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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting Paid: My First Commissioned Project

I recently was approached by another stitchy friend (of the knitting variety) with a Janlyn shawl kit. She had mentioned she had a friend who purchased it because she liked to shawl, but wanted someone else to cross stitch the tea roses that were meant to embellish it. My friend mention that I might be able to do it, so she brought it into work to look at.

Oh. And she wants to PAY ME.

So, I have never been paid to stitch anything. I usually make things as gifts - purchasing patterns, fabric, and floss and paying for the framing myself (someday I plan on putting up a blog post about my framing procedures). Occasionally someone will purchase a kit and ask me to stitch it, but I never have charged. I have though about selling my work, but there is a lot I need to  be clear on since I have yet to create my own designs and copyright rules sometimes make it difficult. But someone who needs stitching done does not infringe on any of that. It is kinda like asking someone to come in and paint your living room. You are paying for a service.

Flattered that my friend would think of me, I agreed to take a look at the kit. Here are some pics:

 Here is the shawl with floss and an image of it completed. It is actually very large.


This is a close up of the shawl. You can see the tea roses that are meant to be stitched along the edge of the shawl. Each design in no bigger than 5 x 5. This why I agreed to the project.



There are 9 designs in total. They are fairly simple (no half stitches or french knots) and minimal back stitching. There is also only about 7 or 8 colors, which means it is not a complicated design.

Payment was also something I needed to consider. I have never asked for money for my stitched projects so I was unsure on how to determine to charge a fair and reasonable price. So I did a little detective work. It seems many cross stitchers tend to charge by the stitch, customarily $.01 a stitch. Others charge a flat rate. Since I am NOT going to count stitches (no way!), I decided to give the customer (my customer - weird!) a choice: $8.00 an hour or a flat rate of $100. She chose the $100. Which works out to about 12.5 hours of work breaking each design to not quite an hour and a half per design. I know it might be on the lower side as far as pay goes, but this is my first paid gig and it is in a medium I am not too experienced handling - I think it is fair. Of course if it was a framed piece of art I would probably be more inclined to charge $10 and hour (pretty standard) plus supplies because I am more comfortable and much more experienced stitching on plain fabric. I go on a new stitchy adventure. I am nervous but really excited. i plan to post updates about this project, so visit often. And of if all goes well, I may make this a side business. Wouldn't that be cool?

Wish me luck!


  1. Very excited for you, Ms. Stitchy McStitcher! I'm sure it will come out just beautiful, just like all of your work!

  2. Good for you. Way to do what you love. *jealous*

  3. Good luck with your first commission. It is a good way of enjoying your hobby and you can always buy lots of new stash for yourself with the fee.

  4. Thanks all! I am eager to start this project to get an idea on the flow of the work. I am considering how I will stitch ( a hoop, q-snap, hand held). A learning curve for sure!

  5. I am thinking about buying this kit, but it's a mail-order thing,and I can't find out the stitch size. Is it 11, 12, 14 count, or what?