Friday, October 5, 2012

So what is a sandwich?

We are still on holidays and I could not bring any sewing (didn't want to start another project in hand sewing just to have something to do), but I have been working on something. I've had several non-quilters ask me to make them a quilt. However, most of them have no idea what they want. So I've started a booklet on "Selecting Your Quilt" (or some such title) with sections about the options, such as size, use, color, fabrics, style (traditional, modern, art) and so on, with sample pictures. 

I first wanted to do it so I would remember what questions to ask these folks, but it began to grow into a pictorial options document. I can save it to .pdf or print out hard copies to help customers think about their choices. While some just want to pick one from my pile of finished quilts, others have a "quilt in their head" and I cannot see their vision without a clear explanation. Non-quilters often do not know the "lingo" to use as they try explain their ideas.

My question for anyone reading this today is: Would you even bother with a vague custom order (like a pink quilt for my daughter's twin bed, or a landscape to remind me of my dad's fishing trips)? Or would you politely decline? Of course, when they add up the price list, they might gasp and say "no thanks" anyway! LOL.


Quiltdivajulie said...

I get asked all the time if I "make quilts" for people . . . consistentl I say "no" due to cost of materials, the fact that I work full time at a day job, and that what little time I have at home I need to be able to use on my own projects.

If and when people push back, I estimate material costs at current/full price + $20/hour for my time + "usual and customary" cost for longarm quilting. That estimated dollar figure has stopped each and every request on the spot. (mostly because those asking don't have a clue what goes into creating a quilt)

Contrasting this with my frequent making of quilts to be given as gifts and/or donated to causes I support and my response to the requests above may seem "at odds" -- not really, becaude I CHOOSE to put the time and effort into the gift/donation quilts where the other type would feel like WORK.

If a really good 'commission' opportunity came along, I would listen longer and consider more carefully - but for the casual seeker, the answer will remain 'no.'

Quiltdivajulie said...

Oops - please pardon the spelling/typing errors . . . it's been a very long week at the office!

Elaine Adair said...

I also have been asked and have always declined. No amount of $$ could compensate me for my costs and labor. I will MAKE one, if I choose, based on something the expected recipient might have said. By the time you add up costs and labor, most folks will back away.

If they insist, get $$$ up front, and decide if the design should be YOURS or the asker. Some folks DO know a little about quilts and might be able to explain what they want.

Good luck!