By making the right alterations to a cheap suit, it can fit like a designer original. Many turn to a seamstress for their alterations and repairs, but seamstresses are becoming harder to find because sewing is becoming a lost art. An alteration business can be very lucrative once you have mastered the necessary sewing skills. This can be done by reading sewing books or attending sewing classes. Try becoming an apprentice to a professional seamstress, and learn the skill firsthand.

Things You Will Need
  • Tax ID number

  • Small-business insurance

  • Local permits and licenses

  • Desk supplies---work orders, receipt book, pens, card file box, phone, desk calendar

  • Bright work light

  • Large work table

  • Sewing machine with serge

  • Sewing machine needles

  • Sewing supplies---pinking shears, sharp seamstress scissors, needles, seamstress pins, ripper, thread in many colors, interfacing

  • Seamstress mannequin

  • Full-length mirrors

  • Yellow page ad

  • News paper ad

  • Business cards

  • Prizes

  • Balloons

  • Refreshments

Step 1.

Write a business plan to stay focused on the steps necessary to build the business. This should include start-up cost, operation cost, future revenue predictions and a five-year plan of growth. Use this detailed plan to show to investors.

Step 2.

Check with local government offices to see if your home is zoned to run a business in it. If not then, then look for a small office; an alterations business is a one-room operation that can be started from almost anywhere that has electricity.

Step 3.

Create a desk area with work orders to write down measurements and work needed, appointment book for fittings, income ledger for incoming payments and outgoing expenses, pens, receipt book, card file box for clients, desk calendar and phone.

Step 4.

Set up the work area with bright work lights and a large table for laying out patterns and projects. Also, have an area for a dressing pedestal and full-length mirrors. Purchase a sewing machine table with drawers filled with sewing supplies. Purchase a seamstress mannequin and seamstress reference book.

Step 5.

Apply for a Tax ID number free online. This will give tax breaks for purchases used to operate the business. Find a small-business insurance policy to cover any business liabilities. Research local governments for the necessary permits and licenses.

Step 6.

Place an ad in the Yellow Book under "Alterations." Name your business something that will put it first in the phone book, like "A Bit of Sewing."

Step 7.

Place a "Grand Opening" ad in the local papers. Decorate your work space with balloons and refreshments and have your work out for everyone to look at. Make appointments for people to come in with their garments, and hand out business cards. You can have a grand prize for them to register for; that will attract more people to the grand opening.


Build shelves to keep orders separated. Use tissue paper to wrap finished garments and white bags for a classy effect. Expand to special orders and custom sewing to achieve designer status.