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Thread: Somethin' for Nothin' and your Quilts for free...

  1. #51
    Senior Member gypsylady5's Avatar
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    Absolutely right. Get the agreement up front and make sure they know how much it costs to make a quilt and how much work and time goes into it. If they don't agree to your price, don't let them have the quilts - sell them to someone else who will pay price for them. Also, don't buy a thing without 1/2 down to begin with to cover your expenses. The other 50% should be for your labor and time. Don't sell yourself short. Do your math first and you won't be unhappy next time!

    How about some photos of your projects?



    Quote Originally Posted by RST View Post
    I think that people sometimes assume that because you like quilting, and do it as a hobby (presumably) that they need not pay you for your time and skills. They also mostly likely underestimate how much time goes into a quilt. And faced with a $300+ total for two quilts, they are likely to think that is a lot of money for two "blankets", and never once think that really, for skilled custom quilt making, they should be doubling that figure.

    So, take it as a lesson learned, and in future, if you want to do a quilt for pay, talk specific numbers from the get-go, and get it all in writing. If you don't mind occasionally doing a favor for appreciative recipients, then so be it -- take pictures of your work so you can enjoy them, and think happy thoughts about two little girls who have nice new quilts. And tell them that this is a one time thing just for them, otherwise all their friends will think they are doing you a favor by giving you that same kind of "business".

    RST

    RST
    Sharon (Gypsylady)

  2. #52
    Super Member crafterrn1's Avatar
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    I have been there done that! I tell people wanting me to make a quilt for them that they can't afford it! I advise them to buy a quilt from Pennys or Walmart telling them it is poorer quality than mine but much cheaper! I do love to see the faces of the people I tell that they can't afford the quilts. Priceless! That being said I make quilts for my daugther to give even purchasing the fabric. She helps in the color choices and I make it. She would pay if she could. Iknow the recipents love the quilts. Luann
    Live Love and Laugh Enough!

  3. #53
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    The very best thing to learn is to say the word "NO". I had to learn it years ago and it was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I used to be taken advantage of, now that's an old term. I was run ragged because everyone thought that I would do it for free and not mind. Finally I was taught to say NO. Say what you mean but don't say it Mean is something to learn also. I used to bake Wilton cakes for family and friends. Then everyone wanted me to bake and decorate wedding cakes for their family members but for no pay. Excuse me, but that is serious work. I called right back and cancelled two of them, never felt bad about it at all. Same way with quilting, if you want what I have, then you pay for it. Sorry about your situation, but learn to say NO....practice it now... outloud.....

  4. #54
    Super Member orangeroom's Avatar
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    Like so many who've already responded, I've been there, done that, a few times. First my mom kept whining 'Gee, I'd love one of those. Why don't you make ME one. I AM your mother, you know.' I informed her that they weren't free or anywhere close to free. Finally I told her, 'You pay for it and I'll make you one.' She did. She kept finding fabric that she liked while we were on a shop hop. When she totaled up all her receipts, she was shocked! She hadn't even bought the batting, backing or paid for it to be quilted! I've not heard another word from her on the subject since, other than she'll be happy with that quilt for life.

    Another friend of mine, who didn't quilt, wanted one for herself after seeing my mom's. Told her the same thing. Love her like a sister, so same offer. She was dumbfounded when she had to keep forking over money for fabric, then batting, then the quilting. By the way, neither offered me a cent for my time, nor did I ask.

    Same friend wanted me to make one for her daughter, said she'd pay me for my time. I was only going to use material that I had in my stash, she was aware of this. She had me measure out exactly how much material I used and she paid me $10/yard. Exactly what I paid for the material when I bought it. Not a cent more. She supplied the backing. Worked out to be about 3 yards of material. Can't say how many hours. I didn't count.

    Same friend wanted a quilt for her son. I told her I'd only make it if she helped. She now knows how to use a rotary cutter, ruler, how to iron, how to square a block, how difficult it can be to arrange blocks in a quilt, and how to use a rental long arm! None of it was a piece of cake for her. She had carpal tunnel issues. She also said her children are set for life. She doesn't want me to make HER do more. She's SO NOT a quilter type person. She took me out to dinner once during the middle of the last quilt. I'm sure she has no intention of thanking me in any other way.

    A co-worker approached me the other day. She wanted me to make her daughter a dance recital outfit without a pattern, because she knew I sewed! The short of it was I told her sewing can be enjoyable if we did it together, and if she had a pattern. I told her I'm not a professional seamstress. She decided to ask one of the other women who quilt at work.

    Good luck. I'd love to hear from you, by pm, if you do ever get compensated for your time. My guess is that they will assume that $300 will have been padded to include something for your time. Regular people are clueless.
    Go forth and sew!

  5. #55
    Senior Member fabrichore's Avatar
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    I find that I can never get the price I want for my things, labor is definitely not part of my pricing because I would never sell anything, it breaks my heart when people look at my things and say how lovely they are but they can go to walmart and buy it much cheaper, (are you kidding me) but I love to sew so I have learned to price them low and get my name out there.
    Kelley Donahue
    Phillipston, MA

  6. #56
    Senior Member quiltmau's Avatar
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    my friend and I would go to LQS and I would buy material and thread for her to make me quilts. No time frame. We would do this every time I visited-twice a year. She soon was inundated with material. She warned me if I bought one more piece she would send it all home with me! I did and she did!! LOL

    I now quilt-best thing she could have done for me. And while I really did appreciate the time and creativity she put into the items she made me and cherish each one-I can understand why she told me what she did. I now have enough material to keep me busy for a long time!!

    Thanks Janie!!

  7. #57
    Senior Member omaluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    I usually quilt only for those who are really special to me and whom I know will appreciate it. With that said, only once for payment (learning curve you know)...my daughter's best friend wanted an outer space quilt for her 7 year old son. After seeing the fabric she wanted to use, I was really excited to do it. Her friend could only afford $150 and of course I had way more into it by the time all was said & done, but the excitement from the recipient made it all worthwhile! He was beside himself and couldn't hug me enough. He went straight to his bed and made it up and couldn't say enough times "my name is on it"! No hard feelings here at all, but I do have to say it was the most stressful quilt I have made to date. The whole dynamic changes when you know someone is paying you. I so wanted it to be perfect that I didn't enjoy the process nearly as much as I usually do. From now on I will stick to gifts!

  8. #58
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    This describes my situation exactly. I have never been asked to make a quilt for anyone, for free or otherwise. I make quilts for all babies in my large family and any friends who have cancer. I'm puzzled as to what kind of people expect things for free...are they as generous with their time and money?? Or are they greedy??? No offense to anyone....this whole situation just puzzles me.....

    Quote Originally Posted by bakermom View Post
    This comes up pretty regular on here and honestly it always confuses me. My family and friends all know I sew, quilt, whatever and none of them would ever expect me to provide my skills like this. nor would I expect anything like that from them.

  9. #59
    Junior Member vjjo743's Avatar
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    It just amazes me how "dumb like a fox" people are, everyone know labor is the most expenisve part of any custom job. Parts and labor, have any of these people heard of that? I just think people want something for nothing. I just can't believe people can really take a handcrafted item and not even offer to do something in return even if they can't afford to pay. It baffles the mind. By the way I did the same thing I made a quilt as a gift, my first one. I embroidered the moneky designs (at least 40 hours of machine embroidery) and sent it to her. Of course she was delighted and asked how much would you charge? I said at least $300. and I could hear her gasp on the phone. Now mind you this lady doesn't think anything of wasting hundreds of dollars at the slot machines or eating every meal out. Since then I feel the same way you'all feel, the quilt has to be for a special person and they need to know the worth of the gift. Isn't there an old saying, Give away your time and people think it is worthless, (something like that). I am now doing quilts etc. for my enjoyment.
    Vicki

  10. #60
    Senior Member Landers's Avatar
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    I learned my lesson. when a group ask me to make a quilt for a fundraiser, I reply back with: When you buy the fabric, I will choose a pattern to go with it.
    Carolyn

  11. #61
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    I have been sewing all my life but only this past year began quilting. I prefaced my start with conversations among friends about it being a "business" and sold my first quilt just before Christmas. She paid for the fabric when we picked it out and then paid $250 for my time...not a bad deal but hardly profitable...it was king size and fully machine quilted!

  12. #62
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    "A close friend"???????? IMHO, That seems either ignorant or very mean....to me anyway. I'm sorry that happened to you....must have really hurt.

    Quote Originally Posted by coopah View Post
    I was showing a close friend a quilt that had been pieced by me and hand quilted by the Amish. I thought it turned out nicely. A couple of months later we were discussing her son's upcoming wedding and gifts. I told her that I'd probably be giving them money so they could buy what they wanted. She replied, "Oh, that's better than an old, ugly quilt, anyway." WOW! Why didn't she just slap me? So, beauty is, indeed in the eyes of the beholder and no one, except other quilters, understands the work and love that go into these works of heart.

  13. #63
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    Here's an idea I got from a skilled carpenter. When he went to look at a job, and then gave an estimate, if the owner objected to the price he would say, "Do you want to save some money?" Always a "Yes" "Then do it yourself." That always shut them up!! LOL!

  14. #64
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    Since I don't make tops, this is a lot easier for me. I tell them to buy (or make) the top, the backing and the batting and I charge $150, $200, or $250 (depends on size) for the quilting. I also inform them that it will be a long time for hand-quilting. That's all I charge because I enjoy doing it. I figure if I can get paid to do my hobby, it's a good thing!

  15. #65
    Super Member KyKaren1949's Avatar
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    I always tell them upfront what it will cost. What gets me is that people ask me often if I will "donate" a quilt for one cause or another. I usually tell them what it costs to make one--> fabric, batting, thread, backing, quilting and tell them I'll donate my time if they pay the costs. When they're told what it costs...they never take me up on my offer!!
    Karen in Kentucky

  16. #66
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    Some folks also think that just because one may have a lot of fabric in one's stash - that somehow it just "appeared" there - with no idea of the money tied up in "inventory"

  17. #67
    Senior Member sylviak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixfido View Post
    I recently had listed some quilts of mine for sale on Craigslist. They were all lap sized quilts that I pieced and machine quilted (in quite a lot of detail, if I do say so myself). One person e-mailed me to say she was interested in the quilts and asked for the price, I told her $85. She said that was "way more than she expected". I really wondered what on Earth she did expect to pay for a handmade lap quilt.....$20? People who don't quilt really have absolutely no clue how much the materials alone cost, nevermind the time and effort involved.
    I made a baby quilt for a gal to give to her new granddaughter a few years back. I wasn't used to sewing for other people and was surprised myself at what I was out just for fabric and batting! I charged her $75, which was for materials and quilting. I didn't even charge her for the time I put in making the quilt. I had told her she could probably go out and buy one cheaper than I could make one, but she insisted I do it. She was shocked at the $75 and made a disparaging remark. Now I give an up-front estimate before I do a job. I'm still pretty cheap, but I at least make something out of it! And I don't do many for other people....I try to stick with my family...and that keeps me pretty busy.

  18. #68
    Super Member anniesews's Avatar
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    Off topic but you must like Dire Straights too. Maybe you should have given them the chicks.

  19. #69
    Junior Member thevintageseamstress's Avatar
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    All I asked for was for a picture of the teen with the quilt at home in her room so I could add closer to my blog story about it... its been three weeks plus... saw lots of pictures of this teen on fb doing this and that but not one of her quilt. She barely said thank you and she is the one that asked me to make it, and I did it for free, no money up front no how because I knew she didn't have it and because of her situation at home I really wanted to show her some love. I have asked her twice since for the picture... I won't ask again. I have lots of people that ask me for a quilt but not one has ever said they would even buy the fabric, they have no clue. So now I am trying to do some stuff I want to do, for me!
    Did you say you dropped the pie!

  20. #70
    Super Member paintmejudy's Avatar
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    If it were my daughter, she would have had to buy a gift, I would feel perfectly justified in asking for materials cost. Since it was my daughter, I might let the labor slide.
    Quote Originally Posted by mighty View Post
    I am right now. My daughter asked me to make two baby quilts for friends of hers at work. I am almost finished with one. Did not expect her to pay me to do the work but materials would have been nice! Not a word from her about the cost and not sure I want to have upset over it, but still just not right. Money does not grow on trees.
    When life gives you scraps, make a colorful happy quilt.

  21. #71
    Super Member nstitches4u's Avatar
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    We have all been there. I have a machine embroidery business and am constantly being asked by friends to make a "little something" for them or for them to give as a gift. We buy our shirts, caps, jackets, etc. from suppliers, but they usually want to go buy a cheap shirt at Walmart and have us digitize a design to put on it. They don't seem to understand that the digitizing takes a lot of time. They think all you have to do is push a button and it is done. If they offer to pay at all, it doesn't begin to cover the actual cost. We buy shirts wholesale and then charge retail price plus the digitizing and setup charge. We still don't make a lot of money, but when we do things for family, and friends (and friends of friends!) we don't break even. We are retired now and because of the presumption of family and friends that we "wouldn't mind doing a little something as a favor" we are shutting the business down. It just isn't worth it any more.

  22. #72
    Super Member quiltingfan's Avatar
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    I have always told them to buy there own fabric and I would make one, and they never have made me make them one. I only make them if I want to. Solves the problem.

  23. #73
    Super Member quiltingfan's Avatar
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    That is sad. I hope you have more reasons than just rude neighbors, friends, and family for shutting the business down. I would never presume on family to give me something when they get paid for there service from others. It is like taking food out of there mouths. In this day and age I would imagine more people realize that but I guess not. Well, just wanted to let you know my heart goes out to you. Beth


    Quote Originally Posted by nstitches4u View Post
    We have all been there. I have a machine embroidery business and am constantly being asked by friends to make a "little something" for them or for them to give as a gift. We buy our shirts, caps, jackets, etc. from suppliers, but they usually want to go buy a cheap shirt at Walmart and have us digitize a design to put on it. They don't seem to understand that the digitizing takes a lot of time. They think all you have to do is push a button and it is done. If they offer to pay at all, it doesn't begin to cover the actual cost. We buy shirts wholesale and then charge retail price plus the digitizing and setup charge. We still don't make a lot of money, but when we do things for family, and friends (and friends of friends!) we don't break even. We are retired now and because of the presumption of family and friends that we "wouldn't mind doing a little something as a favor" we are shutting the business down. It just isn't worth it any more.

  24. #74
    Super Member seamstome's Avatar
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    The only person that does this to me is my baby sister and I dont mind because she does other things for me and is very generous with birthdays, etc. So it all washes in the end.

    The rest of the people, I ignor.

  25. #75
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    This happened recently at my job.I was asked for a "memory" quilt for a coworker and then she asked how much would the materials be.I said that I could give her a list of yardage I need for the quilt and she could pick up the fabric.She said she would have NO IDEA what would look good together so would I mind doing it.I did;then made the quilt (and quilted it).Then I gave it to her,(it was for her husband for a xmas present);we went on vacation from work the day after that.When we came back she paid me for the material I had bought for it(queen size) and had gave me a "tip" for doing such a wonderful job!The tip was 80$.So my lesson was learned that if or when someone asks for a quilt- I most definitely include my portion along with the cost of the fabric.
    The man who speaks the truth is always at ease

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