Have you become obsessed with sewing lately and want to know how to make money sewing, even if you’re still just learning the craft? Or have you been sewing for years and finally want to make a career out of this passion?
Perhaps you’ve lost your job or want to start a sewing side hustle to bring in some extra cash. Well, you’ve come to the right place to learn all the different ways you can make money with your sewing skills!
I’m Madeleine from The Sewists Lab, and I am going to share what I’ve learned in over 30+ years of my and my family’s sewing obsession about how to make money sewing.
I’ll cover 23 sewing careers and over 40 sewing projects if you just want to focus on sewing, sewing and more sewing, along with information about what you can earn – cha-ching!
I’ll also share 12 tips on how to start a sewing business and throw in lots of sewing business success stories to show you that you REALLY CAN make money sewing.
Here’s a summary of 23 ways on how to make money with sewing.
Stay tuned to the end of the post to learn the 40+ sewing projects I recommend for making money!
- Pattern Designer
- Sewing Sample Maker / Pattern Tester
- Pattern Maker / Technical Designer
- Course Creator
- Home Decor
- Own Or Work In A Bricks and Mortar Fabric Store
- Own Or Work In An Online Fabric Store
- Quilts And Quilting
- Repair Clothes
- Teach Sewing
- Repair Sewing Machines
- Sell Online
- Sell Offline
- Sewing Kits
- Sewing Copywriter
- Sewing Book Writer
Affiliate Link Disclosure: The links on this page may be affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission if you click on them, at no extra cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful. Thanks!
Are you ready to get out of your 9-5 like I was, and set up your sewing business? Then do this Udemy course on how to start a craft business step by step. It will teach you all you need to know to get going with your sewing business quickly.
Yes, sure you could do it by yourself, but the most important thing I’ve learnt on my journey to financial freedom, is that taking a course from someone who’s already successful in an area, is the best way to speed up your path to success.
How To Make Money Sewing
Being a pattern designer has never been more lucrative, have you seen the indy home sewing scene lately?
There are so many successful pattern designers who have cult followings.
Here are several successful examples:
- Helen from Helen’s Closet (one of my favorite pattern makers, I have most of her patterns)
- Mimi G
- Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons (one of the originals and who I first bought patterns from)
- Heather from Closet Core
2.Sewing Sample Maker / Pattern Tester
Sewing sample makers can make a full-time living sewing up a company’s creations! Some other companies will pay you to test their patterns (usually for a set fee per project) and also provide the pattern, fabric and notions to you too.
Here are full-time sewing sample makers and opportunities to inspire you:
- Bomme Studio offers sewing sample services
- Lisa Obuchowska is a sample maker for theater productions and sewing businesses like the well-known Sew Over It and Tilly and the Buttons
- For more roles in sample making, look on job sites, such as Indeed, where you can currently find roles offering between $60,000 and $70,000. The salaries for this role, according to SimplyHired, range between $29,000 and $119, 038!
If you don’t want to work full-time in the sewing industry, but still fancy learning how to make money with a sewing machine at home, then pattern testing may be for you.
Here are some examples of paid pattern testing gigs (including one application form!):
- Helen’s Closet hires Quality Assurance team members to test patterns
- Coset Core also pays pattern testers a stipend as and when needed, follow their blog or sign up to their newsletter to find out more.
3.Pattern Maker / Technical Designer
Pattern makers & technical designers are the unsung heroes of the fashion industry in my eyes.
Be warned, these sewing jobs aren’t for the faint of heart!
You need to understand and be able to use math and measurements well, have an eye for design and fashion and you probably also need a degree or even an advanced degree in the subject.
Having said that, if you love to be creative, logical and use math, then this could be the role for you.
Here are 3 very inspiring, very smart ladies who have worked for giants in the fashion industry:
- Shilo Byrd has worked for many household names in the fashion industry to create some incredible designs. She shares some of her work on Instagram along with insider knowledge on fashion week designs when she has time
- Grace is a technical designer in New York. She makes sure your tops aren’t too tight around your arms and that your skirts and dresses are the same length front and back and don’t ride up
- Jennifer Evens created Teg nearly 20 years ago. They started out as pattern makers, which they still do, along with expanding into fabric sourcing and anything else to help launch fashion lines.
Do you have a special sewing skill to share? Like couture sewing, or can you explain to someone how to create their own patterns based on their body type?
Then you could create a course on your special skill and sell it! Here are some course creators that are killing it in the sewing space:
If you don’t fancy setting up your online platform from scratch then you can also create courses for online platforms such as:
Have you wondered how to make money sewing clothes?
If so, and you love to work closely with one on one clients and are good at creating made-to-measure garments, then what are you waiting for?
You could make prom dresses, wedding dresses, tailored suits, the list goes on. Here is a dressmaker extraordinaire:
- Brooks Ann Camper creates couture bridal gowns from home. If you want to hear a deep dive on how she started and runs her business, listen to her interview on the Love To Sew podcast.
Lately, it seems like everyone is either listening to a podcast or wanting to be a podcaster.
If you love sharing your sewing knowledge and talking to others in the sewing community, why not join this thriving and welcoming community and share your voice?
Here are some of my favorite sewing podcasts, making money through sponsorships and advertising:
- Love to Sew – my absolute, all-time favorite sewing podcast
- Stitch Please – a podcast that centers Black women, girls and femmes in sewing
- Sewing with Threads – from Threads magazine
- Mimi G’s Business S.H.E.T podcast
- Modern Sewciety – Stephanie speaks to sewists and crafters from different industries about sewing, craft AND blogging – what better combo could there be!
Love them or hate them, influencers make money and get all the cool gear.
If you already have a following of sewists on Instagram, even if you’re a micro-influencer, you could be exploring sponsorship opportunities in the sewing world.
Here are some sewing influencers who make money and get amazing free stuff for their sewing obsession (and we all know how expensive this hobby can be!):
- Jasika Nicole works with The Fabric Store and showcases their amazing fabrics
- Rachal, the Minimalist Machinist is a Juki sewing machine ambassador.
Sewn home decor products can be some of the easiest to sew products AND the most lucrative. Have you seen the prices of cushions or duvet covers lately??
These projects are great for confident beginners as you really only need to be able to cut and sew a straight line of stitches (don’t forget to back stitch though ;)).
Check out Conner and Scott, who sell cushions made from vintage materials for $250 a pop.
Can you imagine the profit? You can source vintage fabric for next to nothing at thrift stores and online.
Read to the end of the post to find out how to earn money from stitching away by hand or on your machine.
9.Own Or Work In A Bricks and Mortar Fabric Store
Even most small towns have a local fabric store, and if they don’t, then this is an opportunity for you with the explosion (obsession) in home sewing.
Globe News Wire reports that “the Global Sewing Machine Market size is expected to reach $5.9 billion by 2028, rising at a market growth of 5.7% CAGR during the forecast period”.
As well as making money with sewing machines and fabric, you can sell notions, patterns, classes and workshops.
Here are some beautiful fabric stores to inspire you:
- Guthrie & Ghani – started 10 years ago by Lauren and her husband
- Higgs & Higgs – started by mother and son duo Brenda and Joe in 2005.
10.Own Or Work In An Online Fabric Store
If you work in a remote location or just prefer to work online, then you can still sell your wares to customers all over the world, like these inspiring online fabric shop owners:
- Sew Me Sunshine – Harriet started her fabric shop from her spare bedroom in 2017!
- Blackbird Fabric – Caroline started her fabric shop from her tiny apartment with 12 fabrics! She now has over 20 employees and a 10,000-square-foot East Vancouver warehouse!
11.How To Make Money Quilting
Do you love to create quilts, then read on to find out how to make money sewing quilts.
My Grandmother and Aunty were both avid quilters and their services and skills were always in demand.
My Aunt eventually went from a home-based sewing business to opening her own successful quilting store and was able to make good money quilting!
As well as selling quilts and accessories and teaching people how to quilt, did you know you could also be a quilt artist?
Here are some to get inspired by:
- Jean Judd’s decades-long career as a quilter is very inspiring to read
- Pamela Sudstill is a pioneer in the modern quilting world
- If creating quilts isn’t your thing, then you could become a quilt seller/curator like Robert Shaw or a quilt pattern designer like Robin Pickens
- Bhiravi Rathinasabapathi is both a designer and quilt maker and owner of Strawberry Creek Quilts
- Helen from Helen’s Closet has also recently started a quilting business called Cedar Quilt Co.
Embroidery has had a resurgence in the last few years, especially with millennials and gen zs who love the feminist slogans and images being created to reflect their values.
Could this be one of the best sewing business ideas ever?
If you love to embroider, then why not try making some money with your passion?
Here are some embroiderers who are killing it:
- Kerri, aka Botanical Bunny has over 100,000 followers on Instagram and a very successful Etsy shop, selling embroidered tops, hats, bags and even ornaments
- Angela Jasmina runs a million-dollar embroidery business from home
- Remember it’s not just embroidery by hand that makes money. You could also start a machine embroidery business like the Embroidery Library
Alterations can be as simple as lifting a hem a few centimeters or as complicated as altering a couture gown.
Get your foot in the door and you can make a killing, Like Lauren Taylor.
She’s sewn for the Grammys! Check out her social media to see how her latest client won an award there! Can you believe she’s even done fittings and alterations for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss?
If you love a wedding, check out the beautiful bridal alterations Emily does.
Since “home ec” classes are no longer in fashion, have you noticed that most people can’t sew on a button or hem their own trousers, let alone fix a hole?
As a seasoned sewist, this is where you come in. If you know what you’re doing, you can make good money very quickly.
I sewed a button on a friend’s pair of shorts the other day and it took me about 3 minutes – I have never seen anyone so grateful for having their favorite item of clothing saved from the bin, which is where they would have gone, without my help.
Did you know there is a huge market for sewing and selling lingerie? I found out a few years ago through Instagram and became obsessed with the beautiful creations I saw.
Here are some sewists selling beautiful handmade lingerie:
- Check out Emma’s Instagram for inspiration
- Ellie started small, selling her wares on a marketplace and was soon inundated with orders
- Sasha’s focus is on sustainable handmade lingerie that’s also beautiful
- Elma started her business as she couldn’t find underwear to fit her petite frame, she now has 10s of thousands of followers on Instagram and has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Espana.
As mentioned, home ec classes are dead (sad face), this is where you come in as a sewing teacher!
Although I did learn sewing in home economics when I was a child, I had forgotten a lot and had a lot to learn as an adult. I’ve been to community college sewing classes, private lessons and small group classes too.
As a teacher, don’t just think you have to teach boring beginner stuff. You can teach your passions.
One of the best classes I’ve taken was about using sewing to upcycle old/discarded sewn products that no one will use again.
Upcycling is a play on the world recycling, but rather than just reuse things, we took sewn products, like old pillowcases and men’s ties and turned them into something new and useful, like reusable shopping bags.
The teacher, Sarah, who gave the upcycling class, is still going strong giving online and in-person classes.
Here are some photos of my niece and my now friends who I met in sewing class with my sewing teacher, Laura:
17.Repair Sewing Machines
If you know how to change the thread in a serger (please teach me your ways! ;), then you can probably fix a sewing machine!
If you don’t already know how to fix a machine, there are some really great courses online to learn how.
I haven’t tried this online sewing machine repair course, but it comes with some really good reviews. The courses are a bit pricy, but they have a free ebook to try if you want to get a taste of their teaching style.
Not only will you make money off this skill, but you’ll also save yourself a bomb by not taking your machine to be repaired.
I don’t even want to think about how much my machine cost to fix the last time I took it in to be repaired. I honestly think that this is one of the best ways to make money sewing.
If you already have a following on Instagram, then you can start selling your products and skills there. Or set up your own website and send your audience there.
Like Sarah, who sells toweling ponchos for $130 a pop.
Think of the profit she’s making… She probably bought those towels for next to nothing from a thrift shop.
She’s also saving them from the landfill! It’s a win-win-win, for her, her clients and the environment.
If you don’t have an established audience, there’s no need to worry! Here are several options for selling your sewing online:
- Etsy – sell actual sewn products and digital products on Etsy.
- Payhip – Store and sell your digital patterns from here.
Watch this excellent video on getting started with selling your sewing online from Tamara who’s been selling online since 2000!
If you prefer to meet people face to face then selling offline is a great way to go. You can sell at fairs, festivals, shops or from home.
Here are some examples:
- Sarah sells her wares at festivals such as Splore and Womad. She’s been making money from sewing for almost 10 years at least
- Sewing and Quilting Expo – All sorts of sewers and quilters sell their wares at this huge event.
To have a sewing membership, you will already have to have an audience or a unique sewing skill that people are willing to pay for every month.
There are several people doing this successfully, such as:
- Heather from Closet Core who has the Crew Community
- Mimi G and husband Dante who have the Sew It Academy.
Forbes even has a whole article about how online sewing communities, like Sewitonline “are rising in popularity among young people” as well as “reducing work stress for Millennials”.
Even if you have a small audience you could start off slowly and low risk by joining a platform like Patreon.
Some sewists doing well on this platform are:
- Rachel of the minimalist machinist (I am a patron of hers and love what she shares there)
- Gertie – she has over 6000 patrons!
- Bernadette Banner – with around 1,500 patrons, paying a minimum of $1 and up to $10 per month – that’s a minimum income of over $1,500 per month!
Sewing kits can be sold on their own or as an addition to other parts of a sewing business, for example, digital patterns.
Here are some Sewing Entrepreneurs doing just that:
- Sophie Hines started sewing as a child and went on to study textile design at university, she now sells her lingerie sewing kits and patterns online as well as teaching workshops all over the USA.
- Yelena from Sew Projects sells bralettes and knickers as well as period underwear kits on her website
- Madalynne Kulig sells lingerie sewing kits.
There are lots of different options here. You could work for yourself or someone else writing about sewing:
- Maadamsew, an online sewing store, is looking for a copywriter who specializes in sewing and quilting
- Taylor Stitch is a menswear company looking for a copywriter
23.Sewing Book Writer
Here is a range of sewing book authors to inspire you. If you’re like me, you may even have one of these beauties in your sewing room:
- Tillly has written 3 books: Make It Simple, Stretch and Love At First Stitch (I own 2 of these and love them)
- Linda Lee who creates very popular fitting books and workbooks
- Jen Rich authored Stitch, covering how to sew by hand and using a sewing machine
- Birgitta Helmersson has recently written Zero Waste Patterns: 20 Projects to Sew Your Own Wardrobe
- Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh shows that you can write about what you know well and are passionate about.
If you just prefer to sew, sew, sew, then I’ve got you covered, with this list of 40+ sewing projects you can make and sell from the comfort of your couch:
40+ Easy Things To Sew And Sell At Home
Are you wondering how to make money with a sewing project or how to make money sewing at home without having to know how to set up a sewing business?
Personally, I would start with felt sewing projects, as it’s an easy material to work with if you’re a beginner and the projects come together fast.
Here’s a list of 75+ felt sewing projects for you to get your teeth into. If you prefer to try your hand at something else, then read on to find out more ideas:
- Baby bibs
- Baby blankets
- Baby nests
- Baby playmat
- Dog toys
- Dog clothes
- Dog/cat beds
- Hand Sewn Dolls
- Dolls’ clothes
- Stuffed toys
- Heat/cold packs
- Sleeping bags
- Bowl covers
- Lunch bags
- Baby shoes
- Earbud cases
- Reusable snack bags
- Oven mitts
- Pot holders
- Bowl holders
- Casserole carriers
- Hair bows
- Cloth Diapers
- Laptop/tablet cases
- Phone cases
- Cat/Dog cushions
- Baby cradle bumper pads and blankets
- Accessory and storage holders
How To Make Money Sewing FAQ
How Can I Make Money With Sewing?
7 Ways to Make Money With Your Sewing Skills:
- Sell your sewn items
- Sell your sewing services
- Teach a specialized sewing skills workshop
- Teach sewing one-on-one
- Create and sell your sewing patterns
- Repair sewing machines
- Alter and repair clothes.
How Much Can You Make By Sewing?
Based on experience level, Zippia says:
- Entry level: avg. salary of $34,000 p/y or an hourly rate of $16.41
- Mid level: avg. salary of $35,100 p/y or an hourly rate of $16.87
- Senior level: avg. salary of $39,700 p/y or an hourly rate of $19.10.
25 Best Selling Sewn Items on Etsy
Here are the top 25 sewn items based on customer reviews.
- Custom printed fabric iron-on labels
- Paramedic microwave bowl cozy
- Cooking and baking microwave bowl cozy gift
- Padded book sleeve
- Inhand sewn pot holders
- Custom satin labels
- Handmade makeup bag
- Handsewn leather wallets
- Quilt care instructions label
- Muslim prayer rugs
- Handsewn onesie
- Hand embroidered puffin keyring
- Organic cotton name labels
- Handsewn frog plushie
- Printable sewing tabs
- Fabric coasters
- Fabric sewing labels
- Handsewn t-shirt
- Felt kawaii keychain
- Little handswen bear
- Felt custom pet dog portrait
- Mug rug
- Vanity bags
- Penguin rice bag PDF pattern
How To Start A Sewing Business At Home
Start a sewing business from home, using these simple tips:
- Assess your skill level
- Assess your financial needs and make sure you’re sewing for profit
- Assess your equipment & make appropriate purchases
- Assess tax and small business laws in your area
- Create a short-term and long-term business plan
- Set up or optimize your sewing space
- Find a mentor
- Set up a pricing structure
- Create a portfolio
- Choose how and where you’ll sell (online or offline?)
- Start marketing and selling!
- Don’t spend too much time thinking up sewing business names, spend a couple of hours on this max
Pros To Getting Paid To Sew At Home
- Start a small home based sewing business and grow it as your customers increase
- Flexible hours – work around your kids’ schedules
- You can work from anywhere you have access to your sewing tools
- Get paid to do something you love
- You could be sitting on a jackpot if you have unique skills or products to share
Phew, that was a long read about how to make money sewing at home and beyond!
I hope that these sewing ideas to make money have helped you see how you can make money sewing, whether you’ve been sewing for decades, just graduated from fashion school or are a home sewist who just wants to make a little extra moolah on the side.
Starting a sewing business doesn’t have to be impossible – all the different success stories throughout this article prove that beyond doubt, yes, you can make money with your sewing machine or sewing skills.
Start where you are, with the skills you have and grow your business or side hustle as your sewing and/or business skills grow.
This article only touched the surface of the roles you can do to make money sewing.
If you want even more inspiration, check out the over 100 interviews with home and career sewists on the Love To Sew podcast who know how to earn money sewing.
I’d love to hear from you if you found any of these careers or sewing project ideas helpful. Leave a comment below, or send me a DM or email me at the Sewists Lab.