There is no joy more than being able to work at something you love for a living.
Recently saw an advertisement with the same theme, in which people are being dragged to their work whereas the man who works at a job he loves – well, he is happy.
In addition to the happiness, sewing businesses can be lucrative too. Here is a list of some sewing businesses you can easily start.
The advantage of most of them is that they can be started with minimal investment ( in terms of money, not time)
- 1 Open a Sewing /Tailoring shop
- 2 Become a Sewing Instructor
- 3 Start a Sewing Machine retail shop
- 4 Open a Fabric shop or Boutique
- 5 Become a Fashion designer
- 6 Start a fashion Blog
- 7 Record & sell Online video courses
- 8 Start an Upholstery business
- 9 Make and sell kitchen and home accessories
- 10 Make and sell bed sheets & quilts
- 11 Make and sell soft toys
- 12 Make and sell felt ornaments
- 13 Open a Bridal Designer shop
- 14 Make and sell Fabric shopping Bags & gift bags
- 15 Start an Alteration business
- 16 Start a Tshirt supply business
- 17 Start a screen printing business
- 18 Make and sell dolls and doll dresses
- 19 Make and sell personal accessories
- 20 Make and sell cross stitch kits
- 21 Make and sell Lingerie
- 22 Make and sell Pet clothes and accessories
- 23 Make and sell costumes
- 24 Start a costume rental business
- 25 Custom embroidery & Monogram business
- 26 Start a shop selling sewing accessories
- 27 Make and sell maternity clothes
- 28 Make and sell Baby clothes and accessories
- 29 Open a shop selling tailored suits for men
- 30 Open an online store selling sewn things
- 31 Make and sell Patterns for making clothes and accessories
- 32 Write a Sewing book
- 33 Make and sell sewn leather products
- 34 Make and sell outdoor gear
- 35 Start a curtain stitching business
- 36 Sewing business for stitching Uniforms
- 37 Textile designer
- 38 Make and sell knitted and crocheted items
- 39 Making and selling nightdresses
- 40 Become a Textile Artist
- 41 Start a sewing machine repair business
- 42 Start a Digital printing business
- 43 Start a Dry Cleaning center
- 44 Start a Fabric Dyeing Business
- 45 Start a wedding Hanky business
1 Open a Sewing /Tailoring shop
This is obviously what comes to mind of anyone who wants to start a sewing business. You can start a tailoring shop for sewing custom clothes for men and women.
A tailoring shop can be started from a small spare room in your house or you can get a shop space in a premium location; you can do all the sewing yourself or hire capable employees. You can also specialize like a shop sewing only kids’ clothes.
Whatever it be a sewing shop is a highly profitable business. A friend of mine started in a spare room in her house, now she has converted the whole house into the shop and hired about 5 employees and she has moved to a new bigger house – the sewing shop now supports the whole family.
Following Quality sewing practices and a business plan is a must. Check out this checklist post on some 10 points to follow when starting a tailoring shop business
2 Become a Sewing Instructor
Sewing is a great hobby and many people want to learn sewing from a one on one instruction at a quality school. You can start a sewing school or go to individual homes and teach. Changing a small room in your house with some second hand but good quality sewing machines is a good start.
I went to a sewing school with a lady who operated with some really bad machines. Put me off sewing for sometime. Looking at the school I never imagined that the school has sewing machine from the pre historical times; Learned my lesson that appearances are deceiving ( or did I?)
Checkout this post on the 9 pointers to follow when starting a sewing class for more details.
3 Start a Sewing Machine retail shop
I know people who make a killing with their own shop selling different brands of sewing machines. They have a small repair shop adjacent to the shop and also takes back old sewing machines in exchange of newer models. They also have started selling sewing accessories and peripherals. Good business if you know what to do.
4 Open a Fabric shop or Boutique
Boutiques are good business. You can sell sewn garments or the fabric alone. If you are creative enough you can make matching sets and sell. You can also begin as a consignment store with sewn garments from other people being sold in your store for a commission.If they like what you sell people will come again and again.
You will have to get fabric and dresses at whole sale prices and know the nitty gritty of setting up a retail store to operate it successfully. Another option is to sell through fairs and exhibitions. Apartment complexes will allow you to conduct sales of your pieces and they usually sell like hot cake, if they are good enough and priced reasonable. If they like what you sell people will buy.
Sell patterns along with the fabric – Don’t you know sewing is addictive?; You will get a set of recurring customers who will shop again and again
Checkout this detailed post on opening a boutique – a 15 step business plan.
5 Become a Fashion designer
People crave to be distinct. And they love fashionable clothes. If you can give them great designs they will be your loyal customers for life. You may need a fashion degree for people to take you seriously or real serious sense of fashion. Once you are known you will not be sitting idle at home – you will be out there designing beautiful dresses for individuals or for big fashion houses.
Checkout the best colleges to get a fashion degree here.
6 Start a fashion Blog
If you have a distinct style you can start a fashion blog and inspire people to achieve your fashion distinction. Many avenues of earnings open up once you have a successful fashion blog. Fashion houses will be coming after you with sponsored posts and you will get automatic invites to fashion events and a successful blog will get you in touch with the influencers in fashion and lead you to many other business opportunities
7 Record & sell Online video courses
Seeing is learning. People will pay for your video courses if you know how to teach well. You will have to register with online platforms like Udemy and record high quality videos with step by step instructions.An initial investment in video recording equipment and instruments may be necessary.
8 Start an Upholstery business
An upholstery business involves furniture upholstering and reupholstering. You can start this business from home or operate it as a side business. On weekends you can go to individual houses and take measurements and do it in your spare time with just a phone for taking orders and your sewing machine. You may have to learn the specific techniques with an apprenticeship at a professional upholstery business.
9 Make and sell kitchen and home accessories
Kitchen and home accessories like aprons, hot oven pads, table linens, embroidered napkins are all in great demand. They are easy to sew as well and even a beginner sewist can start this business. Selling them on fairs and exhibitions where housewives flock is a good idea or you can stock the items in consignment home decor stores for selling.
10 Make and sell bed sheets & quilts
Quilting is a great hobby but after sometime you run out of beds and relatives to gift it to. Selling them to others who will relish them and keep alive this beautiful hobby makes great sense. You can also make bedspreads, and bed sheets with applique or embroidered designs which are all in great demand.
A neatly done quilt sells for thousands . It takes many hours of labour but with practice or if you can get help they can be made fast and you will have a business you will enjoy.
11 Make and sell soft toys
Softies are always in demand as long as there are kids who love them. If you have some patterns you can easily make them with things readily available at craft stores. If you find a way to streamline the production and cut costs they can be sold to consignment stores ( kids toy stores and novelty gift stores) you can also make them as per custom orders.
One person alone can make hundreds of toys in a short time . You will need a clean and secure place to store them. You will also need to follow the safety standards for kids toys when you make them
12 Make and sell felt ornaments
Felt is a stiff fabric with which you can make a number of attractive things like christmas ornaments, kids dolls, hair accessories etc.
13 Open a Bridal Designer shop
This type of shops will only sew and sell things related to weddings. Wedding dresses, veils, accessories are designed according to individual orders and custom made. You will have to stock fabric ( checkout the wedding dress material list here) and other related accessories. There are shops dealing with second hand wedding gowns and even renting them ( not for the bride, I suppose).
You can also operate from home. A lady I know embroiders with sequins and beads and she only takes bridal work and works out of her home. She has two helpers to finish the work when needed and pays them hourly
14 Make and sell Fabric shopping Bags & gift bags
Considering the interest for an eco-friendly environment in even the remote corners of the world fabric bags can mint money. You can take advantage of the recent shift of people looking for an alternative for the toxic plastic bags. Shopping bags, gift bags, which were made with plastic and paper can be now made in fabric and people are buying them, even at a greater price point.
Small gift bags which can be filled with gifts can be supplied to corporate houses; Laundry bags and cloth storage bags and laundry wash bags are all in demand. You will have to get wholesale price for the fabric for it to be worthwhile.Check out this post How to make & sell bags – 10 common concerns answered for more details.
15 Start an Alteration business
This is an offshoot of the tailoring business. You can concentrate only on alterations and as long as people buy store bought clothes there will be a demand for alterations. This is great if you have to stay at home and would like to earn some extra money. Most people would be so grateful that you mmake their clothes wearable that they will pay you premium for your work. Neat workmanship is necessary for a good reputation.
Related post : 15 typical clothing alterations and how to do them.
16 Start a Tshirt supply business
There are people making millions with some tshirts and heat transfer sheets or screen printing. You can make and sell t-shirts to these startups or procure high-quality t-shirts from elsewhere and do the printing yourself and sell.
The equipment and supplies needed for a tshirt printing business are very easy to procure which makes it a business favourite of many. If you have a designing flair you can create beautiful designs which are enticing to people and make a living for yourself – all from your own home
17 Start a screen printing business
Screen printing on fabric is a great business to start if you know the work. I know a lady who is very successful in this business. She contacts corporate offices and does screen printing on uniforms and bags.
Hundreds of clothes can be screen printed in a matter of hours if you have the correct equipment and some dedicated space. With Silk screen printing you can do custom jobs and this is an advantage over big screen printing companies. People would approach you with order to screen print logos and other designs on Jackets, Aprons,Caps, upholstery, Umbrellas and name tags( to name a few)
Related post : “What is Screen Printing – an overview”.
18 Make and sell dolls and doll dresses
This is not a million dollar idea but as a niche business this can work. So long as girls play with dolls there will be parents who want to gift them dolls with interchangeable clothes. The selling of doll clothes can be lucrative in holiday periods as gifts and selling them in fairs is a good idea.
19 Make and sell personal accessories
Personal accessories like Bags, purses, hair accessories can be made with your own home sewing machine in your spare time and they can be sold to shops or you can take special custom orders for these through facebook pages and such.
You will need to take some good quality photos of your workmanship to convince people to buy from you if you are selling them on your own. Finding boutiques which will stock your sewn products can sell your products faster
20 Make and sell cross stitch kits
A cross stitch kit usually includes cotton Aida cloth, embroidery floss, needle, and complete easy to follow graph and instructions for making small as well complicated counted cross stitch designs. These can be made and sold to gift shops and sewing accessory shops or online stores selling needlework designs and products
21 Make and sell Lingerie
Lingerie is big business. It is an unavoidable purchase for women and most crave for the best. You have two options when starting a lingerie sewing business. Make the lingerie yourself or sell established brands. You can start your own lingerie shop in a popular mall or start from a room in your own house or start selling from a page in facebook.
22 Make and sell Pet clothes and accessories
People take their pets very seriously and spend a great deal on pet care products and this industry is growing every year. You can cater to this growing pet market by making and selling Pet coats, pet bandanas, pet toys, pet beds, pet collars and belts.
23 Make and sell costumes
Do you know that a google search for costumes for Halloween brings about 15 million results. There is a great demand for costumes and there are many who would like customised costumes in their designs but donot know to sew. You can sew the costumes for them.
Take orders and charge reasonably and you can do this in your spare time. The business is seasonal though.
24 Start a costume rental business
Costume rental business is an offshoot of the earlier idea. This refers to shops which stock readymade costumes in different popular styles and rents them out to people for a short period for a small amount of cash( when compared to what it will cost them if they made it)
This can be a very easy business to operate if you get a reputation for good quality and good customer care and establish contacts with nearby schools, event organizers and clubs
25 Custom embroidery & Monogram business
If you have an embroidery sewing machine you can easily start an embroidery business at home or at a large scale in a shop. You can get custom orders from individuals or corporates. Embroidering monograms on uniforms bed sheets towels etc are in much demand.
Learn more abut starting an embroidery business in this post – How to start an embroidery business.
26 Start a shop selling sewing accessories
Sorrounding yourself with sewing accessories and notions and trims and getting consumers who share your passion is pure bliss for some and good business too. You need a well stocked store to be successful. Good customer care is also a necessity.
27 Make and sell maternity clothes
It is difficult for a mother-to-be to get fitting and good looking clothes. So Designing, making and selling suitable well fitting maternity clothes can be a good business idea. This niche can be marketed easily by frequenting where they hang out at – forums for mothers-to-be. The stores near and in hospitals always stock maternity clothes and you can have a contract with them for regular supply
28 Make and sell Baby clothes and accessories
There are millions of babies born every year all over the world and their relatives are always wanting to buy things for them. Babies also grow out of their clothes pretty fast.So making small diapers baby gowns, and other baby accessories like blankets and swaddlers are big business
29 Open a shop selling tailored suits for men
The tailored suits can be made at the shop as per custom orders to the exact measurement of the client. These tailor shops are called bespoke tailors. You will also need to stock some suit materials at the shop.
30 Open an online store selling sewn things
This is related to many of the ideas given in this post but opening a store and maintaining it is a job in itself, as much as opening an offline store. Good customer care policies and dealing with shipping and packaging are some things you will have to take care of when owning an online store
31 Make and sell Patterns for making clothes and accessories
No need for an introduction to this. The internet is full of creative and talented people selling patterns so that we can easily make the things at home.
32 Write a Sewing book
If you are a sewing expert you can supplement your income by writing a sewing related book – it can be about sewing techniques or some novel sewing projects with clear instructions and good photos.
Big publishing houses may want to collaborate with you in the production or you may have to self publish it yourself. Nowadays with kindle and other platforms, making and selling self published books are easier than ever.
33 Make and sell sewn leather products
Leather is an all time favourite material that spells quality and the workmanship should be of superior quality if this business should be a success.
Phone covers made in leather is an evergreen market which doesnot seem to be waning in a long time what with more and more costly phones coming to the market.Bags , small craft items, purses, belts, slippers, watch straps, patches – so many things that you can make with leather and sell.
You may need to follow the regulations of your country in setting up a small leather business.
34 Make and sell outdoor gear
Hiking and outdoor sports are ever popular and people need special sturdy gear for them . If you can supply quality gear this is a niche business which can make you very rich.
35 Start a curtain stitching business
Getting a good reputation as a professional curtain maker is a prerequisite to success with this business. Once you have a good name, orders will come from designers, contractors, homeowners . You may have to go to the houses to measure the dimensions of the windows. Stitching roman blinds is an easy skill to have for a curtain maker. Roman blinds are easy to make and can bring you good money.
36 Sewing business for stitching Uniforms
A manufacturing unit for uniforms for corporates and schools is a great business idea. People need new uniforms every year and renewed (recurring) orders are the norm. Getting contracts from schools and corporate house is the deal maker in this business. You will need contacts or good networking skills to get bulk orders like this.
37 Textile designer
As a textile designer you design the patterns on textiles. Textile designers (also called surface pattern designers) are designers who create artwork which is printed onto fabric . You do not need an Arts degree to be a textile artist, but it does help. You need to have basic Photoshop and Illustrator knowledge and some design sensibilities.
You will have to develop your own textile design collections based on sketches you have made and present swatches of fabrics you have designed to companies and manufacturing units. Making a living selling your designs is a little difficult as a beginner but if you succeed in creating an initial buzz for your designs, there will be no looking back
38 Make and sell knitted and crocheted items
Wearable items made by crocheting and knitting are always in great demand especially in areas where the climate calls for such clothes. Even in hotter climate babies are always clad in warm knitted clothes to keep them warm.
In selling knitted and crocheted items the most important factor is pricing the products. You may have to balance between the time you spend on making these things and the price you charge for them. There will always be things available at a cheaper price than yours ; getting a good price is important for it to be a viable business. Let it be an inspiration to you that they are many women who make a comfortable living crocheting and knitting
39 Making and selling nightdresses
Nightdresses are easy to sew and easy to sell. Small boutiques selling lingerie will buy from you if you give them good quality stuff.
40 Become a Textile Artist
Textile Art involves use of plant, animal, or synthetic fibers to construct practical or decorative objects ( wikipedia). A textile Artist is a painter who paints with fabric as her canvas and uses many medium to create beautiful artworks.
Fabric paints, stitching, beads even mosaic are used to make interesting designs on fabric . You can make unique home and fashion accessories as a textile artist an there are many who have made a name for themselves
41 Start a sewing machine repair business
If there is a sewing machine it is bound to get problems at some point ( or many) in its life and a repair shop is what you need to contact with a repair expert who knows his/her job.
If you have a repair shop you may need to go to houses to repair or service. You can easily start this business at your home.If you are good your phone may not stop ringing
42 Start a Digital printing business
In terms of equipment and investments, this business costs you much more than a screen printing business but the revenue will also be higher if you can make it a success.
43 Start a Dry Cleaning center
Cleaning is big Business. Drycleaning is big and very lucrative. You may wish to take a franchisee dealership to get the reputation training and marketing channels of a reputed brand. Check out the post “What is Dry Cleaning?”
44 Start a Fabric Dyeing Business
Tie & Dye is the first thing that comes to mind. Regular fabric dyeing may also be a big thing in your area. If you enjoy playing with colors maybe this is the business for you
45 Start a wedding Hanky business
This may sound odd but there are people making good money from this business. Check out this site – this type of business selling high quality embroidered handkerchiefs was made a success by a newbie. Just goes on to show that if you are business savvy even small things can make money. You just have to find the right product and be willing to put in the work
The business blogs and magazines may try to convince you that you are meant for business and that you are wasting your life if you have not started a company by the age of 40, 30, 20 even 10.
But this is far from the truth. There are personalities more suited for entrepreneurship than others. If you are convinced that you are meant for entrepreneurship and it’s ups and downs ( inevitable) you can think about starting a sewing business. If not, continue sewing as a hobby and wear great clothes for the joy of it and do other work.
Checkout this post on some rules you should follow when running a home based business.13 rules you should not ignore when running a home based business
- Free dressmaking patterns (DIY)
- Sewing Guide with tips and techniques
- Sewing Machine Guide
- Fabric embellishing