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    I don't know how they can do it...

    I can't figure the mathematics of this....I have lots of customers at the restaurant that were very supportive of the Shriner Quilt project I worked on this year. One of them brought a quilt in to show me that they purchased in Iowa from the Amish. They said her name was miss Ella and she was about 70. the quilt was a beautiful large star pattern in modern materials and king size and hand quilted. She sold it to them for $270. By my calculations , it takes about $220 in materials to produce a king size quilt. They told me she had 50 or more quilts to chose from and this one was one of the most expensive Some were as little as $100.
    I've been charging $4--500 for a king sizequilt and thinking I'm making so little per hour that I'm wasting my time. Am I just paying too much for materials?
    Walk in peace with the Lord by your side.
    Terry

    #2
    Re: I don't know how they can do it...

    I don't have any reasoning for it except maybe demand. I was selling these little tops/dresses on Etsy in Hawaiian fabrics for $34 and it was less than 1/2 yd of fabric. I also see baby quilts there that sell for high prices.

    Maybe think smaller for awhile and see how that goes?
    🌺 Lorie

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      #3
      Re: I don't know how they can do it...

      I know I am likely to get virtually slapped for saying this, but the following was told to me by my husband:

      In Kansas, a co-worker's wife made quilts and sold them to an Amish store who turned around and sold them at VERY HIGH PRICES by selling it as "an Amish quilt" either explicitly with a sign/tag or by the customer assuming it is such because it is being sold in an Amish store.

      This is not to say that all Amish operate this way, nor most, nor some -- it is to say that I know of one such store.

      This is not to insinuate anything bad of Miss Ella.

      It is to say that it could be, as above stated, an issue of supply/demand or some other factor. Maybe Miss Ella knows the cost of fabric in these quilts, maybe Miss Ella can churn them out super fast thereby cutting down on her labor time.
      Blessings, DramaMama


      "May your bobbin always be full!"

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        #4
        Re: I don't know how they can do it...

        That's what I was saying about demand. People were buying my dresses for Luau parties and 1st birthday parties.

        But I would never say it was made by a Hawaiian.
        Last edited by Hulamoon; October 28, 2016, 11:59 PM.
        🌺 Lorie

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          #5
          Re: I don't know how they can do it...

          I think your prices are reasonable for a King Size quilt. I paid $300 for the material for my double size quilt. (I paid full price at over $10/yd - something I won't do any more!) This woman may buy her fabric by the bolts, and get discounts, or have other ways to cut her costs. Maybe she doesn't make them all herself. There can be so many reasons for her quilts to be so inexpensive.

          In my area, I have been told that many quilt being sold to Pennsylvania tourists as Amish quilts are made in third world countries.
          If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.- Zig Ziglar

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            #6
            Re: I don't know how they can do it...

            I've shopped at a Mennonite store in Ohio for fabric. This was their Mennonite local store ... way off the beaten path ... infact you had to take a dirt road to get there. Fabric prices were about $6 (came from Marshall's Dry Goods) and 7.50 to 8.80 for Moda (mostly discontinued bolts.) They also had a discount table of $5 bolts and $1.25 fat quarters. They held quilting bees in a back room and had baggies of scraps from other quilts and clothes that could be taken for free by the ladies who came to quilt. When I asked she said anything usable would be shared in order to be good stewards of their blessings. So yes, cost may be a factor.

            Another factor may be Miss Ella's needs. Usually be her age the son(s) have become the primary provider. Amish needs are few. No telephone, electric, or water bills to pay. Farms are usually paid for. No gasoline or car payments or insurance. And they do grow some of their own food. In their world there is no hourly minimum wage on which to base their pricing. So she may make them for the pure pleasure of doing it rather than looking to make a big profit. Just a different way of living ...

            So the pricing seems in line. I've noticed that buying an Amish quilt from a non-Amish shop can be quite expensive. But you have to remember they have purchased it from the maker and probably doubled the price. It sounds like your customer was lucky enough to buy direct. I personally would love to buy direct - but haven't been that lucky - yet.

            Just my opinion based what I've encountered on my travels.

            Edited to add: And I've personally seen the quilts that Sylvia posted about. Retail stores claiming quilts to be Amish made but are commercially manufactured by Victorian Heart overseas. They make a good profit by using misrepresentation or deception - take your pick! Either way I think they are crooks ....
            Last edited by Judy, USMC; October 29, 2016, 01:34 AM.

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              #7
              Re: I don't know how they can do it...

              Perhaps this is her Amish therapy to living longer and help keeping the joints oiled, and she doesn't do it to make money but for the enjoyment of it. Who knows maybe her 14 year old granddaughter made it. Since the Amish have no bills, money is not as a necessary evil, but would be enough to support her quilting habit.
              Blogging ahead.....research in quilting and sewing with a dab of cooking/recipes too.

              https://myquiltprojects.wordpress.com/

              https://thecookbookproject.wordpress.com/

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                #8
                Re: I don't know how they can do it...

                I know some Amish. They don't buy $12 fabric. Ever. Yes, they buy large amounts when its on sale for $4-6. And they aren't "proud" so they don't care what the name brand is. They are also very frugal and use all of it, no wasteful cutting either. I have learned a lot from them.

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                  #9
                  Re: I don't know how they can do it...

                  When the local Hancock's was closing, there were lots of Mennonite (I think) ladies in there buying huge quantities of fabric, all kinds.

                  It stands to reason that anything made from fabric that costs 90 cents a yard could be sold cheaper than if it costs $6.00 a yard. But good business sense would say to price the item as if the fabric cost $6.00 a yard.

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                    #10
                    Re: I don't know how they can do it...

                    With careful shopping, and careful cutting, I can make an entire queensize quilt for under $100. My scraps from the last 3 full quilts fit in a 3lb coffeecan, and NOT packed. And I never buy pre-cuts. Spending a little time instead of a lot of money keeps the costs down considerably.

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                      #11
                      Re: I don't know how they can do it...

                      You all have valid points. And Shirley, I agree that I can make a quilt for $100 in materials if I get to choose the fabric and pattern. I guess that is the problem on these last two...the customer has chosen the fabric and I can't bargain shop for it. I guess what I need to do is get a few quilts ahead and let them pick from ready mades.
                      I hadn't thought of the third world angle either. THat quilt they brought in to show me could have been a Chinese quilt. It just looked pretty good and I believed.
                      Walk in peace with the Lord by your side.
                      Terry

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                        #12
                        Re: I don't know how they can do it...

                        I have found people will tell just about any fib trying to beat you down to Wal-mart prices. I am of the mindset you pay me what I ask or go away, matters not to me either way.

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                          #13
                          Re: I don't know how they can do it...

                          Remember that you can't compare your prices (if paying retail for fabric) to someone who does this as a business and buys fabric at wholesale prices.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: I don't know how they can do it...

                            Another factor! Perhaps people and even some companys "donate" the fabric... I have a Sis who is blessed with friends that will give her wonderful pieces of fabric and "barter" fabric for her work.... I am so very fortunate to be in a place in life that i have "no worries" financially and can now just make things for her to sell or donate to a local COA..... It has become a wonderful way of giving back for me!
                            I spent a lot of years making and selling things just to get some extra Christmas Cash or making gifts to save money.... In this day and age it just doesn't work that way with the pricing so high... so I am using my acquired stash. My knitting and crochet items are always in demand, but i now have a rule.... I DO NOT take "money"! I only make for people i know and i explain to them that i could never charge the time it takes... it's done for my pleasure. I will NOT take orders.. I make things i feel like and they can look them over and if they want it,,,, just get me a GC for dinner out Whatever they want! It is surprising the difference in amounts...LOL
                            Sister sells my quilts for around 30.00 and up mostly, but it's such a help to her and fun for me to just make things and have fun!
                            My believe is that people no longer have "liquid cash" to spend and that shows in their spending..
                            "Each day well-lived and Happy;
                            that's all there is to Life!"

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                              #15
                              Re: I don't know how they can do it...

                              I just finished making a queen size quilt (The Herringbone -- see my albums) as a wedding gift for my gr. son. The batiks backing fabric (10 yds. @ $9.95/yd. so I'd have enough for the binding, too) cost $100. The LA quilter charged $214. for quilting & batting. I provided the thread. I used 2 layer cakes, white strips from a JR + yardage (bought at 50% off, so $5.00yd.) & FQs for the top, so that had to be at least another $100. So we're talking a good $400., which is just materials, & nothing for my time. I don't make quilts for hire. I don't need that kind of stress in my life. Mine all are gifts. Mostly baby quilts or lap size quilts.

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