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Gifts or Commissions-Blurred Lines

Gifts or Commissions-Blurred Lines

Old 12-15-2015, 06:26 AM
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Default Gifts or Commissions-Blurred Lines

I love making/giving gifts of quilts or other sewing projects BUT only if I am certain the recipient will appreciate it and more importantly want it. My friend embroidered towels for her daughter in law but was so upset to see them relegated to the cat basket!

But I have had three uncomfortable experiences this year where items were either commissioned or should have been treated as a commission but were expected as gifts. How do you say “no” or decide when it passes the "gift" mark. How do you say actually this is going to cost £XXX? Especially to a request for a quilt or other handcrafted item from friends, family or work colleagues without causing bad feeling or coming across as a cheapskate? Sometimes I think they don't realise how much time and money can go into it.

How would you decide when to say no or mention payment.


Last edited by QuiltnNan; 12-15-2015 at 06:50 AM. Reason: remove venting
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:53 AM
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Hetty, you are a very generous person. I think you handled the in-law problem very well. I was once burned with the boss situation, and now NEVER purchase anything before I get the deposit, which is large enough to cover the materials. You could have told your elderly neighbor that you only had enough time for the basic bag, but sometimes it's difficult and these things snowball. I would do a quick calculation of the amount you would charge to make a duplicate in case the neighbor wants you to make one for all her friends! And if you agree, get the deposit first!
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:57 AM
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I NEVER do any quilting for $, and say so when asked to make something.
If a person still wants something, and I do not consider giving them a gift, I give them the name of The Doormouse. It's a local quilt shop and I assume they have a list of quilt makers that would be happy to work with them. I tell them my list of projects is so long that it will be 30 years before I can add their name to the list so I am not taking anymore names.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:17 AM
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I did not see the unedited post, but here is my thought.

If someone asks you to make something for them, it does not met the definition of a gift. If someone wants you to make something so they can give it away, it does not meet the definition of a gift either.

So the next question is who is paying for the supplies? And most importantly whose time is being used to make the item?

You have every right to put a price on your time and or decide that your time is too valuable to spend on making items for others.

I have a dear friend who I truly love, but when she asked me to make a memory quilt for her son using his baby sling material as the feature fabric, I just said no. She did ask again, but I held firm and gave her the name of a local guild. I know that some guilds will announce commission requests.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:26 AM
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I make all my quilts as gifts and usually try to use colors they like plus ask in a way they don't know what I'm doing into what style of quilt they might like...........traditional or modern. By the time they receive it they've forgotten all about it most time. Right now I'm making a quilt for every single person and couple in my congregation. Now that they know this I've had one person come up and tell me what colors she hates which is good to know but then goes on to tell me she wants a black backing. Its just the way she told me that irked me plus she's also the same person that whenever something is brought to the Hall to share, she grabs 1st whether she can use it or not but she rarely brings anything herself and when she does its whatever she has left over and not in good shape. Anyway, I'm still making her quilt and luckily it didn't have any of her hated colors and I did go ahead and get some black backing only because I found it on sale at the time but she one of those sort of people you hate to do anything for.

I feel once I've given a gift whatever it may be, what the recipent does with it is no longer my concern. Of course I hope they enjoy it and use it but if they decide to use it to cover a tractor (live in farming country) or use it on their bed is their choice. It will just remind me not to make anything else though. I find most folks that don't sew knows just how much time, money and effort is put into making these gifts whether its a quilt or something smaller. But its all made with love...................most times as we're not obligated..............just want to.
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:43 AM
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Like RugosaB, I do not quilt for $$. If someone asks about making something for $$, I tell them straight out that if I did it for $$, it would be a job, and I already have a job. Maybe, after I retire, I will be able to start my own cottage business, but until that time, don't even ask.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:17 AM
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I would make up a supply list and say, here are the supplies needed for your _______. You purchase the supplies and I will begin working on it.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:22 AM
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I think most people think that because we love our craft that we will just love making them something. If in your mind the request is a commission then your first question to the person making the request should be "how much money are you expecting to spend on this quilt". This should alert the person that they aren't getting a freebie. You then whip out a sheet that shows an estimated cost for each size quilt you make.
I don't quilt for money. When someone asks me about making a quilt for money I show them a lap quilt and say "it cost me around $300 to make that lap quilt". Usually they go quiet and don't mention it again. I think they are thinking I'm crazy and they can buy a quilt made in China for $49.99 at Macys. My sister has the same problem with people wanting a free painting.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:23 AM
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QuiltnNan – My sincere apologies for overstepping the rules of the board.

Paper Princess – Thank you for your kind words. Buying without payment was my own fault but since the quilts went to Linus, then good came out of it. As for elderly neighbour – I am looking it as a “skill building” experience such as learning to design and draw patterns, bag construction, insetting circular bases and piping.

RugosaB – I never thought about referring to LQS and I should have! When I am ready to take on more work, then I might have a little talk with them.

Tothill – I agree with your definition of a gift. In the future, I will have to ensure the others are in agreement too.

Snooze2978 – Wow – a quilt for everyone in your congregation. That is dedication. While it is impossible to please all the people all the time… I give with the hope it will be liked however if they want to cover the tractor with it (I live in the country too), fine with me, but I would have rather made them a tractor cover. No… wait… could you imagine having to do the binding on a tractor cover!

Many thanks everyone.

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Old 12-15-2015, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by carolaiken View Post
My sister has the same problem with people wanting a free painting.
My late husband was an artist and illustrator and when people asked for a drawing (for free) he would say no and tell them a price and if they remarked it was a lot for a quick drawing, he told them they were paying for 30 years of his experience!
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