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Thread: Prices and material choices?

  1. #1
    Member Nurse2be's Avatar
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    Prices and material choices?

    I am a newer quilter (though compared to some on this site I am ashamed to call myself that!)lol

    a little bit of back story...(skip this paragraph if uninterested lol)

    I am self taught in all aspects of the phrase. Taught myself to use the machine and all I made was purses and side bags! I got tired of hand stitching them lol. The quilting thing began with making a good friend a baby quilt. Then others wanted one. Then a friend wanted a memory quilt of baseball shirts and jerseys. As more people asked for them it became harder and harder to figure out pricing. And then we would have to meet to go shopping together...

    My question...
    When making baby/memory quilts to sell how do you choose materials? Do they go shopping with you? Do you just give them color choices? Do you text them samples while you shop? How do you do it if you don't live nearby and are trying to make it custom to their liking?

  2. #2
    Super Member MartiMorga's Avatar
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    You are taking on a venture I have not. I can't imagine how you would do it. If you let them pick the materials - I give you a lot of credit. I have seen some materials I just couldn't sew!!! It sounds like you are a very creative person and will have a ball doing this. Good Luck!
    God Bless Quilters and Sewers
    Marti

  3. #3
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    I have not done baby quilts, but I made quilts for friends by having them select from pictures of quilts I had made. I gave each about 8 patterns I was comfortable making (I had only been quilting a year at the time). Once they selected the pattern, I did fabric selection three ways. With friends who live here in town, I went shopping with them. I gave each a picture of the quilt pattern they had selected, with arrows pointing to how much fabric each part needed....sort of a recipe for a quilt. They bought the fabric. With another friend, I did the same thing, but she lives four hours away. She bought the fabric she wanted and mailed it to me. Then with another friend, she selected the pattern but wanted me to buy the fabric here. (She lives all the way across country.) She told me she wanted 8 shades of green. I emailed her pictures of fabric in my stash, but the greens weren't right, so I took pictures at Hobby Lobby of fabric and emailed those. She easily knew which fabrics she preferred.

    This way each friend got what she wanted and were involved in the process. Everyone was happy. Now, I admit, I did not charge any of these friends for making their quilts, so I can't help you with pricing...but then you didn't ask that. By buying the fabric, my friends did realize that quilting is not a cheap thing.

    Hope this helps some...

    Dina

  4. #4
    Member Nurse2be's Avatar
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    Awesome Dina thank you so much! Yes, I know pricing is difficult. But I truly enjoy doing this and I need to get better. I have fun making them so charging way less than what I've seen people charge is ok to me for now lol.

  5. #5
    Super Member Emma S's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you jumped into the deep end of the pool. Always glad to hear about new quilters finding us.

    I have never made quilts for customers but communication seems like it would be the key. Depending on the individual, some probably want a lot of input while others not so much. There are so many sites available, I would put together a list that a customer could refer to and of course keep pictures of past projects. More than anything enjoy the process. Hope this is the beginning of a long and pleasurable journey.

  6. #6
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    As far as choosing fabrics, you will want colors that you like working with, or it could get boring very quickly. You must be fair to yourself.

    Also, if you are selling them you want to consider cost to you.

    I recently did a lot of figuring about materials, thread, batting, electricity for the machine and the light, and my time (which I find to be precious). I tried to include everything as though it were a business. A real business would account for all of these things, even wear and tear on the machine. After an hour, I came up with a standard. Nineteen cents a square inch. That may not sound like much, but a moderate sized lap quilt of 45 x38 would be $324.90.
    Last edited by Boston1954; 06-15-2013 at 03:14 AM.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

  7. #7
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    When I make quilts for people I ask them some questions, First is there a theme or color. Then boy or girl, man woman? Baby or bed size? I get to choose the pattern of the quilt using the parameters set down. We can go shopping together or trust me to do it. I will say most people are afraid of fabric shops and when they see the cost it scares them away.

    You MUST get a down payment for the fabric cost, including thread, batting and backing.

    When you look at a pattern there is a material list. Add the total yardage up and set an average price for the cost of fabric per yard. In my area it runs from 7.00 to 15.00 so I split the difference and charge 11.00 bucks per yard. Times this by the # of yards in the quilt. Get this payment before you start the project.

    Then you have to figure your time which is totally up to you to decide what you are worth and keep track of the # of hours you spend on the quilt. Patterns can be simple or complex so they take different amount of time which can only be averaged. Then the cost of quilting a simple pattern is usually done by the inch which varies around the country.

    Write up an estimate sheet with all the specs on it. Have the person understand it is an estimate and the price my vary by 10 to 12 percent. Have them sign it. This is a contract and protect you from those who might change their mind after you finish a project.

    There is a lot more to learn but these are basics that I use when doing contracted work. Always remember you are creating a work of art not just a quilt and you should treat yourself like an artist who gets commissioned to do a project.
    Good luck with your quilting and keep on enjoying it!
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  8. #8
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    Welcome to the fold!

    I find that people either know exactly what quilt pattern or fabric they want, or they have only a vague idea about colors but no concrete idea of how to find it. I have never gone shopping in person with a client (no objection to doing it, just never worked out that way). For those people who have a vague idea, I keep sending them links to things I think would be appropriate until they see something they like. For people with concrete ideas, I send them to major online fabric retailers (Hancock's of Paducah, for example) and suggest that they browse, set up a wishlist, and email it to me.

    I charge a fixed amount for the work, and then add the specific cost of the materials for the project. If I use stash materials I use an average estimate of the cost, which gets tricky because most of my stash was bought over the years, and on sale, and I really don't know what its current cost would be!

    I am comfortable with my system, even though on those occasions when I have calculated the hours I have put into my work I rarely get more than about $3/hour...I just love doing it! I have never had any problem with people not reimbursing me, but I have started writing out formal contracts as an aide-memoire - amazing how many details you forget when you don't start a project until several months after you discuss it with your client!

    I am glad that you have found a good market so quickly. It is a lovely confidence booster to have people eager to buy your work.

    Alison

  9. #9
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    I would make about 6 baby quilts, in a mixture of colors and fabrics. Keep track of your time and money. You can then mark them up for sale for baby gifts, but it will give you an idea of the time and cost of each. You can take pictures of the quilts for an album to show potential buyers, and talk to the about fabric- they supply the fabric (you will know the yardage each takes), or the price if you supply the fabric.

    Another idea that I have seen, is that a quilt is made up of blocks, where the baby's outgrown onesies, little outfits are machine appliqued on the blocks, with simple 9 patch blocks interspersed. Looks nice, and is a great remembrance. Congratulations on your new endeavor, it sounds like you have a niche market going for you!!
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  10. #10
    Member Nurse2be's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much! Every bit of it is helpful appreciated insight! I truly love doing it and it is honestly a stress reliever for me! (Even though working with my sad little machine can be stressful!) lol

  11. #11
    Junior Member Retiredandquilting's Avatar
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    I make a lot of quilts for other people and give them the choice: (1) tell me your colors, and I will pick the fabrics. (2) Lets go shopping together and select the fabrics. (3) You go purchase your own fabrics. I also have a book of blocks that I give them to look at. I have selected a few blocks that they might like to choose from, and have the yardages already calculated ahead of time. I think different people will select different choices. I have done some each way, with considerable success.
    Sue In Bloomfield, NY

  12. #12
    Junior Member Janie67's Avatar
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    I ask them what colors they want and then look for fabric in those colors. I give them a price range based on fabrics and size. If they want specific fabrics that will cost more I raise the price accordingly. I pick the pattern which is usually fairly simple and quick to assemble. The most expensive quilts I have made are a giant dahlia and my current project an oversize king out of 30's reproduction fabrics which you cannot find on sale. I have probably made over 20 quilts for others. You can never get enough money for labor but you are giving someone something you created and they cannot get elsewhere......

  13. #13
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    Normally I ask for color preferences and if they want an old-fashioned look or a modern look. Once, years ago, I gave someone more leeway, and I ended up having to sew together cotton fabric, sheet fabric, corduroy and minkie. After I was released from the institution, I thought I had learned my lesson. Recently a friend of the family wanted a quilt for her sister's baby. She wanted to choose the colors, fabrics, etc. She didn't want a standard pattern so I had to make something up and the fabrics/colors were the WORST EVER!!! I hated working on it, and I hated the finished product. She loved it and her sister loved it; however, when she sent me a picture of it with the baby, my eye started to twitch all over again!! Moral of the story...you're the designer, only give away as much power as you feel comfortable with. You want to enjoy working on your projects. Good luck!

  14. #14
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    Just remember when making a quilt for someone else, YOU don't have to like the colors, they do and if they are paying for it, don't let it bother you, just make it. As long as your not suck with it most likely you will never see it again so don't sweat the small stuff, will not make a bit of dfference in future. When my daughter got killed in a car accident at 15 I stopped worrying about small stuff, to many big things we have to contend with.

  15. #15
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    After making a baby quilt for someone who picked both the pattern and the colors and the fabric, I told myself I would never do that again. Hated every minute of working with colors I just did not like and procrastinated at every step. What I've done since then is to ask the customer what general "feeling" they want from their quilt and I will choose the fabric and colors (sometimes with the expert help of people on this board!). One customer said she wanted a "naturey" feel while waving her fingers through the air. I ended up making her an attic windows quilt out of leafy batiks with some life-like birds and florals worked in. She paid me twice what I had asked. Another customer asked that the quilt for her baby be "bright and colorful and cheery". This weekend I'm working on a quilt for a baby whose mother had asked for a "spa-like" feel - I'm making aqua houses on a white background. I always tell the customer that if they don't like what I've made, then they are under no obligation to buy it. Good luck with your new endeavour - you'll find the way of working that is perfect for you.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

  16. #16
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse2be View Post
    Thank you all so much! Every bit of it is helpful appreciated insight! I truly love doing it and it is honestly a stress reliever for me! (Even though working with my sad little machine can be stressful!) lol
    Just want to say I love your pink!
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  17. #17
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    Make sure you agree on a price for your work. My daughter altered 5 bridesmaid gown. She spent between 30or40 hours on the dresses. Used her needles sewing machine thread. Was suppose to get $100 ended up with a gift card she didn't want or need. She was mad and didn't say anything. So make sure you give a price. And be sure to get it in writing

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