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Home Sewing Secrets

Starting A Home Sewing Business - Take It One Stitch At A Time
by Elaine Currie

If you want to work from home, you will soon find out that paid home employment is very hard to find. How about starting your own business from home? If you are good at sewing, you could use your skills to start your own home based sewing business. There are all kinds of sewing from tailoring to delicate embroidery and most of them can be used as the basis for an enjoyable and profitable home based business.

In the past, home sewing work consisted mainly of women at home working on industrial sewing machines assembling ready cut garments as outworkers for local factories. This was "piece work" ie the woman was paid per finished piece of work. The big sewing machines were noisy monsters, so it was impossible for a woman to sew and listen to music or carry on a conversation at the same time. It was hard work but quite well paid if you could work fast. This type of working at home job is less common nowadays because it is cheaper for factory owners to send the work abroad where wages are lower.

Doing sewing as a home business, does not involve a return to monotonous, noisy piece work; there are far more pleasant and creative ways to earn a living with needle and thread where you can be your own boss and not a wage slave for a factory owner.

The first thing that springs to my mind when anyone mentions sewing as a home based business, is dressmaking and wedding dresses obviously take top place. The vast majority of brides planning a white wedding want a dress (and bridesmaid dresses) specially made for their big day. If you have a talent for dressmaking, bridal outfits will certainly offer a good way of earning a substantial income.

A less glamorous but equally necessary service is in garment alterations. Shops used to offer this service, but nowadays it is usually only possible to find someone to alter or repair a garment by making enquiries of local dry-cleaners. It is a sad truth that we live in a wasteful society where perfectly serviceable garments will be thrown away because of a broken zip. However, there are still people around who will want to have a zip replaced in a favourite garment, so a business in repairs and alterations can be profitable, if your local dry cleaners do not offer this service they might be prepared to send customers to you.

Making soft furnishings to order is a good money earner. The people who can't even sew on a button far outnumber the people who are good at sewing and enjoy it. The people in the former group will be eager customers for someone who can make cushions and covers and curtains in exactly the right colours and styles. The ability to design, make and hang fashionable window dressing is practically a licence to print money - at least it will seem that way if you ever receive a bill for this service!

One of the nicest ways to earn money from sewing is by making soft toys. Somehow cuddly creatures have always managed to stay in fashion and there is a market for everything from stuffed rats to dinosaurs to floppy rag dolls. It must be very satisfying to earn money at home from making items that will be cherished by a child, from infancy into the teenage years.


Starting a home based sewing business requires little in the way of financial investment. If you intend to do dressmaking, you will need a robust sewing machine and an overlocking machine. Don't let anyone try to convince you a pressing machine is essential, it won't do anything you can't do with an iron and a damp cloth. These tools of your trade should last for many years and will earn what they cost you many times over. If you have a room that can be dedicated to sewing, that is great but in reality, you can run a sewing business from your kitchen table. If you want to build up a stock, for example of toys for a Christmas fete, you will need some storage space but the stock is not perishable so any dry clean garage or shed space would be fine.

Apart from the obvious tools and accessories, your expenses will be for materials and advertising. Always take a deposit to cover the cost of materials before beginning work on anything made to order so you won't risk being left out of pocket. Advertising is essential to any business that is just starting up. You can circulate fliers, buy advertising space in local newspapers, put up a website and all sorts of other things which are fairly low cost. A good way of becoming known is by advertising in targeted magazines, eg if you are making toys, place your ads in mother and baby magazines and advertise a local play groups. If you are making wedding dresses, advertise in bride oriented publications and try to do some sort of joint venture or reciprocal recommending with the local florist or wedding planner. Once you have a few satisfied customers you will benefit from repeat orders and your reputation will become known via the all important word of mouth. When this starts to happen you are well on the way to having your home business all sewn up.

Elaine Currie has a Work At Home Directory Full of Ideas, Programme Reviews, Articles, Tips and Free Resources for everyone who wants to work at home.

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