Friday, July 4, 2014

No value does not equal free

I found this posting on another blog "Molli Sparkles".  It describes how much value is actually in a handmade quilt.  While I don't fully agree with every charge she has listed, I DO agree that the value is far more than some might think. 

TGIFF - No Value Does Not Equal Free

Well, when I checked in with a few of you in the break room a few weeks ago, I discovered that many of you are totally The Last Donut type of people. Gurl, I hear ya, sometimes you just gotta do, what you gotta do! So now that you've had a few weeks to digest, let me show you how all that white powder came together (oh, and you've got some on your nose!)

I'm sure you can sympathise with how difficult this mutha' is to photograph. I promise you she's all white, but she easily reflects ambient light. For those new to this project, a long while back I daydreamed of an all white quilt, and then put together a brief costing sheet for a colleague. We both looked at the price, stunned, realising that was out of her budget. However, I wanted to forge ahead, and determine the true cost of making this quilt. That's how the Quilt That Never Was turned into No Value Does Not Equal Free.
So I began collecting white tone-on-tone fabrics from all sorts of places: a trip to Canberra, my own stash, from fans around the world (:::waves!:::), and my local quilt shop. I settled on thirty-six fabrics, and made thirty-six unique, Trip Around the World blocks. Each block contains six fabrics, and finishes at twelve inches. You can see from the photos that only the quilt top is finished, and I'm still determining the best course of action for the quilting. At this stage I really am leaning towards silver, metallic thread though. I think it could give it a couture edge, without being too Versace: House of Gaudé.
I wanted to do this all white version as a direct response to two things. First, to all of the scrap-vomit, (and let's just be perfectly honest, fugly) versions of the Trip Around the World quilts that hit the Interwebs last year. Whoa! No need to write the hate mail! I'm just saying, some of them kind of hurt my eyes. 
Secondly, I created my version in response to the Low Value / Volume phenomenon that is still omni-present, and in my opinion, an over-used trend. But what do I know? You want low volume, how about no volume!? You might even call this an art quilt, with all this feverish, quilty commentary on existing trends and current costs!
Now, let's look at where I'm up to on the cost, and let me explain a few things. I'm sure you'll have something to say about it--and I encourage it! Let's talk.
  • All fees are quoted in Australian dollars, however it is nearly on parity with the US dollar.
  • The design concept fee is a one time fee to cover the cost of time spent on figuring out the project with regards to aesthetics, fabric choice, fabric quantities, cutting and assembly procedure, and general pondering time.
  • Fabric for the front was purchased at all different rates, throughout the world. Fabric in the US is typically around $8-12 per yard, fabric in Australia is typically $18-24 / yard (metre). I settled on an estimated cost of $15 / yard.
  • Fabric for the back was purchased last week from during a flash sale they had. Michael Miller Mirror Ball Dots in Snow for $6.29 / yard.
  • Multiple shipping charges are estimated for various purchases at $50.00 (this is low).
  • Regarding time spent during production, I timed myself at each step, even pausing the clock if I had to make myself lunch, etc. I felt I was sewing efficiently, chain piecing when I could.
  • I paid myself $30.00 / hour. Whoa! I hear you saying already. Okay, let's chat about this. I did some research and found in 2011 the median wage (not mean/average) in Australia was $57,400 / year. That equates to $29.05 / hour. Based on inflation, and to make calculations a bit easier, I rounded to $30.00 / hour.
  • Still, the median? Are you sure you deserve that much? ABSOLUTELY! In my day job I work in the facilities and maintenance industry, and pay vendors industry rates of $60.00 / hour during the day, and even $120.00 / hour during evenings and weekends. Considering I'm usually sewing in the evenings and weekends, asking for $30.00 / hour (when the plumber is making $120.00) seems completely acceptable to me! You have to make your own judgements here, but my sassy ass is worth more than $10.00 / hour.
  • Long-arm services, and times for sewing the binding have not been factored in yet.
  • I have added a 20% profit margin, because otherwise I'm just breaking even. The goal is to make money with your wares, right? (Yes, yes, I know the joy of sewing is all you need to survive).
  • And well, you add it all up (less quilting and binding), and this 72" square quilt top is valued at $1616.34 (formula calculation error!) $1,421.34 AUD. No value does not equal free.

Molli Sparkles ain't cheap!

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