Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Is a Home-Based Sewing Business For You?

By Linnea Rein

<1. A physical place either in your home or store front that will accommodate all the equipment required for your business. You must be able to leave your machines up if you work on a full-time basis. Your working area needs to have the appearance of being clean and organized.

<2. It is important to have a convenient bathroom or other area for clients to change clothes. This area must be clean, well organized, and near to your sewing room.

<3. There are some items that I have found a "must" for my sewing room. These include a full-length mirror for customers to see themselves after you pin or describe to them the alterations you are doing, and racks for hanging clothes. It is possible to have 100+ garments in your possession. It is helpful to have a rack(s) for clothes ready to be altered and another rack(s) for clothes that are done and ready to be picked up.

<4. It is important to consider your family situation. Do not think of having a sewing business if you have infants or toddlers. It is difficult to attend to the frequent needs of small children when you have customers coming and going.

<5. A file box that holds 4"x 6" file cards is a lifesaver. When I see a client, I write down the name, agency represented (if appropriate), and other pertinent information such as inseam measurements, other measurements that may be important, and contact information, including phone numbers.

<6. Ask yourself what hours do you want to establish. Are you willing to meet with customers in the evening and on weekends. Some of your clients may work at job where they can only meet in the evenings or days off. Accessibility to your time and services can be a key factor in the success of your business.

<7. You must be prepared for emergencies. Ask yourself how easily you can drop everything to get alterations done in a very short time span.

<8. If you have your business at home, question whether you can walk away from your work to give yourself a break. Sometimes this is the hardest of all for home business owners. If you cannot do this, your family will suffer.

For more information on home-based sewing businesses, including sewing for police and fire agencies, visit my website at


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Comment by Sadie on June 8, 2010 at 6:01am
This is so inspiring...

Does anyone have any views on what one can do to start a home sewing business while she's still on her day job? (night job in my case :)

I earn a decent salary that I know I can never get anywhere close even if I had a full fledged Couture boutique... (things work differently in my country... you get custom made garments cheaper than store bought ones sometimes

I am also a dog lover and had applied to in a local dog community for offering my services.. I hadn't heard back from them for quite a while and last night the owner contacted me offering to source some doggie stuff I sewed because we don't really get much of those here...

I never considered I'd be sewing stuff to sell.. oh I never considered sewing stuff to wear either and I haven't gotten there yet :D But I'd really like to give this a shot..

So any suggestions for a part-time sewing business to kind of like test the waters before taking the plunge would be tremendously helpful!!!

And Susan, thanks soooo much for posting the article!!!!!!
Comment by Jennifer Howell on June 6, 2010 at 7:03pm
I have to say that is so. Sewing can bring extra into your home. I start making handbags so I could keep making my quilts that I donate. I realize that people don't have money to give because there are other things going on in there life. If you can a sewing machine get it out and make that money.
Comment by Candi Roetman on June 6, 2010 at 9:45am
Very good points! May I also suggest that if you want to have your own business, whether it be in sewing or any other business, you MUST be self motivated, organized and willing to put many hours into your business - at least in the beginning - to make it a sucess. It doesn't happen over night, and it isn't easy. Be prepared for long days/nights, missing out on other activities you may rather be doing for a while, and being ready to learn other aspects of running a business - such as computer or marketing skills, business accounting, record keeping, ect. Unless you can afford to hire somebody else to perform these things for you! But it exciting and thrilling to finally be at a place where you are recognized for your business/craft, and have learned how to 'do it all' . This is kind of where I finally am, and I m so very happy I made the decision several years ago to dive in head first and start my own business with designing and custom making formal and bridal wear, as well as altertions on them.

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