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6.26.2010

It's Gonna Cost HOW MUCH?!?!?

I usually don't notice how much fabric costs, nor do I want to know.
As I have been told by a few others, it's cheaper than therapy, right?

But there are a few times when sewing seems too expensive. One of those times is when I agree to sew something for someone else in exchange for money.

For several years I have contemplated selling items that I sew. I have thought about it and thought about it and studied it and thought some more. But in the end, I just really do not enjoy it. It always costs more than I anticipate, takes more time than I planned and I always feel that it is not perfect enough. Oh, and always feel some sort of guilt at what I charge, no matter how accurate it is in terms of costs and time.
(My hubby says I have some self-esteem issues. What do you think?)

Stress!
That's the word!

I sew to RELIEVE stress, not to create more.

Case in point:

Baptism Dress with Turquoise Sash



Now, if she only had a 15 inch waist. . .



Boy, I am really on a roll the last few weeks!

I think that in order to sell items and enjoy it, I would have to be so popular that I could make whatever suited my fancy for the day and I had enough people waiting for one of my items that they sold immediately, no matter what it was.

(Like THAT'S ever gonna happen!)

(I am sort of idolizing Ashley of Lil Blue Boo right now. How much fun do you think she has? Although I am betting there is some stress involved, too!)

How about you? Have any of you had a good experience selling sewn items? Is there something I am missing?

26 comments:

georgia said...

I can't sell things I sew. It makes it a chore!! I can only make one thing and enjoy it. If I have to make it again it becomes torture...lol. That's why I went into pattern making. It takes more time and effort, but you only have to do it once :)

Christie said...

I find that selling things that I sell after I've already made them is much more enjoyable than custom orders! Because you've already done the work, you just package it up and send it off! You know if there are mistakes and can mention them. That dress is beautiful. I'm sorry that the waist is too small! What a huge bummer!

Jenn said...

Wow. I agree. I do sell some of the things I sew. I have some friends who sometimes ask me to make all their dreams come true by creating an item they saw somewhere or whatever. Totally not worth it. It takes so much time, and like you said, I never feel it's perfect enough. If only I could just make what I want and then have people who just HAVE to have it... a perfect world.

Keriann said...

All I can say it AMEN!!! I have contemplated the same thoughts over and over again and the conclusion I have come to is...every once in a while it's ok to make something just cause I thought the fabric was "cute" whether it's a quilt, baby outfit, tote, clothes or something I "tried" to invent. When I do, that item ends up in a box now I have this box full of things I can dig into for gifts or someday if that box overflows into two boxes I may put it all on etsy.

That's my theory for "attempting" to "sell" anything I've sewn.

What do the rest of you think about it?

The Sewing Dork said...

I totally agree with everything you said, even the guilt part. I don't do custom orders for that reason. On the off chance that I make something darned near perfect, I list it in my Etsy shop and call it an inexpensive one of a kind. Otherwise, I like my sewing to be stress free!

Kimberly said...

I don't sell things for similar reasons. I think who would want to pay that much for something I made? I mean my blog is called "Perfection Not Included" for a reason!

Maybe you could sell your patterns like Ashley does instead of finished items. I would totally buy that Baptism pattern. It's so much cuter than anything you would find in a commercial pattern. Patterns are a ton of work too but once you perfected the pattern you would be done with it, and it would continue to produce a return on your investment.

Lisa said...

I totally agree with you! I don't like to sell items for all the same reasons you mentioned.

I am amazed at Ashley too, her things sell in seconds! I've tried to get one or two, but then gave up :) I will just have to make my own for Hannah.

I truly think you could be so popular that your things would sell in seconds too. Don't sell yourself short on that!

Lisa said...

P.S. My mom sewed my Baptism dress (very simple though) and she recently sent it to me. As long as Hannah fits it, that what she'll be wearing for her baptism. It's one less thing for me to worry about AND the best part is that it's a special "hand me down".

Natalie said...

Oh wow I so totally agree!! It is good to hear there are others out there. I hate making things when I have to. I do it for fun, to relieve stress, to fulfill something inside of me, not to meet others' criteria, and especially not to add stress. People always want stuff - how do you tell them no?? I sew for nieces and nephews, but don't want to sew for their friends, etc.

Little Lizard King said...

Great post!! I completely agree!

A. said...

Yes! You hit it right on the nose. I started up an Etsy shop a little while back, and the vast majority of orders thus far have been for custom items. I recently decided to stop doing customs, because, like you said, it is WAY TOO STRESSFUL and not very fun at all -- it doesn't release my creative juices the way I'd hoped it would (which was the whole point of opening the shop). So I'm going to stop customs & hope & pray that people will want to buy what's already there!! It's kind of nervewracking. And yes, I think Ashley of LBB is way super cool, too! :)

Kathy said...

I do custom quilts for people and just recently decided to really scale back. It takes up so much time and energy, I was not having time to play with my creative side and explore new things.

Try the pattern business idea...

Jenn said...

I used to have a business making and selling cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories. Most of my business was custom orders and I would put SO much time into, and not get nearly enough back in return. I also got stressed, and sewing became more of a chore than an enjoyment. I stopped doing that business and am once again just enjoying making things for myself and my family. :)

Christie said...

I love to sew bags, purses, etc. I have had several people encourage me to start selling them. I have always resisted for the same reasons you gave - it would just make it a chore. Recently a friend started to make knit bags and needed someone to help her by making linings for them. I agreed to do it, and just as I suspected, I'm not enjoying it nearly as much now that someone else is dictating what to sew and when it's needed...

Nampa Flamms said...

Thank you all so much for the input! I have had people ask me to make them items and I was considering making a business out of it.

I have thought about it and, like everyone said, I don't want it to be a chore. I do it for enjoyment and I want to sew what I want....not to impress someone else. But it's so hard to tell someone "No!"

I'm so glad there are others out there who use sewing as a stress relieving tool...I thought I was just weird.

My email is wcflamm@msn.com

Candee

theteo5 said...

I totally agree! Once I start sewing for money, then it becomes not fun for me anymore. I notice I put making it off and procrastinate rather than jump right in. Plus, I never feel like what I do is worth making money on. My husband sounds as encouraging as yours and his motto is always, "your time is worth something". I try to remember that when people want to pay me.

The dress is gorgeous!

Jamee said...

beautiful dress!! you are right about the enjoyable part after i make an outfit once it is not as fun the other times i have to make it. I still love the fact it gives us money we need to make ends meet and i am able to stay home. I try to shop carefully to keep supply costs down. I started going back to the farmer's market which is more fun than etsy because i sell what i have made so i don't feel so obligated to get orders done during the week.

Fiesta said...

not at all! My sentiments are the same as yours. People assume sewing and quilting are affordable until I show them the actual cost and then they back down. They are quick to say make me one but when I give them the price to make it, there goes their desire and in turn I relish in the fact that I have made them see the light. Sewing and Quilting are not cheap.

JC said...

I have sooo been there! I recently did a custom order that turned out perfectly, AFTER I sewed a much too big waist, and then cut it down too much, and THEN started entirely over. By the time I was done, I had factored in less than $1 per hour of labor. Ack. Even without the errors, I had seriously under priced the labor- materials are easy to cost out. Your dresses are so beautiful!!!! I love them!

cjcasd @ msn dot com

Saige said...

Oh gosh. You described my feelings exactly. I'm not anywhere near the seamstress that you are, but I think if I were, the stress would be even worse, because people would be asking for higher ticket items. The few times I have sewn for money, I've been so worried about perfection that it really wasn't worth the price that I underbid for myself. I say, if it makes sewing not fun in anyway, then don't do it.

barbara said...

i agree with what everyone above said. i did sew two christening dresses and sold them for the cost of the materials and about 4 dollars per hour labour (not counting the use of machine and energy etc.) well, my friend looked at me very funny when i told her the price, even though she received one of a kind items, made to measure, nearly perfect workmanship and almost as cheap as a normal shopbought dress made in china. what do people expect? i do agree it is better to just make things for my girls and the rest goes in a gift box for newborn gifts and birhtday gifts. it's good to see the happiness on people's faces when they receive something handmade.
barbara

Audie said...

My thoughts exactly! Most people don't understand when I try to tell them that I don't enjoy doing custom sewn items or why I don't sell more. The pressure isn't worth the money. Just the effort of coming up with the right price is painful. The dress is absolultely beautiful!!

Twilight Book Club aka Kellie Dickes said...

Well I have made to order a few costumes and yes it is stressful sometimes. I have been burned a few times as well. But I can't afford to always sew everything I want to so sometimes when I need to sew something gorgeous someone comes along that wants something gorgeous. Then It usually works out. I guess I am chattering on my soap box sorry but this is sometimes i struggle for me. My desire to see someone in something fun that they wouldn't normally wear unless someone made it for them is a powerful force that takes over my life sometimes. Running into the " it's not quite perfect enough" is a hard one to combat. I finally did sell to of my dresses at the Renaissance fair and I absolutely could not believe it. Well my husband just laughed at me.

Twilight Book Club aka Kellie Dickes said...

Also when I agree to make something for someone I take them shopping with me and make them make the final decision on everything, but I still cringe when they ring up the purchases. I love when they say " Gee that was cheaper than I thought"

Andrea @ TheTrainToCrazy.com said...

I think selling clothing would be tough. You'd have to have a few go to patterns you could whip out quickly. I'm afraid I'd get bored making the same thing day after day! Though I'm with you on LBB. She makes it look fun.

2littlehooligans said...

I feel the same way. I enjoy selling already made items the most. That way they already know what they are getting. By the way, that dress is AMAZING!!