Video: Sewing for others: My top tips for a successful collaboration

I’m in the midst of finishing my goal of only doing sewn gifts this holiday, and sewing for others comes with its own set of challenges. Since the topic is top of mind currently I made this video where I share my six top tips for sewing for others, that addresses both mindset issues and more practical tips, as I think both are important for a successful collaboration.

What conclusions have you made when it comes to sewing for others and making sure it’s rewarding both for yourself and the receiver?


    December 28, 2018 at 2:51 am

    In the past I have found sewing for other people difficult. Too many issues come up, it’s never right and constantly fixing and iterations until they feel satisfied. (and I am not getting paid to do it) I will only sew for my mom at this time, which involves mainly alterations, and the occasional new make. All new makes she needs to shop (with my help) and purchase the fabric and all supplies. I refuse to use my own stuff to do it. She also need to pick the patterns to be used and sit for measurements and fittings. I also make it a priority once she has purchased the fabric to have the project done as quickly as possible. Even with my mom, I have started charging her for alterations and new makes. It sets a playing field of respect for my skills at doing this kind of work. In this way I don’t feel like I am being taken advantaged of nor do I have to put up with patronizing comments.

    • Johanna
      January 9, 2019 at 12:41 pm

      I think that is such a sound approach to sewing for others, setting boundaries is so important, and I see no issue with charging for your work when it’s a value transaction and not intended as gifts. Plus it helps raising the awareness of the value of sewing work!

  • Judith van der Leeden
    April 5, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Johanna, I sew a lot for others. I sometimes find it hard to find time to sew my own clothes, which also has to be done because I never buy clothes (except my active wear for skating). I sew a lot for my children: for my six year old daughter I sew every thing she wears, except her underwear. For my twelve year old boy I sew quite a lot, like his shorts, shirts, sweaters, coat and even his rain pants (he cycles a lot and I couldn’t find rain pants with a cover for his shoes, that’s not for sale for kids). My husband is now wearing his coat (pattern V8940) for which I used pad stitching and other tailoring techniques. I am really proud of the result and I also enjoyed the process! Sometimes I make clothes as a gift, like a shirt for my mother (instead of flowers).
    I usually try to find out what garments my son, daughter and husband are looking for. For my daughter I still do a lot of the decisions myself, but for my teenager and husband I try to find out what type of garments they want, what fabrics they like and what kind of details. When it’s all set, I start sewing. Most times every one is satisfied with the results. If that wasn’t the case I would stop sewing for them without hesitation. So, as long as I can do this for them, I shall. Sooner or later, there will be a time when they prefer going to a shop… And then I will have enough time for my own garments!


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