The Art of Sewing and Selling: More Tips to Help You Start

sewing and selling

Sewing and Selling

Selling is as much an art as sewing is –and if you are willing to be creative and serious in both, then it may be time to showcase your work and earn some money too by practicing the art of sewing and selling.

You can start stitching your way to success like others did. And one of the most amazing success stories in sewing is the Levi’s Jeans story when Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, patented a unique way of making pants by using rivets at points of strain to make them last longer. The rest, as we all know, is a multi-million dollar sewing history. You can see a terrific video about the Levi Strauss story below which might give you some inspiration:

So, let’s say you finally decide to start a home sewing business. Here are a few tips to get you started:


The first thing to do is to have the mindset of a professional.  Turning a hobby into business could take the fun out of it, so it is best to be aware of this before you start. Remember that you cannot please everyone so get ready for both good feedback and some potentially bad. “You can’t please all the people all the time” as they say.  Having family and friends who always believe in you is a definite plus during this time.  And if you can find or create a need in the market then go ahead, fill it and sell it.  Strauss and Davis found a unique need and they filled it.  True, this is definitely easier said than done –but it can be done!

sewing and selling mindset

Think Outside the Box:

There are many good ideas on how to make money out there in field of sewing, and they not limited simply to sewing your items and selling them –so be creative.  For example, you don’t really need a fancy degree to teach sewing to beginners.  What is important is that you know more about the art of sewing than your students and that you have a desire to communicate and teach that knowledge.  You could, say, offer a sewing class for kids or beginners and teach them how to make a pillow cover or an apron.  You could pitch your idea for a sewing class to your local school or even as part of an adult education program in your town.  You can also simply offer demonstration classes at home.  This is a great way of advertising your skills and potentially your products.  There are many other ideas like this.  Just think outside the box!

Start Small:

You also don’t need to know everything about sewing before you offer your products or services to others.  Simply specialize on a few sewing items and distribute business cards emphasizing your skills.  Advertising at the local dry cleaners, textile stores and online is always a good start.  For instance, your sewing skills can be the answer to anyone who wants well-fitting jeans or a tailored jacket.

Borrow Good Ideas:

Find out what the competition is doing and learn all that you can from them about what seems to work –and equally as important, what doesn’t work.  Research what is selling well online and produce them yourself to sell in your neighborhood or community.  Recycling antique fabrics into nursery bedding or christening dresses can be a good idea because they can be sold at a high price.  These exquisite items can also be sold in online selling platforms like EBay, CraigsList or Etsy, so you are not limited to your locality.  If you want a bigger challenge, find you inspiration in the leading fashion designs of the day and even create your own label.  Remember, you're not copying ideas and it is always important to respect other copyrights, but you can certainly follow and improve upon trends.  For more information about sewing copyright, please read our very popular post on the topic at: Sewing pattern copyright law – myths debunked

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Check out the So Sew Easy store on Etsy
Visit Print or Plain for some sewing store ideas

If you'd like some ideas about what an Etsy store looks like, please have a look at the So Sew Easy store on Etsy called "Print or Plain".  In this store we've focused on our niche of easy-to-sew projects and patterns.  We also offer some niche products like knit stay tape that are hard to find and helpful for our readers.

Share Your Story:

Create your own blog and write about your favorite sewing creations.  You can be an inspiration to others when you tell them about all the efforts you have done to sharpen your sewing skills.  Tell them about your struggles in dealing with daily life while trying to express your stitching creativity.  This is a story that many can relate to because that is exactly what they are trying to do!  For a good example of this, you can even go back and have a look at some of the very early posts of this blog.  You'll be able to see how has grown from our early beginnings to where we are today.  (To do this, go to the bottom of our home page and click on the little double arrow “>>” to go to our very first posts.)

sewing and selling track the numbersTrack the Numbers:

Lastly, don’t forget to take care of your tax matters as well.  Make it a practice to keep records so that at the end of the day, you will know if you make a profit or not and which products or services are the most profitable.  This should also help motivate and keep you on track as you see the numbers progress.  At the same time, you will realize that you will not make mega bucks overnight. Perseverance is one of the most important business skills and you will need loads of it.  To keep good financial records, you can use a simple piece of paper, a computer spreadsheet or even a sophisticated online accounting package like Xero.  It really doesn't matter how you do it, but just that you do it!

In these days when information goes around at lightning speed, there are a lot of advantages like immediate access to almost anyone in the world.  So be creative with your sewing and selling and find your niche in the global market.  Tell us about your plans in the comments.  We'd love to hear from you!

Start now with some of these sewing ideas to get your creative juice running: Sewing for profit. Projects that are great to make to sell

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6 Responses to The Art of Sewing and Selling: More Tips to Help You Start

  1. kavita says:

    hi, am from India
    Great idea but am afraid there are minimum market potential for tailored items. pls help !

  2. kay edwards says:

    Great post, Lots of good advice..
    I have so much fabric some Vintage to make and list on my kaystylejewelry shop.

  3. JC says:

    Thank you and Deby for doing this. I love everything that you do here because you all are so generous. I’ve been wanting to step out but have let procrastination and fear take hold. Thanks so much.

  4. Mary says:

    How do you handle collecting tax when sellling to someone in state?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Mary, many if not most people starting out selling online are using Paypal as their payment system. Paypal can also do basic invoicing and accounting as well as assisting with collecting sales tax on a state-by-state basis. You can have a look here for some basic info on what Paypal can do. You’ll probably need a Paypal account to get more detailed information:

  5. Fooniks says:

    Great post! I will keep all these tips in mind when managing my shop. I actually already set up a small Etsy shop late last year. I only have a few listings and product groups but I constantly keep thinking of what to make next. For now I am selling bow ties, awesome aprons for men, makeup travel sets and sharpening wrist pin cushions. My shop is called RSKSCreations

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