I love to sew. I used to dream about building a business that allowed me to sew every single day. For years, I worked in my studio sewing handmade soft toys and sold them at craft fairs and online. I made a little money – enough to cover expenses and have a little left over for buying more fabric – but my business never truly earned a profit. I started to feel like my dream just wasn't a viable reality.
Everything changed for me when I decided to shift my business to focus on selling sewing patterns. The first thing I did was create a sewing pattern for a plush rubber duck, and I put it up for sale in my online shop for $9.
This Plush Rubber Duck was my first PDF pattern.
I sold two that first day. On the second day I sold two more, for a total of $36 – the same amount I would have sold a finished duck for. In the year and a half since, I've sold that pattern hundreds of times, and added nearly three dozen more patterns to my shop. Finally, I had figured out a way to build a profitable business around my passion for sewing.
Naomi Pike of NimblePhish
To hear from someone in a similar situation I reached out to Naomi Pike, the designer of
Naomi is an incredibly talented designer and I really admire the incredible level of cuteness she’s able to achieve in her toys. It's pretty remarkable.
This dragon was Naomi's most popular handmade toy. It became her first pattern.
Naomi explained, “I have been selling patterns for only a year, before that I was selling dolls and toys, the most popular being the jointed dragon. I wasn't able to keep up with demand and it was becoming far too much for me to handle.”
Then she made the switch to patterns and things began to get better.
“When I was selling toys, I'd get overwhelmed and then fall behind and it would snowball from there. Eliminating the physical object and replacing it with an electronic one was a very positive move, both personally and professionally.”
Patterns by Naomi Pike of NimblePhish.
“When I decided to stop selling the dolls, I announced that I was creating a pattern for the sought after dragon. I had managed to carve out a little niche in the ‘Waldorf Inspired Doll’ market and had a lot of great responses. My favorite part of pattern making is knowing I can help others make something that will bring smiles. I still feel like the new kid, but I'm incredibly enthusiastic about what I do and I think it's contagious."
I’ve done it, and Naomi has, too! We’ve turned our love of sewing into profitable businesses that hum along while we’re busy being creative in the studio.
And so can you!
If you have at least one original design, you can begin a sewing pattern business.
- Choosing a project that will be popular as a pattern.
- Taking effective step-by-step photos
- Writing excellent pattern instructions
- Photographing your project so that it sells
- Choosing software for page layout and template vectorization
- Using low-tech options for page layout and templates without having to learn graphics programs
- Finding and using pattern testers
- Pricing your patterns
- Ecommerce options
- Preparing for an effective launch
- Establishing yourself as a designer in the industry
(Note that this ebook is not a step-by-step guide to creating vectors of your pattern templates, or creating page layouts. It's also not about how to produce print patterns for wholesale distribution. There are other great resources for those things!)
Free yourself from worrying about creating inventory that might not sell.
Earn passive income.
Make your business profitable.
And carve out more time in your day to be creative!
What's an Ebook? Good question!
An ebook is a book in electronic format. It downloads instantly and you can read it on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Take it with you and read it on the go! Or, if you'd like, you can print it out on your home printer and read it on paper. Your choice.
I want to say a big thank you Diane Gilleland for giving me the push to actually sit down and write a new ebook, to Kim Werker for being my excellent editor, and to Mollie Johansen for her design help.
P.S. There's a very special discount code for my pattern shop on page 44. Thank you!