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A Home Sewing Business - In Particular, a Dressmaking Business

by Mary Emma Allen on August 15th, 2009

I did dressmaking and alteration work at home in different parts of the country for more than 15 years and then went on to include quiltmaking and patchwork items to my home sewing business.  At one time I made appliqued vests for children and sold them in shops in other states.

At first, my dressmaking endeavors were mainly a hobby and to make my daughter’s and my clothes.  However, it became more serious enterprises when additional income was needed for the family budget.

 With a pre-schooler at home, I wanted to be with her much of the time and also desired to avoid babysitting challenges.  So I decided to increase my dressmaking work instead of going outside the home for a parttime  job.  I also added alterations to the mix.  Then I was asked to make bridesmaids’ dresses for a wedding and began to specialize in them.

 Dressmaking is a relatively inexpensive business to start if you have a sewing machine and other sewing accessories on hand anyway.  I found it worthwhile, when I could afford it, to start keeping some fabric, trims, buttons, snaps, and zippers available.  A few customers liked to select their fabrics at my home while they discussed garment styles with me. 

It is best to do this only after you’ve built up a regular clientele and know their likes and dislikes.  Most customers will purchase their own fabrics, patterns, and sewing notions and bring these to you.  Some will discuss in advance with you what they need.

 Gradually I acquired a stock of patterns, which came in handy at times.  Many customers didn’t want their patterns back, so left them with me.  Friends who sewed often gave me patterns they’d never use again.

 These were useful, particularly when a customer had a dress style in mind but couldn’t find the pattern she wanted.  Often after she described it to me, I could design it by getting ideas from the various patterns I had and combining features

 In subsequent posts, I’ll go into other aspects of dressmaking at home…where to get the work, what to charge, and miscellaneous tips.

 If you do dressmaking and alterations, do share tips with us.

(Image: sxc.hu)

Related Posts in the Series:

Develop a Sewing Business at Home

The “Nitty-Gritty” of Starting a Home Sewing Business

Tags: clothing alterations, dressmaking, dressmaking business, , , , sewing business

POSTED IN: Business Ideas

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