I’m so happy to be able to have a day to fit in a little bit of selfish sewing. I thought I was going to lose my sewing mojo after yesterdays Crafters for Courage auction. My quilt went for $250 which after the cost of materials put my hourly rate at a whopping $2. That hurt. Like a lot. I didn’t care that I wasn’t actually making anything. After all, I donated for a reason. But I went big thinking the girls would get a big return from it.
Determined to do something to get my mind off of my feeling of worthlessness, I woke up this morning ready to accomplish something. Because the truth is, most of the world has zero clue what goes into anything that’s handmade. Most of the time when I sell something I don’t make what I could doing a minimum wage job. That’s why I don’t sell many ready made things. I much prefer to do custom work where I get sought out because, presumably, that means whoever it is that wants a handmade item already knows that they like my style and the quality of the work I do.
Anyway, that was a giant rabbit trail, but I’m getting back into what I love today for the purest of reasons: because I love sewing, and I love the result, and I appreciate my own work. That sounds incredibly selfish, but who better to understand the work than the person doing it? I’m finishing up the tunic for Layla that I cut yesterday, and I’m starting on new dresses for me and Emilee.
Emilee’s is a brand new dress style I’m trying out in this gloriously soft Cotton + Steel lawn from Jones and Vandermeer.
Mine will be made with these favorite prints from Juliana Horner. Mine will be similar to this Liberty dress I made a few weeks back.
What are your thoughts on buying and selling handmade? Do you sell? Do you actually charge for the amount of work you’re doing, or do you tend to sell yourself short? I’d really love to know. I’m struggling to understand how anyone that is willing to undercut themselves can feel good about the work they’re doing. No judgment here. Just want to understand your perspective!
Have an amazing and fulfilling weekend!
I love the idea of buying and selling handmade! I think it not only helps the individual making it but I honestly feel better as the buyer knowing that someone put their own hands to work. I’m not very good at sewing (I’m trying) but am a much better crocheter and find that I love it when people are interested in the work that I’m doing which is for me is really therapeutic. I do think it’s good to be selfish though. You’re doing this for you really and that’s how it should be. If you were making things that you didn’t like I don’t think you would find it as satisfying. At least that’s how I feel. I do understand the feeling of worthlessness though, especially when I’ve made the most darling hat for one of my kiddos and it spends more time on the floor than on their head, haha. Chin up! You do marvelous and beautiful work!
I’m sorry about your quilt…and I agree 100% with you, I don’t think people realize how much time goes into handmade items. It kind of gives you a glimpse into our material world, I want it now, and don’t want to think about who made it or what they were paid to make it!
I had an etsy shop years ago that did well. I loved it for a bit, but it eventually felt like I was a sweat shop. Crayon rolls were my big sellers and they became the most boring things to make. I could whip them out quickly because they were just a bunch of straigh lines. I eventually decided I want to continue loving my hobby so I stopped my etsy shop and now just sew for fun!
I really enjoy reading your blog and seeing your beautiful sewing projects, you really have talent!
I checked in on the auction a couple of times, and was disappointed to see the low bids on both your quilt, and a beautiful star quilt. They were both gorgeous, and as a (new) quilter, I know the money and work that goes into these projects. I hope your discouragement is short lived. God knows your heart, and your intent in donating your quilt.
I would be interested in a post on tips or your process for sewing Liberty lawn, as this winter I am going to make a quilt with this material.
Keep up the beautiful work, and don’t ever appologize for taking time to do the things that make YOU happy, it can be hard with babies, but we all deserve it.
I will definitely post about sewing with Liberty! Just next week I plan on starting a custom quilt for a client of mine that will primarily be made with Liberty. Its not at all difficult, but there are some things you can do to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible!
Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement! :)
It is hard to swallow something like that. Sometimes people bid on items expecting a bargain. I have had the same thing happen, and I’ve Los had one go for a lot.
Bless you for giving,
Oh sweets! That is hard! I really feel for you! I made a cot quilt that sold for less than the cost to make it at the boys school fair last year, it was so demoralising – so I completely understand where you are coming from! This year I opted to make one to raffle. That didn’t do as well as I’d hoped either as we were challenged with a most awful day! However, I did meet the lady who won the quilt, and she told me she was so thrilled because she’s never won anything and when she bought the ticket she hoped it would be her lucky day! Her happiness made me feel so much brighter! I take comfort in knowing that it will be loved by someone who wanted it a lot!
You did a truly lovely thing! Don’t doubt yourself!!! Your handmade goodies are amazing! And I look forward to your post on sewing with Liberty! Xx
I stumbled upon your blog last week and have been peeking through it now and then…. Your sewing is so beautiful and inspiring! Keep it up!
keep the faith meredith!! what you do is amazing . . . and just think of it this way…it’s $250 that the girls didn’t have the day before. i’m sure that all of the love you put into what you do has not gone unnoticed :)
So sorry to hear about that ! I do understand how you are feeling though. I would never in a million years give a quilt away, even for a good cause because there is way too much work that goes into it and yes, people are trying to get things they normally wouldn’t buy because they usually can get it at a bargain (which is frustrating but understandable).
I sometimes sell handmade stuff I make (and I have an Etsy shop where I sell quilts and baby shoes) it is really important for me to price my items well. For example, my baby quilts are $250 (40″x50″). I timed myself while making one and at this price, I’m being paid $15/hours (which is a little bit above the minimum wage here in Québec), my material is being paid for and I’m also making 20% of profit on it. Profit is important when running a business because that’s the money you’re going to invest in your company.
Sometimes, I don’t feel comfortable with my price, but I do know that if someone asked me why it’s so expensive, I could give them an answer and they couldn’t argue with me.
People will come to understand the real value of handmade one day :)
Keep your head up and just keep doing what you do. It’s beautiful !
I had the same thing happen to me. Good new was the young man that bought it, truly loved the quilt. It meant something that a young person spent their hard earned money on something I made.
It was then and there that I had to decide that if I donated something, I would not worry about how much it went for. If I can’t do it, I keep that item for something else.
I don’t know if it helps for you to know that others have had the same thing happen.