Now, where I am at this point in my sewing career is a place where, when I am careful, I can put together things that look as good as or better than RTW. I'm not a meticulous person, but I've learned. And because I am an individual, I can spend time picking good textiles instead of the cheapest-possible, I can fit things (well, I'm still learning) properly, and I can sew things together solidly so that they'll last. Also, my work really *suits* the person that it goes to.
That said, if I were going to sell what I make, I'd want to be about twice as fast as I am now. I'm just not there! And I'd want to make far fewer mistakes and be better at finishing techniques.
Sure, my quilting-cotton dresses for my daughter aren't the height of couture sewing. Well. No. They're not. But that hot pink dress is going to get worn all summer, likely slept in (she sleeps in the dresses that she's really fond of), have popsicles dripped on it, be thrown over wet bathing suits... there's just no point. And machine sewing (even alligators) is stronger that hand-sewing. Function, you know? It took two blind-stitched hems that she ripped out to teach me that what was wanted was a regular RTW straight stitch. Tacky 50 years ago ... but expected today.
I'm about 10 years younger than the Proverbs 31 woman. In this stage of my life, I see my job as getting skills and practicing them, keeping my eyes out for what works, what doesn't, what pays and what doesn't. I'm learning discernment and wisdom. And raising my kids.
My kids are almost-10 and 13. In five years, my son will be packing for college while my daughter is in her sophomore year of HS. At that point, I'll have all the time in the world to market my sewing, if that's what needs to happen. Or go back to school and get a counseling degree, which someone tells me I ought to do at least once a year. Or ... whatever. In five years I'll be 46. Women in my family are long-lived... that gives me another 30 years before Social Security hits (assuming you are think we'll still have it, we'll all be 75 before we can get it). That's 30 years to contribute to the family coffers. Or even just 20... that ain't nothin, thank you.
My life is only over if you think of "life" as "fertile years" or "courtship years". But in useful years? Well. That's another story. And as for being the Proverbs 31 woman? Come back in ten years... or 15... and we'll talk. :)
I might not be there yet, but I aim to get there someday. In the meantime, practice practice!