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

  1. #1
    Senior Member Catherine Marie's Avatar
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    Somethin' for Nothin' and your Quilts for free...

    Oh, man, I think I really did myself a disservice. Agreed to make 2 quilts for 2 little sisters.
    However, no discussion of payment (other than the cost of the materials) was mentioned.
    The materials cost more than $300. It took more than 35 hours of machine and hand work.

    In all fairness, I'm not going to bring up any payment above and beyond the materials.
    I'm going to adopt a wait and see attitude.

    But my question is: Who among you have experienced this and what happened to you?
    Those who sleep under a quilt sleep under a blanket of love.

  2. #2
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    Learned not to open my big mouth!! (Sorry) It seems when I do, that it costs more in time and money than I have and I end up stressing more about it.

  3. #3
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #4
    RST
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    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

  5. #5
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    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.

  6. #6
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Before I do a quilt for anyone I explain how much fabric and batting costs nowadays. I find that people that don't sew think it's cheaper to make things than to buy it from the store and they still think that fabric is $2.00 a yard. I took my friend to the store with me and let her pick out and pay for her own fabrics and then she realized that things don't come cheap! I also let them know that I'm not a factory and making a quilt takes precious time. By the time I finish all of that, they are either glad to pay me or decide that they really didn't want anything so expensive after all. That saves a lot of hard feelings for me in the end.
    Bernie

  7. #7
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    This reminds me when my dad and mom owned a trendy nightclub years ago. Everyone (including me and my brother/sister) always paid the cover charge and for the drinks and food. It was understood that this was the way everyone did it. When I am asked to sew a quilt for somebody as a gift that they will be giving. We set up an excursion to the LQS to pick out the fabric for the pattern they like, or I give them a list of fabric requirements and ask that they pick out what they love for the gift. Usually when they realize how expensive the fabric costs - their desire to have me make a quilt lessens. Non quilters have no idea the love, time, and $$ go into a quilt. I brought in a quilt kit to show a woman at work what I will be making for my first dgd college graduation - and her remark was "You can buy 4 quilts at macy's for that much money!!! Why make it!!!
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  8. #8
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    Oh dear, we tend to do it to ourselves don't we? Chalk it up to lesson learned and move on. I think some people still think that quilts are made from leftover fabric from sewing projects or clothes like in the "old days" or something. Usually a trip to the fabric store can open their eyes. If they don't run away screaming, they really want a quilt and are willing to pay.

  9. #9
    Senior Member fixfido's Avatar
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    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.
    Life has given me so much more than scraps, but I make quilts anyway!
    http://www.wickedcool.etsy.com

  10. #10
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    When we continually sell things in this country made in China, at slave labor costs, they don't get why things cost so "much." I had a woman I know from Facebook, she asked me to make her a quilt from some fabrics I had posted. I sent her the links to buy them, and haven't heard from her about it since.
    Nancy
    Nancy Lee

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    if you want to make money making quilts it is very important to discuss cost before any purchases or cutting a single fabric- people who do not quilt have no idea what goes into making one- i hope the person you made these for expects the $300 you spent already ---or you may be in for an unpleasant surprise---
    and to expect more is kind of wishful thinking- all money matters should be discussed in the beginning.
    since it is next to impossible to really know how long you will take to piece, quilt, bind ect- a "rule of thumb" for pricing arts & crafts is materials x 3---the fact that you spent $300 on materials really makes this an unrealistic amount for a kids quilt- in the future you may want to have the recipient purchase the fabrics/batting ect themselves- then you can just charge for your time.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  12. #12
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    I've posted this before but it bears repeating here. I used to have this posted on the wall in my shop in Dallas, TX, and got many "aha" comments from quilters and non-quilters alike. Now I bring it out on occasions like the one described and say, " I hardly expect someone to actually pay me over $10,000 to make a quilt, although there ARE nationally known quilt artist receiving that regularly, but minimum wage consideration would be nice considering the hours that go into making one, wouldn't you think?"

    What It Really Costs To Make a Quilt


    QUEEN SIZED, MACHINE PIECED, HAND QUILTED

    MATERIALS:

    Fabric 12-16 yards @ $9per yd. $108 - $144 (This was figured 3+ years ago!)
    Batting $25 - $40
    Thread $8 - $16

    Total $ invested $141 - $200


    LABOR HOURS:

    Piecing 20 to 60 hours
    “Setting” (designing your quilt) 10 to 20 hours
    Quilting 100 to 750 hours

    Total hours invested 130 to 810 hours


    TOTAL COST

    Paying $1 per hour (Would you do this type of work for $1 an hour?!)

    Materials $141 - $200
    Labor $130 - $810
    Total $271 - $1070


    Paying minimum wage $7.25 (by law in 6/2009)

    Materials $141 - $200
    Labor (130-810hrs) $942.50 - $5872.25
    Total $1083.50 - $6072.25


    Paying skilled labor wage $20 per hour (Do you consider yourself trained and skilled labor in this craft?)

    Materials $141 - $200
    Labor (130-810hrs) $2600 - $16,200
    Total $2741 - $16,400


    (Found on the Internet 1995; unknown author)

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

  13. #13
    Super Member pastimesquiltdesign's Avatar
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    My good friend asked me to make a queen sized wedding quilt for her 32 year old daughter whom I haven't seen in over 20 years. She said she thought that would make a really nice gift, with no mention as to who would be paying for this really nice gift me or her. I just told her it was too expensive for me to make quilts as gifts. Peggy
    Happy quilting to all of my new friends on the quilting board http://pastimesquiltdesign.blogspot.com

  14. #14
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I *never* give people a price for just the fabric and batting. Anytime I'm spending time making something for somebody else is time I'm getting farther behind on my own stuff. They can pay me for my time or do it themselves.

  15. #15
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    I just say "no", not doing it. Even told my dear friend,"no". Been taken in twice, not again!

  16. #16
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan in VA View Post
    What It Really Costs To Make a Quilt
    Copied and saved this, thank you!

  17. #17
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    What an excellent idea to take the person who wants the quilt to the LQS and let them pick out and pay for the fabric, thread and batting. Even if we don't get paid for the time, stress and/or frustration at least we aren't out the money for materials.
    http://www.oregonquilting.net
    I choose to give my life away for things that last forever

  18. #18
    Senior Member SWEETPEACHES's Avatar
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    My cousin asked me to make a quilt for him to give his sister for christmas. We talked about colors and a pattern and I told him I didn't think it would cost more than 200.
    The quilter for some reason charged me 185 just to quilt it! So, yeah, I was out a lot of money. When I sent it to him, he asked how much and I said "I didn't think it would cost more than 200, so that's fine". so, that's what he sent me. oh well... live and learn

  19. #19
    Super Member Cybrarian's Avatar
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    Nancy Lee has it right. We want everything at cheap prices, but then wonder where all the jobs have gone. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. My husband has made us some beautiful furniture pieces. People will say, why don't you make it and sell it? Well, we have a 5 piece entertainment center, an original one of a kind design. To make it for someone else, you are looking at $11,000 minimum. How many people do you know who would be willing to pay that? Yes, I know the market exists, but we have no idea how to tap that market and unless it was a commission, we don't have the money for speculative pieces. My husband is not young so he isn't looking for a new career. He does what he likes when he feels like it and that is all he wants his crafting to be at this stage of our lives. Quilting is the same way, unless you are willing to put in the time and energy to develop a realistic market, having it as a creative outlet and helping those in need is enough. Family is tricky, as we all have different dynamics and levels of communication. Having spent many years communicating with students, parents and fellow teachers I would like to humbly offer this observation: What we assume someone else means or what they assume we mean is rarely completely accurate. You have to say what you mean and mean what you say. Just sayin'...
    “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest”~Jesus

  20. #20
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    I have a friend in the moving business and every time someone in the church was moving they just expected he would do it for them for free. One day he asked the jeweler if he could get a ring for his soon to be bride since he had been expected to donate his business for free maybe the jeweler should too. Well, you can imagine the look on the jewelers face when he understood that because he owned the store he would be expected to give his goods for free. They never had anyone else asking to be moved for free. These people that expect quilts for free wouldn't give you the time of day for free. We just need to stand up for ourselves.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Dyan's Avatar
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    I had a woman I worked with ask me to put together a quilt, she had several blocks her kids has made with that liquid embroidery, but it was sentimental to her. I bought the sashing, batting and backing, hand quilted (not a lot) but I had a little money and time in it. She asked me "how much do I owe you" not sure what to charge, but was hoping for at least 50.00. Well, she handed me 10.00, Never again, If I make something for someone the amount is discussed upfront.
    Dyan

  22. #22
    Junior Member Christine George's Avatar
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    I used to be heavy into cross stitch and I had a favorite shop I went to. One of the reasons I liked her was because she carried imported linens and fabrics. She was smart. Once I told her what I wanted she would calculate how much it would cost and tell me BEFORE she cut anything. There were a few times when I said "what?" and went with a lower priced piece. For a quilter that might mean that your client would go somewhere else. None of these civilians understand how much it costs to put together an heirloom.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sept97's Avatar
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    when I'm "asked" to make something I always tell THEM to buy the materials. If I make it as a surprise obviously I don't expect any payment

  24. #24
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    I always so no because I tell them quilting is my FUN!! and if I begin making them for others it becomes a job!! I have enough work and I don't need more work. Usually they understand that statement.
    niftynickel

  25. #25
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    Oh I do it my self every time when something comes up with grand kids I say oh I will make a quilt for them. Gees! Go back to mom will!

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