Reconstruct the Past for Money Make and Sell Reproduction Quilts
A little patience and attention to detail is what you'll need to start a business making reproduction quilts. Almost everyone has a beloved quilt in their home, one made by a dear family member. Those quilts are often passed down through several generations. They eventually start to show wear and can be used for nothing more than display. There are people who would actually love to use those quilts, but know that normal everyday use would destroy them. Those people would pay to have someone reproduce a likeness of that quilt.
If you decide to make reproduction quilts as your quilting business, you will need to know your customer's wants very clearly. Maybe they would be happy with the quilt using the same color scheme but sewn with new fabrics. But what if they want exactly the same fabrics? There are fabrics being manufactured today that are reproductions dating as far back as the 1800s. Those fabrics can be expensive, though, so be sure to pass the expense along to the customer. Another option does exist, but there are several "ifs" involved: "if" the fabric is still in good condition; "if" the customer understands the new quilt will look as worn as the old one but will be much more stable; "if" you have digital direct to garment printing available in your area, you can create the same quilt for much less than the reproduction fabrics. Digital direct to garment printing is a process that apparel decorators use.
It is NOT screen printing. It is NOT sublimation printing. It is NOT a transfer.
Do not try to reproduce a quilt using any of those methods. Any of those methods will fade and wear quickly over time and will not feel natural. Digital printers lay fabric on top of the printer platen and print onto the fabric as we would print paper from a printer at home. The inks are water based,actually penetrating the fabric fibers to become part of the fabric.
A heat press is used to dry the water out of the ink, leaving only a soft natural looking fabric! To create a reproduction quilt, you or your digital printer would scan in the fabrics directly from the quilt and create your very own "yardage." The print area is generally around 14x16 inches, so your fabrics would be printed in segments that size. If your customer doesn't mind and if you think the fabric quality is good enough, you could actually scan in the entire quilt block and print it. You'd still have to piece the blocks to each other and quilt them. To find a digital garment printer in your area, start by calling the t-shirt printers listed in your phone directory.
Ask if the printer offers water based digital direct to garment printing. When you find one who says yes, stop by to visit. Ask to see samples. You will not be able to feel any ink on the products at all.
You also will not be able to see a line around it like transfers tend to leave. If you choose to reproduce quilts as your quilting business, you will have truly selected a niche market. Reproduce quilts that customers bring to you, or reproduce quilts that you love to resell at craft shows or in your own online store. If you choose to reproduce quilts to resell at shows, be sure to attach a small tag or note that tells a little about the quilt's history and a photo of its inspiration if possible.
Sometimes knowing a little about the quilt's past is the difference between making a sale or not!.
Penny Halgren http://www.TheQuiltingCoach.com Penny has been a quilter for more than 27 years. She enjoys exploring all aspects of quilting and sharing her knowledge with all quilters. If you are looking for an Internet quilting club with a wide variety of resources for all level quilters, check out http://www.TheQuiltingCoach.com .
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