Sewing To Sell In 7 Steps


Sewing to sell can be different from sewing as a hobby. The good news is that you can most likely make the transition easily. You have to change a few things and learn a few new ones to start selling what you sew.

For example, you ought to improve the quality of your finishing, use a better fabric, sew crafts that are in demand, use unique patterns / attractive colours and things like that.

You also need to grasp things on the business front like what crafts sell well, how to find paying customers, how to price your crafts and so on. But don't worry we've got you covered on all these fronts so keep reading.

(1) Change your craft

The first thing we want to talk about is your craft. Certain changes may be necessary. On one hand you may need to improve the overall quality of your craft by doing things like using better fabric, thread and finishing.

On the other hand, you may need to choose a different craft altogether, albeit a more popular one. We will explain the top-selling sewing categories as well as talk about some bestselling sewing crafts in detail later in this post.

Sewing to sell

(2) Change your sewing machine

Well, your sewing machine is the star of your business. The right sewing machine makes the job easier and allows you to do more. I don't mean that you have to go out and buy a new sewing machine this very instant. What you already have may well be sufficient to do some professional sewing. Maybe all you need is some more accessories and you are good to go.

Read these two posts and you will know what to do.

(3) Choose the kind of sewing business you want to start

The way I see things, there are two broad kinds of sewing businesses you can choose to run. You may choose one or do a bit of both. You can: Offer custom sewing services. Make your own crafts to sell.

Custom sewing services involves a seamster / seamstress to take orders from people. For example, you can be a ladies dressmaker or a tailor for gentlemen's formalwear. You can specialise in something specific like wedding dresses or men's shirts, or offer a wider range of sewing services.

Making your own crafts to sell means just that. Sew all your favourite crafts and put them up for sale from your home-based shop or online through your own blog, eBay, Etsy etc. For more information on selling online read : Start selling sewing crafts online.

Choose whatever business model you are comfortable with. Some people find it easier to start locally whereas others like to work on their own time and sell only what they choose to make.

Also read: How and where to sell your crafts.

(4) Create uniqueness

This is important, in the ‘make or break a business’ kind of a way. Regardless of whether you are taking orders of making your own crafts, an individual imprint is important for many reasons. Being unique is anything that makes you different, better or makes you stand out with your craft. There are many easy ways of creating a unique craft. You do not have to reinvent the wheel, as they say. Just small changes ought to do the trick.

Read up more about this in the following posts:

By being unique in your craft, you can:

  1. Have more sales.
  2. Create a strong brand identity. 
  3. Be better known and have more people buy from you. 
  4. Charge a higher price. Make more profit. 
  5. Beat the competition. 
  6. Find your own niche which is one of the best ways of developing long-lasting and a flourishing business.

(5) Sewing popular crafts that sell

This point probably lies at the crux of a successful selling business, which is, choosing to sew crafts that have a history of selling well. Before we get into it, I want to emphasise that you must bear in mind your own tastes. Sew what you'd like to. I'm sure that you can find something within your comfort zone that is also a great selling sewing project.

The popular categories of sewing crafts are:

  • Sewing from children. 
  • Sewing for home decor. 
  • Sewing for fashion, travel and work.

Clothes for children.

Sewing clothes for children is way popular. People find something wholesome about buying handmade things for children. This is not limited to just parents. Handmade sewing items are very popular as gifting items.

There is a great deal of value associated with clothes that have been lovingly created by hand. They have a personal touch and very often stand apart from the mass manufactured goods.

Handmade clothes more often than not, tend to be hot favourites with children. As they also enjoy the novelty of designs, this makes them all the more popular with parents and children.

Sewing Toys For Children. 

  • You can sew custom toys for children. Handmade toys and dolls are very popular. Clothes for dolls sell very well as well. You can figure out which is a popular brand of dolls and make interesting accessories and dresses for them.
     
  • If you are going to be sewing for babies and infants you can sew several simple items that are certain to be popular. You can make shoes, caps, bibs, bonnets and many other things.
     
  • Babies and infants do need a lot of things, and beautifully handmade things are highly appreciated. They tend to be unique, personal and heartwarming.
     
  • Work on cute designs and colourful items and they are sure to be a huge hit with new parents as real as for gifting purpose. One of the joys for sewing for kids and babies is the colourful fabrics and designs you get to work with. If making clothes and accessories for children inspires you, go for it. They are one of the most popular sewing items to make.
(Important information for crafters in the US: You cannot sew and sell children’s clothing in the US without conforming to a host of regulations and laws. These laws require testing and certification of the items you make for all children below the age of 12 years. 
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is one such law that requires that anything you make should be in compliance no matter what the size of your business. This makes making and selling such items very difficult for a small home based craft business.)

how to sew to sell in 7 striaght steps

Sewing Home Decor

  • The potential for ideas and inspiration here is limitless. You can make pillow covers, throws, mats, tablecloths, curtains, appliance covers, kitchen mats and so many other things.
  • People love to add home-made sewing to their homes. It adds warmth and colour to a house. Make sure that what you sew reflects your own unique taste in colours, fabrics and design.
  • Sewing for home is not difficult. You can start with crafts like pillow covers and throws. So making them unique in one way or the other is important. You can work with different colour tones, choose interesting prints and make unique combinations. Never stop thinking of new ideas.
  • You will be surprised at how even the smallest and simplest of items for the home become hotselling items. 

  • “Sewing for home is ideal for someone who loves to decorate and has an has ideas about how to liven up interior space.”

  • You can easily discover a niche within the home decor category. You can decide to make things solely for the kitchen that is aprons, mats, covers, mittens etc. Or you can specialise in making pillow covers and sheets. You can create a line in table linen, napkins and mats etc. Go wherever you feel comfortable and confident.

Sewing fashion accessories

  • Sewing fashion and apparel accessories is a lot of fun. It is exciting and really opens up a world of possibilities for your creativity. Your decision to get into this line should be based on the fact that your natural instincts and tastes lie in this direction.
  • Do you like sewing novel designs? Mixing up bold and vibrant colours? Do you like the challenge of sewing things you haven't before? All these usually matter when you are sewing fashion accessories.
  • Once again you have a lot of subcategories you can get into. You can pick out any one or several of them. There are entire businesses that are built around a just making scarves and stoles.

  • You can sew and construct everything from belts, shoes, jewellery, bags, purses, bands, ribbons, socks, stockings et cetera. There are plenty of resources online and in bookstores that will give you hundreds of ideas.
  • A line of handmade accessories that does very well is cases and covers, for electronic gadgets like phones, tablets, iPods, laptops. People love safe, funky and handmade cases to keep as well as carry their favourite gadgets in. Make sure that you always design something that will not only look good but also protect the device. Always use high quality materials and stitch for strength and endurance.
  • Sewing accessories for fashion and otherwise is no doubt a lot of fun and full of potential. But the work can quickly get complicated so make sure that you are up to it. You will find that getting adventurous and creative with your work is just as rewarding as the hard work you put in to it.

For more information on some great crafts that sell read the following post:

(6) Patterns, colours and fabrics

All of the above three are important in creating interesting crafts. We highly recommend reading a few books, going through a few magazines to get a better understanding of these three things. In fact a subscription to your favourite craft magazines is something we highly recommend. You can easily subscribe to craft magazines online at a fraction of the subscription cost. Click this link to get magazines at up to 90% off.

The same craft but with a different fabric and colour combination can be all you need to make it niche, and a best seller for your business. There are ways to modify and use the same patterns more interestingly. Choice of colours and prints can put your own distinctive mark on crafts that you saw.

Read: How to do more with patterns

You will also learn you will also have to learn about fabric management. Remember, the more you cut down on an necessary all heads the more money your business makes.

Read: How to manage fabric

(7) Where to find paying customers

As we always say, you should be able to identify who your customer is and where to find them. This makes the job of advertising and promotion easy and cost-effective. To begin with, you don't have to spend a lot of money promoting your business. In fact you can let it happen for free.


These two posts are all you need to know when it comes to finding paying customers for your sewing business:

(8) Pricing your craft

If you want us to keep it really simple, here's how you should price your craft. Figure out how much it costs to make it and then sell at four times the amount. That should typically earn you a decent hourly wage. But if you want to go about the whole process properly, then this is how you do it. Remember, you should not out-price yourself from the market. If you are charging more than your competitors, make sure you have good reason for it.

Cost of making + Overheads + Hourly wage + Business Profit = Final selling price.

  • Cost of making: Usually the sum total of all raw materials used. 
  • Overheads: electricity, depreciation, fuel etc spent every month for your business, to be divided evenly across the number of crafts you sell in that month. 
  • Hourly wages: The amount you would like to earn per hour of working. 
  • Business profit: The amount of profit you would like to add after adding up the above three costs. Profit is usually charged as a percentage amount like 10% or 30%. Most people forget this step and consider their hourly wages to be the business profit.

This is a list of some useful external links you can check out:

  1. Sewing To Sell – 16 Starter Projects – How To Sell Locally And Online.
  2. Sewing items to make extra money
  3. Make money with a sewing machine
  4. Simple Sewing Projects To Make Over A Weekend
  5. DIY Sewing Craft Ideas

8 Responses to “Sewing To Sell In 7 Steps”

  1. Nly January 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    Unfortunately none of the craft-sewing companies and their phone numbers are working. I am looking a part time sewing-crafting type of job I can do at home, I called all the numbers. They are not in service.

  2. Isabelle . I . December 4, 2016 at 9:15 pm #

    You make my day ! Thank you for sharing all these infos. I am about to finish the installation of my sewing workshop. I want to sew what I like. I feel that I am in a decisive year. Sewing and creating is my life! I have my own shop in a city where sewing is in demand but I did not want to find myself just making pants saddles … 🙂 I will finally be happy in what I do and flourish.

    • assembleandearn December 15, 2016 at 5:27 am #

      Thank for your kind comment. You make my day every time you take the time to write something back on the blog. Thank you for sharing the information on your up-coming sew shop!. We wish you all the best!

  3. fola July 30, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    To Ari and Amy, she mentioned “conforming to a host of laws and regulations”guiding the production of items for children in the last paragraph under that section!
    Anyways, I’m blessed by your post. I’m more into fashion accessories though I dapple into home decor once in a while when I have ideas to try out.
    Thanks once again

    • assembleandearn December 15, 2016 at 5:29 am #

      Thank you, Fola for writing in. Fashion accessories and home decor are both very gratifying items to sew. But then again, which ones aren’t? 🙂 All the best with everything…!

  4. Amy February 13, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    You need a business license in just about every state. If selling children or baby products you need your LLC and insurance. You need to be CPSIA and FTC compliant. I can’t believe you’ve left these things off your list because they are federal and state mandated.

  5. Ari February 9, 2016 at 6:23 am #

    You really should mention compliance with children’s products. It’s illegal to sell without being compliant to CPSIA regulations so it’s very important, and free aside from the cost of tags.

  6. Kim Tetzlaff January 11, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

    Thank you for sharing all these wonderfully helpful pieces of information. One of my resolutions for this year is to change how I run my side business of sewing. I’m looking forward to using the ideas you described.
    Thank you, Kim

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