Meaningful gifts that can change someone’s life capture the true meaning of Christmas. This year, people are saying they really want to give a gift that helps somebody!
For several years, I have been a fan of Honduras Threads. Having endured two recent hurricanes as well as the coronavirus pandemic, this social enterprise owned by beautiful, talented, hard-working women in rural areas outside Tegucigalpa needs our support more than ever.
Through the support of Honduras Threads, these women earn money in their own communities to help themselves and their families by making beautiful hand-embroidered products in a safe environment.
As featured in the Dallas Business Journal, “The Hart Agency Inc of Dallas, has been chosen as the public relations firm for Susan Apple, a Dallas-based fashion designer whose work is distributed in speciality stores in 18 states.”
I grew up in a family with a “Can-Do spirit”. Many evenings over dinner, the conversation turned to new business ideas. My father, grandfather, aunts and uncles owned businesses. During my elementary school days, I spent hours in the classroom dreaming about business ideas. So when Margaret McWhorter, one of my TCU college professors offered to finance my apparel business, I jumped at the opportunity!
After graduating from TCU in 1983, I moved home and lived with my parents, Billie and Boots Apple. In the same way that my house had been throughout my childhood, it buzzed with activity. Friends and cousins dropped by for visits. We spent a lot of time entertaining on our front porch.
Projects were abundant. We spread fabric out from the front door to the back door for cutting out dresses and costumes. One of my mom’s friends said, “Billie, I don’t know how you can stand all of this mess in your house!” Lucky for us, she always encouraged our creativity and allowed the messy projects.
During the summer of 1984, I spent many hours on our front porch reading Women’s Wear Daily and daydreaming about becoming a fashion designer. I set up a studio & office in the corner of the family room. I designed, drafted patterns and sewed samples. I mapped out a road trips around Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma in order to sell Susan Apple dresses. I sold them right out of the trunk of my parent’s car.
Times were good. However, their were numerous obstacles. One such challenge was gaining capital. My father and I went to the First National Bank for an appointment with a loan officer, James Goin. Although he was more familiar with the oil and gas industry, he didn’t know so much about fashion business. At last, he offered a small business loan with one stipulation. My parents were required to cosign the business loan.
Have you ever heard of Bunkie, Louisiana?!! Most people have not.
Well, that’s exactly where the first Susan Apple dresses were cut and sewn. Right in Bunkie, in a small apparel factory, Bon Cherie. The owner, Tom Vincent opened it when he received a contract to cut and sew uniforms for the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans.
I spent hours in the factory and learned the process of apparel production. My business was moving along . . . until everything changed . . .
On a hot July afternoon, the phone rang. It was Tom Vincent, the owner of Bon Cherie. He said, “Sue, I am going out of business. The bank is coming to lock the doors in 48 hours. You need to pick up your patterns and fabrics.”
The disappointing closing of this factory, propelled a move to Dallas. With a shipping deadline quickly approaching, there were just a few days to cut and sew the fabrics into dresses. With a little luck, I found another sewing contractor in Dallas.
It wouldn’t be long before . . . I would take a leap of faith and move my studio & office from that corner in our family room to Dallas! Hot lines in Dallas!
Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner! It’s time to freshen up our patios and porches for entertaining.
Sewing pillows is an inexpensive and easy way to update outdoor living areas.
Did you know that you can sew a pillow cover in ten minutes?!!
If you have been thinking about sewing, this is the project for you.
Sewing pillows is rewarding. With a little planning it may be worked right into a busy schedule. The secret is setting up a sewing area and planning the pillow project.
Day 1 – Plan . . . How many? What size? Count and measure old pillows (often, sewing new pillow covers and repurposing the pillow inserts is the best, least expensive, and best of all the most sustainable choice).
Day 2 – Gather the tools and set up the sewing area . . . project table (dining room tables are perfect – protect the surface so that it doesn’t scratch if the wood is soft), sewing machine, iron, ironing board, sewing scissors, ruler, square ruler, a seam ripper(just in case), measuring tape, and pins.
Day 2 – Shop for OUTDOOR fabrics, OUTDOOR pillow inserts(if buying new pillow inserts), separating zippers, thread, pins, etc. Before making a decision to purchase fabrics, it is best to look at the big pieces of fabrics and arrange them together. So it’s easier to shop in a local fabric or craft store.
Day 3 – Measure and cut out pillow covers.
Cut out the pillow covers 1″ smaller than the pillow insert. Example: To sew a pillow cover for a 26″ square pillow insert, cut out a 25″ square piece of fabric. Sew 1/2″ seam allowances on each side. This trick makes the pillow covers fit properly!
Day 4 – Sew pillows and stuff with pillow inserts. Done!
Thanks for joining me for a quick tutorial on sewing pillow covers!