Posted on

Made a purchase? Leave a review!

Are you a customer? Leave a review | Stacey Sansom Designs

If you have made a purchase from Stacey Sansom Designs, please leave a review! It does not matter if it was a product or service, we want to hear about your experience.

We like reviews. Good or bad, we want to hear about it. We can’t fix it if we don’t know there is something wrong. We may stop doing something that you enjoy if we don’t know it is important to our customers.

So speak up and let us hear about it!

Tell us what product or service you have used and what your experience was. Did our product meet your expectations? Can we do something a little differently next time? Was it easy to register for classes or make appointments?

 

 

Posted on

Local business disappointments

Blog: Local Business Disappointments | Opinion Piece | Stacey Sansom Designs

I am one to rave about a place if I like it. I’ll drop your business name on social media to all my friends and family. I’ll even share it with my potential clients. I don’t have anything to lose really. I find it helpful when other businesses share good finds near them as well. I find this especially important when it comes to local small businesses. I love when they form an alliance of sorts and support each other in the industry or just as community participants. However, I often find myself in a hard situation because sometimes shopping with a particular business is not always yellow roses and Blue Bell Ice Cream – disappointments happen.

Why share disappointments?

Some people will wonder why I am even bothering to share disappointments with my readers. There are a variety of reasons. For me, it has to do with how I would want to be presented to the world. Yes, I want rave reviews. Rave reviews don’t solve or fix anything. They simply tell me to keep doing what I am doing and all is well. That is not always the case.

Often people are afraid to speak up. Let me assure you, if you are disappointed in a business overall or with a product or service provided – SPEAK UP! If you never open your mouth, your complaint will continue to exist no matter how much time passes or how many tries you give them. If the business owners or managers do not know that there is an issue to be addressed, they don’t know they need to fix something.

I am not saying to complete trash the company. Please don’t. However, there are ways to let a company know that you are disappointed without completely trashing the company. I also feel that it is important to publicly spread the word about poor service.

Leave an honest review – good or bad

We live in a very digital society and unfortunately it is often the best way to raise attention with business owners or managers. Why? Because everyone is worried about how they “look” on social media. No one wants to be the owner of the company with a 1 star review and comments that state “I’d give them a negative star if I could.” That is not good. Ever. However, I personally feel that most reviews are made because businesses fail to reach out to their clientele and find out how things are really going. A lot of hot headed business people out there. They are the best at what they do. Or so they think. Reviews will often reveal the truth.

Be the customer – you are needed

Businesses need customers. If they choose not to come back, that does not bode well for success. Remember the business might be for you for whatever reason you started it, but without your customers you are destined to fail. What does that mean? It means that you need to focus on the customer!

It is important that we let companies know that their sales tactics are not appreciated. Customers should be treated fairly and without the hard-nosed and condescending up-selling. We’ve already purchased. Offer us another great service, but don’t make us feel uneducated or like we’re making poor choices.

It is important to let businesses know that problems were not handled well with customer service complaints. We never want to deal with a lemon or damaged goods, but let’s face it – it happens! We expect to get what we paid for and that does not include products that fail to perform or arrive damaged before we ever get to use them.

It is important to let businesses know that we do not feel comfortable or welcome when we walk in the door. In large stores it is not always practical, but Walmart greeters have a job to do and it is not just to check your receipt. “Welcome to…” are some of the best words used at small businesses especially.

Speak up about your disappointments. Encourage others to speak up and share their disappointments.

What about the good?

The counter is that you really need to share the good you experience. When you get amazing customer service – SPEAK UP! Let people know that so and so at such and such is doing a fabulous job and totally rocking the customer service! Why? Give them credit. Let their employers know. Many companies do have employee rewards systems and awards for accomplishing certain things. If you never speak up, business owners and managers never know that so and so is doing their part to make sure their customers return time and time again.

I would hope that we share more good than bad, but at the very least, share the good with the bad.

What if it is just a personal complaint?

If you find yourself in a situation where your complaint is personal, take it up privately with a manager or business owner. They may not think that there are issues. Better yet, you may not be the only one that has the opinion.

What am I talking about?

How do you feel the very first time you walk into a store and are not greeted even though there are employees near the door and saw and/or heard you walk in? Remember this is your first time into the store ever. What if you can’t find something in the store because you’re unfamiliar with the store layout or what products they sell? What if you are simply confused by your options? The frustration continues to rise. You might leave empty handed. You might never come back. It is important that business owners know that their customers are experiencing these feelings because they cannot do anything to rectify the situation if they do not know that it is a concern for their customers.

Don’t run the other way!

How do you feel when you walk into a store and your are hit in the face with a strong smell? We’ll refer to this as the ever dreaded “perfume counter phenomenon.” You know most people dread walking through the perfume section of department stores. They don’t like the infamous perfume pushers. Some of us even hold our breathes and pray we can walk fast enough to get through the section before we pass out. Go ahead, laugh, our response to certain circumstances may be humorous but still uncomfortable.

Do you avoid certain stores for this reason? Do you take the long way around the store to avoid the confrontation and the pungent smells? While it might not be practical for a perfume department to avoid the smells, perfume unrelated businesses should not be a place that people learn to avoid. You want people to walk in the door. There is nothing wrong with the smell of fresh paint. There is nothing wrong with the smell of freshly mopped floors. There is nothing wrong with the smell of fresh out of the box textiles. These are expected in certain businesses.

Let them know

I have found that many business owners don’t know that they are offending their customers with their personal actions and things that they do in their stores. If you as the customer never speak up, they do not know that it is a problem. Businesses should be focused on what the customer wants – what will get them to shop? They should not be focused on the latest fad in environmental air treatments. When I walk out of a store, my purchased product should not smell like the store 2-3 weeks later.

What can we do?

I think we can simply open our mouths when we experience something that makes us not want to shop. Is the bathroom dirty? Is the fact that we have to spend 20 minutes looking for someone to help us find proper prices because the shelves are in a disarray. Are we fed up with the 30 minute wait to get fabric cut at certain stores? Do the smells used in stores cause us pain or discomfort? Could employees be friendlier?

If you have ever walked out of the store and thought or said, “I wish they…” or “I’m not sure I will ever come back…” Then it is time for you to consider expressing your opinions with the business owner and/or manager. It does not have to be confrontational. It does not have to be hateful. It can show disapproval. It can show disappointment. It is okay to show frustration.

Just keep it KIND.

I personally will be keeping this in mind as I interact with my local businesses, especially with my local small businesses.

Posted on

Iron Recommendations

Stacey Sansom Designs - Iron Recommendations

With the plethora of features available on the wide variety of irons, how do you know what is right for you? These iron recommendations are from individuals with a varying levels of sewing skills. They are people just like you. Use these iron recommendations as a starting point to find that perfect iron for you.

** This post does contain “affiliate links.” These help cover some of the expenses acquired in an effort to bring you as much information as possible. These links DO NOT COST YOU EXTRA! The cost you see is the cost that I would pay if I were to shop online. There may be cheaper options available. It is your responsibility to do your price comparisons before purchasing. **

Basic and limited budget friendly iron recommendations

Rival Cord Wrap Iron

As stated in a previous post, many baseline irons do not have auto-shutoff features. This feature may not be necessary if you always remember to turn off the iron. This is a baseline iron recommendation that is packed with power, but minimal features keeping the price on the lower end.

Feature rich, budget friendly iron recommendations

Top pick iron recommendation for an iron that is heavy on the features but easy on the budget is:

Sunbeam Steam Master GCSBSP-201-FFP


This is my personal iron. I love it! It has a nice range of iron features without being a burden on the beginner’s budget.

Some of its features include:

  • 1400 Watt
  • Large water tank
  • Large Anti-Drip Non-Stick Stainless steel sole plate
  • 3 way auto shutoff
  • Variable Steam Control
  • 8′ Retractable Cord
  • Chrome/Teal

This 1400 Watt iron packs a punch when it heats up. It gets hot and gets hot quick. The automatic shutoff is a great energy saving feature as well as a great safety feature. Never burn your clothes again or worry about if you left the iron on when you left the house with the built-in 3 way auto shutoff feature. The large water tank is a nice feature considering this iron is a steam producing powerhouse.

Many may think that I would naturally love this iron because it is teal (my favorite color), but I assure you that it is just a good looking that packs a lot of features in its pretty exterior. The fact that it is teal does in fact make me smile every time I use it.

Budget friendly, lightweight iron recommendations

Panasonic NI-E660SR Adjustable Steam Iron

This is a great light weight iron that packs both power and features. I had an earlier model of this iron and enjoyed it almost as much as I do my current iron.

Professional seamstress approved iron recommendations

Rowenta DW9280 Steam Force

This powerful iron features a digital display of settings, steam boost, large capacity water tank, and auto-shutoff among others.

Quilter approved iron recommendations

Shark Professional Steam Iron

This is a heavier weight iron for those with a preference. This iron recommendation features a powerful wattage and features such as easy clean, auto-shutoff, and a large water tank.

Oliso TG1100 Smart Iron

This iron recommendation is coveted by many quilters. It features auto-shutoff and high wattage. This iron features the itouch technology that automatically lifts the iron when you are not touching the iron and automatically lowers the iron when you touch it again.

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Stacey Sansom Designs on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates and blog post releases.

Follow Stacey Sansom Designs on Instagram for behind the scenes sneak peeks of current projects, sales, and new product releases.

Sign up for the Stacey Sansom Designs newsletter at the bottom of the screen. Your information will not be sold in any way. You will only receive an email every 1-3 months. These email newsletters will contain a discount code only available to newsletter subscribers.

 

Posted on

Select your cutting board

Stacey Sansom Designs - Select Your Cutting Board

There are a lot of ways to cut your items out and there is no right or wrong method. Some methods are more efficient than others, but not everyone will find the method the most efficient for them. Due to the nature of all sewing cutting implements, you will want to protect your cutting surface (counter, kitchen table, etc) with a cutting board. Sewing scissors can scratch your cutting surface. It is always a good idea to use a cutting board.

Two main types of cutting boards

There are two main types of cutting boards used in the sewing industry – traditional cardboard cutting boards and rotary cutting mats.

Traditional cutting boards are your basic sewing cutting board and are cost effective for the beginner sewing student.

Rotary cutting mats are a special type of cutting board for rotary cutting devices. Without these specialized mats, you can severely damage your cutting surface so it is highly encouraged to buy the largest one that fits your cutting area. You can get by with a smaller size but often sewers are quickly longing for a larger size to improve speed and efficiency.

Cardboard Cutting Boards

The basic type of cutting board is the type that many of us in our 40s or older remember from our childhood. They were this huge cardboard grid that showed up on the floor, table, or bed repeatedly. Today, these cutting boards have not changed much. The major changes I have seen is how small they fold down to.

Here are a couple of options:

Dritz Superboard

Singer Cutting and Craft Board

The cardboard cutting board has some benefits over their rotary counterpart. You can stick your pins right into the board. This ability is useful when you need to make slight adjustments on patterns or mark dart positioning, etc. Traditional cutting boards can also be folded for storage in the upright position. They are fairly cheap and durable, but may need to be replaced after a certain amount of typical wear and tear.

Rotary Cutting Boards

Rotary cutting boards were designed to be used in combination with rotary cutting devices. When you are shopping for a rotary cutting mat, there will be a wide variety of options. It seems that every cutting implement manufacturer also makes a rotary cutter and rotary mat as well as their other lines of cutting instruments. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave a lot of room for trial and error.

When you are comparing your options, you should consider whether the rotary cutting board or cutting mat is made out of plastic or is a self-healing board. Since these mats are manufactured from a few different materials, this is important to note. Some materials have a longer life than others.

My recommendation is to always search for the self-healing mat option. It will offer the longest life for the product. This does not, however, mean that the mats will last forever. Your product’s lifetime may vary. These are prone to warping if store or used in the wrong environmental conditions. Also repeat cutting in the same location on the mats can cause even the self-healing mats to develop grooves in the surface of the mat.

Here are a couple of options:

Fiskars 24″x36″ Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat

Olfa 24″x36″ Double-Sided, Self-Healing Rotary Mat

What size cutting board do I need?

You have probably noticed that there were a variety of sizes available. Each has their use case. Traditional cardboard cutting boards are fairly standard in size. They fold up, so they can be adjusted to fit a variety of cutting surfaces with ease. Rotary cutting mats come in a wide range of sizes. You may find that you need/want more than one size based on what you will be sewing.

For a general purpose cutting board, I recommend that you go with the size that fits comfortably on the cutting surface of your choice. You would not want to put a 36″ wide mat on a table that is only 32″ wide, it would not be wise or prudent. Having a good idea of where you will be cutting is beneficial when making your decision.

The biggest drawback I have noticed in rotary cutting mats is the size limitations. Obviously the larger the mat, the larger the price tag that goes with the mat, but sometimes they can get excessively priced once you get over the size recommended above. Know your budget before you go shopping. Remember that the larger the mat, the less portable your cutting surface is as well as harder to store if you ever find it necessary to do so. When you need to store this type of cutting board, you need to store it in a flat and horizontal position for optimal results.

Which Cutting Board Do I Need?

You are the only one that can decide which method of cutting you will use. It is important to know your options before making this decision, however.

If you are going to do strictly clothing construction, then the traditional cardboard cutting board may be your best and most economical option. For those that are going to only be quilting and other sewing crafts, a rotary cutting mat is essential. Those likely to do both, should consider one of each type of cutting board.

 

What is your favorite brand of cutting board?

What is your favorite size cutting board and why?

 

Posted on

Sewing Scissors Recommendations

Stacey Sansom Designs post topic: "Sewing Scissors Recommendations"

So you are going to sew

If you are going to sew, the chances are you will need to purchase a good quality pair of sewing scissors before you get started. I suppose that you could pay someone to cut everything for you. That is a viable option. However, it is not an option that I encourage or endorse. Good sewing scissors will cost you far less in the long term.

This post will focus entirely on scissors.

There are a variety of other cutting products available on the market, however, to start garment or other utility sewing you will need a good pair of scissors. There will be additional posts about these additional sewing options in the near future.

** This post does contain affiliate links to the recommended products. There is no additional cost to you to use these links. Stacey Sansom Designs receives a small kickback (small percentage) of the purchase price. These little drips of “income” will help cover the overhead that helps keep these informational posts coming at no cost to you – now or in the future. **

Long Standing Quality Sewing Scissors

A long standing brand in the cutting industry that offers a wide range of scissors and cutting implements – Fiskars.

Fiskars 8″ Heritage Seamstress Scissors

Fiskars offers a wide variety of scissors and other cutting implements for any level of sewer. More advanced sewers might shy away from the Fiskars brand but there are a lot of options available to the higher end skill set. However, the beginner sewer should not feel pressured or bullied into buying more scissors than are truly necessary for basic sewing skills.

The truth be told, I still have the pair of Fiskars sewing scissors that my mother bought me in Junior High School for my Home Economics Class I took. Yes, I still have them roughly 30 years later. They are not as sharp as they once were, but they are still in my sewing scissors drawer and I still pull them out from time to time. The orange handles are a reminder of the period where I learned to sew on actual projects.

It is my understanding that the warranty on your Fiskars brand scissors is outstanding. I personally have not had to submit a warranty claim on these scissors in the 30+ years I have had them. They could use a good sharpening at this point, but you are buying a long lasting product.

Popular and Trusted Sewing Scissors

A brand that has had longevity in the cutting industry as a producer of quality sewing scissors – Gingher.

Gingher 8″ Dressmaker Shears

Gingher scissors are the ones you buy for life. Do not let the name on these “dress maker shears” fool you, they offer a nice universal use case. They feature “precision ground, knife edge blades” that allow you to easily cut through multiple layers of fabric. While they do maintain their sharp cutting edge for a very long time, these scissors can be sharpened under warranty. Visit the Gingher website for additional warranty details.

And if you’re left handed… Gingher 8″ Dressmaker Shears, Lefthanded

You can purchase your Gingher scissors in the left-handed variety. No stress. No mess. Perfect cuts every time. This is not to say that other brands do not also produce true left-handed sewing scissors. Please check availability on your choice of scissors.

Budget and Dabbler Friendly Sewing Scissors

A popular brand that is known for sharp cutting edges at budget prices – Westcott.

Westcott 8″ ExtremEdge Adjustable Tension Titanium Bonded Scissors

Some materials are extremely hard on scissors. Some materials dull the blades of your scissors very quickly. Never cut paper with your sewing scissors. However, Westcott brand scissors offer quality scissors that can handle these jobs without regrets or worry.

Westcott 8″ Straight Titanum Bonded Scissors

Due to the price of these scissors when on sale, these scissors are perfect for those projects that might be a little rough on your scissors. Cutting fleece (any amount) or flannel (in large amounts) comes to mind. Affordable, but durable. The Westcott Scissors I picked up at Staples one year worked wonderfully for fleece. No regrets with that purchase. While they are not what I would consider fabric cutting worthy at this point, they still cut paper perfectly fine. I should look into simply getting these sharpened and see if I can bring them back to their original glory.

More Than Fabric Cutting

While you are sewing, you will need to clip threads as you go. While you can use your traditional full-sized sewing scissors, you will be able to clip those threads closer to the fabric surface with a smaller finer blade scissors. Embroidery scissors are perfect for this use case. They are intended to get close to the surface.

Fiskars 4″ Detail Scissors

These little handy scissors are intended for detail work. You need a fine sharp blade with a sharp tip to get those threads trimmed as close as possible.

Westcott 4″ Sewing Titanium Bonded Curved Embroidery Scissors

Common among a lot of machine embroiderers are curved tipped scissors. These little scissors fit the bill nicely.

Follow up comments

The choice of scissors is similar to shoes. Not one size fits all. If you have smaller hands, smaller sewing scissors may be more ideal. The same if you have larger hands.

I do recommend that you have at least 1 pair of true sewing scissors with the bent handle. That will save you some hand and wrist fatigue. I also recommend that you have at least 1 pair of smaller scissors for snipping threads. Keep these by your sewing machine and handy.

If you have arthritis or other hand related weaknesses (or handicaps) please remember that there are scissors out there for you as well. Fiskars is a popular maker of the easy grip, adjustable tension scissors. Head to your local sewing store and try out a few and select what is most comfortable to you.

What sewing scissors do you use? What do you like about them?

 

Follow Stacey Sansom Designs on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates and blog post releases.

Follow us on Instagram for behind the scenes sneak peeks of current projects, sales, and new product releases.

Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the screen. Your information will not be sold in any way. You will only receive an email every 1-3 months. These email newsletters will contain a discount code only available to newsletter subscribers.

 

 

 

Posted on

Go purchase a sewing machine

Stacey Sansom Designs post topic: "Go purchase a sewing machine"

This post is to focus on specific sewing machine information – which one to buy. This is ENTIRELY UP TO YOU! You have to make a decision on what features mentioned in the post about sewing machine types and features: Sewing Machine Suggestions.

** This post does contain “affiliate links.” These links help to cover some of the expenses acquired in an effort to bring you as much information as possible. These links DO NOT COST YOU EXTRA! The cost you see is the cost that I would pay if I were to shop online. There may be cheaper options available. It is your responsibility to do your price comparisons before purchasing. **

Do not buy the bottom of the line!

I do not recommend that an individual walk into any store (or online) and purchase the cheapest sewing machine available on the market. I do not, however, think that the typical beginner sewer needs an expensive machine. This is especially true if your beginner sewer is a child. I am not afraid to shop big-box when my budget does not allow for the top of the line machinery.

These are only suggestions. You are welcome to select your own machines. I offer them to those who simply want to purchase something that they know will work.

Brother SQ 9185

I personally own this machine – Brother SQ9185.
(Amazon Affiliate link)

I love it overall and I would probably purchase it again if it were to break tomorrow. If you watch the prices online, you can often find it cheaper than in your local brick and mortar stores. Be sure to shop around, but the place most frequently seen is at Walmart.

The Brother SQ9185 is not a 100% basic machine. The machine has many nice features and it comes with plenty of accessory feet in the box. It also comes with an extension table included in the price of the machine. This is a good solid machine for the price point. It is a computerized or electronic machine. It does have some dials to adjust the thread tension and some levers to make basic features work, but primarily, the control of the machine is done via buttons with information being displayed on the little LCD screen.

There is a similar machine – Brother SQ9285.

If I had to choose between the Brother SQ9185 or the Brother SQ9285, I would select the Brother SQ9185. This does not mean that if the Brother SQ9285 was my only viable option that I would not select it. I would. Availability would dictate my purchase choice between these two model numbers.

The main differences between the two machines are:

  • Number stitches
  • Speed of the machine

These are not make-or-break items for me. I do not currently use all 130 stitches available on the Brother SQ9185. The speed of the machine, however, is the thing that would drive me to purchase one over the other if both were available. The Brother SQ9185 has a higher stitch per minute. For a beginner sewer, this will be less of an issue. For more experienced sewers, the speed of the machine can become frustrating from time to time.

There are other small differences, but the typical beginner is not going to focus on these. What comes the box does vary between them. Focus on what you need when deciding on which model to purchase.

Popular yet affordable beginner sewing machine

A popular sewing machine – Brother CS6000i.
(Amazon affiliate link)


I confess that I have not personally used this machine. I do know several people that do have this machine. It is a great starter machine. It is over the $100 price point, but I think it is a fair price for what you are getting.

This machine does have multiple buttonhole stitches for making clothing. I personally like the Brother Buttonhole Foot. I think it is easy to use once you learn how to set it up on the machine.

The dream sewing machine

The starter, ultimate sewing machines – Brother The Dream Machine.
(not an affiliate link)

This machine is way outside of my own personal budget. I have physically used this machine and it is pretty amazing if I do say so myself. It is, however, going to be outside most beginner’s budgets. I feel that it is only fair that I present the full spectrum of possibilities to you. It is your responsibility to choose the best fit for you.

This machine essentially does it all. It might even make coffee or cook dinner for you. Okay, not really. It does have enough features to make it a dream come true for the aspiring and well-skilled seamstress and sewer. Clothing is not the only thing that you can do on this machine, nor will it be the only thing that you will want to do.

There are multiple model numbers on this machine – Brother The Dream Machine. Please be sure to check them all out before making a decision. For the best selection of these higher-end machines, visit your local Brother Sewing Machine Dealer.

This sewing machine is also an embroidery capable machine. If this is something that you feel you will need or want in the future, it might be something you look further at. My emphasis will not be on embroidery machines. While I do think that they have their place and use case, I think that many are on the pricier end. For the experienced sewer, this is fine. For the beginner, it is more than is necessary.

One benefit of this machine is that it does have more bells and whistles in general. It has a higher stitch per minute rate than any of the previously mentioned machines. It does have an automatic needle threader and automatic thread cutters.

Want an introductory mechanical sewing machine?

A good mechanical machine – Singer Heavy Duty 4423.
(Amazon affiliate link)


This mechanical machine has a nice price point for being considered a heavy-duty machine. Keep in mind that sewing machines today are still no longer made like machines were 30+ years ago. Even the heavy-duty machines are going to be less equipped to perform those heavier duty tasks. Consider what you will be sewing before making a decision on even these mechanical machines.

Like most mechanical machines, this one has limited features. It only has 23 stitches to select from unlike 60 stitches for the lower end model listed above. If what you are sewing only calls for these limited amounts of stitches, then this is a viable option. It is one that should be considered if you are likely to sew heavier fabrics.

Stitches per minute on this little introductory priced machine is quite impressive. It is not as fast as a more industrial machine, but it will not leave a beginner sewer wanting more speed. It is capable of stitching at speeds marginally higher than the much higher priced Brother The Dream Machine mentioned above. If speed is a factor, then consider this model.

A larger sewing machine for larger projects

Mechanical machine with room to spare – Juki HZL-29Z.
(Amazon affiliate link)

Many complaints about lower price point machines are the work area, this Juki might fit the bill when it comes to addressing this issue. It is a mechanical machine so it would be ideal for a heavier duty workload, but it offers a simple and frequently requested feature of simply having more workspace to the right of the needle.


Often, mechanical machines suffer the same fate – weight and lots of it. This little Juki machine packs a punch with power and features, but maintains portability with is featherweight features. This is impressive as it is constructed of all metal working parts.

Limited on stitch selection, you are not going to be doing decorative edgings. It is important to know what you will need before purchasing. With the increased working space, however, your next tote bag might be a little easier to rotate under the needle.

Up and coming sewing machines

New kid on the block, but impressive – EverSewn Sparrow 30.
(Amazon Affiliate Link)


I am excited about this machine. I have yet to see one in person but the reviews of this machine are trending to be more good than bad. That is impressive with the limited number of sewing machine manufactures we really have to choose from.

This average priced machine, offers something for the newbie and the more advanced sewers. It is definitely one that would offer longevity for someone just starting out.

Packed with 310 stitches to choose from, there are lots of possibilities. While it is impressively priced offering a fully automatic thread cutter, it falls short of expectations with the typical lower end needle threader. It includes a variety of worthwhile accessories in the box.

I look forward to seeing more about this machine in the future.

It is Time to Go shopping

Now that I have provided a small amount of guidance, it is time to go shopping. I would hope that you would further research some options available to you so that you can best find the machine that will fill your needs.

Most disappointment with a sewing machine comes from expecting the machine to do more than it was designed to do. If you want to sew leather, you need an industrial machine. None of these are viable options in my opinion. However, if you are going to do basic mending all of them are more than adequate. Know what you need and/or want. Then go shopping.

What other sewing machines do you own or are you looking at for purchase? What do you intend to use them for?

Follow Stacey Sansom Designs on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates and blog post releases.

Follow Stacey Sansom Designs on Instagram for behind the scenes sneak peeks of current projects, sales, and new product releases.

Sign up for the Stacey Sansom Designs newsletter at the bottom of the screen. Your information will not be sold in any way. You will only receive an email every 1-3 months. These email newsletters will contain a discount code only available to newsletter subscribers.

Posted on

Catering to each social media platform

Stacey Sansom Designs Freedom Friday

I have found myself really pushing the new fabric collection, Bright Delights, a lot right now. I really want to see it succeed and that requires me getting the word out there that it even exists. That has put me in a whole new role. It puts me on the receiving end of marketing and advertising services. Usually I am the one that creates the ads for others. Now it was time to create a bit of marketing for Stacey Sansom Designs to help promote the fabric collection.

Today, I spent the day working on the social media presence as far as advertising was concerned. I have not worried about the narrower more focused outlets for easy advertising. I will come back to those later. I am focusing on the big five of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Now there may be some debate as to what the big 5 really are. That is not the point of this write-up. Focus on the big five that interest you if your opinion differs from the ones found here. There is no wrong choice here. Remember to pick the platforms that work best for you and your business needs.

To get started, I was going to have to figure out what the limitations were for each of the social media platforms I had selected to focus on. I was amazed at how different they were when it came to certain features.

As you may know, each has their own version of a “cover image.” This cover image helps jazz up your profiles and give you a look that is unique from everyone else. The catch is that each platform has different sizes and guidelines on what you can do to make it work effectively. It is important than you follow these guidelines.

My goal for today was to update all my cover images across the different social media platforms. I wanted something that was more consistent with the branding that I was developing everywhere. I want consistent from platform to platform.

When I looked up the different cover image sizes, I was floored at how “inconsistent” they were when compared to each other. There is quite some range. You can find a quick cheat sheet here: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-cover-photo-sizing-cheat-sheet#sm.00000xo6sdjrnsekmr1g12c8pgwbt. This cheat sheet even includes visual references to look at what you have to account for.

Quick overview of what I found relating to the different sizes:

  • Facebook: 851 px wide x 315 px tall

  • Twitter: 1,500 px wide by 500 px tall

  • LinkedIn: 646 px wide x 220 px tall

  • Google+: 1,080 px wide x 608 px tall

  • YouTube: 2,560 px wide x 1,440 px tall | Desktop Banner: 2,560 px wide x 423 px tall

[ https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-cover-photo-sizing-cheat-sheet#sm.00000xo6sdjrnsekmr1g12c8pgwbt ]

I am not interested in YouTube right now. I will come back to that at a future date. I swapped out Pinterest as a focus area instead. Like I said, do what is best for you.

Unfortunately, I have found that these measurements are not 100% accurate.

Here is what I ended up with…

Facebook cover images

Facebook Cover Image designed at: 851px X 315px

Google+ cover images


Google + Cover Image designed at: 1080px X 608px


Google + Cover Image designed at: 1080px X 608px

 

LinkedIn images


LinkedIn Cover Image designed at: 646px X 220px

LinkedIn Cover Image designed at: 1850px X 200px

 

Twitter Cover Images

Twitter Cover Image designed at: 1500px X 500px

 

I obviously did not get all of the ones I wanted completed. Why? There are variances in the above “guidelines” as I found as I uploaded each image to the platform it was designed for. Some of the above sizes will be changing – LinkedIn – as they roll out their new profile interfaces. My suggestion is to use them as a guideline and adjust as you need to. Be flexible in the world of social media. It is forever changing.

Here is what I ended up with on the various platforms…

 

Facebook cover images


When you first go to a personal profile on Facebook with the new cover image uploaded, this is what you see.

The image was created to meet their specifications aside from the logo placement on the left hand side. I did not account for that. I was less worried about the large logo being covered up on my personal profile page.

You will see, however, if you look at the original image part of it is missing on the initial load of the personal profile page. Not cool!

If you scroll the page up and down a tiny bit, the full image does appear in the on the personal profile how it should based on the guidelines provided.

The catcher is when you go to the business profile page.

The image is partially covered up on initial page load. What?!. The image scrolls behind those boxes on the right. NOT OKAY!!!

If you click on another tab or page in the business profile (I selected About), you see that the full image appears without any visual obstructions. At least something worked correctly.

I am not pleased at the display of all the “logos” across the top of the screen, but it is at least workable.

On Facebook, both personal and business profile pages, I will likely remove the large white logo on the left hand side of the image. It will be flow better in my opinion.

 

LinkedIn cover images

My first attempt at LinkedIn cover images was quickly upset by the fact that they are changing their profile appearance. The size is dramatically different. There is also a lot more to account for on the image as a whole. It has to do with the placement of other profile images.

This is the view on the older version of the LinkedIn Business profile pages. You will notice that the image is not even at the top of the page. There is all this other garbage on the screen above it. Now I did not check to see what it looked like without me being logged-in as myself, but as you can see it is a bit underwhelming.

The second attempt was to swap the cover image to the new platform that LinkedIn will be using soon was less than successful. I went to my business profile page.

As you can see upon first load of the profile page, you do not even see the image. What?!. There is no cover image to be viewed at all.

I clicked on the overview page on the business profile and my image was missing. I can only guess that it is because it is still a trial platform. When I clicked on the “Update background photo” link on the page, I noticed that the size of the image was significantly different than what I had previously seen and what I found on a couple of other websites stating what the sizes were.

I uploaded the image that I had created per the newer guidelines in spite of the fact that it was significantly different. Mine was wider and not quite as tall.

It by default centered the image, but I was able to drag it to where I wanted it.

I tried to save the image in place and it did not save. I am going to assume this is because this portion is still under trial phases as of right now.

The good news is that the image (in spite of the size differences) mostly worked. It was cut off a tad on both ends as well as the bottom, but it is at least workable.

I will create the image based on the size that LinkedIn specifically states on the screen and see if it works better.


I uploaded the same image to my personal profile. As you can see here, the image does show up on the first page you seen upon loading LinkedIn. That is the good news. It was not for naught. However, the image is tiny. It also gets chopped off on all 4 sides in this view. Not very helpful.

I uploaded the same image that I had created per the newer guidelines that I uploaded to the Business Profile to the personal profile. They are the same image.

It by default centered the image, but I was able to drag it to where I wanted it. If you take a closer look, however, there are parts of the profile page information over the top of the image. My smiling face is right over the image. Also, there is some wording at the top of the image that is completely covered up by some site specific text. Completely covers it.

Unfortunately, it did not save. I will assume this is because the layout option is still in trial and not a full roll-out.

The not so great is that LinkedIn cover images while big and roomy, lose so much of its usable area to other things on the screen. I will have to move my wording down on the image to make it work.

I will try with the posted size stated on the LinkedIn website as well. I will just make sure I leave room around the edges for the things that I cannot control.

 

Google + Cover Images

When you first go to the Google + personal profile page, it does something similar as to what was found on Facebook. It only shows part of the image initially. Not cool.

You will notice that there are some areas of lost space to other things on the screen presented by Google + itself.

If you scroll the screen up and down a little bit after it loads, you can then see the full image.

There are still things on the screen presented by Google + that obscure part of the image, but they are minimal in comparison to where the picture is cut off top and bottom.

When you first go to the Google + Branded Account profile page, it does something similar as to what was found on Facebook. It only shows part of the image initially. Not cool.

You will notice that there are some areas of lost space to other things on the screen presented by Google + itself.

If you scroll the screen up and down a little bit after it branded account profile page loads, you can then see the full image.

There are still things on the screen presented by Google + that obscure part of the image, but they are minimal in comparison to where the picture is cut off top and bottom.

 

Twitter Cover Images

When you first load the Twitter website, you see the cover image in the top left hand corner of the screen. It scales it down quite a bit, but most of the image is there.

When you view the image on the actual Twitter Profile page, you see the full image. This is good.

Unfortunately, you have to account for the profile logo or image. As a result of this, I had duplication across the image of my logo. This is not a bad thing, per say, but it is more repetitive than necessary in my opinion.

 

 

What did I learn?

The parameters provided are just guides to help you design a useful cover image. They are not fact. They are guides and should be used accordingly. You likely will have to adjust your image a touch on each one if you do not factor in the platform specific buttons and navigation, etc.

They are specific to the social media platform you are using. This means you will likely need a cover image for each platform. You can still create a consistent look across multiple platforms even if you have to change the overall size and layout of the image’s design. The key here is to use the same elements in each one and resize or fix their balance as necessary on each one.

It is still workable in most cases when you use an image that is too large or too small. As long as the aspect ration is roughly the same on both images, it can scale the images up or down to fit.

You may or may not see the whole image on the various profile pages – initially. Your image should be designed to account for this so vital information is found within the always visible portions of the area.

 

 

How do you account for the variances on each social media platform?

 

 

 

 

Posted on

My color matrix arrived

Stacey Sansom Designs Mood Board Wednesday

I am excited, my My Fabric Designs color matrix arrived last night. It is beautiful. So much color. It is going to be a lot of fun to work with it knowing exactly what the limitations are of the printer on the fabric.

The shipping package was simple – a bubble wrap padded envelope. It was what I found inside that made the experience pleasurable.

The package inside was enclosed in a plastic bag with my order information on the outside. I was impressed. “Double bagging” is perfect for those times when the mail carrier delivers a package that looks like Freddy Kruger got his hands on it. This also helps protect the fabric from the various weather elements that are common in Texas.

Once I got into the second envelope, I found a pleasantly wrapped package. I could not help but crack a smile at what I was looking at. They did not just print the fabric and then ship it, they took care with packaging it for delivery. I am impressed. I am hoping that each future order will be as pleasant to open as this one was.

Enclosed with the fabric where a sheet with my order details. There was no mistaking what I bought, it was right there on the paper. More impressive, however, was the “care instruction” card that was included with the order. It tells me how to wash the fabric for best results, right down to using a phosphate free detergent. The best part is that the insert included directions for all the fabrics, not just the one that I ordered. Great reference card.

I had my cute little helper, Lance, hold it up so that I could gaze on it. I was smiling the whole time. I was happy about the vividness of the colors. I am excited to see that they do in fact have good coverage. I am even happier knowing how wide the color ranges are.

I am very impressed with the feel of the fabric. It is so soft and smooth. I am pleased. It will be lovely to sew on. It will make a beautiful quilt even more pleasing because the fabric feels so nice. I had to sit there and rub it and just touch it.

Here is a close-up of some of the colors. Obviously, the colors are skewed due to the lighting in the room, but you can see that there is a nice range of colors. I love this particular part of the matrix – happy and bright cheery colors!

I am inspired by just looking at it. It is beautiful!

My only complaint about this order is that there was some double sided tape that was used to hold the fabric in its nicely folded form. At least, I assume that is what it was used for. It was not wide, but it did not come off. I have a couple inches on the edge of the fabric now that have a 1/4″ strip of double sided tape stuck on it.

That aside, I saw no flaws in the fabric except for the fact that it was not cut straight. That is not so much a complaint as I want to point out that it is no different than any fabric you buy in the store, often cut crooked because of the way it was folded width-wise.

Overall I am impressed with My Fabric Designs thus far. I cannot wait to get my official fabric designs printed!

 

Make sure you check out my newly released fabric collection:

https://www.staceysansomdesigns.com/2017/02/introducing-bright-delights-fabric-collection/

 

 

Who else has ordered from My Fabric Designs?

Who is looking to order soon?

 

Posted on

Making Progress – More quilt progress

Stacey Sansom Designs Make-It Monday

The best feeling is when you actually see that you are making progress on a project. I have been busy working on this quilt. The timeline for finishing got moved up. Unfortunately, I am not going to make it. It is 2 less days of sewing before the intended recipient arrives. My goal is to get the quilt top done at this point and I will have to worry about getting it quilt ASAP and mail it to her.

Lots of half square triangles. - making progress here at Stacey Sansom Designs
This is a lot of half triangles from completed squares again. The cutting process for all of these squares takes quite a bit of time. The sewing on the other hand, goes fairly quickly. If you want to see yourself making progress quickly, large cuts are where it is at. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed the larger blocks. They are definitely not my normal mode of operation here at Stacey Sansom Designs.

Of course, then you have to press all the seams on all the triangles. If you sew them in groups if 10-15 or so at a time, it helps break up the tasks into smaller more endurable sections and you are not standing at the one task (ironing) you hate most. Sew. Iron. Sew. Iron. Sew. Iron. Repeat until you are done.

Once you have pressed all those triangles, you now get to make squares again.

Lots of half square triangles. The final blocks to be arranged in the quilt! - making progress here at Stacey Sansom Designs
You will end up with 50 squares when you are complete. Want to know the best part of this? You will have an extra square to help make the randomness of the quilt work if you need to.

You can go ahead and take the time to cut all the hang over from your triangles on each of the corners now if you want. I did not. I just cut them off as I was ready to sew them together. I personally thought having the little pieces sticking out was helpful for keeping me oriented and get all the squares going the right direction once I started sewing.

Lots of half square triangles. Blocks are arranged and ready to sew together.  - making progress here at Stacey Sansom Designs
Then the fun began. It was time to put all the squares in some sort of random pattern on the floor. That was a bit more challenging than I thought it would be.

I thought that I would be a perfect example of how to nest seams and whatnot. Thoughts stayed thoughts after a few rows of trying to orient the squares with all the seams going in directions so that they would nest. It was not going to happen the entire quilt, at least not easily.

I made the personal executive decision that I would rather deal with a little more bulk in some of my seams than to spend much more time on my knees and crawling around on the floor than necessary.

I focused on the randomness of the pattern. I knew what I wanted in my mind as far as no two triangles of the same fabric sharing a long seam together, no complete pinwheels, etc. I just kept moving squares around until I was happy with the overall look and feel.

Then it was time to start sewing all the squares together to make rows…

Lots of half-square triangles. Bias cuts often stretch. Ripples happen. Not perfect. - making progress here at Stacey Sansom Designs
It was not a perfect sewing job. Making progress is sometimes more important than absolute perfection. I ended up with a couple of places where I had some puckering in the fabric when I sewed the squares together. With a really good pressing job, they are not that noticeable and will not likely be seen by anyone but me. This will especially be the case once it is quilted.

You may even notice that this particular square did not even have a perfect match on the points of the triangles in the middle of the square. I tried my hardest to get the points to all match. I did. This is one of the reasons that triangles are not one of my favorites. They are pretty close for as many as I had to sew together though.

I point them out, because I am not perfect. I will not profess to be a perfect sewer when it comes to quilting. I am fast and efficient more than perfect. I am also not afraid to try new things from time to time.

The beauty of minor mistakes like these is that they are hard evidence that the quilt is handmade by an individual and not machine crafted somewhere. This is homemade at its finest. Even better is that the average eye is not going to notice the minor mistakes. Do not be afraid to make them.

 

What are you working on?

How are you making progress on your own projects?

 

If you are interested in getting your own quilt made – custom for you – be sure to drop me a line. You can contact me directly through the website or drop me an email. Be sure to check out: Quilting Services for additional information about what you can expect when having a quilt custom made.

For more information about the pattern used in this quilt, please check out: Prairie Grass Patterns. This pattern in particular is from April Rosenthal’s book: Bedroom Style, Perfectly Pieced. This is a fabulous book. This book contains a variety of patterns that can help you in your quest for making progress on your own quilting projects. A nice array of styles and techniques.

 

Posted on

Quilting Progress – Fast progress made!

Sometimes you have to be inspired. Progress is fast when you are inspired. In spite of not feeling my best yet, after finding the fabrics at Walmart on Monday I was inspired. This lead to an increased motivation to get started on the next project. Why wait? I was at a stand still on the “Special White Quilt Project” anyway, I might as well make the most of it. I was not making much quilting progress on that one at all. It will get done, but for optimal quilting progress sometimes you just have to run where the inspiration takes you.

The fabrics I selected were pleading for something bold. They needed a quilt pattern that would make a statement. (I am sorry ahead of time for the pictures. These were the quick snaps I took at the store.)

What I found interesting is that none of these fabrics are particularly bold. Well the dark medallion print (Fabric Selection 6) is bold. Yet each fabric is almost crying for its own time in the spotlight. They are subtle but make their own individualized statement. 
 
I am not a huge fan of triangles personally. I find the angles and points a bit fussy. I don’t find them particularly difficult per say, it is just more busy work in cutting and sewing than I like to do. I will confess to a “get it done” kind of attitude usually. These fabrics kept drawing my eyes to them. I felt like I needed to pull away from my current project and get started on them. They needed to show that quilting progress cycle and become the end product.
 
I decided to use this pattern and now it is time to see some quilting progress made.
 

Inspiration from April Rosenthal's Book: Bedroom Style, Perfectly Pieced - Quilting Progress at Stacey Sansom Designs
Inspiration from April Rosenthal’s Book: Bedroom Style, Perfectly Pieced

This pattern was perfect! Bold. Simple so that it did not detract from the prints themselves. The angles and lines would contrast the colors of the fabrics and the softness and curves in the fabric’s different patterns. I was liking it a lot. 
 
You can find that pattern in this book: 
 

Inspiration from April Rosenthal's Book: Bedroom Style, Perfectly Pieced - Quilting Progress at Stacey Sansom Designs
Inspiration from April Rosenthal’s Book: Bedroom Style, Perfectly Pieced

This is the second time I have used a pattern from April Rosenthal’s book: Bedroom Style, Perfectly Pieced. I used the first as loose inspiration, but inspiration nonetheless. This time I have followed the pattern fairly closely. My variation will come largely when I get to the borders of the quilt. I am liking this book overall. Obviously, I have now selected two patterns from it.
A little history on how I came across this book. It was gifted to me. It was given to my by my husband’s Aunt Maude. She was not using it and she thought I would appreciate it more. I do really appreciate it. It has not even made it to the bookcase yet.
 
Now you are probably thinking what I was thinking when I sat down with my stack of fabric, “That is a lot of triangles,” I will assure you that it is indeed a lot of triangles. The good news, however, is we do not have to cut all those triangles before we get started. Instead, we will be cutting a lot of squares. We will be cutting a lot of rather sizable squares. That is completely doable!
 
Prepping all the squares for cutting into half-square triangles. - Quilting Progress at Stacey Sansom Designs
Once we get all those squares cut – 50 of them to be exact – we have to mark half of them with stitching lines. The stitching lines run across the square at an angle – corner to corner. This actually is your cutting line and you will see each square twice, once on each side of the line.
If you look at the square in the top edge of the above image you can see my three lines. I did three lines in a wash out, disappearing fabric pen. I marked both of my stitching lines for my own personal ease of stitching and lining things up. The best quilting progress is made when you do the prep work necessary for your own ease and comfort.
I suffer from migraines and one of my triggers is by repeat rapid movements and light. If I can move my area of focus away from the up and down motion on the knob that holds my foot on my sewing machine, I get to enjoy longer periods of sewing migraine free. You do not have to mark your stitching lines. Just know that you are going to stitch your seam allowance away on both sides of your line.
 
Lots of work goes into half square triangles. Wash, rinse, repeat. - Quilting Progress at Stacey Sansom Designs
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. You do this for all your squares. It is tedious. Kind of boring even. The good news is that it goes fairly quickly even with as many as you have to do. You will end up with 25 sewn together squares. 
 
Then it is time to cut your first set of triangles! Simply cut along your cut line. Do it carefully. You do not want to lose your seam allowance in any cutting mishaps. You will end up with 50 triangles. 
 
Lots of pressing when you quilt. Wash, rinse, repeat. - Quilting Progress at Stacey Sansom Designs
Then you get to go to the ironing board and play with a hot iron. Press all your triangles open to the dark side. If you are like me you will pick a couple of fabrics where you will just have to make an executive decision on which fabric is the dark fabric and press that way. When you are done you will have a pile of 50 squares again. Good job, you are right back where you started! Just kidding. Check out out my picture to see how accomplished I felt when I was done. I even stacked them neatly as pressed them. 
 
Now it is time for round two of triangles…
 
Lots of work goes into half square triangles. Wash, rinse, repeat. - Quilting Progress at Stacey Sansom Designs
Now we have to take those beautiful newly reformed squares and make them triangles again. You simply rotate and cut corner to corner perpendicular to the seams you just made. 
 
I made good quilting progress tonight. This is where I stopped last night and where I will be picking back up today. I am impressed at how quickly this pattern whipped together. I did not start cutting the fabric until early afternoon yesterday and I still have evening responsibilities to take care of. I did not get back to start sewing until 8:30PM last night. By midnight I had started cutting my second round of triangles. I imagine this quilt top will be completed (or very close to it) by the end of the day. That is fast quilting progress as some quilts take much longer to complete the pieced portions.