Books, Software, and Information Kits
Two books will give you a good start on selling your quilts and other sewn items:
- Although it focuses more on smaller craft items, the book Sewing to Sell is an excellent introduction to this business. It even includes patterns and suggested price ranges for items you can sew and sell for a fast business startup!
- How to Show and Sell Your Crafts presents many easy-to-follow ideas with helpful photos, lists, and examples. (Hint: The really useful business advice starts with Chapter 3.)
Because it is the biggest online marketplace for selling quilts and other crafts, you’ll want to read recent books about Etsy. You may find information for other online marketplaces in the latest edition of the Crafters Market book.
For artistic inspiration and techniques, explore these art quilt books.
Books about starting and running an art business or craft business often include useful advice, as do the magazines Where Women Create Business and Handmade Business, which feature terrific role models from many types of creative business.
If your interests run more toward garment and fashion sewing, you may find useful information in books about starting a fashion design business.
Quilt Fabric, Thread, Notions, and Art Supplies
You may not have thought of Amazon as a quilt shop, but you can find a wide selection of attractively-priced quilt fabric, quilting thread, sewing notions, and art supplies as well as some sewing machines and accessories on the site.
When you start producing a large number of pieced quilts, you may want to save time and effort by investing in an AccuQuilt fabric cutting system.
If you are an art quilter or make memory quilts, Amazon also carries a selection of the printable fabric and Epson printers and Epson ink cartridges that are favored for printing photos or your own digital art to use in quilts.
Exhibit and Selling Supplies
High-quality product photos are important for making online sales. Although you may be able to produce adequate photos with a smartphone or point-and-shoot camera, your photos can be improved with these resources:
- Books on photographing crafts and blog photography
- A large light tent kit or portable light tent to give your product photos a professional background
- Advanced photo editing software
- A digital SLR camera, with appropriate lenses and accessories for producing professional-quality photos
“Bring your own tent” is the usual rule for most outdoor craft fairs and art festivals; explore the range of available tents, canopies, and accessories. For hanging quilts and other display items in your booth, consider using grid walls.
Articles, Websites, and Groups for Selling Quilts and Sewn Items
Etsy and Amazon Handmade are the largest online marketplaces for selling your quilts, garments, home decor items, and other sewn crafts. But they are not the only ones, and we can expect new workplaces to emerge. Look for other online places to sell your products by running an online search with phrases such as “craft marketplace” or “art marketplace.”
After you’ve had some success with quilt sales on Etsy, you may want to join the Team Quiltsy group.
If you begin selling items in large quantities or to multiple buyers, you may want to find a manufacturer to help with all or part of the production. Check the Etsy Manufacturing program for their recommended partner resources.
For good explanations about the issues behind using someone else’s pattern for creating a quilt or sewn item, read these articles about Copyrighted Sewing Patterns and the Quilting and the Law series.
The members-only community section of the Modern Quilt Guild website may have current or archived webinars, articles, etc. that are relevant to selling quilts and sewn items.
The debate about pricing custom and art quilts is ongoing. You may find helpful insights in these online resources:
- The We Are $ew Worth It website, which includes downloadable worksheets and templates for invoicing and tracking your labor and expenses for creating a quilt.
- The article “Placing a Value on Your Quilts” provides an overview of how one quilter calculates his pricing for making a custom quilt. Another article shows the quilt cost calculation methods used by another quilter.
Articles, Websites, and Groups for Art Quilters
The Studio Art Quilt Associates is a global association of art quilters. A wealth of business articles, professional development resources, and exhibit opportunities can be found on their website. Also check with local guilds and shops for an art quilters group in your area.
The Quilt Art listserv is an Internet mailing list with very active discussion on opportunities, resources, and other topics of interest. In
Run an online search to find your local, state, provincial, or regional arts council or art commission, local art center or artist co-op gallery, and other art groups that might offer exhibition and sale opportunities.