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Thread: Any advice for teaching quilting classes?

  1. #1

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    I'm a stay at home Mommy and am looking to make a few extra bucks to buy fabric with. I thought it'd be fun to teach basic quilting in my home, by bringing in people one on one, and having them make a wallhanging. Kind of a word of mouth type thing, friends of friends, that type of thing. I'd show them how to choose fabric, cut, sew, baste, quilt, and bind their wallhanging. Even how to make a hanging sleeve. I think it would have been wonderful if I could have done this to learn, what do you think? I'm not really looking to run any big business or anything, just to earn a few bucks to buy fabric.

    Any of you teaching out there, do you have any suggestions as to what I might charge? I was thinking $10 an hour, and maybe meet once or twice a week, by appointment at their convenience. Is that too high? Any advice or tips for such a venture? The closest quilt shop is a bit more than a half of an hour away, so I don't think I'll step on any toes there. We don't have any other places in the area that teach quilting, so I thought that might be an advantage. What do you think?

  2. #2

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    sounds like a great idea. who couldn't use extra fabric money. you just becareful who you let in your home.

  3. #3
    ready2quilt's Avatar
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    I say why not? I'm sure the interest is there.

    And when it comes to quilting, why not get paid for doing something you (we all) love!

    Keep us posted.

  4. #4
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    How are your neighbors and zoning? Are there restrictions against home businesses? Can you provide a work area free from allergens, smoke, kids, and pets? Will your homeowners insurance cover any accidents? Do you have adequate wiring and lighting? How is your parking?

    I had given this serious thought at one time, but this location just won't do.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by tia sarah
    you just becareful who you let in your home.
    Well, I do have two young children, so this is why I decided to just do it on a word of mouth basis. Just people that my friends or family know. I'm a bit concerned about that too! I figure, if it's not someone one of us knows closely, I'll make sure my (Big & Burly lol*) Husband is there with me. Thanks for the input! :)

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonpi
    How are your neighbors and zoning? Are there restrictions against home businesses? Can you provide a work area free from allergens, smoke, kids, and pets? Will your homeowners insurance cover any accidents? Do you have adequate wiring and lighting? How is your parking?

    I had given this serious thought at one time, but this location just won't do.
    Well, the idea is something I can do with my kids. Sort of like a friend of mine who gives piano lessons from her home. I will be upfront that it's just a laid back type of environment, with children who will likely come to see what's going on from time to time. We don't smoke, and if they aren't comfortable with an in-home relaxed environment, I don't think they'll come! Lol* It's definitely not going to be like at the quilt shop - but the price is also to reflect that. We do have a dog who has his own room for company. My girls are very well behaved, and aside from saying hello and peeking in to see what's going on, they should do well and stay out of trouble.

    The insurance and all that is why I don't want to do any "big business" type of thing. I figured maybe a couple of people a month. We have pleny of parking, a large driveway that can accomdate up to about 6 cars, 3 without having to park one in front of the other. If it progresses to anything larger to than a few people a month, however, and I do decide to move in the direction of opening a real business, I'll probably move it out of my home.

    Thanks for the input, definitely things to think about! :)

  7. #7

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    Why not, Nothing Ventured, Nothing gained. Give it a go, Hey it mite be just the thing, not only for a few dollars, but new friends. Keep a positive attitude and go for it. I think its worth a try and genuine effort. It would probaly be more women then men. If it grew out of your space, maybe you could check with your church, or one closet in your area and see if you could rent out there kitchen area once a week. That would be the the best price, and excess to the kitchen, for the ladies that like to bring treats and snacks.

  8. #8
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    Are you thinking of a one-on-one situation or a class of 4-8 students?

    Make up a nice finished sample so people know what to expect. Print up a supply list with a schedule on it.

    Be sure to draft all your own patterns and handouts (accurately!) OR teach from a commercial pattern and make sure every single student has her own purchased copy of that pattern.

    Remember that you can run 100 sewing machines but only ONE iron on most electrical circuits. ;) If you are doing rotary cutting, you will need a lot of table space. Try to organize cutting and sewing so that they don't have to have their mats AND their sewing machines on the table at the same time. (For example, when they come to the first class, tell them to set up the mats but leave the machines on the floor for now.)

    If you have more than two students, have them initial all of their tools with a Sharpie marker when they arrive.

    Good lighting really helps!

    Wear lipstick (seriously, Pepper Cory taught us this in a "how to teach quiltmaking" class I took from her) because it helps people read your lips while you talk. Make sure people take breaks if they look stressed.

    I could come up with a hundred rules and ideas for you... but mostly, remember that even though this may be a job for you, it's just a fun hobby for most people. If they aren't having fun with it, they might as well go buy a quilt at JC Penney. Keep it fun.

  9. #9
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    HEY - I wasn't done.

    One important point - don't take it personally if they don't finish their quilts. People stop quilting for a variety of reasons. 90% of the time, they just don't have the time to finish. I used to get very stressed when people wouldn't finish. I felt so responsible!! But let it go and offer to help when they are ready to pick it up again.

  10. #10
    reva's Avatar
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    Just a tip - - - a friend of mine and I just finished two classes with two ladies. They made VERY simple table runners (3 9 patches) and a border... they finished the piecing and we had to skip a week - - - they took the table runners home to quilt - we still need to show them how to sew on the binding - haven't heard from them since!! EGAD!!! I hope they call us. One was more intersted than the other... we'll see. We charged $10 for each lesson - we sort of let the lessons go a bit longer - we had nothing else to do for the day - wouldn't do that again - and the idea of having a sample ready - GOOD IDEA!! Wish we'd thought of that!!

  11. #11

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    Cathe - Thank you for all of the wonderful advice! The sample is a great idea...I hadn't thought of that yet, but I will definitely do it. I'm thinking of more of a one on one basis, though I figure some people may want to come with a buddy. Until my youngest is in school I don't know if I could handle large classes out of my home. I have never finished a project I've done in a class, lol*, so I definitely won't be offended! Usually because I make so many goofups, I'd rather start from scratch at home with my new found knowledge! My Mother is a sewer but not a big quilter, so she often asks for help with binding and quilting, so I'm thinking the $10 a lesson, on whatever it is they need to learn will work. Either from start to finish, or just a lesson on binding or hand quilting. Whatever they want to learn. SO GLAD you pointed out the one iron issue - I had thought we'd share my iron anyhow, but now I know that is a must. Thank you so much for all of your help! :)

    Reva - I'd planned on being fairly relaxed also, and am not extremely concerned about going over the hour limit, as long as it's within reason and I'm not taken advantage of. But in all honesty, I would probably pay someone else so I could blab about quilting, so, I think this is going to be a lot of fun for me! Lol*

    Thanks for all of the advice and ecouragement, I'm pretty excited now! :)

  12. #12

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    Sounds like a good idea! my father used to have a saying "find something you like doing and make money doing it ' I thought this was good advice Wilma

  13. #13
    Sara Street's Avatar
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    Don't forget the above-mentioned issue of liability insurance! Check with you r homeowner's agent to make sure your covered if someone trips on your front steps and breaks an ankle or whatever! It's sad to have to worry about this, but a reality of life nowdays!

    Good luck!
    Sara

  14. #14

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    Sara - this is a bit of a concern for me. I'm going to sort of go on good faith that since right now anyone who comes will be referred from friends or relatives. Something to think about though. I wouldn't want someone to trip on a toy and then go off and sue me! Geez, what's with the world today! Lol**

  15. #15
    Sara Street's Avatar
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    Good faith is fine, but a quick phone call to your agent may help to reassure you that you already have coverage! Not for a full-fledged business venture, of course, but for the type small scale project you're talking about. Most home-owners policies do cover that type of thing, but it's better to know that you don't need to be worrying needlessly.

    Good luck!
    Sara

    PS AND, in the event that you do have an incident, you have shown your good faith by having done your homework ahead of time!

  16. #16
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    What a great idea.
    Here's another thought, you may want to think about charging a set fee for the class as a whole. That way you would have the $$ up front and they would be more inclined to continue the class until their piece is done. When making your sample, you might want to consider keeping track of your time to see how long it takes from start to finish and guage your fee and class times by that. Even though it's for family, friends, etc. I'd be cautious about them taking advantage of your time and talent because of that fact but you can still be as flexible as you want to be.

    I think the relaxed environment of your home is a great idea for you, your girls, and the students. I know I would like that type of environment myself if it were me taking the class.

    You have a great idea, have fun with it, you never know where it might lead you.

    Now, when does your first class start.....can I be your 1st student? lol

    Deb

  17. #17

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    It's good that you mentioned the pattern thing. ..everyone either gets a copy or has to purchase their own. I get really irritated when I take a class and we don't get the patterns. We have to wait in line to look at the instructor's pattern book. Because I'm new and a very visual person, I might miss what the instructor is showing because I'm not at my machine...I'm at another table looking at her book. Arrrrggggg.

  18. #18

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    Deb G - That's an idea...I will really give that some thought. That's how they tend to do it up at the local quilt shop, and I can really see some advantages to doing it that way. Lol* You can be my first student sure! Lol* I think I'm going to give it a test run on my Mom. She's a sewer, but not so much a quilter, so she could maybe tell me if there's anything I could do to make it easier for her. Thanks for the advice! :)

    Brenda - Oh I TOTALLY understand what you mean. I took a class once, and the woman was basically volunteering her time so I couldn't complain, but it was really difficult because we all had to gather around one of her books. She asked only for a $3 donation that went to support our local library, so, I understand why she did it that way. I will be sure to print off patterns for everyone to have. Thanks for bringing that up! I'm going to start a little notebook of all these great ideas! :)

  19. #19
    Bernadette Harwood's Avatar
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    Hi, I'm sooo busy don't always reply like I would like too. I would love to chat with you all all the time but just don't have the time.
    I have been teaching beginners sewing and quilting for 4 years through Jo Ann Fabrics and just left last summer to teach at home. I love it and the students love the homey atmosphere. I set up my daughters bedroom into a classroom and then we also use my sewing room across the hall and through our bedroom for ironing and cutting. I was nervous at first as I wasn't sure how my students would feel going through my home to get upstairs but it has worked out quite well. Stick to word of mouth only and I will not teach men in my home alone for both of our sakes and reputation. I limit my class to 3 but usually there is one or two as someone has something else come up. More than 2-3 is just too hard as I want them to get their moneys worth and it is too tiring for more. I teach them once a week for 2 hours for $15.00. I let them stay a little longer at my choice. Some people will try to tell you when they will come and want to stop by any time of the day and you need to set the rules and stick by them. If it is convenient you can say yes if not offer a time that is good for you and your family. I'm a softy and can get runned over easily but I'm learning to stick to what is good for my family. One lady keeps trying to get me to start afternoon classes and I can't as I still need time to do my sewing, housework and whatever I want.
    I have all the supplies they need, pins, scissors, needles, seam ripper etc. They supply thread, fabric and notions. I have machines for everyone or they can bring their own. I asked for $1.00 rent for my machines to go towards repairs and only one student was paying me that so I think come fall I'm just raising the price to $16 for everyone whether they use mine or theirs. My repair bill for my 2 embroidery machines and serger was over $400.00. I have 6 classes a week, Tues. and Thurs. evening , Thurs and Fri. morning all for adults and then on Sat. during the school year I have 2 sat. classes for girls and teens. Also I think it is best not to have mother and daughter to come together unless they are older as kids rather listen to parents and or they don't get along so you get to hear them constantly bicker, not obey or whatever. Best to have them separate. I take Sat. off for the summer!!! to spend with family. Most of my students quilt. I have made my own patterns and or they can make whatever they want and I walk them thru the project.
    I also have an Ebay store I started last month, going slow but going fine along with sewing and making alterations for people so I need Mon - Wed. to do my own things. One of these days I'll get a few of my pictures posted for you all to see. I have a couple of patterns I want to get on paper and sell on Ebay as soon as I get a chance to check them out. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer. Stick to word of mouth and put all valuables away. Enjoy the classes, you won't get rich but nothing like seeing a students finished quilt or a new sewer finally learn to sew straight. Another tip is to have someone make table leg extenders to have a table up high for cutting. saves the back. I have rattled on long enough feel free to ask questions, I'll be happy to try to help you. :roll: Bernadette

  20. #20
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    One thing that hasn't been mentioned by anyone..........list sewing skill level in your flyers.--Beginner, Intermediate, etc.
    I volunteered to teach a group at church how to quilt--it was a year project, we meet once a month and they had a finished table runner when we were done.
    The one problem I found was that not everyone who wanted to learn to quilt had even basic sewing skills. One gal brought what was basically a toy sewing machine. Now I'm willing to help anyone who wants to learn, but she did not have any basic sewing skills what so ever. It made it hard to move forward with the class as a whole.
    It will be easier since you are thinking one on one teaching, but an idea of their sewing skills will help you plan the lessons. Ask them if they have sewn before and if so what have they sewn. Someone who has made even a couple of small things will understand your directions and be able to follow them better than someone who's not really sewn anything.
    Just my 2 cents worth! : )
    I hope your venture goes well for you! I'm all for making money at quilting!!!

  21. #21
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    Just want to put in my two bits. I had two friends that wanted to learn to quilt so we decided they would make a Christmas table runner and we would do it once a week for 4 hours each time at my house and it would only take 8 hours. We did that and it worked great, now we have moved onto a lap quilt.
    The problem is I didn't charge them anything, they used my supplies if they didn't have certain things, I made them lunch while they were here and now they are already telling me what want to make next.
    I enjoy being able to show people how to quilt but feel I am being taken advantage of a bit. I will be telling them that from now on there will be a fee for the project and I will figure out how long it should take them to do it and organize our "Classes" that way.
    Make sure you charge something right from the beginning.

  22. #22
    Bernadette Harwood's Avatar
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    That is right, too many people like to get free help. With me teaching at home it is hard to say no to friends. I offer them a class, tell them the time and fee. many try to come at their convenience, you need to stick to class hours. It is hard to say no but I'm getting better at it. I love teaching but it can't come before family. And you need time for yourself.

  23. #23

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    Hi stay at home mom, i would go for it and if you can, try to take in 2-3 at a time if this isn,t too much for you.we have a quilting circle at our church and we have a lot of fun, sometimes beginners come to my home and i will show them things that they know i live in a resident area and i don't have any problems, $10.00 isn't too much. The state i live in Oklahoma City charge $25.00 and up and you have to already know how to use the rotary cutter i hope i encurage you a little. lots of luck Annette

  24. #24
    notsewgood's Avatar
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    I THINK ITS A GREAT IDEA AND THINK IT WILL WORK OUT FOR YOU. PEOPLE WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN. IAM ONE OF THEM!!! IF YOU HAVE A GOOD AREA AND HAVE A GOOD PLAN THAN IT WILL BE FINE. HAVE FUN AND THEY WILL TOO. GOOD LUCK AND, GO FOR IT.HAVE FUN.

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