As you can see it has been WAY TOO LONG since I last posted! I am happy to say I am back and ready to get back to it. Just had some life issues that tend to appear once in a while and take over for a short period of time. Never think though I stayed completely away!
There have been many changes and ideas going on in the background even though I have been quiet. Here a just a few that either have already been put in place or will be coming out in the near future -
So as you can see there is still much going on and SOOOOOO much more to come! Hope to see you all around!
There is always confusion when it comes to quilting, well in anything we get ourselves into really, especially with the terms or phrases we throw out there in the patterns or books we purchase. Just one of those we will focus on within this post.
The ‘finished measurement’ and the ‘cut measurement’…
Confused already? Never fear we will get to the bottom of this and get it all sorted out!
These two terms are use very frequently and they describe many areas of a quilt. These terms can be used from the time you are cutting your fabrics -> building your block -> setting your row to finally completing your quilt.
So let’s first focus on the ‘FINISHED SIZE’
A quilt block’s or quilt’s finished size refers to its dimensions after each of the pieces have been sewn together.
And now the ‘UNFINISHED SIZE’
This term will ONLY refer to a cut piece of material, block or a row of a quilt pattern prior to the quilt’s shell being completed.
In quilting, it can be pretty much guaranteed that we will use a 1/4 inch seam allowance for all construction. This will then mean that our unfinished size will increase the finished size by a 1/2 inch both vertically and horizontally and only on one side each. You see each 1/2 inch increase represents the 1/4 inch seam allowances that have yet to be sewn during your construction.
Throughout our quilt patterns we see a lot of measurements and there are times you will see the tern ‘finished’ or ‘unfinished’. I have finally discovered through MANY trial and errors that when one of these terms are not being used they are referring to the finished measurement of the block.
Now you could be thinking well so what does this mean if the pattern has given me cutting instructions; the quilt will come together anyway… And yes this is very true; take the time to get to understand so as you construct your quilt you can make sure you are on the right track for piecing your blocks.
Quilting is like putting a puzzle together. You know that each piece fits together perfectly and when you try to push a piece in the wrong spot, it just will not fit. Same concept here! When sewing, if you go off an eighth of an inch, the ripple throughout your quilt can grow into the inches. – Now we kinda went into another topic ‘Precision Piecing’ (yes more will come on this)…Hummmmm
What do I charge for my items?
This is a question that will always be asked by every artisan when they decide to move from hobby to business owner. A common way of pricing is done through researching our competition and then pricing below them. This is NOT the way to price YOUR work.
It takes time and money to purchase the items we need to even start making our product. You need to make sure that is being covered in your price. Then you need to make sure you are making a profit, this way you can CONTINUE to do what you love and keep your business running smoothly.
Below you will find charts and a formula that most use to calculate their prices for their products. The actual example I am using a sewing project (but of COURSE that is what I do!)...
Actual Pricing Breakdown Example:
Total Material Costs = $42.00
$42.00 x 2 = $84.00
$84.00 x 2 = $168.00
The above charges are BEFORE you add your labor.
When adding labor you just need to determine the number of hours it takes to complete the your item, and yes you include the time it took to design it.
So if this pretend item took 4 hours total and you are a SKILLED/ADVANCED artisan, then your pricing will work out as follows:
$42.00 x 2 = $84.00 + $80.00 = $164.00
$84.00 x 2 = $168.00 + $80.00 = $244.00
Now this is a lot of information, and you are probably reading this and falling off your chair with what the final calculations are showing. Remember these are your items and you take the time to make them. If you are looking for this to be your full-time job then you will need to make sure you will be able to stay in business.
But in no way am I saying you have to follow the above formula verbatim. I am one that chooses to only use the formula with the cost of materials, I do not add in a direct labor rate. I am currently making sales and I also have a profit.
The only item I will add to this formula is when I am designing a piece not currently in my line for a customer. That fee is considered a 'Commission Fee' and depending on the item being designed there are set fees from $15.00 to $75.00. That fee is added to the final wholesale or retail price and charged to the customer. Know that fee does not give the purchaser any rights to the product - since that will be stated in your polices of course.
So what is my point here... YOU love your work and know it's value, so make sure you are charging for it and DO NOT worry about your competition, that is their business, not yours... Whether you are selling at your booth at a craft fair or through your website, there will be that customer that questions your price or even asks for a discount! Never be little your work, they are just one person and there will be other customers that really enjoy and appreciate your talent.
Well I hope everyone has a great week and I will be talking with ya soon! Remember any questions or comments, PLEASE leave them below!!!
Made at Home Quilts ...and then some!!!
For most, the fall season is the time when we travel from county to county to attend our local Craft Fairs or Farmer’s Markets to show and sell our items we cherish. I LOVE this time of the year; meeting people and having those conversations to me is priceless, and I get to spend some wonderful time with my Sis (I make her come with me to help set up… I know she fully enjoys it, lol)…
But just with anything, there is a part we love and a part we hate… and of course the part that is not enjoyable is what to pack! It is not the same when you go on vacation. When on vacation, if you forget something, you can just go and make a simple purchase… When at a show, forgetting something can really hinder your business profile and sales!!!
I have provided just a few tips to consider and remember when getting your shop packed before your first show of the season…
Your PRODUCTS… well of course you need your products, right! – something to consider though, try to research the show you will be attending. When applying (if there is an application process) make sure they accept all your products and not just certain items… Sometimes the promoters may limit what items you can bring because they do not want to have too many of one item being sold. Also try not to worry about if you sell out with a specific item, make a note for next year and make more for that show.
It is always questioned if your products should have a price tag or not. That is a seller’s preference and I do not think it hinders or helps in sales. I have my pieces priced, however they are set inside the bag or attached to the back of the item. I really like to talk with my customers, this way it always starts a conversation about something.
TABLES and CHAIRS… Whether the venue is inside or outside, you want to make sure they will either provide these times or you have to bring them. NEVER assume just because it is inside they will provide these items. I tend to focus on the table, chairs I always pack just in case! After confirming who will provide you also want to confirm the size of the table, usually either 6 or 8 feet is the norm for all venues. This could help you decide the items or your display you will be bringing.
CANOPY… Such a necessity when the venue is outside. This will hardly ever be provided, so when your show is outside, make the investment. This will help on those brutally hot days and will also help avoid the sun burn you will receive. Yes, I have learned this one the hard way, NOT FUN! You also want to make sure you have proper canopy weights, they are not expensive and are the best investment. It could be a perfectly sunny day however a storm could just pop up and those winds, they can cause a lot of havoc. When purchasing your canopy you could also look in to have sides on it as well. This is just added shade and protection if it should rain.
Your PROPS and SIGNS… Setting up your area is a great feeling and it represents you and your business! Make it shine… A lot of sellers use a tablecloth to cover the table and then they place their items around, while yes I agree, you will see the items, but it does not draw people into their area. You want to create a comfortable and inviting vibe. HEIGHT and LEVELS!!! I use wooden crates that my husband joyfully painted and set them around the table at different heights. I have also found that those items near eye level are key; make them your best-selling product, or your ‘eye catchers’. This technique will help you draw people into your shop…
Your sign should have your business name clearly visible and really nothing else. Your business cards will handle the rest for contact information. And you want to make sure it is hung in an area where everyone will see. When outside I tend to hang it high in the canopy so shoppers away from my area will be able to see it and they will come over… When inside I hang it out front, usually when inside the shopper follow a path and they will be in your area, this is where set up is key to draw them in!
CASH BOX/ CREDIT CARD READER… Oh yes, been there, forgot that!!! It was a funny day…NOT. You want to make sure you go to the bank BEFORE the day of our show so you have proper change for your customers, if they are paying by cash. Most of our customers now-a-days do not carry cash so you want to make sure you take some time to research and invest in a credit card reader.
The top ones available are:
(a) Etsy (if you have a shop)
They all have fees which are very comparable to each other and can run through your phone or tablet, and yes you will need WiFi for them to work, so make sure you have a proper data plan. They all accept the major credit cards i.e. Visa, Master Card, Discover and AMEX. I have the Etsy, PayPal and Amazon and I know these even accept cash as well. This is great for tax time!
NOTE: with our new technology all bank and debit credit cards are now being made with the EMV chip. If you currently have a card reader it will have to be upgraded. Contact your card supplier to learn more and stay up to date. This new technology takes effect on October 1st, 2015.
And then the BASICs or what I like to call ‘EMERGENCY NECESSITIES’!!! These I always keep packed together and they are never removed, prior to the start of my craft showcase season, I always unpack and make sure everything is still there and ready to go!
And finally PRACTICE your set-up… When I started doing my craft showcases, I literally practiced butting my area together, and yes I timed myself as well. While most give you two hours for set up, there have been a few that have given me as little as 45 minutes to set up – yes you break a mean sweat on those!!! The main reason though for doing a practice set up, you will be able to get a vibe of how your area will look and feel. This is what mine looked like when I first started.
I hope this gives you some good items to thibk about before your craft fair season goes into full swing.
If you have any other great tips or ideas, please leave them in the comments. I loive to share!
And as always ENJOY!!!
Made at Home Quilts ...and then some!!!
Inspiration is all around us everyday, as long as we take the time to understand it! Whether we are taking a walk or trolling around the internet, inspiration can take many forms depending who is seeking... But we also cannot confuse this wonderful means for creativity with EXACT duplication! (for another blog post)
Inspiration is something I NEVER take for granted. It is the force that shines through my designs today and will continue... Inspiration can be in many forms and it can depend upon the creator as to how that take it in.
We use to be able to take inspiration from our everyday life and what we saw when we ventured out into the REAL world. Today, we are all about technology and inspiration bent to its will. As did myself and my fellow artisans, but I also feel we have grown in our designs because of the change!
Inspiration can be found in Pinterest, Instagram, and yes even Facebook! Searches within these medias become the trigger for something great in our creative world. Blogs are another great resource! We can be inspired through someone's vision on how they see their trade.
But I am still that creator that must step out and enjoy the world (when I can of course), whether I am walking around the block or paging through a magazine (yes and actual magazine, not an electronic reader!). No matter where I am I always have a pad a pencil with me. I am constantly jotting down a word or a quick sketch of something that just POPs in my heart! My husband truly enjoys it when we are out to dinner and I start doodling on a paper napkin, I think that is why he does not take me to a restaurant with cloth napkins anymore!!!
Someone else once said "Take the time to smell the roses..." !!!
I say take the time to NOTICE something. There is a lot in our world we are missing because we are too busy focusing on our phones.
Even if it is just for a moment to step outside of your front door and close your eyes... listen --- something will INSPIRE you!
Let me know what inspires you! Leave a comment!
Made at Home Quilts ...and then some!!!
There has always been a debate as to whether to prewash or not to prewash your fabrics prior to sewing or quilting. Just with anything there is an agreement and disagreement with prewashing. After some hours of research on this topic, this is what I have found.
YES, I DO:
NO, I DO NOT:
I am one of those that DO NOT prewash my fabrics prior to sewing/quilting, with minor exceptions. Time is a huge issue for me. I love running my personal business, but I also have to work full time. So my time is VERY limited and I do not want to take away ANY time for washing - that is best for the family and there is enough of that!
Now even though I am on the side of 'I DO NOT' there are some fabrics I will. When designing a quilt from a wall hanging to king size, I will prewash my reds, blues, and purples, just to be safe from dye transfer. For the larger size quilts of course that is an easier process due to the size of the fabrics being washed are by the yard. However for wall hangings, we may be dealing with fabric the size of a scrap, fat quarter or pre-cut. I will also prewash fabrics used in anything Baby I make. There skin is very different from an adult.
Well during my research I have found the perfect solution for that! CLICK HERE to watch a video from Laura Coia on her sewing channel called Sew Very Easy.
Material shrinking is only an issue on some fabrics, and these fabrics I tend to not work with. These fabrics are those novelty type, i.e. terry cloth or chenille). And I have to be honest, I have sewn with them and I now stay AWAY from them...
Finally the chemical debate! Yes I agree they are there in the fabric, but I like the texture and control those chemicals give me. I get a crisper cutting line and I have GREAT control when manipulating the fabric to do what I want it to do! Our industry has changed SO MUCH over the years, that from the bleeding, to shrinkage and the chemicals, it is different now. Manufacturers are conscious of the fact that we are out there and do not wash our fabrics. So they take the necessary steps to prevent these concerns from happening. And let's face it, they make a better product, then we will buy it more!!!
If you are still on the fence of what to do, my best advise is use your best judgement. While I consider myself on one side, I will take the time to check and ensure there will be no issues for my products designed for my customers.
Thanks for stopping by and let me know what side you are on!
Here you will be kept up to date with all the new stitches in the quilting and sewing world, and of course even some information from Made at Home Quilts ...and then some!!! Keep in touch for new products, sales and just some great opinions!!!
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