How to earn money from your sewing (without sewing)

So you love to sew, and you’re always making stuff. Maybe you sell the things you make at craft fairs, or on Etsy.

Let me guess.

You regularly stay up late to fulfil orders.
You dread those complaints from your Etsy customers about shipping.
Your selling price will never reflect the time and effort you put into your sewing.

You need a passive income stream.

How to earn money from your sewing by creating and selling digital products

My favourite way to earn passive income is with digital products.

They’re are fun to make and sell, and if you do it right, they will bring in a steady stream of real money.

You create the file, load it onto your website, or Etsy shop or wherever, and there it sits, selling over and over. There’s massive potential to make a really good income. Plus, once you’ve made your product, it doesn’t need to take up any more of your sewing time.

Who wouldn’t want some of that?

I started with digital products when I bought an embroidery machine. I wanted it to pay for itself, so I digitised this little guy, and uploaded the design files to Etsy for other machine embroiderers to buy.

Llama applique machine embroidery design by Flowerdog Designs

He earned his keep pretty fast, and he’s still sending money to my Paypal each week.

I bought digitising software and learned to use it before I could start selling digital files. But you don’t need to go to that much trouble.

So what are the best digital products for sewists to start with?

1 | Make a PDF pattern

If you sew something that people go mad for on Instagram, or can’t get enough of at craft fairs, make a pattern and sell that too.

If you can sew it, you can turn it into a pattern.

Need some ideas? How about:

  • Quilt blocks
  • Embroidery designs
  • Cute plushie toys
  • A mobile for a kid’s nursery
  • Clothes
  • Bags
  • Bandanas for dogs
  • Christmas stockings

2 | Create a tutorial or online class

If you have a cool technique you use, write a tutorial or film a mini-workshop and sell it.

Maybe you discovered a super-effective shibori technique, or you do the neatest hand applique.

Or maybe you have a knack for taking the best Etsy product photos.

Think back to when you were a beginner. What one thing would have improved your sewing? Can you turn that into a lesson for someone else who’s just starting out?

3 | Write a Kindle ebook

If you have a lot of in-depth knowledge or expertise, you could write a longer book about it. It’s super easy to self publish on Kindle.

For example, you could create a collection of quick projects for kids, or write about specialist tailoring techniques, or projects to organise your sewing space.

Anything grab your attention so far?

If you want to start earning passive income from your sewing, any of these three would be an ideal place to start.

4 | Sell photos of your makes on stock sites

Another digital product that might have potential doesn’t seem to be sewing related at first, but if you’ve been selling your products online, you’ll be used to taking photos. Maybe your photos are already amazing, or maybe you just need to brush up your skills a little. Either way, you might want to consider selling your pics on stock photo sites like Creative Market or Envato.

Stock image sites are ideal place to sell sewing-themed images and there are never enough (I know, I trawl them all the time). Set up your camera and shoot some creative pics in your sewing room.

 5 |Create a membership site for other sewists

Sewists love a place to share makes, learn from each other and hang out with other sewists. Make your site the cool place to be, and charge people to join.

download a free worksheet and get started selling digital products


 Pick one and share it

Has this inspired you to create something? If you have a few ideas and you’re struggling to choose one to start with, you need to grab this worksheet.

I designed it to make it easy to pick your first digital product.

Once you’ve decided, I’d love to know what you’re going to start with. Hop over to the Facebook group and let me know



hi, I'm Lisa

I help sewists and other makers to build profitable passive income streams.

let's have some fun!

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