As quilters, how often do we hear those words? And quite often they're followed by a request to hire us to sew something. I don't know about you, but I don't really sew anything other than quilts and the occasional decorative household items. I don't do hems, alterations, etc. So I'm usually able to tell the person I don't really even know how to do whatever it is they're looking for.
Sometimes, though, the person wants a quilt or something else I do know how to make--something that they've seen me make for myself or a friend/relative. And my normal response is to tell the person that I don't usually hire out my services because quilting is a time-consuming process and hiring me would probably cost a lot more than they're willing to pay. And if they STILL want me to make something? Well, then I tell them what the item would cost. And because my limited quilting time is very valuable to me, I put a reasonably high price on my services. Funny, but I don't recall any of these negotiations proceeding much past that point.
Now and then, though, someone will ask me about making something for them, and if I'm in a very rare, generous mood, I say "sure"! A couple weeks ago, one of the younger women I work with asked me about the coasters she'd seen around the office--I'd made them for all of the secretaries and staff at some point before she was hired; I had a couple in my desk drawer, so I gave her one. Then she asked me if I could make a dozen for her bunco group--she was going to be hostessing in September and she thought the coasters would be a great little gift for the players. Of course she offered to pay me, and of course I refused. After all, how much could a person charge for coasters that would even begin to cover payment for the time it takes to make them? So I simply asked her to buy the fabric, told her how much I'd need, and directed her to select cotton.
So she went to a general craft and fabric store where she got a really, really good deal on some sale cotton prints. I won't name names, but I know this large chain store carries some fabrics that really aren't that bad; unfortunately, this stuff she brought me was. Thin, almost see-through fabric with muddy looking prints. But, still, I'm sure it's okay for coasters--it's not like they're going to be washed and used forever or anything! Still, working with this stuff reminded me yet again why I like to buy my fabric from quilt shops!
It's taken me a couple evenings, but I finally finished a stack of coasters. I had enough fabric to probably make about twice what she asked for, but I compromised by making 16 of them so she'll have a few extra. Needless to say, I'll also be returning to her all of the leftover fabric.
How do you respond to requests to sew for people?