Sunday, January 4, 2015

You Get What You Pay For.... Choosing a Quilter/Seamstress/Crafter

Choosing a Quilter for a Custom made Quilt

So many people are looking for pricing on a variety of services and products related to quilting and sewing. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some observations and things I've learned over the years.

That familiar phrase: “You get what you pay for”, is true here as it is in the general populous of purchasing any other merchandise.

Sure we all want to get the best for the least amount of money. And many of us jump at the cheapest price we find.... then we often regret it. The quality isn't there, the endurance doesn't last, the up front guarantee falls short. We find ourselves saying, “I knew it was too good to be true;, or 'I knew I should have bought the other one”.

When it comes to quilting services, sewing services, and products made with fabrics either sewn, or embroidered, even crocheted or knit, do some research. Find out what people/companies are charging. Understand what is included in those fees.

As a quilter I can best explain the pricing in that medium.

As a customer you want a quilt made. Maybe a pieced quilt, maybe a T-shirt or memory quilt, maybe an appliqued quilt. You reach out and ask a general question, “How much for a __________ quilt?

And that's when the fun begins! Depending on size wanted, style wanted, prices can range from $100.00 to $10,000.
What makes the difference?
      1. Fabrics used – amount and pricing (quality)
      2. Size wanted
      3. Type of quilt wanted
      4. Pattern used
      5. Machine or hand stitched
      6. Top stitching (quilting)
      7. Turn around time
      8. and if you as the customer provided the batting and or backing or buy it from the person making the quilt.
      9. Contract vs word of mouth

  1. Quality of fabrics used.
    1a) Cheaper is not always better, nor is it the worst
  2. Size wanted
    2a) Size is a major factor as it determines the amount of fabric, pattern used, and amount of stitching used as well as binding
  3. Type of quilt wanted.
    3a)Believe it or not a T-shirt quilt may cost more than a pieced quilt due to all the work involved.
  4. Pattern chosen
    4a) Simple blocks, or intricate cuts vs applique will make a difference in pricing.
  5. Machine or hand stitched
    5a) Machine stitched is a faster process and your quilt should be completed sooner. Some people hand stitching is the only way to make a quilt and for it to be a 'real' quilt.
  6. Top stitching or the quilting
    6a) Choices range from free motion quilting on a domestic machine, hand stitching, longarming free motion, long arming using a computer design.
  7. Turn around time
    7a) When do you need it done? What is the time frame availability of the quilter you choose.
  8. You or quilter supplying fabrics
    8a) The customer, as times, supplies the backing and the batting, but you can purchase it from the quilter as well. Ask if that is an option.
  9. Contract vs word of mouth
    9a)When you made all the decisions with the quilter do you sign a contract or leave it all up to word of mouth agreements? If something doesn't go the way you were thinking it should what do you have to fall back on that shows it should have been done a certain way, or within an agreed amount of time?

Now you have a lot to think about when you want a quilt made.
And that is just about the quilt.

What about the quilter?

Word of mouth goes a long way when it comes to choosing a quilter.
Who have others used and why?
Does the quilter have photos or actual quilts so you can see their work?
So they do their own quilting (longarming, hand stitching) or send it out?
Do they offer an acceptable turn around for you? The quilter you want may have a backlog on their orders and you may have to consider a different quilter, or be willing to be put on their list and wait.

These same ideas work for if you want curtains made, a custom dress or outfit, or anything else you want homemade, made by hand, custom made or locally made.
Consider all the work and time that goes into each item. Consider the quality. Consider everything.
And to those who are doing the bidding for work - when you are discussing pricing on a public forum such as Facebook pages/groups, or other internet forums, be considerate of all those bidding. It may be best to not post a cheaper pricing and undermine other businesses who have a higher price. Send private messages to your potential customers no matter what your pricing is. There is a lot that goes into your finally agreed upon price quote, and what you charge one person may be different than what you quote another due to one or more details in the order. If someone sees a cheaper price for what they think is what they want, but you quote them a higher price than you publicly quoted someone else, you may loose that customer because they don't understand the difference in the specifics.

May you all succeed in your business transactions as buyers and as sellers. May you all have a better understanding of all the work involved and be appreciative of each other.

Phyllis Dewey
Quilter's Pantry

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015

Wishing each of you a Happy and Healthy New Year! 

I'm looking forward to a busy 2015 in my world of quilting. I hope to stay more connected to y'all both here, and on my facebook page, forums I'm involved in and for those who live close - to stay in touch better. 

I have several things already waiting for me or planned and scheduled for the new year. So far I'm already scheduled into April!  And the quilts are lining up. 

May you all have a great new year! 

Keep those needles stitching,
The creative juices flowing
The world of quilting growing! 


Tuesday, December 23, 2014



you and your house
 Quilter's Pantry.

May you find joy in the reason for this season 
and this day of celebration. 

May God's blessings surround you.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Hard to believe that this year is just about over. In just 10 days it will be Christmas day!  I know many of you aren't ready. Don't worry, neither am I.  I have one ornament yet to make and am waiting for another item to arrive so I can wrap it. Then there are the two types of cookies still to bake. Other than that - I'm ready. 

It has been a full and busy year. My wonderful loyal customers kept me busy. New customers kept me even busier. New quilters allowed me to guide them and to teach a few of them 'formally'.  My fellow quilters kept me encouraged. My family and friends loved me through it all. And God blessed me and my family each and every day. 

I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas. May the joy of the season be with you and your families. May you be able to keep the stress to a minimum, and don't fret over the little things. Remember even what we think are big things, are really little things overall. 

In this hectic time of year, take time out for yourself. Remember to breath. And sit back, relax, reflect, and enjoy the new as well as the memories of past Christmas's. 

Til next time....
Enjoy the season
Spend time with family
And smile as a child full of wonderment. 




Monday, December 1, 2014


As we enter into December we are all starting to look at Christmas trees. 
Some have very large trees, others have smaller trees. Some are real, some are alive and still in dirt to be replanted, and some are artificial. 

Some are even homemade and rather tiny compared to the artificial and real ones. 

But they all have a purpose. 

Homemade, small/tiny trees fit in places others don't. They are very portable. They are perfect for those in RV's, nursing homes, hospitals, or shelters. They fit on a mantel, dresser, a night stand, even a window sill. They are perfect on your desk at work.

Over 25 years ago I made my first miniature Christmas tree because my husband and I were moving from a large house into a 31 foot motor home. We had put our house up for sale in October and it sold quickly! So quickly the buyers wanted to move in by December 15th of that year. So we had to be out by the 13th. 
We moved from a 5 bedroom, 3 story house into that motor home just fine. I made sure my sewing machine went with us. (I didn't even sew back then and certainly wasn't into quilting!  We were in the motorcycle business!!). I also made sure we had a Christmas tree to put up in our new home. 

(We lived in that motor home for 5 years and I put up that same tree each year ---- we didn't have a stationary home, just the RV). 

25 years later...... we are out of the motorcycle business for 20 years now. I'm a quilter with my own business including longarming of quilts.  AND....

I'm back to making tiny trees!  These are much better than the one I made all those years ago.... (which I still have and put out in my studio each year! LOL).   

I have a couple of them for sale in my Etsy shop.

I even make quilted fabric pine cones..... 


quilted fabric ornaments !!! 

So if you have a special place needing a special touch but can't have a real or even artificial tree..... contact me. I can help you out!  

Til next time...
Keep those needles stitching
Those creative juices flowing
and take time to celebrate the season. 


Friday, November 21, 2014


Thanksgiving is less than a week away. I was sitting here thinking about it and how it has changed over the years. Yes, it's still a holiday (day) where families gather for a big meal and spend family time together.

As a child that is all it was.... oh, and football afterward.  Grown ups took naps after eating so much and blamed it all on the turkey. 

Some years the weather was so bad that not all the family could make it in to the main meal destination.
Other years the house was full of family having a great get together. I never remember Christmas being in the picture at all. 

And now.... now that we've grown up..... Thanksgiving is a time of family, of gathering for a big meal and enjoying being with family.  BUT..... it is also a time to start decorating for Christmas; it's all about Black Friday and the sales (now also on Thanksgiving day). It's about people complaining because they have to work on Thanksgiving day and spend the day away from family. They have to miss the big meal. All because retailers are greedy and not only want the most money, they want to be the first to get the most money!  

Thanksgiving has now got to be the most stressful holiday there is!  Unless you are not affected by the retail aspect of it and have the day off and are not going shopping.... 
I know you are still affected by the Christmas sale add, the Christmas decorations being up already i some places and even Christmas music being played.
Where has family time gone?  Where has relaxing time gone?  Where has being close to family gone? 

However, if you are a quilter/crafter.... we always are thinking about Christmas and the gifts we need to make for everyone. Crafters like to see the holiday craft supplies out early. But we also like to take time to enjoy Thanksgiving and what it is all about. 

I, for one.... miss the Thanksgivings of childhood. 

I also will be working on Thanksgiving, right after an early meal with family----- wonderful life of retail. 

Til next time
Keep those needles stitching,
Those creative juices flowing
and Enjoy your weekend.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Life in the Studio

Welcome to more of the countdown to Christmas and the busy season. 
I had set a goal of things I wanted to get accomplished by today and well...... I'm only a day away from reaching that goal, so not too bad. 

Yesterday I finished two 5' Christmas stockings for a customer who wants them to decorate his doors and then have something to hand down to his children!  I'm honored!  

I also finished longarming a customer's quilt. It was her fourth of four in this order. I've done 16 of them for her just this year. She makes them to then donate them to the homeless children in a town near me. 

I also finished up a few folded fabric pine cone ornaments like the one above. Plus made two more of the regular folded fabric ornaments. And finished a folded fabric Christmas tree. (All finished to the point of ribbons to be added.... which I did a few of those today. )

Also yesterday, since my studio is at home I did three loads of laundry!  

Today.... I put the ribbons on several of the ornaments and pine cones. prepared, loaded and started longarming a queen size quilt for a Christmas gift (Personal). 

I'm also in the process of organizing my studio ---- again.  After working on several projects the area gets a bit messy and cluttered and I need it clean to work. While doing this I've gathered pieces of fabric that are too small to be put back on the boards and store on the wall shelves. Some too small to make fat quarters out of. I'm doing my best to get to the point of cutting them up in preparation for scrappy quilts. That is my downfall... I have a hard time with scrappy quilts.  Maybe that should be my goal next year..... to get over that 'fear'/challenge. 

All in all it has been a great weekend.  Ending too soon. 
Last weekend my computer died so I'm working with a new one now that I really love, but my old files and photos have not been transferred yet so am limited in what I can post in pics. As soon as get those on my new computer and get caught up on photos I'll post more of what I have worked on this year. 

In the mean time....

Keep those needles stitching, the creative juices flowing and have a wonderful week!