Here's an interesting suggestion from Mystic Worlds: take the production process out of crafting.
When I used to play Dark Age of Camelot, the crafting setup was my least favorite part of the game-- it seemed like crafting materials were expensive, the crafting process took way too much time (I having long conversations with others standing around the crafting area), and the stuff you made (at the early levels anyway) just wasn't that great. So WoW's system may not be perfect, but it seemed like a breath of fresh air after that-- materials come from actually playing the game, and putting things together is something you can generally do as an afterthought rather than as, well, a profession. The gathering is the important part.
So Mystic Worlds says, why not make the gathering the whole thing? You still go out and get mats from the world, crafters turn those raw mats into usable mats, and then you'd actually take the bolts and gems and tanned leather that crafters made to NPC crafters, who would turn them into items. That way, if you want a Robe of the Void but you aren't a tailor, you just take the mats to an NPC tailor who can hammer one out for you.