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Sewing for a career

Sewella | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello!  I am trying to create a business of my own that I will love and yet make a decent income.  However, I have met only discouragement  with my favorite idea of creating clothing with designs from the 1920’s through 1940’s.   Unfortunately there seems to be a very limited market for this.  I have done some interior sewing but am not equipped and I don’t care for alterations.  Is my desire hopeless or am I looking in all the wrong places to market my wares?!!




  1. sueb | | #1

    If you want to sew clothing perhaps try something a little more updated than the 20's/40's styles.  Have you approached any boutique owners with samples of what you'd like to sew?  It may help if you have a few outfits to showcase prospective buyers.  Perhaps costume design is an option -check with some local theatre groups to see what their needs are.  Or maybe try special occasion dresses.   I just started my own sewing business about 7 months ago.  I thought I was going to do home dec stuff but then ended up doing handbags !  I've sold my stuff through my web site and through craft shows.  I can tell you though that the decent income doesn't come right away.  There's a lot of investment in fabrics and supplies that come first and there's a lot of test sewing too - my first dozen bags or so didn't make it anywhere but the trash bin.  Also, if you're going to do a home business you'll need to check your local state laws about opening a business for either wholesale or retail and obtain the appropriate paperwork.  Once you have your business ID #'s most fabric stores will afford you a wholesale discount which will lower your overhead a bit.  Check with your local small business organization for more info on that.

    Good luck



  2. SewTruTerry | | #2

    Perhaps you are not marketing to the right people either.  I know that the average customer is not going to want that style of clothing so you are going after a smaller but still marketable group.  First thing that you have to do is find your customer base.  Are there any dance groups or night clubs in your area that teach or hold swing nights?  In my area there is a terrific night club that specializes in the blues and swing dance lessons and they hold an open night two or three times a week.  You should see all of the period dress that goes in and out of there on those nights it would make your head spin.  First thing that you can do is look in the yellow pages and or visit you local library for the information.  Also are you willing to do mail order or develope a website?  These are all the questions that need to be answered before getting the business registrared with your local government.  Also do research on the name of your business so that you do not have to change the name a year or two down the line like several people I know had to do.  It is cheaper now than two years from now to change the name.  And finally good luck.

  3. Reyesuela | | #3

    Market to swing groups.  There are online stores that sell 1930-40s clothes and dance shoes, video tapes, etc.  There are also brick and mortar stores, but those are few and far between.

    That would be your best bet!

    1. mantuamaker | | #4

      Look up http://www.pacprofessionals.org. This is the professional assn. of custom clothiers. Lots of info and moral support. If you are going to do this, be professional about it!

      1. SewingWriter | | #5

        Whoops! missing a letter there.  Try this: http://www.paccprofessionals.org

  4. KathleenFasanella | | #6

    You wrote:
    "I am trying to create a business of my own that I will love and yet make a decent income. However, I have met only discouragement with my favorite idea of creating clothing with designs from the 1920's through 1940's."

    I work in RTW; specifically, I help designers launch clothing lines. In my *professional* opinion, I don't think this is a good idea. I think it's a GREAT idea! I think it's a winner and wish more people would do it. There's only one company doing this and they're growing like gangbusters, even produce everything here in the US.

    I think you're asking the wrong people. Sewers won't buy this. It's the young kids who will. And yes, they'll pay. The issue is, if you ask them, they have no frame of reference, they won't know what you're talking about. You have to have samples to show them. Better beef up those pattern skills or hire it out.

    I think so much of this idea, I wrote an entry about it, actually two. Read the comments too. I hope this inspires you to reconsider the idea.

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