How to Start Your Sewing Side Business + Free Giveaway!

sewing side business You might be wondering how you can turn your sewing into a side business and start earning money from the sewing skills you’ve learned?  You may have a knack for repairing the kids’ clothes, creating costumes, making alterations and adjustments to clothes that don’t fit quite right. You might be really creative and sew your own clothing or design new ways to sew home decor together. If you’re skilled at sewing and you have a solid sewing machine, you can certainly turn your sewing into a side business and earn some extra cash! Here are five key things to think about to turn your sewing into a side business.

Figure out what your customer wants to buy

Use your skills to create products that you love, but also products that people will want to buy.  You may have a certain skill set in making an item that may or may not have a demand. You can transfer your skills to make other items that people will want to buy, and maybe it’s exactly what you love sewing already.

In order to sell what you sew, having the flexibility to create something that aligns with what the customer wants can make an impact on your business. If you sew just what you want, you will need to test the product in the commerce channel of your choice to see if it sells. If it doesn’t, you may want to consider using a different commerce channel, using multiple commerce channels, tweaking the product design or scrapping the product altogether and starting with something else that you know your customer is willing to purchase.

Researching where your ideal customer shops can also give you an idea about what types of products they are willing to purchase. Will your customer want a unique pillowcase, upholstery, protective sleeves for iPads or handmade designer clothing? Or maybe, your customer will want alterations for their clothes, or they may want to buy patterns or supplies from you. Getting focused on what will be your product offering will definitely help you.

As an example, the Zibbet shop below at ShadowBoxHome focusses on home decor and pillows.

sewing side business

sewing side business

Is it worth it to create what customers want?

You’re going to need to price your items accordingly with the work that you put in. You’ll need to account for the cost of your supplies, how long the item will take you to make, the effort in marketing your product, how long it might take you to sell the product, how much shipping will cost and how long restocking your product will take.

For a detailed analysis of this including a handy costing calculator, please review our popular article entitled: Selling what you sew — how to price your work

What can you make and sell?

There are a variety of options you can make, and depending on what your skill level is and what your target customer wants, you can make a decision on what to create with your unique flair. You can make pillows and pillow cases, stuffed toys, protective sleeves for electronics and journals, tote bags and messenger bags. Learn as much as you can to increase your skills from online forums and blogs like using resources here at So Sew Easy.  We have a terrific list of ideal projects that would be perfect for sewing for profit.

Sewing for profit. Projects that are great to make to sell

Just make sure that you’re using your creative talents to come up with original products and that you’re not infringing on someone else’s copyright on a design or pattern.

sewing side business

Where to sell your craft

Once you’ve created your items that you’re going to sell, the next challenging part can be advertising and making the sale happen. What you’re going to need is a focused, yet diverse strategy for getting noticed. Set up an e-commerce shop with your own website so you can promote your own brand and keep the traffic coming to your site that you may lose to other e-commerce shops if advertising in an online marketplace. Some e-commerce website builders you can use that are great and affordable for small businesses and creatives starting out are Zibbet, Shopify, Big Cartel, IndieMade and Wix.

sewing side business

You will also want to figure out what other ways you plan to sell your products or if you want to sell just through your website. Getting exposure in online marketplaces like Zibbet (is a website builder and marketplace), Etsy, Amazon Handmade and ArtFire can help you get additional exposure. While setting up shop in an online marketplace can drive traffic to your shop and result in sales, don’t just rely on an e-commerce shop in a marketplace to sell what you sew. You ultimately risk losing traffic to other shops when you have an online store in a marketplace, so it’s still important to have your own website and advertise with your own brand. Also, consider local in-person events where you can sell your craft. Local markets and farmer’s markets, festivals and trade shows are great places to get a lot of foot traffic.

sewing side business

Advertising what you sew

To elevate awareness to your brand, exposure in online marketplaces can help, so setting up shop in more than one online marketplace that suits your needs and doesn’t give you too much of a headache managing inventory can bring more visibility to your products. Get active on social media channels that your customers are on so you can get your products in front of them. Depending on what you plan to sell, channels like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are great for promoting your products and engaging with customers (you can even set aside a small budget for advertising). Get involved in communities and forums around crafts and sewing to get more exposure and also learn from peers and experts. Some communities include Craftsy and Kollabora.

If you’re skilled at sewing, there is no reason why you can’t sell something creative and unique. You just need to prepare with the right planning and tools to set yourself up for success. Make sure you do a little research, put in the work to create something special and advertise it. Keep learning from people who have done it before, read forums, engage in communities to learn more and read about new ways to launch your craft.

Zibbet T-shirt Giveaway

Nisa and the good folks over at Zibbet have graciously sponsored this giveaway for three lucky winners to receive a Light Marble Green t-shirt as a way to introduce our users to their new service.

sewing side business

Zibbet T-Shirt Giveaway

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49 Responses to How to Start Your Sewing Side Business + Free Giveaway!

  1. Penni says:

    Wow! Very helpful and full of great information! Thank you!

  2. Kathy says:

    Good info. Cute T

  3. Cindy S says:

    I don’t plan to open a business but love the amount of advice available.

  4. Doreen Savia says:

    My family and friends keep trying to get me sell my homemade items and I haven’t gotten brave enough to do it yet! I have no idea where to sell them or how. This article has been helpful.

  5. Mary Helen in OR says:

    This article and the links in it are just the “kick in the pants” that I need today. Thank you soooo much!

  6. Marie Chandler says:

    I am preparing to retire later this summer. I am gathering ideas to have a cottage business. I am considering wine bags, coasters, mug rugs, lap quilts and baby blankets. In my area, there are lots of church bazaars and craft fairs. I have a Singer Creative Touch 1036 sewing machine that I purchased in 1979 and I hope to continue using it. This article was very informative. Thank you.

  7. Tina says:

    Great information. I was not aware of some of the options.

  8. Leah says:

    I have just had a vague inkling that the skill I picked up when I could still count my age on my fingers might just be a way to make a few extra bucks. There is a lot of great information here for me to use and I appreciate it 😉

  9. I found this article to be very helpful. I currently have an Etsy shop and am needing more exposure. Thank you.

  10. LadyD says:

    Will have to spend some time checking out Zibbit. Love the Tee for sure.

  11. Wand Ball says:

    Great ideas…I just have to put them into action…maybe once I’m no longer working full-time.

  12. Sherry says:

    I would love to grow a business big enough to do a website on Zibbett!

  13. Gail Felker says:

    I’ll pass this on to my daughter who would like to start her own sewing business. Thanks!

  14. Marita says:

    Good advice

  15. Tammy says:

    These are great ideas for turning daydreams into reality. Thanks,

  16. I have recently made several things for my soon to be born granddaughter. I couldn’t make it to the shower because it was in another state, but I did get to Skype with them. Everyone told me these items I made looked like I bought them in a store and I should start selling them. Coincidental that your blog about starting your own business is just coming at the right time because I had no idea how or where to start. Thanks for giving us the insight to start our own business : )

  17. Lisa O. says:

    Wow…I am so excited to hear about Zibbet. I am going to set up a website ASAP. I have crafting supplies, etc that I want to sell but I have hesitated to pull the trigger because of some negative experiences on another selling website. Having complete control over my “marketplace” is sooooo awesome plus no fees!!!!#

  18. Glenda B. says:

    Right now I just sell through friends & family & word of mouth. I would love to be able to sew enough to sell wide scale, but, until they find a miracle drug for chronic wide spread pain of Arthritis & Fibromyalgia I will have to wait. If I could I would love to use Zibbit, it sounds so easy.

  19. Emma says:

    This info looks really interesting. I have an etsy shop and I’m sure i can use this.

  20. Janet says:

    I used to sell at the local market and loved it, but it became a very ‘catty’ affair with the ‘old timers’ who had been there from the beginning price gouging. I wasn’t willing to price myself out of existence. I recently discovered the market is now run by a charity organisation, I think it’s time to give it a try again =)

  21. Carmen N says:

    I’ve thought about Etsy – I have a shop but nothing in it right now. Time to reconsider what I might make.

  22. Kathy Schultz says:

    Good, useful information. I sell my jewelry when I have time so adding sewn clothing is something I’d like to add when I retire. Sigh, one day I hope!

  23. Iryna Boehland says:

    Thank you for this blog post and lots of information. I have an Etsy store, but competition is high. And pricing is always a big thing.

  24. Jolene Johnson says:

    I sort of tried to sell years ago and never even got around to listing anything. I made jewelry and still have the supplies and I have sewing stuff too, my real love. I have only one product from an idea I got, found a pattern online from someone who sells something similar and changed it to make it my own pattern entirely! And made them from the 50% off scrap bin to maximize profits. Easy to make once I get going, and I have a good phone camera (Droid Turbo 2 has a 21 MP which is better than my old digital camera!). I’m going to start blogging again this summer and I think this could be worked into it, maybe. Sorry my comment is novel length, you’ve got me excited about sewing again lol. I haven’t sewn in a year (almost 4 year old daughter always wants to be on my lap when I sew) and can’t do it by hand because of neuropathy. I’m still not very advanced in sewing so I want to learn more techniques. Thank you for the post, I’ve bookmarked your site and can’t wait to browse!! 🙂

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Jolene, thanks for your long comment. We really appreciate the time you took to write it. Good luck with getting started. Let us know how you go. Happy sewing!

  25. Kathy E. says:

    Thanks for this info. I am going to try Zibbett!

  26. pbjones80 says:

    Thanks for the wonderful amount of information!

  27. Jan says:

    Good information to have, thanks for the tips, really!

  28. Great advice! Thank you for breaking all of this down!

  29. Lisa says:

    I have thought about selling things I’ve sewn.

  30. Stephanie V.A says:

    I would love to start my own business! I would star first with my friends, to tell me about the quality of my products and if they like them and what else they would add. And I would promote them in my Instagram, Ebay, or FB. I would also go around my town showing people my masterpieces!!! And the best of all, hand-made!

  31. Stephanie V.A says:

    I would love to win the T-shirt!!! It looks so comfortable and sweet‼️?

  32. Cindy says:

    I don’t really plan to sew to sell, but I am interested in seeing unique items that others have created. I would love to win the t-shirt!

  33. Missy Byelene says:

    Thanks for offering this to us today; I currently have an etsy shop and set up at local pop-up markets. I also sell items via word of mouth, apart from the other two venues. Zibbet is intriguing. I plan to read the info this evening and may open shop with my own website and supported with their marketplace. Fortunately, I sew and sell because I can; it’s a great creative outlet for me, especially on days when my health problems aren’t keeping me in bed or on the couch.

  34. This was a great blog and opened my eyes to what’s going on out there!
    Thank you!

  35. aa111 says:

    I would love to make some extra money from sewing and crafting, but i don’t feel confident enough, yet. But I see some small business in a future. For now my customers are friends and family

  36. Alka Goyal says:

    Thanks for all the helpful hints.

  37. Sarah Kakia says:

    I’m lucky enough that I only sell to support my crafting habit. In many forums, I see people struggling with difficult customers when it comes to special orders. If I don’t doesn’t accept special orders will I limit my customer base too much?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Sarah, I think that is one of the most important questions in business. Everything I’ve read would say you should not even hesitate to “fire” your difficult customers and invest your time and energy in your good customers and in those people who value what you do. I can’t imagine how you’d regret doing that. Hope that helps.

  38. Dona Perkins says:

    Right now I have an Etsy shop and a FB page set up. I might look into setting up a Zibbet page as well…it looks really easy! 🙂

  39. Joyce Dobbyn says:

    Good information to have.

  40. Tabatha Caudill says:

    I am starting my own sewing business and this article was so helpful. Thank you!!

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