Friday, January 21, 2011

Big thoughts.... need opinions!

A post is boring without a picture...)
So here's the thing. I really would love to attend a new blogging/sewing conference/retreat called the Sewing Summit, which will be held for the first time this October. The Summit will be taking place in Salt Lake City and well, for me it's out of my budget. Completely. I'm not one of those people who needs to be on a fabric diet, and I'm not one who can churn out 15 quilts a year, simply because I don't make enough money to put into this hobby. We're broke. There it is.
So thinking about this, and knowing that I'd love to go to the Sewing Summit, I've been brainstorming. I have never sold a quilt. I've never sold anything on Etsy. I'm not sure that that's the best way to go for this. But I'd like to raise some money (I'm thinking between room and board, supplies, general expenses, and admission, --hopefully Wally's pilot friend will be able to get me tickets?-- I need to budget about $500 for this - ouch!). I was thinking of making a quilt and raffling it off on my blog. But now I see that it's almost definitely illegal to do that (it goes by state and I can't seem to find anything online for Illinois). So I could auction it off... like ebay? That is legal (correct me if I'm wrong).

So now I'm back to thinking Etsy again... but one quilt won't bring that much money, and there are tons and tons of quilt listings there; it would likely take months if not longer to sell one there, being that I'm an unknown seller with no feedback rates.

I do have one option, which I've never thought that I'd want to do... but if anyone knew someone wanting to have a quilt made for them. I could do a custom order sort of thing, but I'd prefer if the purchaser liked modern fabrics that I won't hate to work with. Once again, I've never done this before.... I have no clue where to start for pricing on these types of things. I'm thinking for a crib or lap quilt (according to the sale prices on etsy?) about in the $130-$150+ range. Does that sound reasonable? A quilt like this would take me at least two weeks of solid work to make/quilt/bind etc. Someone tell me if I'm way off here.

For my facebook friends who are wondering what my style is, please check out my blog ( and/or my flickr account (

Any advice, encouragement, suggestions etc would be great!!! :)
Thanks in advance!


  1. I had another idea, too...although I don't see my first post and I wasn't paying attention, so maybe you are moderating comments on this one...

    Anyway, you could even do quilted baby take a yard of fabric for one side, another yard for the other side, and some sort of coordinating fabric for the binding...stipple quilt it, or line quilt or whatever and then just bind. Again wouldn't take as much time, but still very nice and not as expesive so maybe quicker to sell.

    Plus, I wanted to mention the quilt store Pieceful Heart Fabrics (in Lisle)...not sure if you have ever been there... Anyway, easy to get to, too. Their reg. fabric is pricier than the other shops I go to, but they have a sale section and most of the fabrics there are $5 a yard or $5.25 or $5.50 and I have caught some cool fabrics there...some Cosmo Cricket, Amy Butler (Love), another Amy Butler, some Meadowsweet.... of course, they have plenty of non-modern stuff in that section too :-(

  2. Emily, hi! I found your blog via your guest post at 13 Woodhouse Road (I posted the day before you!). Have you considered creating a few quilt patterns for sale also? I know this is easier said than done. But, it is something that, once created, could just continue to generate a few $$ here and there, you'd be surprised how quickly it adds up.

    There's also Alchemy on Etsy where you may be able to make some custom things. Just realize that a lot of people ask for stuff way under price!

    I personally think what you're thinking of asking for quilts is way under priced for the amount of materials and work, but sadly, it is about what others ask/expect to pay.

    I hope you figure something out and that you get to go!

  3. I have yet to understand how anybody makes money selling quilts on Etsy. It seems to me quilts are ridiculously underpriced on there - $130-150 when you factor in the cost of fabric, supplies, and all the time put in? But I guess, as Jennie says, that's what the market will bear ...

    I like the pattern suggestion. There's practically no overhead selling patterns, so even if you don't sell many, it's all money in your pocket. If you want to sell handmade items, I would maybe go with bibs, burp clothes, baby/children's clothes or accessories - something along those lines. Small items that are quick for you to make and an easy little purchase for the buyers. Good luck!

  4. Hmmmm...I've really got nothin. I've tried my hand at selling handmade stuff (tie purses and t-shirt quilts) before, and really didn't get far with it. Mostly just by word-of-mouth....people who know me ask me to make a purse specifically for them or for them to give as a gift. I never tried etsy (maybe I should...) so I don't have any advice on that front either. I did try ebay out and it crashed and burned for me. The selling pattern idea that others suggested sounds like a pretty good one, and making lots of smaller things. Reusing things is all the rage, too, at least here in Boston, anyway. Maybe making a point to use only thrifted/used items would appeal to this kind of trend....or maybe that's just what I do because I'm a cheapskate :) Good luck!

  5. $500 by October seems like a lot, but does it seem more manageable if you think of it as $15 a week? If you do decide to sell on Etsy (I never have!), I'd suggest making very simple quilts. I don't think most people would value the amount of time and effort it would take for a more complicated quilt. Good luck!

  6. Hello! Difficult subject for us crafters! I have tried many times something and usually it 'fells down' for the price. I have opened a shop in DaWanda, which is smaller than etsy. I think one good advertising thing is that people can see from your blog how beautiful things you make! as you do! It doesn't cost much to start in etsy or somewhere else so you could try that and also tell all the people you know to tell futher...I have sold many crafts to friends and via friends! Good luck! Teje

  7. Sorry, somehow I have missed your posts the last few days! My sewing friend at brought up Sewing Summit to me awhile ago. While it sounds like fun, it doesn't sound like it's in my budget either. And also my husband probably wouldn't feel comfortable with me going by myself.

    I hope you can figure something out! As far as Etsy goes, would you consider making a "quilt" to sell but not actually quilting/binding? One of my bloggy friends sells those in her shop (her blog is, and I think there's a link for her shop there), she says it works for her because people get the look of a quilt but without the extra cost (since the quilting/binding is a lot more labor). Would you consider that?

    I've sold on Etsy before, and in my opinion, for me it was a huge time drain. Not just making the stuff, but you have to market yourself so much just to be visible, have a bunch of listings and keep those current (since a lot of people only click on the first few pages if they're doing a search), etc. I don't mean to be pessimistic about Etsy, I'm just being honest because I don't want you to waste your valuable sewing time. :-)