5 Crafting Tips I Learned From Running A Sweatshop


We all have our dirty laundry – and mine was sewn by illegal hands in a sweatshop in Chinatown. I’m not proud of the eight misguided years I spent as a sweatshop forewoman, but I want to share some of the best crafting tips I learned so that can you have the best holiday craft party ever! Also, disclosing this information in a public forum is a requirement of my probation, so let’s get crafty!

Bathroom Breaks Are Earned

It’s the little things that add up! Five minutes may not seem like much in the space of an hour, but add that up over a 12-hour day and you’ve lost a total hour of time that could have gone to crafting the perfect snowflake doily for your aunt Lori, or 2,000 t-shirts for your aunt Gap.

No Hand Too Small

If you have little ones around who want to help, I say let them join! Their work may be a little less precise at first, but you’d be amazed at how quickly children respond to constructive criticism shouted as threats.


Ventilation is Key

Mod Podge, hot glue guns, epoxy and shellac can overwhelm your friends or laborers sooner than you’d think. While this may seem like a slippery slope, (you give them an inch, they want a livable wage!) it’s a rule you’ve got to live by. Since the only useless worker is an unconscious one, treat your friends to an easy, breezy environment while they cover that charming coffee table in old newspaper headlines about “worker’s rights” and “unions.”

Sparkles Are Choking Hazards

Why anyone would put a rhinestone in their little mouth is beyond me, but no amount of razzle dazzle is worth the loss prevention department hounding you after your best girl chokes to death on the workroom floor. Perhaps Mai Ling was trying to mule high-quality rhinestones off the Kathy Ireland for K-mart line, but we’ll never know for sure. Instead opt for bigger, harder-to-swallow items like gems and other semi-precious stones if you’re looking to “wow” your friends with your handmade holiday vests.

Anticipate the Raid

Remember it’s not what happens, it’s how you respond to it. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. It’s easy to make any work space look safe and any worker look happy if you’ve had time to practice faking it. God I miss the constant adrenaline rush those days supplied! Explain these guidelines calmly and slowly using as many hand signals as necessary so that your friends understand that these guidelines will help everyone have the most joyful and productive crafting party of the season!