- by Trish
If you enjoy quilting, why not learn to do quilting for money? This is a great and easy way to make money from your home, whether you are young or old, male or female.
You don’t even necessarily have to be creative given the many free quilting patterns now available online. Even if you had to purchase a pattern that too could be easily (and should be!) factored into the price you put on your completed work.
Now I hear you asking if you could really make money selling your quilts, and I can tell you this; you most definitely can make money from home selling quilts… though you will need proper guidance so that you can skip making the mistakes others have made before you… and get right to making a profit instead. Take Lorena’s advice for example…
Can I Really Make Money Quilting?
And none of those excuses of being too old either.
According to Quilting in America 2017, the average dedicated quilter is female, 63 years of age, well educated (70% attended college), with a household income of $95,900, they have been quilting for an average of 19 years, they spend on an average of $3,363 per year on quilting, and the styles of quilts produced are: 85% traditional quilts, 20% art quilts and 37% modern quilts.
This information is freely offered by fabshopnet.com where it is stated in their PDF that this information was apparently presented by The Quilting Company brands: Fons & Porter, MaCall’s Quilting.
Along with these statistics, I hope you can realize the potential you have for making money in the quilting industry.
There are two different ways of being able to start your very own quilting business if this is your crafting passion. The first would be to start your own small business by yourself, and the second option would be to purchase an exiting quilting business from someone else.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both options.
If you have never owned your own business before, here is a list of some of the things you need to do at the start:
- Decide on what your business will be structured like.
- Whether you will work from home or lease space.
- Find out who your competitors are and what advantages they have.
- Set a budget for expenditures as well as your anticipated income.
- Decide on what products you will sell (examples: baby quilts, queen sized quilts, etc.).
- Decide how you will sell your products (examples: online, in your own shop, on consignment, or wholesale).
Once you start your business, you need to be prepared to review your business plan on a regular basis to make certain that you are staying on target of your goals. Get rid of what is not working and focus more on what is working, and make sure to take time to develop new products and explore new marketplaces.
If you have already been working in the quilting industry, you could easily leverage your profits by providing products and even services in related areas. A great example of this would be teaching quilting techniques to others who are interested in learning to quilt.
As an instructor you could:
- Provide workshops at quilting shows
- Provide one-on-one tutoring on quilting
- Organize craft retreats, shopping tours, and quilt show tours
- Publish articles about different quilting techniques
- Mentor potential start-up business owners
Then of course, if you already have a website you might consider the following:
- Buy and sell specialty quilting books
- Sell specialty fabrics and notions
- Create a quilters membership website
If you are well known for your quilting you could become a:
- judge for quilting shows
- certified quilt appraiser for insurance
- historical quilt consultant
- professional speaker about mastering quilting
Or… how about offering to finish quilts that other quilters started making but never finished (for whatever reason), or making quilts on speculation or on commission? The options available to you are only limited by your own imagination.
Making quilts is very time consuming and they can be expensive to make, while at the same time they are also unique and often very beautiful. For these reasons, quilts have been and still are very much prized possessions in many households.
You might be surprised to learn how many people have started to make a full sized quilt and discovered part the way through creating it that it was a LOT more work than they ever anticipated it would take to complete.
So, you could advertise your services of finishing off those quilting projects that others started and either no longer have the time to complete, or have decided it is way too much work to finish.
Or, you could offer to be a consultant and instead of finishing off someone’s quilt for them, you could provide tutoring that would help them finish their quilt. Your consultation services may offer the less affluent quilters an option in being able to have their quilt completed for less cost.
Some suggested fees for consultation that I have found are:
1.) $200 US funds for a prepaid retainer and unlimited advice until the quilt is finished or
2.) $50 US funds an hour for your instructing them personally.
The $200 option would be cheaper than having you finish their quilt for them as they would be receiving more training than the $50 per hour by paying you upfront.
As for making specialty quilts, targeting a market with known needs is highly recommended, so be sure to take pictures of your previously created quilts. This way, your potential customers will be able to see what exactly it is that you are offering in order to start a conversation discussing what they want.
Some ideas of specialty quilts are as follows:
- T-shirt quilts – literally made from T-shirts
- Hobby quilts – examples: family pedigree charts
- Religious quilts – using the customer’s religious images
- Sonority quilts – examples: music symbols
- Theme quilts – examples: cats, dogs, horses, sports, etc.
The top selling specialty quilts are as follows:
- Baby quilts
- Heirloom quilts
- Photograph or memory quilts
- Pet quilts
You need to understand that you have to do proper market researching before you make your final decision as to the area(s) of quilting that you want to specialize in. Some examples of things you will need to discover are:
- who would be your potential customers,
- where are your potential customers hanging out,
- who else is making the type of quilt you want to specialize in, and
- where would you get your fabrics from for the best price.
Obviously, baby quilts are smaller than full sized quilts, so they would be easier to make and a lot cheaper to obtain the necessary fabrics for too. These make really great gifts and can be in big demand providing you have done your research as to where your potential customers are located.
Besides baby quilts, you could also offer matching crib bumpers and valances. This would definitely have your products standing out from the average quilts. Using standard crib sizes for pre-made sets is recommended.
Make sure that you wash all of the fabrics used in baby safe detergents before beginning to sew, in order to avoid having any lingering chemicals left in your fabrics, and do NOT use any starch when ironing your fabric or the finished quilts. This way, you can state that your quilts are chemical free and more apt to be allergy free.
There are many baby themes to choose from in making your baby quilts. Some examples are:
- Fairy stories
- Nursery rhymes
- The alphabet
- Sports images
- Barn yard animals
- Jungle animals
- Different colored fish
You could even make sure your baby quilts match this year’s colors for baby sheets by visit your local baby supplies store to check out the “in” colors for this year.
For marketing your baby quilts you could take out an ad in your local newspaper(s) under the “Births” notice, or you could offer them on consignment basis or simply sell them wholesale to your local baby supply stores.
You could also offer them on Amazon, Etsy, eBay, or setup a Woocommerce website to sell them. Be sure to take pictures of all your work and get testimonies from your customers, be they on Google MyBusiness or in printed format that you can scan and add to your website.
Once you have made several baby quilts you could then move on to creating older children’s bed sized quilts. This is when you could start creating movie theme quilts like the well known Disney movies that kids love. However, you will need to pay strict attention to NEVER use copyrighted images for your quilts.
About Heirloom Quilt Making
These types of quilts are usually made to celebrate special occasions like births, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, etc., and are intended to stay in the family they are created for, for years to come. Therefore heirloom quilts must be made out of the best quality fabrics available with a high thread count. Some examples of high quality fabrics are silk-cotton and satin-cotton blends.
If you choose to offer heirloom quilts, then you need to be prepared to have at least one full sized heirloom quilt that you have made in order to display the quality of your workmanship. It is also a good idea to have sample blocks of different classic designs to show your potential customers.
Be sure that you are totally familiar with what an heirloom quilt looks like and what classic block patterns are, or be prepared to do a thorough researching of this first.
Photograph or Memory Quilts
Because the photograph guilts are nostalgic in nature given that you will be using someone’s photos from a special occasion, such as a wedding anniversary, these will make wonderful gifts.
They don’t have to be complicated to make simply because they will be a set of square or rectangular panels, each having their own picture printed on a plain piece of fabric and most likely have coloured strips in between to provide a visual separation of the panels with images.
Pinterest is one of the best sources for ideas on the many different layouts that you could use in making these quilts.
You could easily create a sample picture quilt by making one for one of your own family members. Then be sure you take a picture of your photograph quilt to use in showing your project.
Topics you could cover in making photograph quilts are as follows:
- Memorials of adored family members
- Benchmark birthdays
- Family tree (pedigree chart)
- Favourite cars owned
- Family homes
These types of quilts you could advertise as being available at digital photograph printing outlets.
Because pet owners love to spoil their pets, especially those of us without children, pet quilts are very popular. These should be made from more durable fabrics like denims and corduroys for dog quilts and finer fabrics for cat quilts.
You could even make pet quilts that will cover a pet bed. Maybe even make them in small, medium and large sizes for example. To find out the sizes of pet beds on the market now, you can check out your local pet supply stores.
Maybe you could suggest using images of every pet that a pet owner has ever had in their lifetime on a pet quilt, or a combination of photos of a dearly departed pet.
Should you decide to make pet quilts, you could sell them at your local pet stores or offer them on Amazon, Etsy, eBay or create a Woocommerce website to sell them on.
Free Quilt Patterns to Print or Download
There are enough websites on the world wide web that are REALLY offering FREE quilting patterns that I have only included those I found on Google’s search results pages 1 and 2 that did NOT ask me to sign up to receive access to their free patterns.
1.) 101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby Short McKim – http://www.101patchworkpatterns.com/ where you find 100% FREE patterns “true to the original 1931 edition of 101 Patchwork Patterns by Ruby Short McKim”.
2.) Several pages of free patterns can be found and downloaded from: https://www.bearcreekquiltingcompany.com/shop/category/free-patterns/
3.) Several free patterns for quilts are available from: https://www.andoverfabrics.com/FreeQuiltPatterns.php
4.) 150+ free quilt block patterns to choose from at: https://www.quiltingcompany.com/150-free-quilt-block-patterns-and-inspiration-from-mccallsquilting-com/
5.) Free downloadable quilt patterns available from: https://www.fabricgarden.com/shop/Free-Quilt-Patterns.htm
6.) Free quilt patterns for your next quilting project offered at: http://www.lovepatchworkandquilting.com/free-quilt-patterns
7.) Free quilting patterns available from: https://www.rileyblakedesigns.com/free-quilt-patterns
If you want to see the free patterns that are offered by websites that force you to sign up first, then simply Google search “free quilt patterns” (without the quotation marks, of course) and they are mostly on Google’s page 1.
Another source of GREAT advice in starting a quilting business is offered by Quilting for Cash (using my affiliate link) which offers a 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.
So, if for any reason you are not fully satisfied with their instructions on How to Start Your Own Quilting Business within 60 days of your purchase, they will refund you the complete purchase price with no hard feelings.
I hope you have learned from the accumulation of information offered here in hope of helping you make a decision as to whether you are into quilting for money. Should you have any questions, or you simply want to add to the conversation on quilting, please leave me a comment below and I will gladly respond.