How to price Custom Orders so you aren’t even mad about it.

We’ve all been there, right. Someone asks for a special order and you are left feeling a combination of proud, scared to really say the number you think it will be, and stressed out because “How much time is this really going to take?”. Let me walk you through a list of things to check to ease the stress of taking custom orders. This can help you find new revenue and grow your business. All without stealing your peace of mind!

I am going to walk you through the processes that help kick those feelings and set you up for success when you are getting ready to say yes to making that dress (Get it. Yes to the dress. I entertain myself).

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How I look at everything I’ve made!

First of all. You should be proud! Look at that beautiful piece of fiber art goodness you made! Someone thinks it’s so amazing THEY want one! It IS that good. Believe it. Advertising doesn’t just happen on your shop or website. You can get customers just walking around out in the world with your amazing creation. So when someone says “I love that” Tell them “Me too! It took me a long time to make, but I love it SO much. It was worth it.”

I’m pretty proud of my work, and I don’t blame others for wanting to have something this beautiful!

A huge part of this is you acknowledging your own craftsmanship. Don’t downplay how hard it was to create it. Don’t hide how long it’s going to take you to make another. I respond with an immediate warning shot “Ooo, I will have to think about that for a minute. This takes a long time to make. I will have to see if I can even fit it in.” If they want to pay for it and they can, they will. If not you can either change something about it to make it more affordable (the size, intricacies, and supplies are where I start), or just stick to your guns and say it with all the intensity of feelings you have “I would have to charge $— to even think about it.”

Crochet hand bag orange bobble stitch handmade hand bag free pattern on blog purse yarn bag
This beautifully textured bag will be available as a free pattern on my blog later on this year!

Next thing to consider. Are they using a pattern or guide you already have in place, or are they asking you to create a new thing. This changes your initial time investment IMMENSELY. Creating a new design can take time. What is that going to look like? This is often a one time benefit as it’s not very often that a special order is going to turn into a regular item in your shop. So you must get paid for this time from this one custom order.

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Crochet cube baby toy “Solve for X” designed by Ila Quinn Designs and made with Lion Brand Cupcake in the colorway “Clown car” For some serious 90’s retro vibes!

This is where the heavy lifting begins. You have to do research to be able to respond accurately and with confidence. Don’t just say “$40 or $50”. You need to know how much it’s going to costs. Because most people will just hand you the $40 and expect that to be enough. It’s often not the customer being willing to pay us, but our willingness to really SAY what we know it’s going to cost. SO be sure before you say it. Do the colors they want need to be sourced elsewhere? Will you need to order product in? Allow me to walk you through this cheat sheet of information you need to gather before you say “yes”:

1: What is it being made out of. If it’s yarn make sure you have access to the colors and quantities they are looking for. If it’s thread make sure of the fabric and thread used. Ask a series of questions “What color do you want it in?” “How big are you thinking?” etcetera. Stitching a 6 inch circle framed cross stitch is a lot different cost to you in time and product than an 8 x 10 framed with a mat and stretched onto sticky board. Don’t go in blind.

2: My next point is very important and is really a part of the first point. YOU be very specific. If the customer doesn’t have an idea then you tell them what you are thinking. If not at some point you are going to tell them “I decided to do this” and they might have a very different idea. Their ideas can cost a lot more time and effort, and those surprises can be infinitely more stressful for you. Don’t be scared to up the price if THEY change the parameters. But set YOUR parameters beforehand so none of that can come back on you.

3: Know you worth, and the actual time. We all hear about how we need to charge for our labor so I’m not going to lecture you on that. Those numbers vary widely depending on what we are doing and how deeply it cuts into our time. But an oversight can be forgetting just how much time it really takes to make that. Perhaps the stitching was accounted for. But are there extras? The finishing, weaving in ends, blocking, framing, assembling, and the cost to YOU for those items can take a lot more time and finances than we remember. Perhaps you made yours from some yarn you found on clearance 2 years ago. But this is going to have to be purchased at a store tomorrow. That is not even close to the same financial impact. So remember to add those things into your hourly wage.

Smaller parts and more assembly effect the price too!

4: The Shipping! Lets be real. That can be the biggest hit if you aren’t prepared for it. I do a couple of different things to make sure I have this in hand. The first is to check shipping from the USPS website. The second is to use an Etsy listing. If you go into a listing to edit it you can mess around with the shipping and set specific destinations. They will tell you how much it costs to ship from any carrier you choose. A very helpful tool if you need to come up with an answer on the fly! It can be off by a few dollars, but it’s generally pretty close and will give you an idea of the area of cost you are looking at.

5: The packaging. Specialized and curated packaging is a must in todays market. People are ordering from small companies and sole proprietors because they want it to show up pretty and feel special. So if you are mailing it you have to account for those costs too. Perhaps a little gift wrapping and a sticker is enough. But if you also have a box to ship, a ribbon, a card, etc. It all adds up and should be included in your cost, otherwise it will eat away at your bottom line.

6: Lastly before you say the number. Add in a little wiggle room. There will always be something that comes up, and an extra 6-12% of breathing room helps a TON in creating peace of mind.

I lava you lava lamp retro home decor cursive writing I love you Pun baby gift nursery decor easy cross stitch quick beginner friendly
I Lava you is a fun and easy cross stitch pattern that will make you want to make more! Perfect gifts for people who love puns! But also a beautiful retro 70’s vibe along with gorgeous cursive lettering! Available for sale as a PDF pattern or as a full kit soon!

Ok. Last point. And this one is huge. If you are strapped and you have to take this special order for less than you really want to and there is nothing you can do about it right now because you need that cash flow. Be kind to yourself. Know that having to make that choice does not devalue your work. It doesn’t make you any less of an artist if you have to get the power bill paid. It is true that more people will order when the cost is less. Do your best to protect your time and sanity in as many ways as you can. Only buy the yarn on sale. Offer things you know you can make inexpensively so you get the lions share of the profits. Do a minimum amount of work for the product offered. Do all you can to look out for yourself. And when you can up the price, DO. It will feel so good to start getting paid what you are worth.

Leave me a comment below about the hardest custom order you have taken? What went wrong? Let us commiserate with you!

I will start. Look at the caption under the photo below!

I once made this beautiful costume for $40. It was awful and I cried from frustration and anxiety.

Here is a handy infographic you can Pin to reference back to!

Free Pattern: The Baby Dragon’s Egg Basket

Hello, Friends! It’s been such an amazing weekend! I am so excited to have published my first Crochet Costume Pattern! Live on Etsy and Ravelry and Lovecrafts!

The Egg basket is also available in an add free Beautifully formatted PDF HERE!

Quick disclosure! There are affiliate links in the post below! This means that if you choose to purchase a product from my link I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you! I only link to products I love and use from brands I trust!

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Grown ups like stuffed animals too! Especially when it’s actually their baby!

It’s not a pattern launch if something doesn’t go wrong, right? So the blog hiccupped and I wasn’t able to post on release day (until very late). But it’s back up and acting normal, so now I’m going to share a little freebie I wanted to have as a bonus companion pattern to go along with The Baby Dragon Crochet Costume.

Before we get to it, can we take a moment to appreciate how stinkin’ cute this lil’ guy is as a Dragon?

Dragon costume Baby Dragon Halloween costume for babies and toddlers Amigurumi style costume Dragoncon Comicon costume party Babies first halloween
And you thought your baby was cute before you put them into a life-size amigurumi Dragon costume!

Above is a shot of him in the first costume I made for photos. This isn’t even his Halloween Costume this year, but I still made him one!!! I left his toes out on the second one because my little guy wants to walk so badly, and he just got mad when I put him in a costume with feet the other day. He doesn’t look mad up there, but it didn’t last long!

Crochet costume Halloween comicon dragoncon Game of thrones costumes handmade costume ideas halloween decor
This little man was ready to fly off! Keeping him contained during photos was a chore. His siblings helped with, but not with lasting effects.

I wanted to make him a little trick or treat basket he could carry around and play with. Something not to big, but that he could stuff toys in or something. I love crocheting baskets, but I wanted this one to be themed for the costume and dragons and eggs go together, so….

Crochet Dragon Egg pattern free on blog egg basket candy basket homemade DIY halloween bag ideas gift basket bucket handmade baby costumes
Tiny and cute just like the baby who goes in the dragon costume. This basket is small enough for them to carry around and fill with candy or blocks, what ever the baby sees fit to fill it with!

I designed three different baskets before I landed on this one. I wanted it to actually look like an egg, and really struggled to get yarn held single to do this for me. I’ve been making baskets for years and always held two are three strands together to create a better fabric. Fun fact. I don’t own a dresser. I have green crochet baskets on shelves in my closet that house my clothes!

So after I quite fighting what I already knew the pattern came quite quickly!

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What came first, the crocheter or the egg?

Supplies to collect before we begin!

6.5 mm K hook

1 skein of Worsted weight yarn (since we are holding the yarn together you can just pull from the center of the skein and from the outside. This makes it easier than separating out sections) I used Loops and Thread Impeccable from Michael’s in white. But really anything will do! I want someone to make a golden egg so I can gasp and squeal!

A pair of Scissors

A Dull pointed darning needle.

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Look at the texture!!! I’m such a sucker for a textured stitch…

Basket/Egg:

Make a Magic ring

8 SC STs

Round 1: *DC SC* in each ST around. 16

Round 2: *DC, SC DC, SC, DC SC* around. 24

Round 3: *DC, SC, DC SC* around. 32

Round 4: *DC, SC, DC, SC DC, SC, DC, SC, DC SC* around. 40

Round 5-12: *DC, SC* evenly around. 40

Round 13- 14: *DC, SC, DC, SC, DC2Tog* around. 32

Clip yarn and pull through.

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Is mom looking? Maybe I can chew on her peppermint patty…

Handle:

Chain 7

Row 1: DC in the second chain from hook, SC in the next ST. *DC, SC* across.

Row 2-12: Repeat row 1. Clip yarn and pull through.

Weave in all ends and attach the handle to the basket like shown on the sloped sides of the egg near the top!

Fill with candy, and then eat it all!!!

This basket also makes a great Easter basket! An egg filled with tiny eggs makes the cutest gift! Make sure to make them in all the colors of the sherbet rainbow!!!

The Baby Dragon Halloween Costume!

Is it FINALLY release day?!? Oh, thank goodness. I didn’t think I could hold on any longer!

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A unique and beautifully designed crochet costume.

Read about the history and inspiration behind The Baby Dragon Costume.

Quick disclosure! There are affiliate links in the post below! This means that if you choose to purchase a product from my link I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you! I only link to products I love and use from brands I trust!

I am pleased, proud, and filled with joy as I announce the release of my first costume, the pattern that started my journey to designing my own crochet patterns, and my first pattern with multiple sizes!!!

Dragon

I printed the pattern a couple days ago and I just stood there looking at it. I feel so proud of the work I have done and the effort I put into this design. I knew it was special from the first time I put it on my baby 8 years ago, and to be ready to share the entire pattern with all of you is filling my heart to overflowing!!! (IMNOTCRYINGOKITOTALLYAM)

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The Baby Dragon Crochet Halloween Costume that is cozy and warm for baby, and endless fun for mom and dad to cuddle!

Lets talk a little about the features of the pattern. I’m not one for plain stitch patterns, but I love a nice close weave. Choosing a textured stitch that was interesting to make, but easy to remember was key to the design.

Dragon costume Baby Dragon Halloween costume for babies and toddlers Amigurumi style costume Dragoncon Comicon costume party Babies first halloween
And you thought your baby was cute before you put them into a life-size amigurumi Dragon costume!

I also wanted to create the structure of the costume it’s self to be easier for the baby to get in and out of than the costumes I was seeing at the time (lets be honest. This trend is not getting any better). Who came up with the idea of shoving a baby through a hole between a hood and zipper? or worse yet, one covered in scratchy Velcro! Like, do they even know that babies are basically tiny wiggly wolverines with chubby sausage legs and SUPER SENSITIVE SKIN?

I love the idea of invisible finishes. I think it elevates designs so beautifully when functional things are worked in such a way that you don’t notice them. I chose to hide the zipper under two rows of spikes to create a beautiful finished and professional looking garment without the hassle and stress of trying to perfectly hide a zipper.

The Baby Dragon Crochet Costume Pattern PDF Amigurumi style costume for babies Dragoncon Comicon geek costumes Game of Thrones Dragons
The Baby Dragon Costume is a beautifully textured masterpiece. Sure to be a show stopper at any events, this costume will bring squeals of “Your baby is sooooo cute!”

Protecting my baby’s back and making sure he didn’t get caught in the zipper was also forefront in my goals with the design. Enter a zipper guard to save the day! Not only is it easy to slip the baby through the large zipper opening, but it can be closed without worry and won’t scratch their tender skin.

Dragon costume Baby Dragon costume for babies and toddlers comicon dragoncon amigurumi style costume halloween
The softest and sweetest Dragon you will ever get to cuddle! This costume is perfectly comfortable for the baby and perfectly darling for everyone else!

My next concern was that I lived in a very cold climate. The idea of taking my 6 month old out on Halloween night was a huge concern. I chose a thick yarn that created a stable fabric, was great for stitch definition (Gotta show off that texture!!!), would keep the little one cozy warm, and (BONUS ROUND) worked up pretty fast!

Worsted weight yarn is the perfect yarn for this! It was a match made in heaven then and still knocks my socks off now (and I have made 50 of these dragon costumes in the last 8 years)!

Amigurumi style crochet Dragon costume for Halloween Dragoncon Comicon and costume parties
This beautiful Crochet Dragon costume is perfect for keeping baby warm while trick-or-treating and is sure to bring squeals of delight from all! This costume is soft and comfortable for baby, and makes mom and dad feel like they are carrying aroud a giant stuffy!

Let’s talk substitutions real quick. Not everyone has the same set of problems, right? While I needed something to keep my little man toasty warm, it can be a bit much if you live where it’s still 70’s or 80’s (BTW I’m very jealous). The great thing about worsted weight yarns is that there are a LOT of options. I used a soft acrylic (I’m allergic to wool or I would have gone with that!), but there are several brands that offer cotton yarns (this is a particularly good one, IMO) and Bamboo yarns that would work great for this pattern, and will give it a lighter and airier feel! And don’t worry. You will still feel like you are carrying around a giant stuffed dragon.

The pattern has a full list of information on how to alter the design to best fit the little one and your needs. I walk you through all the alterations you can make and when to do them!

The Baby Dragon Crochet Costume Pattern PDF Amigurumi style costume for babies Dragoncon Comicon geek costumes Game of Thrones Dragons
The Baby Dragon Costume is a beautifully textured masterpiece. Sure to be a show stopper at any events, this costume will bring squeals of “Your baby is sooooo cute!”

Make sure you check out the free pattern for a candy basket! Trick or treating or not you definitely want to have this lil’ cutie! The best thing about an Egg Basket is it can be used on Halloween for a trick or treating basket, AND used on Easter!!! And it’s even themed properly for the occasion!!!