Sewing To Sell book review, giveaway & a purse I made from the book!

sewing to sellToday I’m reviewing and hosting a giveaway for a new book called Sewing To Sell by Virginia Lindsey. It’s the perfect book for someone wanting to get started with a sewing business. I wish I had read this last year when I was still trying to make a go of my Etsy shop. I might try again now! At any rate, it’s an inspiring and informative read. There are other books out about selling handmade things in today’s modern marketplace, but this book is special because it concentrates specifically on starting a sewing business vs. a more general overview.
  Not only does it go into detail about how to set up your own handmade business,  but it offers royalty free sewing patterns of some tried and true sewn objects that can be sold by the budding sewing entrepreneur.
 The author takes the reader through the process, step-by-step, from where to find inspiration and how to determine your sewing niche and style to the more practical business and legal considerations: where should you sell, how much should you charge for your handmade creations, how do you deal with taxes, etc? She gives advice on taking great pictures, a crucial skill if you plan to sell online, and styling tips to show off your work to its best advantage . Her friendly personality shines through in the book and the projects she shares are adorable as well.  She also has interviews of some well known sewists, bloggers, and designers. They share what motivates and inspires them and how they got started with their own handmade businesses.
Here are some more topics covered:
Finding your sewing style
Selecting a name
Identifying your customers
Figuring out exactly what things to sew and selll
Using commercial sewing patterns
Photography and styling
Sewing for fundraising
Selling online and at craft shows
Setting up a craft show booth
Equipment you’ll need to invest in for your business
Smart fabric buying and planning choices
Organizing your workspace for efficient sewing
Selling and Marketing and Social Media
Pricing and packaging tips and examples
To top it off, there are 16 sewing projects in the book that can be recreated for the sewist to put their own spin on. I made my own version of her slouchy bag and put my own spin on it by making it in leather. The pattern was well written and the instructions were easy to follow. I love how my bag turned out and used it all day today.

Virgina Lindsay, the author of Sewing To Sell, was kind enough to answer a few of my questions. Read on!

What inspired you to write Sewing to Sell?

I have been so fortunate to have a sewing business that generates income and gives me so much freedom and opportunity to connect with others.  I loved the idea of sharing that concept with other sewers like me- to let them know how to begin and use their skills to start their own business through all that I have learned.

How long have you been running your craft business and what is the website for your shop?

My etsy shop started in 2009.  I started by selling owl pillows and crayon holders.  My etsy site is  The name Ginia18 was a beginners mistake for sure since I can’t change it now :(  But mistakes like that are not the end of the world and you just make the best of it.  My regular website with my blog and links to my big cartel shop is

What are your favorite things to make and do you have a bestseller?
My favorite things are to make are my animal pillows and duffle bags.  I love mixing up the fabrics and using a big bold print on the larger scale duffle.  My best selling patterns are the Lola Owl, Getaway Duffle and the crayon art folio.  When I list handmade things to sell, the crayon holders always go first- even after all these years!
Do you enjoy selling at craft shows and what advice would you give to a person at her first craft show?

I love selling at a craft show.  It is wonderful to meet your customers in person and get a feel for how people like your handmade things.  For a first time craft show seller, I would say to be kind to yourself and treat it like a trial run.  Don’t expect to sell out and make tons of money, instead, expect to use it as a learning experience.  What sells best?  How could I have been more organized?  Was this show a good market for me?  That type of evaluating is what a real business person does- don’t take it too personally and get discouraged if things are not as great as expected.

You mention you have four children. Do you have any tips for other mothers on how to juggle running a handmade business while being a full time mom?

Last year when I signed on to write Sewing to Sell, I finally hired childcare 2 days a week.  But for all the years before, I was relied on nap schedules and evenings to work.  I would share with your family that your work is important and set boundaries for work time.  Set a schedule and punch the clock!  Get your partner involved and ask for his help.  When I finally asked my husband to drive my son to preschool, he was happy to do it and it opened up a lot of extra work time for me!

A photo of the slouch bag from Sewing To Sell.
slouchbag1My version of the slouch bag in leather. As you can see, with your own input and personal spin, these patterns are highly customizable.
slouchbag3Would you like to win a  copy of Sewing To Sell? Fill out my giveaway form below!

To enter the giveaway you must be a US resident and the giveaway ends Friday Jan. 17 Thanks!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Brenda Melahn says

    I have never sold my handmade creations — I have had someone buy fabric they wanted me to use to make mixer covers once, but no charge for making anything.

  2. Ang Mannina says

    Years ago I made some fabric wallets and sold them at work. I enjoyed it. Now I love to sew kids clothes and Halloween cosumes. Would love to have this book.

  3. says

    I haven’t sold much- for some reason making things to sell sort of sucks the joy out of creating, for me anyway. I’d like to pick up some income sewing though, I’d love to find a middle ground between my laziness and my desire to earn a little money. I know this book is on a lot of people’s wishlists! I’m dying over your bag btw. One of your other leather creations inspired me to write half a post about how to care for leather. I plan to finish it sometime this spring lol.

  4. says

    Sounds like there’s a load of good advice in that book! I have sold my handmade stuff off and on since I was 12, but pricing, photography, marketing etc aren’t my strong points!

  5. Vanessa B says

    I have sold a few of my creations…bags mostly :-) Would love to win this book, Thank You for the chance!

  6. says

    Great review! No, I haven’t sold any sewn creations. I sold a few crocheted headbands before I had to quit crocheting because of carpal tunnel. Great review!

  7. Loony lady says

    Luv luv your leather version of the slouch bag! Inspiring to see it made up in different materials!

  8. Latisha says

    I have never actually sold anything to sell but, I love sewing and need a way to make a little extra money. It is something I would love to get into!

  9. Loretta Musser says

    No I haven’t ever sold anything. This book seems to be loaded with lots of very helpful info. Thanks for the giveaway.. I would love to win it!!! :)

  10. Catherine says

    I just went public with an etsy shop last week. I would LOVE to win this book so I can catch any little mistakes before they turn into big mistakes ;-)

  11. says

    I made a throw pillow using a fat quarter that I received at my guild’s ugly fat quarter exchange. A neighbour stopped in for coffee, saw the pillow and said she wanted it so sold it to her. That was my first sale.

  12. Lori M. says

    Love your bag…My kids keep telling me to sell the things I make…So I am really grateful that you are having a giveaway…This book sounds like just the ticket…I like how you reviewed the book not only for yourself and also in interviewing the author…

  13. Barb Skinner says

    I usually make items for gifts but would love to try selling items and starting a small business, any advice to get started would be welcomed. I would love to win this book and start on a new venture! Thank you.

  14. BARBARA says

    No, I have never made anything specifically for sale but have eventually given in & sold a Wall hanging to a neighbor. This appears to be a fine book with much thought put into it.
    Thank you.

  15. Debra says

    I have sewn things to sell. I sort of fell into it. I have grandchildren and I would make things for them. My daughters friends noticed and wanted to purchase things. My best sellers have been embroidering on shirts, aprons for little girls, tutu’s with coordinating leotards and headbands. I do not have a etsy shop, but have certainly thought about it. Thanks for the oportunity to win this book. It sounds great! Deb

  16. Joyce says

    Mostly sew for myself, friends and family. Did sell twice when taking part in yearly holiday sale. Would love some ideas on how to do more and how to price!

  17. Maria says

    I have not sold anything I’ve made but I’ve made lots of presents for family and friends. My niece who is 26 has just started sewing and absolutely loves it. If I won this book I would give it to her to inspire her to start a small business! Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Linda Nelson says

    I have not sold things in years…I used to make wonderful pamphlet holders for clinics about 25 years ago. Maybe will get back into business when I retire from teaching in a few years.

  19. Margaret says

    I love the bag and would like to make it myself! Please enter me in your drawing for the book, thanks!

  20. Linda Zimmer says

    Yes, I have made and sold several bags locally. Now, I have a new sewing machine and would like to make it pay for itself. I think I’m going to like my Janome 8200.

  21. Susan Walls says

    I have but I would like to do so as more of a business with a business plan than the haphazard way I’ve been going about it.

  22. buffy says

    Beautiful bag. I havent sold anything I’ve made. But it is my dream. Ive really felt it is out of reach but this book could fuel my hope.

  23. Leslie says

    I used to sell my items, but haven’t n a while. I keep telling myself I’m going to get back into it, maybe i need to get myself a copy of his book!

  24. Ellen Barth says

    I used to sell teddy bears and puppets. Back when selling at local craft shows was profitable!

  25. Lauren Clark says

    I’ve sold a few sewn items to friends, but would love to turn my sewing into a full fledged business!

  26. Janet says

    Would love insight to find my sewing niche. Sometimes what we like to sew isn’t what sells. Info on using commercial patterns, etc. Would love to read this book.

  27. LueAnna says

    So excited I have been waiting to get this book until my “funds” were better after Xmas toys for the family. Have my fingers crossed!

  28. LueAnna says

    Yes I have mostly word of mouth. But getting my etsy store back up going and feel this book would be a big help.

  29. Liz Therrien says

    Yes, I have sold items that I have made. It is such a wonderful feeling knowing that someone likes what you have made so much that they are willing to buy it. I only wish I could make it my full time job. Maybd some day.

    I love what you did with the slouchy bag. What a difference in the finished look. Thank you for sharing.

  30. Mary says

    I would love this book. I have sewn for years and sold the dresses. I had to close my Etsy shop that I had just opened because my spouse became very ill. Hoping to get back to sewing and working on my shop soon. This book would be of great help.

  31. Sarah says

    It is still too soon in my sewing journey to consider selling anything, but it certainly isn’t out of the question in the future! Who doesn’t love 16 patterns too?!?

  32. Kathy E. says

    I have sold many of my hand-made items! It’s more of an enjoyable process for me than a money-maker though. I make personalized baby bibs and small tote bags for anyone who orders. I have an embroidery machine and I add their name and an applique to a hand-made bib or tote…nothing store bought except for the fabric!

  33. Leslie says

    When I was a child, I used to make and sell potholders door to door in my neighborhood. I haven’t sold anything I’ve sewn though.

  34. Kim D says

    Like many others, I have sold handbags to friends and I’m told they’re amazing. I love what I do because it allows me to be creative and enjoy the beauty of the fabrics and textiles. If I can’t sell them, I can’t afford to sew and create as much as I’d like. After all, how many handbags could I really use? Looking forward to any advice that can help me out.

  35. Dawn Jones says

    No, I’m still new at sewing. I’m still working on basic techniques. Have a wonderful day!

  36. Sue H says

    I have started to sell items, mostly baby quilts and fabric baskets after friends saw ones I made as gifts and encouraged me to offer them for sale also. I am still surprised at how much business I receive just by word-of- mouth. I would love a copy of this book to help me expand my small business.

  37. says

    I love reading up on your projects! I have been selling projects for a few years by word of mouth and a few craft fairs but will be hoping to expand as the kids grow.

  38. Sarah says

    I’ve never sold what I’ve made, given it away, but not sold. I’m thinking about it, though!

  39. Sjen says

    I tried to sell diaper wallets on etsy twice… zero luck there. I put a few out with blankets and burp cloths this summer and sold out!…???

  40. Jennifer Blackman says

    I have never sold my creations but have always wanted to. The only things that I get payed for right now are alterations, and sewing costumes for our local theaters.

  41. Lynn Marsh says

    I have never sold anything I’ve made. This book would be great for me and my daughter who is so creative, I think it would give both of us a leg up.

  42. Donna T. says

    I mostly have done “contract” work. I would love to know how to get the ball rolling and turn my ideas into something more profitable. Thank you :)

  43. Cherie says

    I haven’t but I’ve been asked to sell a couple of my creations before. The book looks like a real good read. Thank you!

  44. says

    I’ve set up an Etsy store and just started a quilting blog. I’d love to learn effective ways to make money off it!!!!

  45. Charlotte in GA says

    Yes- I have done a few craft shows and had a fb site where I sold my work. I would love to have a blog and make sewing more of a primary income. Hope I can win. Love the bag btw.

  46. Diane B says

    Yes I’ve sold less than a dozen of my handmade items. Pricing is an issue and I just don’t know how to go about it.

  47. Jacklynn Grimm says

    I have never sold any of the things I’ve made, but I have always wondered about it. The nursing home where I work has it’s own craft show every December – it gives both employees and residents a chance to purchase items for Christmas. I know there will be a lot of bases to cover before doing such a show, and this book would be great to find out just what works and what doesn’t. Thanks for the chance to win! jacklynnsteven at netzero dot com

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  49. Rebecca Pelletier says

    I have a Facebook page where I sell several hand sewn items. It’s Vida Doce Pelletier girls.

  50. Joen says

    I sold a few things on my Etsy site, but I would love to read this book to give it another try.

  51. Joanne Draper says

    I would love this book. Everyone at my work tells me I need to sell the things I sew. This might just help me achieve that dream.

  52. Barbara says

    The bag is gorgeous! The book looks enticing. It’s always a bonus for beginners to have the advice of an expert.

  53. Aliza Biorn says

    I tried to sell items on Etsy about 5 years ago. I didn’t have any success though. It would be great to read your book and get some tips from someone who has been successful.

  54. Grace says

    I did at the local markets, and it was a mixed response. The positive reponses were lovely of course, but more often than not, it was “too expensive”, “wrong size”, “different colour”. All in all, it would have been nice to have a more strategic approach!

  55. Veronica M says

    I have sewn things to sell and it, for me, took the fun out of it. I think it’s because I didn’t price the items appropriately and undervalued the items…So I now only sew gifts : )

  56. says

    I do have an etsy shop that has evolved a ton in the past year or so. I started out making bibs and burp cloths. Now I make Rummy mats (a type of card game that requires a board) and quiet books. I’m sure Virginia’s boom would have been helpful to me in the beginning (especially when it came to choosing a name and narrowing my brand). But I’m sure I could find tons of inspiration in it now. I would love to grow my shop and especially want to participate in craft fairs someday.

  57. Stacey B says

    I have sold handmade items, but not on a large scale – mainly to friends and friends of friends. I would love to read this book for inspiration!

  58. Christina M. says

    Yes, I have, but only in local shops and boutiques! Been thinking about doing Etsy for awhile now in order to gain a broader market.

  59. Mara says

    I love the bag you made, the fabric is perfect. I would like to get into selling my handmade things, but it is really scary, to welll all of it is scary.

  60. Kathy Davis says

    I have never sold any of my projects, though people have told me I should. I usually give them away or donate them to charity fundraisers.