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Sew For Money

Updated on March 21, 2011

You love to sew and you could use some extra income. Have you ever thought about putting the two together to start a sewing business of your own? It can be done and many sewers are using their sewing talents to make some extra income or even to support a family. Having your own business is hard work but it can be a rewarding and flexible way to earn an income.

Before you start you will need to make some plans and decisions. You will also need to decide if you have the self-discipline needed to run a successful business as running a home sewing business is not for everyone. In fact, over 80% of new businesses fail within a year. You need to be disciplined, organized and above all, you love sewing.

Additionally, sewers who are succeeding in business are those who have found a specialty niche such as high-end dressmaking, alterations or home décor. Establishing yourself in a specialty can really help to improve your skills and boost the rates you can charge for your services.

Successful businesses need a business plan. Make a plan and stick to it and you have a better chance of making a go of it. If you have never done a business plan you can contact the Small Business Association for assistance. Here is a basic plan and some resources for information that can help you get started.

Creating unique or custom handbags could be very popular as gift purchases for friends and family.
Creating unique or custom handbags could be very popular as gift purchases for friends and family.

Choose a Specialty

What kind of sewing do you enjoy doing? If you really love something, you will find it much easier to do it day in and day out. If you hate doing alterations and find that those garments needing broken zippers replaced end up tossed in a corner behind new fabric purchases, then an alterations business may not be for you.

Create a Space For Your Business

Chances are you will not make a living from sewing if you have to sew on your dining room table. If you plan on having clients come to your home for consultations and fittings you need to have a space that is private and professional. If you plan on making house calls you may be able to get by with a less than professional space, but a dedicated sewing area is best. If you have to spend time setting up and tearing down every day you will find you are less productive and organized. You also need a place you can leave at the end of your workday. Having a business in the home can lead to burnout if you don't have a way of separating home and business. There are many fine resources available for organizing sewing space that can help you to be creative in even cramped quarters.

Sewing Equipment Needed


The best way to advertise your business is word of mouth. If you sew for family and friends, ask them to get the word out that you are available. Additionally, many fabric stores will let sewing professionals place their business cards at the store or on their bulletin boards. Another great way increase the visibility of your sewing business is to teach a class.


What to charge for your services or goods is always a tricky question. Costs for dressmaking services can vary from one area to the next. One good way to set your prices is to call around and find out what others are charging and then set your prices in the same range. Don't undervalue yourself - you may get business but it will be difficult to raise prices to a living wage anytime soon.


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