Looking for sewing inspiration? Thinking of starting a sewing business or sewing side hustle? We’ve got you covered with expert insights from sewing entrepreneurs and business owners!
In our Sewing Inspiration series, we chat with different makers about their sewing business and how they’ve found a way to blend sewing into work that they love. Learn about their inspirations, insights and more.
Today, it’s all about Sarah Markos of Blue Susan Makes. Sarah is an author, Etsy shop owner and super creative maker (think handmades, sewing patterns, and tutorials). Read on to learn more about her journey and her business.
How did you first get started sewing?
I have been sewing my whole life it seems. My mom designed doll dresses for a porcelain doll designer while I was growing up and we had a large sewing room full of anything you’d need to tinker around and make something.
I really got hooked when I was 12 or 13 when my mom showed me how to take apart my old, worn, favorite pair of shorts and use them as a pattern to make a new pair just like them. I thought this was the coolest thing ever! We made church dresses and fancy ones for dances. I progressed to sewing curtains, and costumes, and little quilts for my children as I got married and my family grew.
What was the path to creating your sewing business?
I have a friend who was working at an interior design studio at the time and she was getting rid of a bunch of decorator sample remnants and she gave them to me. I LOVE fabric and these samples were amazing.
I decided if I was going to have all this beautiful fabric lying around I had better do something with it. I sewed up a bunch of pretty little tote bags with a wide strip of ribbon and a fancy fabric flower on the front and signed up to sell them at a Holiday craft fair.
I had so much fun making them and watching people browse and buy my bags that I was hooked. It was just something fun I did during the holiday season. At about that same time I started up a blog to show my far away family what I was making and it turned into sharing tutorials and tips there as well. I have jumped in and out of it over the years as I have had time while raising kids. The rest is history I guess.
I have an Etsy shop where I sell and my PDF patterns and the “extras” I make. I also have a sewing book that I co-authored with my friend Caroline at SewCanShe.com (Just for You: Selfish Sewing). This year I have been working to share new blog posts and free patterns on my blog as well.
Where do you look for sewing inspiration?
I like to look at the sewing magazines when I’m in line at the fabric store. There are so many cute little projects in them.
Someone is always sewing something fun on Instagram and that makes me want to sew something fun too. I stalk my favorite fabric designers and fabric companies to see what they are working on (Anna Maria Horner, Maureen Cracknell, Free Spirit Fabric, Art Gallery fabric). I also like looking for style ideas from Anthropologie, Madewell, or Target.
What is your advice to a beginner sewist?
Embrace the challenge! It’s what keeps me coming back for more (that and the pretty fabric) Try and try again. So much of sewing is trial and error. People give up too easily and quickly say they are “not good at it”. Embrace the challenge and celebrate your sewing finishes. You’ll be so proud of yourself for sticking with it. Making things really does give you a confidence boost. Getting better comes with practice.
What is your favorite thing to sew/make?
I really love making ANYTHING and I can never stick to just one type of project. Over the last few months I’ve really loved sewing little projects for the holidays: garlands, heart pouches, and little stuffies. This week I’m sewing scrap quilts and quilting quilts that have been sitting under my table for a while. I need variety in my life!
Thank you for stopping by and reading about the fabulous Sarah Markos and her sewing journey. There is nothing like some creative inspiration to get your “sew-jo” going! Be sure to check out more sewing inspiration about starting a sewing business.