I expect you think I’m thinking about Christmas. Not quite yet – but soon!

This week my FQ bundle of Pernilla’s Journey, by Tina Givens from Sew Fresh Fabrics, arrived.

Pernilla's Journey by tina Givens Bundle- Fat Quarters

I was a little disappointed to find that out of two fqs I only got four whole elephants and two of those have the rider’s balloons chopped off. Overall, though, I love the story book quality of the images and I’m thinking about making a quilt with varying sizes of stars, probably having three different panels and some grey background. I’m not sure yet, though, if I really want to use all these fqs together. I might separate out the colours and and use some of them for something else. Anyway – not until after Christmas.


On a different note, I’ve also been idly wondering about the viability of selling on Folksy. Some quick searching on Folksy came up with:

Quits approx 420
Wall Hangings approx 941
Cushions approx 417
Pin Cushions approx 7,736
Mug Rugs approx 461
Aprons approx 462

Lots of items were listed 4 or 5 months ago and, I think, a listing lasts 6 months so many items probably time out rather than get sold. Also, of the few shops I looked at, many had very few items with the total value of stock being a few hundred pounds. All of this doesn’t seem to add up to a viable way of making a living. Having said that it only costs 20p + vat to list an item and 5% of any sales so there isn’t much to lose by listing. But then we come to pricing. With a reasonably large quilt the raw materials come to well over £100 so even working at the minimum wage I’m not sure it would be possible to make one within a price bracket anyone would be prepared to pay.

I’ve often heard it said about poetry that everyone wants to write it but no one buys it and I think here (in the UK) maybe it’s the same with quilts and handmade sewing. There are more people wanting to make than buy and the main people who really appreciate the value are other crafters. I hope this is wrong and, if anyone has direct personal experience of all this, I’d love to hear from them. 

Anyway, before you think this is just a very negative and depressing post, I should move on to what I have concluded. I am thinking that to genuinely think about selling handmade items, it’s might be a good idea to come up with a theme or style and diversify around it. For example, making a French Vintage style wall hanging but selling patterns/kits/notecards with the picture on and offering commissions of similar pieces (I think people expect to pay more for commissioned items). I would be really interested to hear what anyone else thinks about any of this.

My thinking about Christmas officially begins next week!

In the meantime I’m linking up with Rebecca Lynne for Thursday Think Tank where the festive season is already well under way! Come over and see what everyone else has been ruminating on :)


9 thoughts on “Wonderings

  1. Katie

    The size of the prints on that line was disappointing to me too. I got a half yard of one and only have a couple elephants. Since they are so large, I'm not sure what I will do it it either.

    I've been thinking about aspects of selling too. As much as I would love to try to make a living only making things, I know that there are so many people who do that already, as well as the time factor. If I were to have a hit item that took hours to make, I wouldn't be able to keep up. I care too much about quality to rush things too.

    So creating patterns is where my main focus is going. Like you, I am thinking of offering custom and one-of-a-kind pieces. I agree that finding a style will make you stand out. If you make something like everyone else out there, how would anyone know which to pick?


  2. Issabella The Cat

    I feel your pain and agree, I think more people in the UK want to make than buy hand made. When we did the market in August we made a reasonable profit and I pulled some custom orders (yes people seem to expect to pay a little more for them) so I was happy but I did have to actually sell to people which I think is harder online. Ive been looking at Etsy as an online option for next year so I'll let you know how that goes :)


  3. Archie the wonder dog

    It's disappointing to only get two whole elephants+riders+balloons out of two FQs, I hope you can find a way to work round it. It's interesting to read your thoughts about selling on Etsy, etc. – good luck with the thinking!


  4. mammafairy

    I suspect that not a lot of folk manage to live by selling their handmade stuff. The price you can put on your time is pretty disappointing. I make bits for a friends craft stall, in aid of autism, but the buyers expect giveaway prices, and it would be more cost effective to give her the money and make nothing to sell.
    A few people manage to sell to niche shops, but you don't wish to become a factory, after all.

    I wish, for you, that it was not like this, but sadly, factory made is so easy to get, that you really have to be wonderful to get it out there!

    Good Luck anyway.


  5. Inspiredbyfelix

    That looks like a great bundle, shame about the elephants though, you wouldn't know they were that large.

    Re selling stuff, I have really enjoyed doing the craft fairs and providing stock to shops but don't think I could realistically make a living out of it! At the moment, it pays for my hobby and gives me a little pocket money.

    At the local fairs, people are more interested in cheap pocket money items, so we've come to the conclusion that larger county type fairs are where there's more willingness to buy “handmade” at handmade prices. The downside is that those fairs cost more to attend and often are multi-day affairs.

    Attending fairs has resulted in 4 or 5 commissions though, which is an unexpected bonus.

    As for Folksy, people have suggested I try it…so maybe it's a new year project! x


  6. Pam

    Buying fabric online can sometimes be disappointing, but in the main, I've been happy. It certainly hasn't stopped me buying… LOL!!! All folded up, your fabric looks gorgeous.


  7. Lucy @ Charm About You

    The fabric is gorgeous and I think it will look perfect for stars!
    As for Folksy, I know a few people who were selling on there but have moved to Etsy – more people seem to know about that and it has a bigger audience especially it you post internationally. I'm thinking about doing the same but want to get a bit more experience first. I also think fairs are a good way to go or local craft centres (they also sometimes have events with stalls etc).
    The way you're sewing you'll have to sell things or your house will be stuffed!!


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