QOTD 10/08 - binding

msmeowOctober 8, 2013

It seems there are many quilters who hate hand sewing the binding on a quilt. I like doing it! :) I am thinking about offering hand sewing services as a way to earn a little extra money. I was thinking of charging by the quilt size - i.e. so much for a crib size, twin size, etc.

Any opinions on if this would work? Do you hate it enough that you would pay someone to do that hand sewing? I'm not looking to make a bunch of money; I just thought it could be a little extra income for doing something I enjoy any way.


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Even with a good price, I would not want to go to the bother of wrapping and shipping it to you to do. If you were also doing the quilting, it would be worth it but not just for binding. I could see local people finding it helpful, though.

Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:37PM
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You should charge by the linear inch - for example, $.20/in = $7.20/yard. That's just an example, of course.

A baby quilt could be 36" square, or it could be 40x60", and that's a big difference. Using the above numbers the 36" square = 144" at $.20/in = $28.80. The 40x60" quilt = $40.00.

I DO hate hand sewing the binding, so if you were local, I would definitely have you do it. But I'm not sure I would ship a quilt just for that service. If you have a local quilt guild, you might find a lot of local takers for such a service.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 2:24PM
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Donna, Would it be allowed to put a little blurb in your guild's newsletter to let people know? It won't hurt to try, but like the other's said, I think those who are local would use your service more than those who would have to ship the quilt.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 2:38PM
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We have a lady in our guild who works a nursing hotline at night. She accepts anyone's quilt to sew binding on while she works... I always thought she could make a pretty profit doing this for others.

I agree that you'd want to charge by the linear inch. That's how I've seen it done with professional quilters. You could probably search going prices online to find an average.

I'm not sure everyone would want to pay for this service, but I'd bet you could get a few that would use you regularly. Couldn't hurt to ask around locally.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 3:24PM
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Thanks, y'all! I was thinking locally only...I can put a blurb in the guild's newsletter.

I was also really thinking linearly (? Is that a word?) in that I was thinking along the lines of up to say, 144" circumference would be $25, from 145" to 180" would be $35...something like that. But just going with a per inch price would probably be best.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 5:03PM
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I ran my own business for twenty two years and pricing goods and services is an art unto itself. You certainly don't want to give it away and underpricing is a common fault with people starting up. OTOH, your bird won't even get off the ground if you start out overpriced for what people are willing to pay, regardless if it reflects an honest pay for the time you have in it. Hand sewing down a binding isn't the same skill level as a thirteen stitch per inch hand quilting job and I would not expect to pay someone to sew a hem stitch what I would pay to have them quilt. A quilt the size I normally make, by your criteria would cost me about $75 to have you stitch it down after I already made or purchased the binding and sewn it on. No, I would not pay that to be honest. Somebody else might, however. If you network with quilters, instead of asking them what they would charge if they were doing it for someone else (essentially what you are asking us), ask them what they would pay somebody else to take it off their hands. If you intend to do it locally, then they will determine your market price. It may or may not be enough to make you want to move forward with it.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Don't know about fair charges, but as my hands age I wondered recently about whether or not anyone would be willing to do it when I no longer can. Guess that's something to ask local guild members about.

Hope it all works out for you.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:33PM
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A local quilter charges .10 per linear inch to machine-sew the topside of binding to quilt and .30 per linear inch to hand-sew the back. Her work is beautiful, the hand-stitches were closely set, very even and nearly invisible.

We are in a "high-income" area which no doubt affects the price, but not by as much as one would expect. Recent checking of other quilt finishers showed the binding finishing to cost from .25 to .35 per linear inch.

Like others have said, keep it local. Also consider advertising via flyers at local material shops and craft stores.

If you actually decide to try it, make a 'sample' to exhibit the stitching. I have been simply appalled at what some stitchers considered acceptable; whether it's a lack of skill or a belief that whatever is out-of-sight on the back doesn't matter, some folks don't have quite the same standards. You need to show upfront that what you will do for others is worth what you will be paid.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Although I don't mind this final step and I take pride in how mine turn out, I doubt that I could ask enough for the job, mostly because the thought of being responsible for someone else's quilt in my care would cause me too much anxiety to make it worth the money. I admire those who can long-arm other people's quilts with no worries.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Thanks for all your comments and good advice!

Rita, you make a very good point. We have 2 cats and they are everywhere, so any one I did work for would have to be 1) okay with cat fur or 2) wiling to let me wash their quilt when I was finished with it.

I probably won't ever do it...it's just something that's been rattling around in my head since DH got the new job paying about half of what the old job paid.:) Don't get me wrong - he LOVES the new job and I love having my "old" hubby back! I've just been spending more time thinking about money than I used to. :)


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Donna I'm local to you and I hate hand sewing binding... the only problem is I never get to the binding step.... always starting something new without finish the last thing you know...

But I can see how beneficial a service like this would be for people that not only just don't like hand sewing binding, but also have a physical problem (like arthritis) that makes it hard or impossible... I'd think that if people would pay to have something quilted, they would pay to have the binding sewn!

I think you have a frame, don't you? Do you offer quilting for others already? Maybe you enjoy the hand sewing the binding more than frame quilting? I only ask because the last time I was at a quilt shop, I heard them talking about how expensive it was and how many months backed up they were...

As much as I dislike sewing the binding my hand, I also can't stand the way machine sewn binding looks, there may be others who feel the same way....

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 4:26PM
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