Hobbies into business: Knitting and Sewing

by Stuart Miles

Having kids seems to bring out a creative streak in many people. If you love to knit or sew you may want to see if you can earn by selling your creations. Some mums start making clothes for their own kids, and get asked to make for others too. Check out the market, look at what similar items go for, and scope out where and how you would sell things.

Legal issues

There are regulations which you need to bear in mind when sewing and knitting. Forexample, pyjamas, baby’s garments and cotton terry towelling bathrobes must meet flammability standardsorbe labelled ‘keep away from fire’.

Pattern copyright

There are also legal issues surrounding the use of patterns. If you buy a pattern you usually just purchase the right to make the item foryour own,oryour families, personal use. So, if you want to set up in business, check your patterns first. If you want to use someone else’s pattern, you may need to buy a licence.

Cottage industry licences

A ‘cottage industry licence’ is a term more often heard in theUS. It is an agreement whereby you pay a fee to allow you to use certain patterns to knitorsew forprofit. This covers the pattern designer’s development costs. You may be limited to the number of each item you can create, and these licences are not designed forbig businesses, just foroneortwo people creating at home. To avoid copyright issues, design your own patterns. If you want to set up as a dress maker, you can get the client to purchase a pattern instead, and then pay you to make the garment, which avoids any need forlicences.

 

Fabric design rights

One further area to check is the designs on the actual fabric you use. Companies like Disney are incredibly protective of their rights, and will clamp down on small sellers offering, say, handmade Snow White bedding using Disney character fabric.

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