A few weeks ago I had a call from a lady who wanted information about our Profitable Clothing Alteration Business book. She told me she had been doing garment sewing, but that the sewing had been really slow so she was wanting to start taking in alterations. She said she needed more information about alterations in order to start that aspect of her sewing business.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my own sewing “life”, and how many directions my sewing has gone. I started out doing alterations, then as customers asked if I’d make them some pants, a dress or skirt, my sewing business shifted that direction. Then when my military husband was transferred to Taiwan, I once again shifted my interest to pattern making, as there was no opportunity to do either sewing or alterations in Taiwan. Pattern making became my love, and I became involved in teaching pattern making classes, then expanded to writing the information in book and class form and putting it on the internet so those living across the country or around the world could participate in the classes. PatternsThatFitYou became the avenue to get my pattern making classes out to the public.
My daughter and business partner, Denise, seems to have a real knack for figuring out what people need and want (in many cases it’s because of HER need for the items). In high school her first job was doing alterations at home for dry cleaners because her busy school schedule wouldn’t allow her to have a job with set hours. In college her interest changed somewhat to scarves – she loved the way scarves could dress up and change her minimal wardrobe. The result of her interest in scarves resulted in her writing her best selling book to this day – 101 Ways To Tie A Scarf. Later, when her first born son came along, she couldn’t find any patterns or garments that would allow her to breast feed the baby comfortably. Once again, the direction of her sewing interest changed – this time was to create fashionable nursing clothing, not only for herself, but for others who were also in need of nursing garments. And now, because of the economy and job losses in her family, she has once again been put to the test – and this time a major change of direction was required. In order to help feed her five children under the age of 5 (4 year old quadruplets and their big brother who is 5), she started cutting every coupon she could get her hands on. She started using coupons upon coupons to cut the dollars being spent on food and necessities. With mountains of coupons growing, she needed a way to catagorize and file them so they could be easily seen and used. This time her “need” was filled by the Coupon Clutch coupon carrier she designed and hand made. It appears that there are many others doing the same couponing from the amount of orders she has for the coupon clutch, and interest in her ShopperStrategy blog that gives all the ins and outs of using coupons effectively, as well as giving links to freebies and good deals.
I believe Denise just about takes the prize for the number of times she’s changed the direction of her sewing career!
How about you? How many times have you made changes in your sewing career? We’d love to hear about it and see if you can top Denise’s list of “changes”.
I love your blog. Sewing is something I really enjoy. I have purchased several of your patterns and they are really awesome. I wanted to let you know that I wrote a blog post about fixing my own sewing machine. I linked to your site that sells the Sewing Machine Repair book because I also had purchased that book and thought it was very good. Here is the link in case you would like to read it. http://sodutch.blogspot.com/2010/01/you-never-know-until-you-try.html
Sarah J. Doyle says
Hi Gloria – Thanks so much for the kind words. I showed my husband your blog post and pictures of your “do it myself” fixing – he was very pleased with what you’d done, and wanted me to thank you for the link back to our SewMachineRepair site. Your blog looks great and I LOVE your grandmother’s saying about “good, better, best”! Think I’ll type it out and keep it handy for my grandchildren!!
Lynne Cryer says
Hello Sarah and Denise, I have been sewing my own clothes for 50 years! I’ve worked at a fabric store and a quilt shop, About 20 years ago I started dressmaking from my home – all by word-of-mouth advertising. Eleven years ago I took a business planning course and made my dressmaking business official, not only dressmaking, alterations, costuming, and bridal but teaching dressmaking and quilting as well. This past fall I went in a new direction by taking a professional bra-making course with Beverly Johnson of Bra-makers Supply and am just re-launching my home-based business!
Thanks for all the business tips in your free e-book. So often business advice is geared to home offices so it’s great to get good advice from sewers as well!!