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The Value of Handmade

August 14, 2010

Hello everyone!  I need your opinions please! (Everyone loves to give their $0.02, right?)  How many of you buy handmade? What sort of items do you look for (soakers, cardigans, longies…)? How much do you think is reasonable for particular items?  Does the quality of materials used affect an item’s worth in your opinion?

After I posted a photo of this sweater* on Facebook, a friend asked me if I sell them as she’s interested in buying one.  This was my answer:

I don’t for a few reasons: The materials alone cost me $30. So, with 2 weeks of very diligent work, I would have to ask at least $60 to make it worthwhile. I’m not sure people value handmade enough anymore to pay that (especially for a toddler). I, of course, have no problem paying more for handmade because I know all the work, quality, and love that goes into creating one of a kind items. Many folks though, do not see the value… especially when they could find something mass produced for much less! What do you think?
Also, I’m not sure about copyright laws. I’ve heard both that once you pay for the pattern (the copyrighted material) that what you do with the finished object (your own work) is your business… buuut I’ve also been told that selling objects from a copyrighted pattern is not legal. I would like to think that as long as I reference the pattern, that what I do with my work is my business, but again, I’m not sure. Although the pattern for this sweater has been heavily modified, it is still a Baby Surprise Jacket… So, until I get it figured out, I guess I’ll just be making them for friends and family! I’m very glad to know there is interest though, as I’ve been wanting to get an Etsy shop going!

I want to clarify that I’m absolutely not trying to start a debate on copyright laws (though I do find this interesting), nor would I dream of disrespecting EZ by attempting to sell BSJs!  What I’m really looking for is how you feel about handmade.  Please let me know here or on our Facebook page.  Any and all answers appreciated! Thanks so much!

~Carrie

*Sweater post coming soon.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2010 3:42 pm

    Don’t be shy… this is a safe place to say what you really think! ;)

  2. August 14, 2010 6:32 pm

    I do graphic/web design and I actually just posted this week about a project for a client who makes handpainted bird blankets & shirts. Her t-shirts, blankets & lovies are definitely more pricey than the average mass produced item, but she hasn’t had a problem at all selling.

    As far as patterns go, I have no clue about that stuff. I don’t knit & anything I take the time to sew goes to family and friends. I find it hard to believe that someone has come up with a complete original all the time. As with art & design, there are so many influences, so yours could be completely different, but have the influence of the original pattern. I’m not a member of ravelry so I couldn’t see what was written in there.

    That sweater is beautiful, btw. Great job!

  3. August 15, 2010 12:50 pm

    I’ve been looking into cottage licenses. Some are very reasonable!

  4. Katie permalink
    August 18, 2010 1:02 pm

    I don’t think I would sell my items, however I Love to knit and trying new patterns. As you stated, with the copyrights and the cottage licensing it gets pretty confusing sometimes. You don’t want to sell something that you aren’t really allowed to but lots of people like the items.

    If someone shows an interest in the things I have made, I offer to make them for them at no cost– if they will provide the materials. They are usually really excited about that but once they see the actual cost of materials they almost never say anything about having me do anything again. It’s kind of disappointing to me, as I don’t think they realize what people DO charge to make things, even if materials are provided, you know?

    Unless you personally know how much things cost like this, the materials, and then also understand how much time that has gone into creating it you don’t really appreciate the value of such items. That being said, I often can’t afford to pay double the cost of making something to purchase from someone, like you stated the items would be worth (which I wholeheartedly agree!) so I just learned to make them myself. Then I get to enjoy the entire project, picking out the yarn and any buttons/accessories, creating the project and then putting it on my kiddos or my friends’ kids :) To date, I’ve only made things for my youngest and two others’ babies. I don’t think either of them have used them yet as they are both for warmer weather, but I really hope they will.

  5. August 18, 2010 1:45 pm

    The quality of materials and workmanship play a huge role in what I buy whether it is machine made or handmade. I prefer handmade especially for babies and children. Since I knit and sew (and a whole lot of other things), I buy handmade if it is something I can’t or won’t make myself. Putting a price on that is really up in the air. It depends on a lot of things including value, quality, desire and frame of mind.

    Pricing/selling hand knit items is hard as there is so much time involved along with the cost of the materials. I posted a few weeks ago on my blog about adding the number of stitches in a hand knit item just so the recipient could see how much work was involved. http://knittinginflashes.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/yarn-fiber-content-stitch-count/
    I just knit some simple slippers for a friend’s birthday. Each slipper has 1915 stitches. I’m going to put that number on the card I include. I think she will appreciate that information.

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