FEATURE ARTICLE – FRUGAL FABRIC AND FRUGAL FABRIC USES:
I used to have a rule – never buy fabric for quilts. I don’t follow that rule any longer, but for quite some time, I made all patchwork out of fabric I had purchased for another project, be it garment or craft. This was a time when I made my children’s clothing, so I had a lot to choose from. It was also a time when other mothers gave me fabric that they were not interested in using, and I had a veritable mountain of stash. My impetus at the time was necessity. I was trying mostly to save money. As a young mother, I gardened, reused what I could, and rarely bought anything that was not absolutely necessary. This was before the heyday of yard sales and popularity of thrift stores, so it was more of a solitary endeavor as well one that was shared with my peers. What I learned from my experience was how to use fabrics frugally. I also learned that there are ways other than the traditional fabric on a bolt to purchase fabrics. I also learned to reuse fabrics from blue jeans, larger garments that were no longer being worn, etc.
Did you know that you can cut out a pair of overalls for a toddler out of a pair of slacks in an adult size? You can! You can also make a small coat out of an old man’s suit jacket if you lay the pattern pieces just right. Your patience is required, but a dress or suit with a hole or that is aged beyond perfection is not a dress or suit for the junk pile just yet. Turn it into a child’s outfit! Old sheets make great, though not flame proof, pajamas. Keep the safety factor in mind when you make pajamas; flameproof fabric is often used for younger children’s sleeping clothing. Sheets make great curtains too. They can back quilts (made of scraps of clothing!) and make great placemats and napkins. There is hardly a time when a sheet should go to waste.
There are many sources for inexpensive fabrics. I often purchase boxes of fabric at yard sales without even going through them. People want to get rid of the whole box, often for a song and a prayer. I’ve ended up with some gorgeous pieces of cottons, knits, and blends in varying sizes for usually less than 50 cents to a dollar a piece. Rarely do you find fabric at a yard sale that is more than a dollar. Keep in mind that the seller wants to have the fabric leave their home and join yours, so make an offer that you feel is fair, and don’t be upset if it is rejected. There are many more yard sales to come! You won’t find fabric at every yard sale, but when you do, you have a prize. Thrift stores are another source of inexpensive fabrics. Most thrift stores have “dollar day” or a sale day during the week. Find out when that time is and stop back in. Remember to keep an eye on sheets and clothing as well as fabric. I purchased a Laura Ashley dress in a girl’s size 12 at a thrift store for $2. The dress had a gathered skirt and when it was taken apart, I had more than enough fabric to make a gorgeous yellow, blue, and green summer vest. Had I purchased this fabric off the bolt, it would have been at least $25. I used a pattern and thread I already had, so I now own a Laura Ashley vest that cost $2. Online auction sites carry fabrics too. Here, though, you need to be cautious. You may get a smashing price on the fabric, but then end up paying enough postage to not make it worthwhile. Read the small print, but do check eBay and the other auction sites for specific fabrics. Online fabric stores and fabric stores in your town run sales that are worth looking into. Keep an eye out for sales on threads and other notions while you’re there. I never pay full price for thread unless I absolutely have to. (You can find these at yard sales too!)
In order to bring you a well-rounded set of tips and hints for how to find fabrics that don’t cost an arm and a leg, as well as thoughts about using them in a frugal manner, we scoured the web for sites devoted to saving money, asked what the founders and editors of those sites thought about all this frugal sewing, and they had some interesting things to offer.
Jonni McCoy, author and founder of Miserly Moms at http://www.miserlymoms.com, agrees that you don’t want to throw outgrown jeans away! She suggests making a skirt, a purse, a book cover (use the pocket on the front of the book cover!), or even remove the seams, sew the jeans together, make a large piece of fabric and recover a sofa. We’ve found that if you cut the leg off a pair of jeans below the knee, stuff it with batting, and sew closed the ends, you have a nice neck pillow or a rolled pillow for under your knees when you’re sitting in bed reading. We agree with Jonni that jeans are a frugal sewist’s friend.
Starla Ross of Tightwad Moms (http://www.tightwadmoms.com) mentions that innovative, dramatic, and rich home decorating designs can be achieved using scraps of fabric. Cloth shower curtains or tablecloths can be used to make coordinating seat covers for chairs. Sheers that are purchased secondhand at yard sales or thrift stores can be turned into expensive-looking window scarves or valances. Starla suggests that if you are not happy with the typical white sheers, dye them with an inexpensive fabric dye (costs about $2)! How about dying a set of large sheets and making coordinating pillows and curtains? You don’t need to buy them new. On the other hand, if you would like to achieve an aged or antique look for your scraps and other fabrics, you can use a bath of coffee or tea. We at Sewing.com have long known about “tea baths”, but never thought about coffee! The antique feel can bring coordination to a group of fabrics that may not have matched perfectly before. Lastly, Starla offers two more suggestions – Use a pair of old curtains, cutting off ruffles, rehemming them, and redesigning them into a new style altogether. Tawra Kellam of Not Just Beans.com (http://www.notjustbeans.com)agrees with the above suggestions and adds that not only should we save buttons, but save ribbing too. It can be reused on a new garment. You can reuse table cloths for pillows, table runners, or curtains. Agreeing with Starla, Tawra suggests looking at the ways you can use sheets – curtains, table cloths, covering for chairs. Have you ever thought of using old lace curtains as a dust ruffle for your bed?
We also talked to Pat, the About.com Guide to Frugal Living (http://frugalliving.about.com/). She suggests that “besides recycling material from other garments, we should be sure to save the buttons, zippers and reusable snaps or hook and eye closures for other projects. When sewing jeans or pants, you can lift the entire snap section from an old pair and graft it into a new pair. Just rip the waistband seam, cut off the portion that has the snap about 3-4 inches long to give yourself plenty of material to work with. When you’re making the new pair, sew this strip onto the waistband (where you would otherwise have to make a snap or button closure) before you attach it to the garment.” This sounded like a good idea to me simply because I truly dislike putting in the snaps. I wonder if the same recycling concept could be used for the fly?
Laura Williams of Living Frugal (http://www.livingfrugal.com) agrees with Pat about rescuing buttons and other items from clothing that is going to be discarded. “Strip worn out shirts, pants, etc. for usable parts before throwing them out. When you’re at the thrift store, keep an eye out for shirts that have nice buttons. If you buy a shirt for 50 cents but use the $5.00 buttons on a project, you come out way ahead.” Laura also mentions an idea that I’ve tried several times and that is to cut out quilt squares or strips of fabric from baby clothing and other worn out clothing, make other items and “you get to relive the memories daily.” Lastly, Laura suggests buying woolen garments (yard sales and thrift stores, of course) and making strips for a braided rug!
Karen McGowin of Christian Mothers (http://www.christianmothers.org) remembers that her grandmother, who raised seven children, saved everything – buttons, lace, zippers, elastic from every garment. She agrees with buying an el cheapo shirt if it has gorgeous buttons at yard sales and thrift stores.
Both Karen and Angie Zalewski from the Frugal Family Network (www.frugalfamilynetwork.com) suggested saving the elastic band from boy’s underwear to use in another garment.
Karen also thinks it’s a good idea to ask everyone about bargain fabric stores. They often don’t advertise and in certain areas, they sell fabric by the pound for very little money. After you have your fabrics, and have cut out a pattern (use your own good sense on pattern layout), make a note of how much fabric you really used compared to the amount asked for on the pattern envelope. You might be able to use much less than is called for. You may wish to be a bit more particular if matching plaids or stripes, but most children’s garments can be made with very little fabric.
Tightwad Tess from Tightwad Tess.com (http://www.tightwadtess.com)gave her nod of approval for the ideas we’ve covered thus far.
With all of the good ideas given by others as well as some you can come up with for yourself, is there any reason to spend a lot of money on sewing if you don’t want to or can’t afford it? The answer is a resounding “no”. What are your ideas for saving money and being frugal with fabrics and sewing?
Want your gift to be a hit on Mother’s Day or Christmas? Have the little ones draw pictures as blocks with crayon quilts. Add Sashing. Present. Done. The receiver will have an original work of art that they will treasure.
So, there you have some ideas for creating your own memory quilt. Use one, two or all of the suggestions. The best thing about this type of quilt is that it is unique. And isn’t that a reason why we quilt, anyway? To create something unique.
Nine Patch Quilt Block – How to Make and How to Use
A nine patch quilt block is just about the easiest block you can make. It also has the benefit of being one of the most versatile. So, what is it and how can you use it to turn your scraps into something beautiful? Let’s find out.
What Is It?
It’s really very simple. A nine patch quilt block is made up of nine parts. These can be the same size or not. What makes the block is the contrast in values between the sections.
They will usually have light and dark value. Now, these nine sections can have all the same color like when you’re quilting a basic Irish Chain or they can have a variety of colors like the Puss in Boots block.
How to Make It
Strip Piecing is your best bet. For a standard 9 patch if you want a 6-inch block, you’ll need to cut out 3 – 2.5 inch strips of your dark or bright fabrics and 3 – 2.5 inch strips of your light fabric. Create 2 strip sets:
Dark-Light-Dark and Light-Dark-Light
Cut the strip sets 2.5-inches times the width of the fabric. Sew them in sets of the following ways to create your block:
How to Use it:
Alternate with plain blocks
As mentioned above, you can create a basic Irish chain quilt. That is if you alternate it with a block of the background fabric. The main color pop and it looks like there’s a chain. Another option is just to alternate the block with a plain block of the same size.
Alternate with Half-Square Triangles
This is something really simple that can pack a punch. First, look in your stash to see what you have a lot of. It should be a dark color and a light color. Make half-square triangle blocks. Then make 9 patch quilt blocks that coordinate with these colors. It works best if they fall between the color ranges and are in the same color family. By the same family I mean brights, country colors, Civil War reproductions, that kind of thing.
You do not need the same fabric line, but you do need the same color family. You will notice that you gravitate toward a certain type of fabric and this will not be a problem.
Sashing is also an option. Don’t have a lot of time and need a quick charity quilt? It doesn’t get much easier than this. Instead of cutting 2.5 inch strips for your 9 patches, cut your strips 4.5 inches. That will finish as a 12inch block. Set 3 blocks x 4 blocks with sashing and you’ve got yourself a quilt top.
Setting on Point
You can also set this on point using setting triangles.
Tools in Your Toolbox
A nine patch quilt block is a good quilt block to have in your quilting toolbox. It’s easy, lends itself to strip-piecing and is versatile.
If you are a by-the-book quilter you can use this block. Simple doesn’t mean boring. The only limit really is your imagination.
Quilting Supplies – What you need to keep on hand
Here are some basic quilting supplies that you will need to keep in stock.
Yep. That’s obvious.
Quilters refer to the quilting fabric they have on hand as their “stash.” Sometimes stashes can get quite high. There’s even a stash busters online yahoo group to help fabricholics.
The good thing is that you will probably gravitate toward a certain style. There are a ton of different quilt fabric lines. You can count on most to stay near their niche. Amy Butler is modern. Moda? You will probably get a traditional type of quilt. Michael Miller features more novelty fabric.
It’s good to be aware of the different types of fabric lines so that you can know where to go when you’re looking to make a specific kind of quilt. When it comes to quilting supplies, fabric is on the top of the list.
If you have a basic sewing machine, you can use good old Dual Duty. It’s what is in my machine. If you can, however, get your hands on some Gutermann thread. If you have a high end machine, it is a necessity.
As for colors, buy neutral thread for piecing. For my bright quilts, I use white thread. For my darker quilts, I like beige. Keeping your piecing thread neutral means that you can really take advantage of the big box fabric store sales on thread.
Batting can be the most confusing choice when it comes to quilting supplies. There are a couple of questions that you need to ask yourself before you choose the right batting for a project. What will this quilt be used for? You can get away with a different batting for a wall hanging than one that you are hoping will become a little one’s favorite blanket. Baby quilts will probably be washed and dried a lot. You will need a batting that will hold up to all of that abuse, uh, I mean loving. Is warmth important? Would the recipient of the quilt be happier with a quilt that is backed with fleece because it would be warmer? In that case, you may be able to forgo batting all together.
And this is may seem shallow but notice how far apart the batting needs to be quilted. Do you really want to quilt every four inches? Only use batting like this for a small wall hanging.
Then again, the quilts made are for everyday use and probably wouldn’t make it past a cursory glance of a quilt judge. If you aspire to hand quilt a masterpiece or to use a long arm machine, then quilting every four inches could be the perfect batting for you.
It’s all about intended use. Once you know what kind of quilt you want to produce, choosing the batting becomes easy.
Tip – Buy the largest piece of bagged batting you can when it is on sale. You can always cut it up for smaller projects.
You can make your own quilt label with a piece of muslin and a permanent fabric pen. Write your name, the date, the intended recipient and the name of the quilt on the scrap of fabric. Then, stitch this to the back of the quilt.
There are also some quilt labels that are produced by fabric companies. The first quilt label I used was from a Christmas fabric line. I used some Wonder Under to apply it to the back of the quilt so that it stuck. Although Wonder Under is supposed to be permanent, I really should have stitched it down.
Another alternative is to sign the back of the quilt, directly mark on the quilt with again, a permanent, fabric pen.
So, there you have it – fabric, thread batting and labels. You can never go wrong stocking up on these basic quilting supplies.
Basic Quilting Supplies You Will Need
As a new quilter, you probably aren’t sure which supplies you need to have to be successful at quilting. When you look at a quilting or fabric store or online, there are what seems like a million gadgets and gizmos, all important for the quilter to be successful. How can you tell which are really imperative? Or do all quilters have everything?
Before you go off and buy anything, think about what kind of quilting you want to do. Do you have a pattern yet? Maybe a picture of a quilt you like and want to make? The type of quilting you want to do will affect which quilting supplies you will need, for example, those who are machine quilting won’t need supplies like a quilting frame. But let’s discuss the supplies you need to just get that first quilt top made.
Basic Sewing Supplies for Quilting
There are some sewing and quilting supplies that you will need regardless of whether you’re quilting or sewing a dress for your little girl. They are important to have on hand. So be sure you have scissors, pins, a needle and thread, as well as a seam ripper.
Scissors that are sharp and pointed work best. If they aren’t sharp and you have to struggle with every cut, you’ll hate them. If they aren’t pointed enough, you won’t be able to get into tight little places to cut. Some quilters also use a rotary cutter and mat to do their cutting, but they aren’t necessary – traditional scissors will work fine when you’re just learning.
Pins are a simple thing that can be a real help. Think of them as an extra set of hands to help hold the pieces together while you sew. They can help those edges stay together, and they can mark where that seam should be, or where it needs to end. The cheapest pins are the steel ones with tiny heads. A step above that are the one with the colored ball heads. They are much easier to see! Want to go a step even better? Try the ones with the flowered heads; they are a little bit longer, too. They’re a bit more expensive, but oh, so nice to work with! That’s a sewing and quilting supply that can make quilting just a little bit closer to heaven.
If you will be hand sewing, have a few sewing needles. If you are sewing the pieces together by sewing machine, have extra sewing machine needles on hand. If your quilt is one basic color – like blue, or brown – use that color of thread. If it is many colors and fabrics, like a crazy quilt, choose either black or white thread, whichever blends the best with your fabrics.
Another sewing supply you should have available is a seam ripper. I know, none of us plan to make mistakes, but they somehow happen anyway, so it helps if we can minimize the frustration they can cause by having a good tool to fix our mistakes. As a new quilter, to whom all the techniques are new, you are very likely to need to do some “reverse sewing”, so keep that handy-dandy seam ripper within arm’s reach.
Crafting Your Handmade Patchwork Quilt
To begin your handmade patchwork quilt you will require cloth. Patches can make up a fashionable, yet old-style quilt that will last for a lengthy time to come. You simply cut the pieces of your material to develop patches as well as design, stitching in simple numerical lines. If you are producing the customary handmade patchwork quilt, you will need fabrics, incorporating lengthy stripes, squares, arched shapes, and rectangles. You are able to leave out the shapes that curve if you do not care to go all the way through the steps of creating an intricate handmade patchwork quilt.
At the time of designing a handmade patchwork quilt, quilters will use patches to construct a quilt with a lot of segments, such as the quilts that resemble the Picasso arts, or else the basic quilts. Once you gather your patches, you will need to form blocks of your cloth. The blocks in crafter language include the “corn and beans,” motifs, “turkey tracks, maple leaf, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul” and so on.
Prior to commencing your handmade patchwork quilt you will have to choose the block scheme. You have the selection of the 4-patch scheme, or else the 9-patch. The patch block schemes make up grids, that fill in a variety of simple lines in numbers along with shapes. The 4-patch is one of the customary patterns used to make customary quilts, furthermore is one of the simpler quilt patterns. The 9-patch is additionally used, yet other models are made up on other geometric grids. When you learn to quilt you may wish to start with the lower block inches, you will what’s more have to know how to make up borders to perfect your quilt. Quilting for beginners need not be complicated, sticking to simple quilt patterns is the key to making this process less complicated.
The 4-patch is 4-squares factored into a numerical grid. For example, you can picture a box, draw a cross inside, and count 1-4 to accomplish the 4-block scheme. To continue to the 4-patch scheme you would have to include squares, stripes, etc. The whole idea behind the 4-patch scheme is that you can make use of a selection of patches to create a colorful quilt.
Once you elect on the type of your handmade patchwork quilt you will want to think about your schemes. If you are working the 4-patch scheme on blocks, around 4 inches, then you will want to cut your patches 2 inches in squares. The higher the scheme, the more patch inch squares you would need. For example, if you were to produce a 12-block scheme, you would require twelve patches and cut in six-inch squares. On the other hand, if you were having the 9-patch idea, choosing the 12-inch blocks then you would need to cut your patches into 4-inch squares. Now you are able to make your templates. Templates in crafter vocabulary are patterns, which are cut from heavy-duty fabrics, or materials. You must have the templates to produce an easy squared quilt, or else prepare to battle. You’ll end up with a spectacular creation and a handmade patchwork quilt to be proud of on the proviso you abide by simple quilt patterns. Keeping things easy is the secret when you learn to quilt your handmade patchwork quilt.
Learn Hand Quilting
If you are starting to learn to quilt, or an advanced practitioner of quilting you can uncover a lot of books that can help expand your skill. Quilting publications fall more or less into a few categories, and many titles abound within each one. The different types of books are how-to, pattern encyclopedias, historical, books about the joy of quilting, as well as art books.
How-to books are in all probability the most popular, in addition to being the first stop for the individual who wants to learn to quilt. They range from publications which discuss the complete craft of quilting as well as offer step-by-step advice, to books that will capture one feature of quilting and clarify how to achieve it. The instructional publications start with such fundamentals as cloth selection in addition to which accessories you’ll need and proceed through instructions for assembling the blocks of your quilt top as well as the quilt itself, down to explanations of quilting, both hand and machine. Each quilter needs at least one of these publications within their library, and commonly will manage to accumulate a number of them. You’ll find it amazing how many times you need a ready reference when you are in the middle of a quilting task.
An extra sort of book that every quilter will need to have on hand is an encyclopedia of patterns which include simple quilt patterns – huge for the starter. These books collect various different quilt block patterns and also explain the fundamentals of their assemblies. Since their aim is to cover a lot of ground, these publications are significant starting points but will not go into intimate detail. For that you will want to turn to books which feature coaching on an individual pattern. With the extensive assortment of quilting block patterns and techniques, you are able to imagine that this group of quilting books is rather extensive and stocked with titles.
Because quilting has its roots in American history, quilts and the craft of quilting have been studied in detail, and a lot of historical quilting textbooks exist. Looking at these textbooks along with seeing what our ancestors accomplished having a fraction of the equipment and supplies on hand at the moment can be a terrific source of inspiration to current quilters. Along the same lines are books that discuss the enjoyment to be derived from quilting, both in its social form (such as quilting bees) or as a solitary pursuit. Finally, there is a complete segment of quilters who have advanced the craft into art. These quilters regularly show their work in galleries in addition to museums, for example the quilt wall hanging. They publish books not just about their quilts, but the thoughts and procedures that went into assembling them. Every now and then collectors of quilts will put out publications, too. These art quilt books are as inspiring in their way as the historical quilting books.
Part of the thrill of quilting is locating books on the topic, and fortunately for modern quilters, there is a massive array of titles to choose from. Regardless of whether you are choosing to put together a handmade patchwork quilt or a quilt wall hanging, even quilted clothing for that matter, you should make sure you have a book or 2 easy to hand to help you along the way.
Once you have created some quilts you may want to starting selling them. There are a variety of different ways to do this including going to arts and craft festivals in your city, flea markets on even setting up your website. You will need to have a good stock built up and that will take some time. You can look on the internet for the local arts and crafts festival, their cost, times and locations. The local flea market is a good place to set up a booth but then again you will need to contact the local vendors to find out their costs for a booth, times they are open and any special requirements they may have for bringing in your own tables and such. You want to have a way to display your quilts such as a rack as well as some bags to put them in, and change for cash payers. And you will probably need a way to take credit cards as well. I found a great website that talks about this subject at: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/how-accept-credit-cards-garage-sale-1273.php
If you don’t want to attend arts and crafts festivals or hang out a the flea market all weekend you might want to consider getting a website and selling your products online. You create your own website using one of the free services such as: http://www.ecrater.com/ is a free ecommerce website and community with unlimited products you can add, or http://www.freewebstore.org/ is a free ecommerce webstore builder that is based out of England and limits your products to 9 or less. Just remember you will need to sign up for a merchants account with either Google pay or Paypal to process credit cards. However, you will not get a website with your own domain name. ECrater will allow you to just use their shopping cart feature by using links from your own domain website. You can always start out with a free site and when you get going you can upgrade to your own domain with a shopping cart feature built in so that you can control all aspects of your business. Try http://websforyou.info and http://blogsforyou.info when you are ready. Remember you have to have a shipping cost module added to your cart as well as collect sales taxes. The rate of sales tax is determined by which state you live in.
Finally, you will need to consider how much you are going to charge for your quilting creations. There are a variety of different strategies to consider when you want to sell you items including the cost of materials, the time spent on the project and the size of the piece and of course, the uniqueness of it as well. You can check on out this article I found at: http://quiltingbusiness.com/quilt-pricing.htm..Good luck!
Once you have created a couple or 10 quilts you might want to consider selling them. You can give them away to friends and family members and you can even sell them for FUN AND PROFIT. After all, you will need to recoup all that money and time you spent creating your fabulous creations and what better way than to sell a few. Of course, the more inventory you can create before you decide to sell the better. And the more the make the faster you will get at making them. There are various avenues for selling your quilts and Spring and Fall are probably the better times to try and sell them. You can pay the fees for a booth at a local quilting show or even pay the smaller fees at your local Flea and Farmers Market. But if you don’t want to schlep all your inventory to any of these places you can create a website.
If you go the traditional route you will have to pay for a domain, pay for website hosting fees and setup a shopping cart. And absolutely set up a PAYPAL account. PAYPAL is a secure credit card/electronic check processing website that keeps yours and your customers information safe and secure. Check out the GODADDY website for an inexpensive website solution that will give you complete control of how you website looks like, feels like and interacts. If you are not internet or web savvy then you can even try ETSY or another online service.
ETSY is another seller/buyer website that gives you leeway in your shop. They do charge $0.20 per item that you list and a small percentage of the amount you sell. They help you get the word out and offer videos and instructions on how to list, take pictures, involve your friends, even pay a small fee to have your items featured quickly. You have to renew your items every 4 months and pay the $0.20 per item fee again. The fees are due by the 15th of the following month. That gives you a little time to list your items and hopefully make a sale or two before they are due. Read through the help sections of any site or service you decide to use. So far we have been happy with all the services we are recommending.
For those of us who are new to quilting we really like the YouTube quilting videos that people have uploaded and are willing to share with everyone. Some of these people even make money with these videos by participating in the Google Adsense program and linking their Youtube user account with the Adsense account. Every time that someone views their video with advertising and clicks on the “ad appropriate” content the video make gets a few pennies. Eventually they will add up to enough money to buy more materials for more quilts. Now you may not have the creative skills or equipment to make these kinds of movies but if you do you can go to different sites to learn about making your own video.
Essential Quilting Skills & Techniques by Missouri Star Quilt Company Quilting Tutorials. They have 12 videos in the series and are FREE to view over and over again. Great for the beginner or even as a refresher for the long-time quilter. http://www.youtube.com/user/MissouriQuiltCo?feature=watch
For those who would like to start their own business with their quilts we have found a business startup funding source that you might want to consider. It is a Flexible funding account that takes advantage of the campaigners social media followers and friends. If you don’t have a Facebook and Twitter account yet then now would be the time to start. They are a great way to find other quilters out there, show off your work and encourage others to buy from you once you decide to sell your stuff. Anyway, IndieGoGo.com is a crowdfunding website that helps business owners get funding for the business start-ups. They charge a small fee of what you collect and with the Flexible funding option you get to keep what you get as opposed to some of the other “All-or-Nothing” Crowdfunding sites. They have terrific tools for you to use and have some very quick and interesting tutorials on how to help your campaign be a success. Let’s face it we all need help finding funding for our projects and whether you are needing funds for a business or are sponsoring a special civic project this might be the place for you to get started. Read through their materials and share it with your friends and relatives. It may be the answer for a project that you are passionate about that needs a little help getting off the ground.
Where Can You Sell Your Unique Quilts
Now that you have mastered the skill of making quilts and you have quite a few in inventory you might want to think about selling them. You have several options to selling your creations. You can attend Craft Shows, Quilting Fests, Flea Markets, Consignment Agreements with Quilting Shops but the best and possibly the least expensive way would be creating an online store and selling them directly to the public. You may have to use a combination of a few methods to get the word out on your store. We can help you with that if you like.
Attending Craft Shows and Quilting Fests
You will need to apply for a Vendor’s Space at the show, pay the fees, have your own table, chairs, be able to accept credit cards and have promotional materials ready to hand out such as business cards, flyers and perhaps some trifolds with information about your creations or even a Percentage Off Coupon that they can use on their next purchase. You will also have to have pictures of your products. Most Craft Shows require that you fill out an application before hand and include pictures of your products with the application. The fees can run anywhere from $200 to $600 per show. These are also two or three day events that you will have to be prepared to man your booth the entire time. So having a couple of partners to relieve each other for bathroom breaks and food breaks will be essential.
These type of shows usually just give you a 10×10 space on the floor and you have to bring everything to display your products attractively as well as the selling stuff. The selling stuff might include shoppers bags, a small printer to print receipts or you can get one of the small carbon copy receipt books from an office supply store. Finally, you will more than likely have to pay for a Business Tax/Occupational License for the county you are selling your creations. You are required to collect Sales Tax on physical goods sold within the state. So, you will have to apply for a Sales Tax Number as well. These may have to be gotten before you submit your application with the shows. Check the requirements of the show on their websites very carefully to make sure you can meet the terms and are happy with them.
Showing your Quilts at these types of events should be thought of as a chance to show off what you can do. It is also a great time to meet other quilters, network, and get and share tips. If you have your promotional items ready to give out to anyone who shows interest in your work and with a website already up and running they may decide to buy from your website. You may not make any money at some of these events but it is a great place to garner interests in your work.
Now selling anything at one of the local Flea Markets is about the same. You will have to pay for a booth which is probably just a couple of tables in a 10×10 space. You will have to bring your goods, your selling stuff such as customer bags, receipts and even the ability to take credit cards. Remember that these types of places generally attract bargain hunters and not so much those who would be willing to pay the price of handcrafted pieces of art. And you will have to pack up your goods every day and return in the morning to set back up again. Most flea markets are located outdoors with some spaces having a roof and the least expensive ones with no roof. However, an indoor flea market with lockable doors might be a way for you to start a small store. And the indoor Flea Markets have air conditioning for the summer and heating for the winter. You will have to pay a monthly fee for the booth but you can leave your stuff, use it as a store address, lock up when you are not there and it is less expensive than a regular commercial space. Flea Markets do generate a lot of foot traffic and that is a good thing when it comes to getting the word out about your quilts.
As with the Craft Shows if you elect a monthly booth at the Flea Markets you are going to have to get a Sales Tax Number, Collect Sales Tax from anything your sell and send them in monthly or quarterly as well as getting a Business Tax License from the County. Even if you just go on occasional weekends it is a good idea to go ahead and get the Business Tax License and Sales Tax Number. These are business expenses and are required for any business selling within the state.
To process Credit Cards for a very small fee and get a FREE sliding device you will need a smartphone, Iphone or IPad device by using SquareUp.
Selling Your Quilts Online
To sell your quilts all you need is a decent website, a social media account or two, a shopping cart and the ability to accept online credit cards. Signing up with Paypal then you can have both without any added cost. They do charge fees when you get a credit card payment. With a social media account such as Facebook and Twitter you can use one of the many online stores such as Etsy.com and Copius.com. Etsy charges $0.20 per item to list every 4 months as well as a small fee when you sell your items and Copius is free to list but charges a small fee when you sell your item.
Now we are offering small business quilters that want to sell their unique creations online a website off of our domain.
I really need to get a grip on my recent obsession with 100% cotton premium quilting fabric and subsequent spending! But, I think that’s easier said than done…and I know I’m not alone in this…. which gives me a little bit of comfort! I’ve found myself arranging and rearranging piles of fabric more often than I actually want to admit to. This usually happens after spending some quality time perusing favorite Etsy fabric sellers. Sometimes, on the way to bed, I glance into the sewing room and can’t resist stopping in to try out a few fabric combinations….and then ponder the possible projects and, of course, the additional fabric that would be needed.
A few days ago, in the very early hours of the morning(about 1:30am to be totally honest), while arranging fabric for another QAL starting soon, I finally admitted to myself what I had been suspecting for a couple of weeks…..I had become a fabricaholic. I struggle daily to resist buying the gorgeous fat quarter and half yard bundles I’ve been admiring online but can’t help adding them to my cart, knowing full well that I’m not really going to be able to purchase them. I guess the last thing I need to be doing is participate in a virtual Fabric Shop Hop…right?
While the urge to buy and acquire more fabric is there and relatively strong, I don’t feel that an intervention is needed at this point because finally, after over spending on fabric for a couple of months, I’m sticking to a monthly fabric budget and finding ways to trim a little money from the household budget in order to increase my monthly fabric budget. Oh…and, I’m going to make an effort to buy fabrics that are on sale at greatly reduced prices…UNLESS buying exact yardage needed for a specific project…..really. And, I’m avoiding the local quilt shop until I’ve used up the fabric purchased there the past few months. Also, in an effort to fill the void of not buying so much fabric, I began entering giveaways and now the fabshophop, a Virtual Shop Hop complete with prizes. When I first started, most of the giveaways that I enter were for fabric but I soon began entering giveaways for many other items. I have actually won a couple of giveaways!
And, really……after seeing the humongous fabric stashes of so many others, through their blogs and flickr streams, I know that I am not so far gone… I am strong and have the power to resist buying piles of luscious fabrics before I need them or with out having a plan for their use…..have to keep telling myself I can do this……
What label do you go by to describe your fabric addiction?
Weather you refer to yourself as a fabricaholic, fabric junkie, material girl, textile junkie, fabric obsessed…..how do you cope? How do you curb your spending or say no to that next scrumptious bundle of fabric from one of your favorite designers or shops?
Preparing a quilt to send for quilting
Use Scant ¼” inch seam. Most patterns call for a scant ¼’ inch seam. Smaller seams, especially those not secured on the edge of the quilt, can pull out when stretched on a long arm quilting machine. Secure exposed edges of seams.
Press seams flat. It is best to press as you go, but regardless, you need to press the seams flat before sending the quilt to be quilted. Un-pressed seams will result in imperfect quilting. We will press if we must but will charge you our maximum hourly rate to do so.
Clip loose threads. Loose threads will show through the light fabrics in your quilt after the quilting is done.
Square the quilt top. Quilt attaches to leaders that roll. A crooked edge will result in a twisted quilt. We recommend scalloped edges be cut after the quilt is quilted. Tell us if this is the plan and we will work accordingly.
Pin a note to mark top if quilt is directional. Marking the back if it is directional is also important. This is not necessary if there is no directionality.
Embellishments such as buttons, beads, ribbons etc. should be added after the quilting is done.
We cannot quilt out bulges from wavy borders or blocks. Check blocks before piecing together to make sure they match. Measure quilt in three inner places before cutting border and average the measurements. Do not sew a longer piece to the edge and then cut off the extra, or ease in a border that is what the blocks should have added up to. The extra fabric will fold over and bunch under the quilting machine.
Backing and batting: Busy fabrics on back tend to hide machine starts and stops. Custom quilting always requires many seam ends. Edge to edge quilting is more forgiving but will still show when the bobbin thread runs out.
A ½” inch seam is recommended if your backing is seamed. Many people now piece the back of their quilts. This is suitable as long as you realize we cannot guarantee the back will be centered on the top.
Remove selvedge edges from seam before sewing. Selvedge edge has a different stretch than the rest of the fabric and will result in a pulled look if left in the seam.
Backing of quilt must also be squared.
Batting labeled as appropriate for machine quilting is needed. Some batting, especially polyester loose weave, will pull too much on the machine.
Backing and batting must be 4-6 (6 preferred) inches larger than quilt front. Backing and batting attach to the leaders at top and bottom and to clips on the side of the frame. Extra fabric is needed to do this.
Do not use sheets as backing. Sheets do not stretch the way quilting fabric does, and they are more closely woven which wears out the needles faster.
Do not baste backing, batting and top together.
Take two talented people, one in retirement, a late life marriage and a large house . Mix well, add enthusiasm, and what do you get? Quilts. I got hooked on quilts when I acquired an unfinished quilt in the log cabin pattern made by my great grandmother. “I was intrigued,” and learned to add the batting and the backing. “Then I went into scrap quilts and took lessons.” Soon I was skilled enough to begin teaching others.
I led classes in in several states, all the time continuing to hone my skills by taking lessons as well. My husband got interested in quilting soon after. His specialty soon became operating the quilting machine. Now we own two of the 14 foot devices, each in its own room. “If you want to do something creative, you can make a quilt top and have someone else do the quilting.” That’s where the machine comes in. Quilts are made up of three layers: the decorative top fashioned from small pieces of fabrics in a geometric or free form design, the middle layer of cotton or synthetic batting to provide warmth and the backing, usually a plain fabric in a color that complements the top or in white. In making quilts entirely by hand, crafts people often tie the layers together with hundreds of bits of string or yarn. They may, instead, sew them
together by hand, often making the stitches into decorative patterns. The quilting machine duplicates that tedious handwork, sewing the layers with decorative stitching in any design desired, smoothly and evenly with no bunching or lumping of the inner batting. Learning to run the new, improved second machine has become my husband’s latest fun thing to do. The demand for his work is strong and growing. Quilting is big,
particularly with the proliferation of quilt stores. “People find out quilting is really relaxing.” “And people are becoming more productive”. “They can see an end to their project” when the final, difficult step is taken over by the machine.”
It may surprise some to learn that quilting is growing in popularity with men, who sometimes comprise half the classes. “We recently went to a quilting conference. “There were five thousand quilters there. Quilting is huge.” I like to work with beginners. Many want to follow a standard design, down to fabrics and colors. “As you progress, you tend to choose your own colors.” Quilting is not just for making bedcovers. Our living room has quilted wall hangings and table runners. A quilted back pack lies on a coffee table; all the materials to make it are available as a kit. “Every quilter has his or her UFO’s”. “That stands for UnFinished Objects.” I have a few of my own stashed in closets and drawers. Our next venture is to offer “Quilting Camps.” It will be a chance for a small group of women to get together” and spend all weekend in our pajamas just quilting.” It’s a girl thing.
So you’re ready to get started with your first quilt but you have no idea where to start. Below is a list of some basic quilting tools you will need to get started in your quilting journey.
1) Sewing Machine – It goes without saying, but if you are going to hand stitch your quilts you will not need a machine. There are many brands of sewing machines on the market. I personally love my Janome 4800 and Janome 6600. But to start off, remember, you will need a machine that can sew straight stitches. You don’t need tons of different stitches until maybe later, maybe never. It all depends on the level you want to take your quilting. You will want to make sure of two things. One: does your machine have either a 1/4 inch foot attachment or marking for the 1/4 inch? This is the most popular stitch in quilting. Two: does your
machine have a walking foot? The walking foot allows you feed bulky items through or even machine quilt.
2) Rotary Cutter – Whoever invented a rotary cutter was brilliant. When I took my first sewing lesson (back when the dinosaurs roamed), there were only scissors. UGH! If you ever use scissors for long, you understand how your thumb will hurt from the pressure of the finger holes. You don’t experience that with a rotary cutter. You will definitely want a rotary cutter, because it quickly lets you cut your strips, blocks, etc. You will save a ton of time and energy than if you use scissors. Don’t forget a rotary cutter sharpener. There are a few on the market for you to choose from. There are many sizes and varieties out
there in rotary cutters. You will soon find the ones that work best for you. For me, I prefer the Olfa Rotary Cutter, 45mm. What I found when I used the smaller (28mm) is that I didn’t have as much control. But when I used the 60mm, I found it to be too big and bulky and still didn’t have as much control. I like the Olfa because the blade retracts automatically, less chance of cutting yourself. What I would suggest is that you go to your local quilt shop and ask them to try their rotary cutters. You don’t need to cut fabric, just feel it in your hand and practice on their cutting mats.
3) Rotary Mat – Rotary mats are great for cutting out your projects. They protect the surface you cut on and they are made of self-healing material, which means they don’t make grooves. They also help keep your blades sharp, which means less time sharpening your rotary cutter or replacing blades. When I use my mat, I turn it over and use the back side without the numbers. I do this because I have found some mats don’t have straight lines. For convenience I use a large one at home, it is 36″ x 24″ . You probably will want a smaller mat for classes. Choose a size that fits easily into your quilting tote if you will be taking classes.
4) Rotary Rulers – What can I say about rotary rulers? Without them, you wouldn’t be able to cut and square your projects or create special blocks and quilts. They are used to grip your fabric and a act as a
guide for your cutters, also a place for your hand to rest so you don’t cut your fingers. At home I keep a 6″ x 24″ Ominigrid ruler around for most projects. This ruler is great for cutting out your bigger pieces
of fabric. I use a 15″ Omnigrid square for squaring up blocks up to 15″. I also use this for squaring up my quilt after it has been quilted. A small 6″ square ruler on my cutting area makes it easier to square up or cut smaller pieces. With these three rulers, you will be able to cut most projects. If you only buy one, I would strongly suggest the 15 inch square. You can do most projects with this one ruler.
5) Iron Board – Most of us already have an iron and ironing board. Chances are what you already have will work just fine. Just remember as you iron any of your pieces to press with an up and down motion, instead of ironing back and forth. If you use steam, be very careful you are dealing with raw edges of fabric and bias edges. Be gentle with your strips, blocks, and fabric. There is an iron to hit the market. It is a mini iron by Dritz. You can adjust the handle so you can get into tiny spaces and press the smallest of areas. This iron is priced at $39.99, but I have found Amazon has some for as low as $25.89. So if you are in the market you can check it out here. This is a great deal. Petite Press Portable Iron. If you do have to purchase an iron for home, look for one that is fairly heavy. I use Rowenta and it has some heft, which is great for helping with the pressing. There is also a specially designed ironing board for quilters called a Big Board. This is square without the narrower end and makes it easier to press fabrics and your quilt tops and even has grid lines to make sure your strips and blocks are lined up correctly.
6) Fabric Scissors & Paper Scissors – I know it sounds crazy. But you really will want to have two different scissors. If you cut your paper with your fabric scissors, it makes them dull. So you will need ONG>one pair just for your quilting projects and one pair for your paper cutting projects. I would advise marking these scissors, either with a tag, or permanent marker on the handle or blade so you will know that you use these for your paper projects ONLY. For quilting projects, I recommend Gingher scissors. These stay sharp forever and are true workhorses.
>7) Pins & Needles – When I started quilting I really didn’t realize there was more than one type of pin available. But, wow, they have every kind imaginable. You will want long straight pins. I like the ones with the flower heads. They lay flat on your fabric and are easier to avoid melting them with your iron. If you will be ironing your pins, you will want to get glass head ones. They will not melt on to your work. Don’t forget the pin cushion. There are millions of them out there or you could make your own. When you are sewing with a machine, there are many sizes of needles to get. Make sure to get the ones recommended by your sewing manufacturer. I find Schmetz 75/11 Universal needles work great for ost of all the projects. If you are planning on sewing thick or bulky fabric you will want to get a Jeans needle. For metallic threads you will want to use a Metallica needle. So for whatever material you are sewing other than cotton, make sure to use the right needle for the project. Follow your sewing machine manufacturer’s directions.
The next step will be to find an easy quilting pattern that appeals to you.