please feel free to ask and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.
I think the first one got deleted and errored out.
I am proud of you!
What a nice story.. Your sight is very helpful.. Thank you very much!
Hi. just found your blog. Love your family story. Love your links: lovedare, compassion. Very similar to our passions.
We purchased our first serger and will be sewing a dozen or so long ballet skirts for money and want to know how to sew in the elastic with the serger. We do not have the so-called elastic attachment and want to avoid bulky casing. We’re looking something like one found on a slip or bathing suit skirt. We’ve already read several tutorials but none seem to produce the sewn on look that we have seen. Our serger instruction book is lacking.
Glad you found and like the site!
To answer your question about the elastic. Serging elastic without the elastic attachment can be a little tricky, but hopefully, this tip will help. First, do you have a cover stitch capability on your serger? I’ll explain that later in this answer. Divide your skirt into fourths. (I use the center back seam or the two side seams to get me started.) I put a pin at each quarter mark. Then, take the waist measurement minus 4″ and cut your elastic to that measurement. Shape this length into a circle and stitch the ends together forming a circle of elastic. Divide this elastic into fourths and mark each spot with a pin. Now pin the skirt marks to the corresponding elastic marks and pin these two layers together at those spots. Does that make sense? Once you have pinned them, you’ll notice that there is more skirt than elastic between the pins. That is exactly what you want because you are going to stretch the elastic as you sew. So, once you begin to serge (or sew), pull the elastic tight so that the elastic and skirt lay flat. Serge (at the edge of the elastic and skirt) to the next pin pulling the pin out before you get there, but don’t let the elastic go slack while you’re serging. Now, fold your waistband over hiding the elastic in the waistband. (You may have different instructions for your waistband. If so, let me know and I’ll adjust my instructions to you.) Do you want more rows of stitching (serging) along the waistband? If so, this is where a cover stitch would work. Otherwise, what you have done, is all you can do with a regular serger. If you don’t have a cover stitch and you want more lines on your waistband, you’ll need to use a sewing machine and stitch more lines every 1/4″ apart (or whatever distance you desire.) Just make sure you are pulling the elastic tight as you stitch.
Hope that helps! If not, ask me some more questions so I can be of more help.
LInda, you are amazing and your “blog” is just heaven! How I wish that I could have you over for a cup of tea! I so enjoy your blog and all the info and chat.
Thank you so very, very much!
Have a Happy Memorial Day as we remember the wonderful men and woman that sacrificed themselves for us!
I too was taught how to sew by my dad. He took a Vogue pattern for a safari jacket and showed me that if I would just follow the directions to the letter, then I too could sew anything. He did not know how to sew at the time but did a fantastic job on the jacket. He just wanted to prove to (and encourage) me that it could be done.
I stopped sewing for a while but have recently started doing alterations in my home-based business so that I can homeschool my youngest son.
Sewing certainly is rewarding and a lot of hard work. I am glad that I found your website and I look forward to reading more and hopefully contributing as well.
Thanks for sharing.
Do you belong to any sewing organizations like American Sewing Guild, which I am joining today, or American Sewing & Design Professionals? I think they are great for networking and sharing sewing information.
Thank God I found your website! I am not very good with a sewing machine, but am going to follow your step by step instructions on how to shorten the shoulder straps (from the inside) on my dress. Wish me luck !!!
You’ll find you won’t need to be good at sewing to do alterations. A basic knowledge of sewing and the instructions on how to do them is all you need. Oh, and sometimes it takes a little courage so you’re not afraid to try.
You’ll do just great!
Thank you so much for your blog. I found it very helpful. I am very grateful for it.
I have a question, for Christmas I asked my husband to buy me a dress-form, would you recommend one?
I am glad you like my blog and find it helpful.
I do not use a dress form, but that is because I don’t make garments, I only alter them. A friend of mine who sews alot of garments really likes her dress form. She has an adjustable one. (I’m guessing that all dress forms are adjustable, but if the one you are looking at is not adjustable, I wouldn’t buy it.)
I hope that helps!
Glad I found your blog; I’ve been sewing for lots of years and it is amazing how I seem to always find a new technique form other experienced sewers.
I have a friend that asked for information as how to make piping and apply it, so all I had to do was download your instructions and pass them off to her. Since I do the appliction in pretty much the same manner it saved me lots of time rather than having to document it. I loved that you’d made a few short cuts (that I hadn’t thought of) such as using the wonder tape.
Thanks so much!
I’m glad it helped! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know.
Hello again Linda,
I am a new fan of your website, and kind of a new sewer. I’ve been sewing off and on since my little girl was small and is now 30. But only recently have I taken a serious note to it. I am now, as of 4 years ago, sewing for small profit, but it helps pay for my pony habit. I felt led by the Lord to sew pretty dresses. So I started with little girl dresses and gave most away. Three years later I am knee deep into alterations of wedding gowns and formal wear. And your website is an answer to my prayer. Each and every one is different and with new challenges. So I just can’t thank you enough for making everything so understandable and precise. I am 63, so for you younger girls, its never to late to start. And I love being a part of their special event. Thank you again,Linda, for all your help. I’m sure Ill be in touch .
So glad you’ve found this helpful. I almost started sewing pretty dresses for young girls many years ago. What a wonderful blessing for you and now you are altering big dresses too. I hope you are enjoying every minute of it.
You can always email me under the “Contact” tab above if you ever have any questions.
Thanks for your sweet comments!
I live in the uk and would like to know if you can help, I recently purchased a second hand wedding dress which is i love but unfortunately where it was adjusted for its previous owner i cant get my bust in the zip is short of about an inch however like the idea of removing this and making it a corset back.
Am quite good at making basic alterations however creating the loops looks quite complicated and am not sure my skills stretch to this wondered if you new where i could possibly get some pre made that i can just attach.
Have debated taking it to a seamstress however the dress was brought for a formal dinner and am concerned that this will start getting very expensive, and am wondering if i would be better selling the dress and trying to get a new one
Love the idea of corset back, but couldn’t you also do guss!ets underarm to just below waist? I do like the corset back, and I am sure Linda has a trick for the back with the loops
Good point. Yes you certainly could! Thanks for your comment!
Linda, I just came across your blog and I am floored!!!! It’s just what I was looking for.
I’ve been sewing clothing for myself and kids for years, but I’ve never really gotten into alterations.
In the past year or so I began refashioning clothes for fun and posting a few of the projects on Facebook. Two weeks I posted on FB a remark that I needed ideas on how to make money with my sewing skills. The ideas were mainly about items to sew and sell, or people saying they would be interested in lessons. I began mulling over the idea of lesson and looking at my studio with a new eye trying to picture how to turn it into a lesson room. I prayed for some guidance. And guess what happened, I began getting requests to hem this, or alter that! That is what I love about my relationship with God. I get what I think is a great idea, and start to run with it, then He simply provides something else that is a better fit for me!
In the last week I’ve had requests to make 5 pair of pants into shorts, make a baseball jersey larger, make a dress smaller, reupholster a porch swing and hem a wedding dress! I love how the Lord provides.
Now, I just need to really get into your site and make sure I do it right! I think the Lord led me to your website too. Than you for all the hard work you’ve put into this project and for sharing your knowledge.
Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to create such a wonderful blog! I’m 26 and have been married for 3 years. My husband and I were blessed with a beautiful daughter this January and I chose to leave my teaching career behind in order to stay at home. I had a grand idea to start doing alterations and repairs from home in my spare time. I have been sewing since I was a child, but I definitely still need to gain more professional skills. Your site has been an answer to prayer since I really don’t have the time or money for classes at this time. Again, thank you so much for sharing your expertise!
You are remarkable!
I have just discovered your site and I’m so grateful for it! I am in the UK and have just started working as a trainee seamstress for a bridal shop. There is a lot to learn in a short space of time and I have to fit it all in around my three boys under 5 but I know that your website will help! God is very good and He led me to this career in sewing from knowing barely anything a year ago I am now doing major changes to wedding dresses without worrying too much about it. I can’t wait to set up making and altering from home too and think that your blog is inspirational for that as well. When I read that you are a Christian then, once again, I felt God’s hand on it all. Isn’t it amazing that He is so concerned with the little things!
Oh Claire, You just made my week! I am so glad to hear what the Lord is doing in your life! I know you are challenged with a job and three little boys under the age of 5, but I hear your sweet spirit about it all. May the Lord bless you as you learn new techniques at this bridal shop. I will be praying for you and your family. Please let me know how you are doing as time goes on or if you have any questions. I have a feeling you’ll be teaching us new techniques by what you learn.
I wish you God’s richest blessings!
I recently discovered your wonderful blog. Thank you so much for sharing your sewing knowledge with us.
I have been sewing for a couple of years and am just starting to do little alterations for others. I still have a lot to learn and will not take on any alteration that I would consider to challenging at this point.
Hopefully someday I can say goodbye to my office job and sew for dough fulltime 🙂
My name is Barbara. I have read a lot of the areas about pricing. I am trying to started on a new venture of sewing repairs & alterations. My biggest problem is the pricing of repairs. Please advice me on your prices! Uncertain of prices is why I don’t have a website yet!
Hi, Thank You, and God Bless!
I just discovered your site. I had wanted to shorten some tapered pants to Capri length, so Googled trying to find some help as I’ve never been able to accomplish this task successfully. And, then I found you. I used your tips and immediately shortened some old tapered pants to practice. They came out perfect. I was so impressed I came back and have read almost everything on your blog. Thank you so much.
Oh wow, thanks for letting me know, Fran! That’s awesome!
Linda it is nice to meet you in Blog. You are actually doing what I dreamed to doing. Only I don’t think I can afford it. I am a Librarian (full-time) but have a textile degree from FIT in New York and a BFA degree from Pratt. I want to sew/design/host performances etc…but as a college librarian with bills I am afraid to let go of the full-time job. Any suggestions?
Start small and do a little work on the side while you keep your job. That way, you can see if you like it and if it makes you enough money.
I came across your blog site and was impressed by your passion in this industry.
Thank you for writing out your experience so that beginners like myself have a chance to self learn for free.
I’m a working mother and are pretty tired of my corporate job and wish to spend more time with my 3 years old daughter and at the same time earn some income from home.
I like sewing since young and would hand sewn dresses for my dolls, but not a professionally certified tailor nor is very skillful.
I plan to practice basic sewing & tailoring skill through my 1st project : Quilt making using old baby clothes. I don’t plan to spend much but will need a good fabric scissors and basic sewing machine to start with.
Was wondering if you have any tips or advice on how I should start.
Hi Peggy, Thank you for leaving your nice comment.I’m so happy to hear that you have had an interest in sewing since your childhood. That is wonderful! You had some good questions. As to what type of scissors to buy, I would buy the orange handled Fiscars brand that you can find at JoAnn Fabrics. They are about $12 and they are very good and will last you many years. You can also use a JoAnn coupon and get 40% off the retail price.
As to what brand of sewing machine to buy, I would Google that and see which ones have good reviews in your price range. I would not recommend Singer brand at all. I have written a post about purchasing machines that might be helpful to you. Also, you might want to go to a sewing machine store and try out a few different brands and see what you like best before you buy one. I hope that helps!
I have used Singers all my life and I love them. If I were going to purchase a sewing machine I would purchase an older model rather than the newer ones. Go to Ebay and you can find many older models at really inexpensive prices. The older models are better made and come with metal feet and not the cheap plastic feet. Have you ever tried to sew in a coat zipper with a plastic zipper foot? It’s difficult. I like the sewing machines that have the free arm as I sew everything using that feature. I never use the full bed. I have been doing alterations since 2009 and all my sewing machines are 30 yrs older or more and work great. They are tough work horses and have metal parts/gears unlike newer ones made of plastic. You can order sewing supplies wholesale such as Fiskar Scissors and thread etc. at WAWAK.com. I have a rather inexpensive $300 serger which is needed for professional finishes. Put up your sign and your in business once you get your sewing room set up for your business. Start with altering what you know and then slowly add other projects you feel you can handle. I find the most difficult things I do is altering the sides of prom dresses and pinning and hemming long bridesmaid/prom type dresses. Some can be real challenging. Replacing zippers in winter coats can be difficult also. You will be surprised at what people will want you to alter. Shortening/hemming pants are the easiest and you will get them most often. Set up a free Google business acct. to get customers looking for alterations. I get the majority of customers through them or a sign in my yard. I also get customers through word of mouth. If you are good your business will grow.
I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m wanting to start an alterations business on the side. Currently, I teach sewing classes to adults and children and work full-time. I want to add alterations but would love some suggestions for how to best develop these skills before taking on clients. My hubby and daughters have given me some projects to tackle and I’ve thought about going to goodwill to make a couple of cheap purchases to practice further like with a formal garment, jacket, pants, and skirt. I have a sewing machine ( well a couple) and a serger. Now I just want to be able to better increase my income and hopefully transition to doing things full-time. Would you have any other advice?
Thanks and God Bless.
Hi, thank you so much for your kind comments about my blog. Alterations just take practice and I think your idea to get some at Goodwill is a good one. You might even ask friends if they had any garments that they were about to take to Goodwill, so you wouldn’t have to pay for any items. I am going to email you with some more ideas. Thanks again!
excellent blog!!! I’m going to enjoy reading through it, but I stumbled on it googling “how much to charge to put in a corset back” I took fashion and textiles back in the stone age aka the 80’s but actually work in the finance industry. I do sewing and alterations on the side, and a fair bit of tutu building, but it’s hard working full time!! Loving your advice so far. CHEERS!
Thank you so much, Rochelle! Glad you like the blog. (I hope the 80’s weren’t the Stone Age, because that seems like yesterday!!!)