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Thread: Making a living from sewing

  1. #1
    Senior Member thelondonzoo's Avatar
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    Does anyone here make a living (or just supplemental income) from sewing? If so, what do you make? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I don't, but my sister-in-law has for years. She does alterations, some for a dry cleaner, and some privately.

  3. #3
    Super Member I go To The Sea To Breathe's Avatar
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    I did alterations for awhile and made a couple of bridesmaids dre should have just given it all back to her and said no. but I learned my lesson I stayed up some nights until 4:30 am and then didn't get a cent from her..never again. I had made 6 brdesmaids and a flower girl dresses a few years ago and had to send muslim patterns all over the USA, but the dresses came out beautiful, because we had the right amt of fabrics. and the fabrics were velvet and satin and still came out beautiful. Wish I could make a living at sewing...sses. One didn't pay me, the alterations weren't too bad, but trying to get a really short fat bridesmaid into the pattern that was one someone had given the bride and purchased the fabric for and there was no way....I had to add insert side seams, it was terrible, I

  4. #4
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    My friend's older sister does alterations and custom sewing of wedding and prom dresses. She also is a part time school bus monitor (apparently that means make sure everybody behaves on the bus so the driver can pay attention to driving).

  5. #5
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I go To The Sea To Breathe
    I did alterations for awhile and made a couple of bridesmaids dre should have just given it all back to her and said no. but I learned my lesson I stayed up some nights until 4:30 am and then didn't get a cent from her..never again. I had made 6 brdesmaids and a flower girl dresses a few years ago and had to send muslim patterns all over the USA, but the dresses came out beautiful, because we had the right amt of fabrics. and the fabrics were velvet and satin and still came out beautiful. Wish I could make a living at sewing...sses. One didn't pay me, the alterations weren't too bad, but trying to get a really short fat bridesmaid into the pattern that was one someone had given the bride and purchased the fabric for and there was no way....I had to add insert side seams, it was terrible, I
    Fat seems to be a pretty harsh word. . . .

  6. #6
    Super Member bluteddi's Avatar
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    I only make wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses IF it is family and / or that is going to be their gift!!!

  7. #7
    Super Member slk350's Avatar
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    I do alterations, window treatments, make toss pillows, dust ruffle, even recovered huge patio chair cushions a few times. I've been doing it for 15+ years in Mass and FL. I've been a domestic goddess since my 1 st baby, so it gives me some spending $$$. I first started working for a small local cleaners in MA , then did it on my own and I also made dresses, petticoats, etc. for a lady who had a small business making American girl doll clothes and matching little girl clothes. I also made all the baptism robe/bibs for our church (for free). I have'nt gotten rich on any of it though, LOL

  8. #8
    Super Member charismah's Avatar
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    Well I long arm quilt as my full-time job now. I would say it is supplemental income. My DH supports our family ...I use this to buy the "extras".....I have 6 children...so I have no idea what a full-time or supplemental income would be... We all have different expenses??

  9. #9
    Senior Member crochetetc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slk350
    I do alterations, window treatments, make toss pillows, dust ruffle, even recovered huge patio chair cushions a few times. I've been doing it for 15+ years in Mass and FL. I've been a domestic goddess since my 1 st baby, so it gives me some spending $$$. I first started working for a small local cleaners in MA , then did it on my own and I also made dresses, petticoats, etc. for a lady who had a small business making American girl doll clothes and matching little girl clothes. I also made all the baptism robe/bibs for our church (for free). I have'nt gotten rich on any of it though, LOL
    Do you still sew American Girl Clothes?

  10. #10
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    I used to do about 30 days worth of craft shows a year. This was about 20 - 25 years ago (before hubby & kids), and while I still worked a full-time day job. I would guess that I was able to earn about half as much from the sewing as I did at my day job.

    Downside: I was REALLY TIRED. During the busy pre-Christmas season, I'd work all day, then sew till 2 am, drink a full cup of coffee, then lie down and immediately fall asleep. My alarm clock was set for 5 am and some of the caffeine was still in my system, so I could get 2 1/2 hours of sewing in before leaving for work.

    I don't think that craft shows are as good now as they were then. "Country clutter" was still in vogue, and there weren't as many Chinese imports as there are today. Meaning that I don't think I could be as profitable now as I was then.

    At the time, I made braided wreaths, little stuffed animals, Christmas ornaments, baby bonnets, table linens, and appliance covers. I still make the last two items, but now I sell them online instead of at craft shows.

  11. #11
    Cyn
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    Super Member Cyn's Avatar
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    I could never make a living sewing because the spirit hits me at such odd times :) I have no discipline ;)

  12. #12
    klc
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    Senior Member klc's Avatar
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    Nope, I couldn't sew, knit, crochet, etc. for money. Too much time and money goes into creating and not enough profit. Besides, I have too many family members to make for. And, if I did it for money it wouldn't be fun anymore.

  13. #13
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyn
    I could never make a living sewing because the spirit hits me at such odd times :) I have no discipline ;)
    DITTO!!! That quilting mojo sure is a flibberty-gibbet!

  14. #14
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    I haven't made a living from it, but I have used my sewing skills for bartering before. One time traded LR and DR curtains w/ an electrician in exchange for some wiring work. Another time made a king-sized quilt for a painter who did all of my first floor and the 4 bedrooms on the second floor. I have also made curtains for money. Quilts, too. But never enough to make a living out of it. i think it would take the fun out of it for me.

  15. #15
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    have for 30+ years-
    mending-
    alterations-
    clothing-
    totes/purses-
    home dec items-
    and of course
    quilts...
    sometimes i get so tired of replacing zippers- hemming pants---thank goodness i have quilting/creating as an escape.
    i actually do not (encourage) the mending/alterations work---charge what i consider a ridiculous price (that i would never pay) but gosh darn it- people are still willing to pay---and still bring me those pants with broken zippers-
    or clothes that need some alterations...oh well- i might not make a living at it- but it supports my (quilting addiction) :)

  16. #16
    Senior Member mmdquilts's Avatar
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    I do some and am hoping to make it full time soon.

  17. #17
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I used to sew tents
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    DH suggested this to me years ago but I told him "sewing is my pleasure I don't want it to be a job". My answer would be the same today. Not to say I haven't done sewing and been paid for it. I was commissioned to do a quilt several years ago and was paid $300.00. I was told to charge at least $500.00 but as it was a friend of DH I couldn't charge that much.
    At the moment I'm making 8 Bowtucks Bags that I will be paid for. I'm not making any money though by the time I count fabric, threads and my time.
    I get far more pleasure from the charity quilts etc. I make. Made 10 pair of shorts in a day last week that gave me pleasure to make as they were for Project & Care.

  19. #19
    Super Member jmabby's Avatar
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    The only way I would do it is to make quilts, have a good selection, then sell them. A friend of my mother's did that years ago, I have 3 of her quilts. She was 91 when she quit.

  20. #20
    Senior Member lindagor's Avatar
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    Before I became too stressed out to work I was making good money doing home dec sewing for an interior designer. I did window treatments, bed skirts, pillow shams, tablecloths, etc. I averaged between $15 - $20 an hour.

  21. #21
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    I do simple alterations such as hems, zippers, mend and take of some seams. I also do crafts, aprons, tote bags, crochet and some home decor. Nothing to complicated. Here are some pictures.

    Grandson and his afghan
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    Saints purse
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    Desk Set
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    Crochet Uncle Sam Teddy Bear with Blanket
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    Plastic Bag Holder
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    Memory Board
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    Tote bag
    Name:  Attachment-232717.jpe
Views: 164
Size:  38.8 KB

  22. #22
    Senior Member willis.debra's Avatar
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    Would you rather she had said morbidly obese. I am a BIG woman and I would rather be called fat. Just my opinion.

  23. #23
    Super Member grammyj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charismah
    Well I long arm quilt as my full-time job now. I would say it is supplemental income. My DH supports our family ...I use this to buy the "extras".....I have 6 children...so I have no idea what a full-time or supplemental income would be... We all have different expenses??
    You look to young to have 6 children!!!

  24. #24
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klc
    Nope, I couldn't sew, knit, crochet, etc. for money. Too much time and money goes into creating and not enough profit. Besides, I have too many family members to make for. And, if I did it for money it wouldn't be fun anymore.
    Same with me.

  25. #25
    Super Member marytoddliz's Avatar
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    I sew to help supplement my early retirement. I have made everything from doll clothes to wedding dresses to Nomex racing suits, but it is getting harder to make a profit. Craft shows are fun, but so much work and I think the thing that has hurt sewing for a living the most in my opinion is imports. Even making beautiful quilts for sale there are so many imports being sold for a minor amount of money the profit margin is really effecting the home crafter. Currently I am making quilts from tee shirts collected by my customers... Untill you get customers who can't pay after you have put in 100's of hours. Like many of the others have said the joy of sewing for friends and family keeps me stitching. I love the crocheted Teddy Bear, Sewfine, it is very cute.
    and... Fat is relative, when I talk of myself I say fat, when I talk of others I say fluffy... ;-)

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