Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to value your quilts for commssion enquiries

Recently a friend wrote to me saying she was being asked to do a couple commssioned bed quilts and would like my input on how to charge for that.  My first thought was "Me? I don't really think I can offer much advice but here goes: "
And her response is what prompted this posting.
You never know what you know, that others don't. 
In other words, I shouldn't assume everyone knows what I know
(given that I seem to be the last person to find out anything!)
I'm simply posting our correspondence in hopes that if there are others out there with similar questions this may help you. 
I highly encorage you to visit the website I give for Sam Hunter Designs. I link to her article directly on how to value your work as she so succinctly puts it:
 'We are SEW worth it!'
I deleted her name for privacy but here's the rest:
Dear XXX
Congrats on your commissions! Not sure how much help I can give you regarding pricing though.  I will typically ask the client what size, what type of pattern, and how many fabrics and what their budget is.  I do personally offer payments and ALWAYS take a non-refundable 25% deposit.  There is also a contract that both the client and I sign with all the costs listed.    I recently did a queen sized quilt that I created the pattern for (simple keyhole pattern) and I charged $xxx.00 as she is a friend.  I really should have considered sending it out to be quilted and figured that into my calculations and if you haven't thought of that and don't have a longarm or feel that desire to quilt it yourself I offer my advice that I wish I would have done on the last one I made. I feel that while I did quilt it and it was lovely; sending it to a friend of mine who is a long armer with preloaded quilting patterns would have really been great but there again I would have had to add at minimum another $200 not to mention shipping both ways.  *another note you may not know is that most longarmers will back, batt & bind your quilt if you like as well.   
I go by materials, time, and effort.  How simple is the pattern?  How much piecing am I doing?  I know what I make hourly at my day job so I use that as a starting point for labor and go up given I value my artistic and creative side much more than my insurance agent hourly rate. When you add it up you'll find the cost grows pretty quickly.  If you aren't interested in making any profit on the deal (to replace your fabric stash) you may want to just leave the final total from the materials and degree of difficulty and be done.  I don't do that, my labor is worth something so I add that figure in. Then I look at the total.  If it's way over what the client has suggested or budgeted I will offer a three payment installment (in addition to the deposit).  If that is still not going to work then I simplify the pattern, or materials. All negotiated with the client so we are both happy.  
I also suggest you check out Sam Hunter's post on pricing your work (for bed sized type quilts) also.  (her site is here: )Hunter's Design Studio  she is a fabulous artist and her insight and cost calculations are a great starting point. Here's her specific article I mentioned above. What's it worth?
Cool patterns + sassy stuff! And the home of We Are $ew Worth It!
Preview by Yahoo
That's all I can think of at the moment.  Don't forget to make a fabulous label for the quilt and you might consider making a couple toss pillows with any scraps you have.  One recent commission I did- I know the woman has a prized feline in her heart so out of scraps I made small version of her quilt for her pet.  They are both deeeeelighted and she was overwhelmed! 
Feel free to email me anytime, I'm happy to help with any questions you may have. 
Happy sewing!
Here was her generous response that really made me feel good that I helped her:
Wow, Stacy! You are a wealth of knowledge! Thank you so much for all of this information. You have helped tremendously. I really can't thank you enough. I definitely agree with you that our time and labor should be compensated. And I love the idea of some extra throw pillows and/or a smaller version of the quilt for her pet. What a lovely gesture!

I just finished reading the fabulous article from Sam Hunter. I'm thrilled you suggested I read it. I really feel like I can confidently submit a proper quote now.

Suddenly the "fun" has been added back into the equation!

Thanks so much

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It Happens!

 Recently I made this as an entry for a book about quotes.  
My quote (I was given to interpret) was the following

Look for and make your opportunities happen; they are not going to come rushing up to your doorstep. But sometimes they'll be looking you right in the face. Harley Brown

Here was my entry (which was not chosen)

The Title is 
'Carpe mures' 
'Sieze the Mice'

His eyes are lampglass.  The flowers are hand embroidered, The mice and background fabrics were made from leftovers of Miss Rowan's quilt. 
This little kitteh quilt wasn't chosen for the book, but that's ok, I can share it with you now. 

The size is 11" x 19" 

I am going to post it up on my Etsy for sale next week however, I'd like to give my cat readers and friends first dibbs :) 

Happy Sewing! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ms Lee's Quilt Commission Finished

I can now share my recent commission all completed!    This is a queensize quilt.  I had lots of fun putting it together and quilting it.  I also made a 'quiltlet' for King Spitty as well, afterall, of course.

This is Moda's Sweet Serenade line
I created this with 4 jelly rolls
And 8 yards of backing fabric.
I pieced & quilted it entirely with Aurifil 50wt light grey.

I love this sweet print!

I chose a simple large meandering stipple design so as not to interfere with the busy fabrics.

Here's the back

I just got notified that it was delivered!  Hope she likes it. 
Here is the quiltlet I made for King Spitty.  Naturally I quilted this one a lot and took no completed photos of that. DUH!
This measures 36" X 22" approx.  There's no catnip in this one just in case she'd rather use it on a table top.  (or on the wall above the bed)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SunnySide by Moda Quilt Done

Sunnyside measures 40" x 40". 

It was quilted completely from the back.

The scalloped border was easy!  Glad I got the template for it.

Next time I will get bias tape that is larger; I think this was 1/2 inch and it was very narrow.  I had to hand stitch it down after trimming the excess bulk.  Not fun!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Home to roost

Happy to have my piece 'Lift' home.
It's lovely to see it again!
*the rainbow prism on her eye is a reflection from the window and not part of the work
Many have told me that they didn't even see the woman's face until I pointed it out.  Funny how I can't not see it. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tiny Bottles

I'm a total sucker for tiny things.
My artist friend Vickie Valdez also happens to be a Veterinarian.  She started saving these tiny bottles.
We have cleaned them out; removed the tops here's some of what I've been doing with them.
I have TONS of these and really want to focus more on them but alas; time...

Who doesn't love a Cat's Eye marble?  And that tiny computer chip in there??? Now I want to cruise thrift stores for watch parts.  I think tiny steam punk(ish) bottles with tiny gears & stuff would be too cool!
 Here are some that I was practicing my wire work on.  It's so fiddly but I love it!
 This tiny bottle was going to be covered in these stunning crystals but I really need a vice to hold it first.  I ended up with one ring of them (all individually placed) and that topper is a glass button!
It is one of my most prized buttons and I really want to get more of them.
The design is cut into the glass.  Amazing!

That peacock feather is too stunning!
I had one that was broken & it found it's way inside the bottle below.
I want to create small art quilts that have holes or rectangles cut out and then have
these bottles suspended in those spaces.

This one has wire outside & and inside and on the inside there are beads on the wire itself so they are suspended in the bottle.

Even extra peacock feather single barbs are full of light and iridescence.