Why I wrote Quiltonomics

The past few days have felt like I’ve been riding a roller coaster.

When I hit “publish” on Quiltonomics: The Real Cost of Quilts I was hoping that people would actually read an article about quilting, but I was not in store for *how* many readers it would get.


All of the quilters I’d approached either by email or on Instagram were so kind to lend me their time and opinions for a blog that, before this week, had mostly just my family and friends seeing what James and I were up to.

Since the article was posted on Monday – it has been shared on Facebook more than 10,000 times and viewed close to 40,000 times. To all of you – I want to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this longer format article and for the wonderful comments and feedback both on the website and Facebook. I read as many comments as I could find and noticed they were overwhelmingly positive, which is rare in the internet age. (I know this because I used to moderate comments for a high-traffic website and I think I lost some of my sanity doing this)

If you were unable to get to MooreApproved.com on Tuesday or Wednesday, sadly, we were hacked and it took an unusually long time for our website hosting company to respond to our needs. That was disappointing, but I’d rather dwell on the future than the past, so I’m doing my best to move forward.

The idea to write about the quilting industry prices grew out of a few seeds.

First, I rarely notice any actual articles in the arena of crafting.  Now that I myself am a crafter, I get excited when I see stories like this study that shows crafting may have real health benefits. However, there seems to be a lack of coverage of the arts outside publications and blogs meant *for* crafters.

Another intention I had was to write about quilting in a way that was digestible and interesting to people who have never quilted before. To all the quilters out there – your work will not be valued for what it is without information and education. Even when I was telling someone this week about the Quiltonomics article, they immediately asked if I sold quilts. My response was to share that it was about how most quilters don’t sell quilts and why. This person genuinely had no idea, and that is the case for most of the people we come into contact with. They just don’t know.

And lastly, but most importantly – I want to encourage you to TRY sewing and quilting if you haven’t yet. This very afternoon, one of the comments on the original post was from someone who was sad they can’t afford a high quality quilt. The thing is – they *can* by making one of their own.

The best way to get a quilt is to make one, not buy one.

By learning how to quilt, you are learning a valuable life skill and are becoming a maker. I enjoy sewing and quilting because I am doing something with my free time that is productive and helps me become a higher quality individual.

Quite a few people have told me they enjoy reading about my sewing and quilting projects, and that their mother or grandmother was a great seamstress and/or quilter. While I think that is wonderful, I would encourage you to continue on their legacy.  That way, you can give your children and grandchildren  those same memories of having a crafter in the family. And don’t just leave it at that – teach the younger generations the same skills so we do not miss out on great sewing talent.

Yes, it is a shame that many schools are taking away teaching children about the arts and home economics. So we as a global community need to step in and fill in the gap. If we don’t, fewer and fewer people will know how to sew over time.

Honestly – out of all the forms of sewing – simple quilting is probably one of the easiest to pick up. I still haven’t found the courage yet to try garments, but since I did get a new sewing machine, hopefully this will help me up my game.

I am *not* naturally skilled at sewing, but through blogs and YouTube videos I was able to figure out how to do it. The first thing I ever made was a simple baby blanket, using this Missouri Star Quilt Company YouTube tutorial.

I worked my way up to a tote bag that had no interfacing and looked cute, but didn’t hold up well over time. Then James and I both made small quilts using a charm pack, and I even managed to (badly) free motion quilt the entire thing.

Your first few projects may look a bit rough, but the more you sew and the more techniques you learn – they will continue to improve.

To help anyone interested in learning to sew, we have created a new RESOURCES page up at the top – where I’ve listed all of the blogs we follow, online fabric shops we like, and links to several YouTube channels and websites that feature free projects and patterns.

Janome 7700 qcp sewing machine needle close up

If you do not have a sewing machine, that is obviously the most important purchase. We started off using the vintage Singer 201 2, but I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. Then we bought a Brother SE400 combination sewing and embroidery machine. For $300 it’s a decent machine for the money, but when looking at online reviews – there was a LOT of raving about the Janome Magnolia line. Apparently they are solid workhorses with great stitch quality. This Janome 7330 Magnolia computerized machine is $399, and has more than 7 inches of throat space which is amazing for that price.

Throat space is very important in quilting, because you have to jam up to half of the quilt in the little space between the needle and the base. That can be frustrating, so the more throat space – the better!

My personal opinion is to not start off with an inexpensive (under $100) sewing machine from a big box store. Several people I know did this, and they have complained about issues with the machine. Because they were so cheap, repairing them would make no sense because it would cost more than the original purchase. If your sewing machine is not easy to use, you will not end up using it.

Gingher scissors rotary cutter

Other tools you will need to get started are:

  • Fabric scissors (several sizes come in handy)
  • Rotary cutter
  • Self-healing cutting mat (I love the 24 X 36 inch size)
  • Marking pencil/pen
  • Pins
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Thread
  • Large ruler (ideally at least 8 ½ X 24 inches)
  • Fabric

Recently, I shared some of my favorite items I keep in my craft room, and yes – it is a bit costly to get started. Many of my tools were purchased with coupons to the big-box craft stores or on Amazon if I found the best price there.

To start off – you can get remnant pieces of fabric from those same craft stores at a hugely discounted price and practice sewing with those.  Then when you feel more confident in your abilities, cut into your more expensive fabric.

Warning: Once you start sewing and quilting – you will NEVER stop. It is more enjoyable than you can ever imagine and I can honestly say I will do this for the rest of my life.

Again, thanks to everyone for reading and see you next time!

– Jennifer

thread art online quilting class at craftsy.com

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