Whether you can sew a handbag, make a picture frame, or just have an eye for vintage style, there’s a niche for you on Etsy, the eBay of handmade and vintage goods.
Have you ever knitted a scarf, made jewelry, or sewn clothes for your kids? Can you build a bench, take intriguing photos, or make a picture frame from scrap wood? Tori started her Etsy shop when her second child was a baby, and says the flexibility it affords is a key requirement at this point in her life.
According to a 2013 survey (.pdf file) of 94,000 Etsy sellers, 81% said they opened their shops as a creative outlet, while 68% cited supplemental income as a motivating factor. But make no mistake — selling handmade items on Etsy is a business, and a big one at that. Successful sellers learn to balance the creative side of the process with bookkeeping, buying supplies, customer service, and marketing. However, even if you’re not the next Martha Stewart, you can still build a successful shop if you have a large social network.
Signing up as a seller is free, but it costs 20 cents to list an item for four months or until it sells, whichever comes first. When you’re ready to list an item for sale, it’s a fairly straightforward process, and Etsy offers a step-by-step listing guide.
When creating a title for your item, consider what keywords a buyer would search for when looking for your product or something like it. Remember to tag items with keywords, as well as alternative search terms used in other parts of the country or world. It’s important to realize that there’s more work to selling a craft piece than simply creating it, as time-consuming as that essential process may be. Finally, add a degree of retail markup — your desired profit plus a bit of wiggle room for seasonal sales or promotions.
Made by Katrina shop owner Katrina Rodabaugh sells and displays her work in a number of venues besides Etsy.
When you display your work at a fair or show, concentrate just as hard on branding yourself.
Tori James currently sells exclusively on Etsy, but she’d like to get her independent website back up and running in 2015.
The average Etsy seller, if there is such a person, earns about $3,400 a year from the site. This means earnings can vary drastically — from nothing at all to a respectable full-time salary. A long-running Etsy discussion thread provides a look at the variety of income levels sellers achieve. Jessi VanGundy echoes that sentiment, though she hopes to earn enough to be a full-time potter before long. If you enjoy sewing handmade gifts for the special people in your life, now is the time to get started!
Fabric designer Amanda Murphy, who teaches the Craftsy class Elegant Embroidered Quilts, created the lovely Blossoms quilt pattern.
The Little Travelers Companion is perfect for any traveling child that needs a little something to occupy their time.
Start at the back and let the inserts closer to the drawer front overlap the insert behind it. If you wish to attach them so it's one piece that would be an option too, just nail or staple them where they meet on the underside.
TIP: With all the inserts in place, just trace the overlap with a pencil, remove, staple from back side, and replace.
With the wide variety of patchwork and quilted bag and tote patterns available for every skill level, why not go in style and "travel handmade" with your own sewn bags.

Here are 8 quilted and patchwork bag and tote patterns that are sure to inspire your next project! Small pouches always come in handy, and sewing a small clutch like this is a terrific way to practice for larger bag projects. A simple bag made with fabric strings and additional yardage, the Market Tote pattern provides a stylish way to use up your scraps and leftover strips of fabric. This is a fun medium-sized tote that can be created from a charm pack and just a little additional yardage for lining, top bands and handles. The Essential Wristlet pattern from Dog Under My Desk is the smallest handmade bag in today’s roundup. Use your small patchwork squares to craft this fun-to-make and practical backpack that's perfect for a day outing. Learn to master the quilt-as-you-go technique while making a wide assortment of bags in the Craftsy class Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags, taught by Tara Rebman.
Come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for a report on quilting trends from the Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City! However, I can made this box out of any of the woods that you see featured here on my site.
While women absolutely love my jewelry boxes for the purposes of storing their accessories and treasures, men also appreciate my work as well. This particular box's dimensions work perfectly for holding remote controls; it also can store phone chargers, wallets, pens, and just about anything else laying around.
To see larger views of these photos, click on any picture to the right.If you are interested in this or any other box, please use the form below to contact me. The site hosts hundreds of thousands of shops, and Etsy claims those sellers collectively made $850 million in sales in 2013. And to be truthful, you may have a hard time standing out if you’re selling the same thing as everyone else.
If you have a tasteful eye for trends and enjoy spending weekends at flea markets, yard sales, and thrift shops, you could consider buying underpriced retro items and reselling them on Etsy or elsewhere.
Your banner is the virtual front door of your shop, so you want it to look inviting and provide a visual cue to what’s inside. Etsy shoppers are on the site because they want to buy something unique from an individual person — not a generic plastic gizmo from Amazon or Wal-Mart. Etsy’s blog offers plenty of guidance about how to set shop policies and craft a compelling profile page. You’ll choose the product’s category and type, add images, and create a title and description. Many successful crafters establish their own visual style that permeates everything from their listing photography to their logo, banners, and the products themselves. Once it sells, you’ll need to package and ship it, not to mention track your income for tax purposes.
When trying to set a price for an item, consider the cost of all the materials you need to make it. Some sellers set up booths at craft shows, farmers markets, concerts, and holiday fairs to sell their goods and bring their brand to a new audience. But approximately one in five Etsy shops is a full-time business, while 58% of sellers hold down other jobs and operate their Etsy shop as a side gig. A small pillow is enclosed by a removable tote bag, and many pockets are available to hold art supplies, notebooks, books, snacks, toys or handheld video games. The adorable ruffles on this FREE Ruffle Clutch pattern make this a trendy style for quilters and sewists on the go! A charm pack can be used, or the patchwork squares can be cut from fabrics in your scrap bin.

Since this bag uses machine pieced hexagons, using the dot-to-dot sewing technique, the pattern is best for intermediate quilters, but with a bit of practice, even a beginner can master the hexagon piecing technique to make this fun tote. Travel Bag from Patterns by Annie is large enough to carry a travel-sized sewing machine or necessities for a weekend getaway.
This small catch-all bag is perfect for carrying a phone, keys, lipstick and a little cash. What about that fun embroidered hat you made that everyone raves about, or the stylish-but-practical coin purse you gave your friend? If you’re handy enough to restore a vintage piece to its former glory, all the better.
They’ll be happy to learn they know an actual artisan and may enjoy buying your work as gifts. You can start with something simple, but if you have a graphic designer friend, now may be the time to call in a small favor. Include other expenses, too, like shipping supplies, equipment, even the electricity to run the space heater in your garage workshop.
Regular quilting cottons can be used for all the blocks, though the designer mixed in faux fur for some of the monsters.
This classic Ring Stacker Soft Toy pattern gives detailed instructions for five rings in graduated sizes that loop over an 8" tall post.
This is an 8-page pattern in PDF format with tutorial-style instructions, photographs and full-size pattern pieces (no need to enlarge, just print and sew!).
This bag is extra roomy in size and is works well as a carry-on for flying or as a overnight bag for a weekend getaway. Simple straight-line quilting is all that is needed to give this medium-sized tote a finished look. While this bag pattern is definitely for intermediate sewists and quilters, the instructions are clearly illustrated with lots of details and pattern tips.
The fun-to-sew downloadable PDF pattern has full color illustrations and step-by-step directions from start to finish. That patronage may not be sustainable, but it can give your shop a valuable kickstart and some helpful positive feedback. Links to video tutorials are included in the pattern to demonstrate every step of the quilting process, and directions for sewing with faux fur are also included! Because of its simple shape and design, the bag can be completed, start-to-finish, in an afternoon. All quilting for this bag takes place before the pieces are put together, and every edge and seam is professionally finished. A terrific zipper technique is also introduced, which eliminates bulk during the zipper construction process. The pattern uses a fusible fleece interfacing and doesn’t call for any quilting, but quilting can be added for extra stability and durability.
The pattern includes clear instructions for inserting zippers, and the pattern designer also provides video tutorials for the zipper installation on her Web site. Several pattern variations include different sizes and options for a one zipper bag or double zipper bag.

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