As you may know, we will do the quilting part of the quilt making process for other people. We can do this for your quilt tops too. I thought it might be helpful to read about our process we follow when someone drops off a quilt top so you can see how it works and what goes on behind the scenes.
This is what has been working for Ron and I, and might seem like overkill for a single longarmer with their own business but it works for us so we both know what quilts are in the queue and what needs to be done on them.
When you bring us your quilt top, we will open it up and have a look at it admiringly. Every quilt top is awesome. We may measure it then, both length and width, if you have any questions about cost.
We have a paper form we fill out for our own use, noting any details about the quilt that need special handling. On the form is room for your name and contact details (email, phone etc.) We’ll put in a brief description of the quilt itself. There’s room on the form for the size and cost of quilting. Often this area gets filled once we begin to work on it. Prices are calculated based on the size of your quilt top and what kind of quilting you want done.
Next, we will discuss with you what kind of quilting you would like done on the quilt. We currently have a range of rates – one for basic and simple allover designs like meander or loops is one and a half cents per square inch. Custom – where different designs are quilted in different areas, and sometimes thread color changes are used – can go up to 3 cents psi.
On our form, we’ll write in the design you choose. There’s even room for us to sketch something if needed. All of our quilting is done freehand on our longarm with no computer.
We’ll show various thread choices for top and bottom, make recommendations, but the final choice is yours. We’ll write this on our form.
There are other sections on this form for batting and backing. You are welcome to provide your own, and if so, we note this on the form. We try and keep all your layers together (top, batting, backing) but we also write it all down so there’s no mistakes.
If you do decide to purchase batting and/or batting from us, we’ll go over those choices and also write it in the form. Sometimes the backing fabric provided may not be pieced or could be too small. We’ll note what needs to be done and discuss any extra charges before we do them. The final choice is up to you.
Finally, there’s room on the form for extra details like deadlines or special considerations.
Now your quilt is officially dropped off! We currently do not require a deposit since we have your quilt. 😉 After you leave, we deliver it safely to our quilting room, keeping it in the bag it was in. If it wasn’t in a bag, we find one just to keep it all together. We have a shelf / area of the sewing room that is safely out of the way of everything else we do in there.
Internal Record Keeping
We also record the quilt in online software we use called Trello. This allows anyone to make categorized lists for easy sorting. It’s an easy way for us to see at a glance, from any of our devices, exactly how many quilts we have pending. Each quilt has its own card with the brief details from the paper form. This creates a second record in case something happens to the paper. It’s also the list we look at first to see what quilt is up next when it’s time to quilt. We can drag and drop the cards in the list, tag ones with visible deadlines, and archive completed quilts
We try and do quilts in the order they come in, unless someone has a deadline. So far, most customers say “no rush” and give us leeway in our schedule. Sometimes I have loaded up a small quilt that I know will finish fast if I only have a short time to quilt. We’re grateful our customers allow us this flexibility.
If I’m doing custom work, I may also email back and forth design ideas and progress pictures so you can see how it is going.
Somewhere in there, we also add a draft invoice for the quilting bill to our point of sale system, Square. The draft ability has been really handy for us to keep track of pending quilts and potential income. The reporting is also helpful for business decisions. This way, we can also give customers accurate quotes for the entire total with different options, like if someone wanted to swap batting or quilting designs for financial reasons. Both Ron and I can access this information from our laptops or ipads, so we both have the information on hand, anywhere.
We’re happy to do up quotes for any inquiries as well.
Pickup and Payment
Once the quilting is complete and we’ve double checked all the information on the intake form, we finalize the invoice. This gives us a way to notify customers by email, and also gives the option for you to pay online securely. Of course, you can pay directly when picking up.
We’ll call or send an additional notice by email that your quilt is done and the total so we can arrange for pickup.
Then you will have your quilted top! We do not trim or square up the top and we send any leftover backing or batting back to you. It’s all ready for you to square up to your preferences and bind how you wish.
I hope this overview into our process help ease any questions you might have. We’re happy to answer any more questions or clarify anything.