I would like to start sewing again and would like any ideas on items to sew to sell on eBay or at flea markets, etc. to make some extra money. Any tips would be appreciated.
Linda from Alabama
I have a friend who buys outdoor fabrics and makes a profit of $400 on each set of custom boat curtains she sews. I could have her call you if you'd like to talk to her. She doesn't sell on the internet, but directly to the manufacturer of the boat. She makes 2 or 3 sets of boat curtains a month along with her regular job at Joann fabrics plus selling sewn and stuffed muslin snowmen Christmas ornaments all year at farmers markets. These little snow men are "themed" in the local school colors and have little skis and snowboards on their feet. They sell for $14.95 each. She sprays glitter on them when they're complete. They have black beads for eyes and a tiny toothpick that's been painted orange to look like a carrot nose and a tiny neck scarf made of fabric. This friend also sells aprons, but I'd stay away from those unless they are "themed" because there are already zillions of gals out there already selling them.
The big bucks are in custom curtains. Have people measure their windows (draw a diagram of "how to") and give them 8 or 10 fabric choices to pick from or they can send you their own fabric that matches their decor.
Another thing that's big right now, (but seasonal) are simple tube tops for teenagers. They are super easy, and super easy to mail. You'd only need 2 or 3 sizes because they stretch. Also think about making garden hats, or "tool belts" or tool bucket belts for gardeners. At the market I sell at every Saturday, the biggest selling things are anything for the garden!
Another way you can go is to specialize in baby stuff, like 100% cotton flannel receiving blankets. It's hard to find quality 100% cotton baby and child's clothing these days and if you really want to have something special sell "green" organic cotton (and hemp) baby things. The organic clothing thing is the new up and coming "thing"!
CAUTION: stay away from clothing because it's hard to fit everyone and you'd need to carry to many sizes. But I also know a woman who makes quite a lot of money making "themed" mens' shirts, like with Harley flames, old cars, baseballs and bat or footballs on them. She spends a fortune buying rayon/poly fabrics by the bolt and just pumps them out in S,M,L, & XL. She has quite the inventory. They sell for $49 - $59 each, but like I said, if it were me I'd stay away from clothes, especially women's clothes because they are picky about the fit and fabrics.
* If you can make something that sells for under $20 it will sell quickly. People tend to "have to go home and think about" anything over $20, but if it's under $20, especially if it's under $15, they'll buy it right on the spot! Believe me when I say this because that's all I do, deal with the public at fairs and I've been doing this over 20 years.
I have seen fabric tubes for plastic bag storage sold online for 12 dollars. I made some to give to friends out of bandanas. Bandanas ar less than 2 bucks each. Just fold the bandana in half, sew down one side, make a pocket on either end for elastic. Attach a loop on one end for hanging. You stuff the bags in at one end and pull them out at the bottom like a dispenser. The beauty is .... about 800% profit on each item. And they don't take much time to do.
With Xmas coming and as a mother of 3. I am already searching on eBay for drawstring Santa sacks large ones! The ones on eBay are about 30 x 30 inches which is no use at all as a Santa sack especially when it is stuffed with things from the dollar store. So I think extra large Santa sacks with a drawstring top in seasonal colors or fabrics would be great and sell well, or how about sports drawstrings bags for younger children with or without their names put on as an extra, to use at school when they have to hang their sports kit on their coat pegs.
What about slip covers for furniture. If you are a good sewer and can make them look nice, I'm sure people would pay.
One thing that I just bought was a small handbag made from drapery fabric. This was quite classy -- the sort of thing that you would use as an evening bag. The gal selling these had a lot of different styles made from satin, brocade, and so on. Some were clutch style and some had straps from lovely satin cord. I think these would be a good item for flea markets as they were inexpensive and so could be an "impluse" buy. I also agree with the poster who suggested Xmas bags. I would make a variety of sizes -- large Santa sacks and all the way down to small ones that hold a tiny gift. Ones that fit a wine bottle might also be popular. I have a lot of these that I have made myself, and we use them over and over every year.
How about re-usable grocery bags? Or wallets or baby bibs?
Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas!
Make those little microwaveable heat packs that are filled with rice. Sew rectangular shapes and fill with rice. Then make a washable cover to go over the little heating pack. Use colorful patterned fabric.
Cathy from MA
Also make those draft stoppers for bottom of doors. Fill with kitty litter.
Cathy from MA
What about cloth books my daughter loves books but tears them. So I buy those cloth books. Here is another one that is real good. If you are really good how about measuring a twin mattress all around and making like a flannel sleeping bag type for the bed. Have a zipper in the back Also make sure the material is washable and soft. Reason I say this is because daughter (autistic) sometimes does not like her sheets on the bed finally found a mattress protector with a zipper in the back and she can not pull that off. You can make a couple colors and see if it makes any money. Just a thought,
Pillows. Just order a case of down fillers and go to town, I do this and you can make them as simple or as complicated and fancy as you want, all shapes all sizes all different embellishments, just make them unique and in trendy fabrics and they'll sell.
I try to keep mine in the $20 range but even if you go to the department stores their "ok" ones are usually $30 and up so I do some expensive ones too. Usually people will buy more than one if there's a collection of colors & patterns they love. Also, if your into it making car seat covers seems to be a great market on ebay. I'm just not that patient.
There is a wonderful site called Etsy.com This is a site that you can sell your sewn projects. I read someewhere that this is a favorite of Martha Stewart. ~Janette~
The first thing that came to mind was aprons. They are really making a comeback..you can dress them up, add pockets and in the pocket you can add an embroidered folded cloth handkerchief, like they 'back in the day.'
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