I'm wahm curious.. how many diapers in a day.. - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 09:41 AM
 
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When I made OopsaDaisys!, I remember sometimes you'd get that diaper that took three days to make
But usually I made a turned and topstiched one in about half and hour. It's hard to tell, because I normally worked in batches, like an assembly line.

Now, with the embellished overalls I do - they take a LOT longer. I've spent two hours just on an applique before. One simpler pair I did in one night took me 5 hours, I did them start to finish.
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#32 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 12:48 PM
 
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Wow, this thread has been interesting. I can't say I'm surprised because the diapers that I buy always look so wonderful I would expect them to all take at least an hour.

I'm not a sewer, I'm a knitter but I'm going to chime in anyway. I consider myself a fast knitter and if uninterrupted I can knit a medium soaker in abut 5 or 6 hours. I am NEVER uninteruppted. I knit by the row now and I'm lucky to get 8 rows an hour. So, in my current life it takes me about a week to knit a pair of longies although to be fair it is probably only about 8 hours of work total. So... when people are looking for $20 longies I can't help but calculate what that would equal in an hourly wage. That doesn't matter to me but I know it REALLY matters to some.

Great thread!

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#33 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 12:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheena
So, in my current life it takes me about a week to knit a pair of longies although to be fair it is probably only about 8 hours of work total. So... when people are looking for $20 longies I can't help but calculate what that would equal in an hourly wage. That doesn't matter to me but I know it REALLY matters to some.

Well consider this. A diaper costs $12US to make a large and it takes you four hours to make. You charge $18 so you have $6 over the cost of materials. Even if it only took you an hour your only getting paid $6 for your time. Now if you charged what you should for this diaper it would cost your customer $62!!! That is not going to fly, no way. So you are forced to charge a few dollars more then it costs you and forget you had to make it. :LOL So wool is $4 a roll and it takes 3-4 rolls to make a pair of pants and that is like $12 max. So if you add on your wage of say $10 an hour it is $92 for an 8 hour job but if you were to charge the same as a diapermaker you would be getting $21. That is why people justify saying longies should not cost more then $20 because the diapermakers are not getting paid so why should the knitters. I know that is so stupid. And my butt will fry in hell for even saying all this but hey I understand the customers point of view. I hate it but that is life in this screwy world. We work for nothing and people still complain.
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#34 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 01:11 PM
 
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I'm out of coffee... I didn't understand what you meant, Kathleen.

I wish wool was $4.00 a skien. It's more like $12 for decent plain wool.

Amy: Certified Professional Midwife and mom to Max (11) and Stella (6).
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#35 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 01:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Sheena
I'm out of coffee... I didn't understand what you meant, Kathleen.

I wish wool was $4.00 a skien. It's more like $12 for decent plain wool.
Really? I got some really nice wool for $4 a skien. I dunno much about wools so mine is probably just ordinary wool.
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#36 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 02:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lauira



I have a renewed appreciation for you mamas. I am going to cross post this in diapering so we can all remember just how hard you all work to bring us such great things for our babies. I don't think many of us realize what a deal we are getting on these amazing diapers given what goes into them...

Gosh I really love you Laura!!

It takes me a hour to dye the wool and then 45 min. to cut and complete the wool cover. The diaper I am working on now takes about 1 hour to make from start to finish but not including preshrinking the fabrics. I took hand applique with me on my holiday and I spent about 8 hours working on one cover.
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#37 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I'm glad to see an hour is about right for a diaper. I see exactly what kathleen is saying.. and to compound the time issue.. the sewing isn't all that goes into a diaper.. ordering fabric,driving to the store for needles, thread and the like, washing fabric, packaging, mailing, bookkeeping, freebies, .. ohhhhh and a HUGE amount of time goes into clean up..My sewing room is a HUGE mess I'm not only slow, I'm messy *LOL*.


Add all that up and then have someone say that wahms should also cover the price of shipping in the price of the diaper and you find yourself somewhere between angry, hurt, and on the verge of tears because no matter how much we do, it never seems like enough. I'm so glad so many wahms participated in this thread It gives us a real sense of what we are paying for as a customer.

But, I also want to remind my fellow wahms.. we do this because we love it (most days ) and if we worked outside the home, our babies would be in daycare which is NOT cheap. So, out of the $8 an hour I'd make outside the home, about $4-$5 of that would go toward daycare... that's about $3 an hour income. I don't make that much doing this, but I also have the benefit of being home with my child .. a benefit I know thousands of mothers would give their right arm for. Plus, I get to be involved in something I believe in and surrounded by like minded people in the process.

My husband says "If you don't like it, quit. If you do, stop complaining and go sew!".. words of wisdom on a good day (on a bad day, I have some words of advice for him if you know what I mean )
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#38 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 03:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tippytoes26
Well, I'm glad to see an hour is about right for a diaper. I see exactly what kathleen is saying.. and to compound the time issue.. the sewing isn't all that goes into a diaper.. ordering fabric,driving to the store for needles, thread and the like, washing fabric, packaging, mailing, bookkeeping, freebies, .. ohhhhh and a HUGE amount of time goes into clean up..My sewing room is a HUGE mess I'm not only slow, I'm messy *LOL*.


Add all that up and then have someone say that wahms should also cover the price of shipping in the price of the diaper and you find yourself somewhere between angry, hurt, and on the verge of tears because no matter how much we do, it never seems like enough. I'm so glad so many wahms participated in this thread It gives us a real sense of what we are paying for as a customer.

But, I also want to remind my fellow wahms.. we do this because we love it (most days ) and if we worked outside the home, our babies would be in daycare which is NOT cheap. So, out of the $8 an hour I'd make outside the home, about $4-$5 of that would go toward daycare... that's about $3 an hour income. I don't make that much doing this, but I also have the benefit of being home with my child .. a benefit I know thousands of mothers would give their right arm for. Plus, I get to be involved in something I believe in and surrounded by like minded people in the process.

My husband says "If you don't like it, quit. If you do, stop complaining and go sew!".. words of wisdom on a good day (on a bad day, I have some words of advice for him if you know what I mean )

Are we related? I could have written that post! Except I don't have a sewing room per say...all my stuff is in the dining area. You can imagine the chaos....I have to carefully plan my sewing times. Which means it's usually after the girls are sleeping. But you're right, I really really like what I'm doing, as well as most of the people I have met as a result.

Especially here!

mum to a crew...
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#39 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 03:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tippytoes26
the sewing isn't all that goes into a diaper.. ordering fabric,driving to the store for needles, thread and the like, washing fabric, packaging, mailing, bookkeeping, freebies, .. ohhhhh and a HUGE amount of time goes into clean up..My sewing room is a HUGE mess I'm not only slow, I'm messy *LOL*.


Add all that up and then have someone say that wahms should also cover the price of shipping in the price of the diaper and you find yourself somewhere between angry, hurt, and on the verge of tears because no matter how much we do, it never seems like enough. I'm so glad so many wahms participated in this thread It gives us a real sense of what we are paying for as a customer.


My husband says "If you don't like it, quit. If you do, stop complaining and go sew!".. words of wisdom on a good day (on a bad day, I have some words of advice for him if you know what I mean )
All of this is EXACTLY right! I know that I get quite frustrated myself when I get customers who state that my diapers are "too expensive" or something to that effect. I guess my feelings get hurt because i wonder....do they not feel my dipes are not worth as much as someone elses? But then I have to knock myself upside the head and come back to Earth, LOL! Most of the time the work we WAHM's do will not be considered. I have even had people say to me "It only costs you....such and such....dollars to make one, so why is it so much?". I guess my time is worth nothing to some people. That's ok though because there are those customers that DO appreciate all the work we do and do not complain about the cost. Those customers make me want to continue on, even when I get the other kind who just make you want to bury your head in the sand! LOL!
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#40 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 04:03 PM
 
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you find yourself somewhere between angry, hurt, and on the verge of tears because no matter how much we do, it never seems like enough.
I've had those days.

In reality, we are small boutiques. We make handmade boutique diapers, I feel. We have designed our patterns to our own unique liking, have hand chosen the fabrics, set up our websites, etc.. Unlike larger companies, we have no finanical or physical support. My mom used to own her own boutique of handmade women's clothing. All the items were very expensive. When I first started making cloth diapers, and showed her other boutique friends, I asked how much they would think an item like it would cost. They all agreed a handmade cloth diaper should cost at least $50-ish each. There is alot of sewing and cutting involved, sometimes as much as a dress. Everything has to be even, etc.. Plus working with layers of fabric is hard on our machinery and easy to make mistakes. I don't think a diaper over $25 needs to be a work of art with perfect snaps and stitching, that's just me. Unfortunately, the average parent can't afford to spend that much on each diaper they own, so we keep our prices down.
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#41 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 05:15 PM
 
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I've been thinking a lot about this thread since it started and I can't help but wonder if everyone is really taking into account all of the expenses that aren't directly related to the sewing of the diaper. Let's assume, as someone said, that you make $6/hr and work about 4 hours a day. That is $24 a day that you are bringing in. I assume the $6/hr is after taking out all the fabric, thread, snaps etc used, shipping supplies and other things that are "obvious" when making and shipping a diaper. I have a feeling that the amount you are making per hour is much smaller if you take into account other not so obvious expenses. What about:

* Water bill for water used to wash yards and yards of fabric (and wear on your washer and dryer)
* Electricity to run sewing machines
* Electricity to run the lights needed at night while you sew into the wee hours of the morning when you could be in bed asleep saving that electricity
* Electricity to run the computer which you most likely use more than you would if you didn't run an online business
* Notions such as marking pens, bobbins, sewing machine needles, pins, rotary blades, scissor sharpening, etc (things that aren't a cost per diaper, but are a cost over the long run)
* What about days that you are exhausted from working and eat fast food, or eat out because you are too tired to cook? This is money you might not have spent if you weren't sewing diapers as a business.
* Or just think of the time you would free up not having a business that you could use to SAVE money. You could spend that time tending to a vegetable garden and save money on groceries, you could sew clothes for your children instead of buying them, cook from scratch instead of eating out (just thinking out loud here...I realize not everyone would have the desire to do any of these :LOL)

Did everyone figure things like this into their $ per hour calculations? I never did. This thread really made wonder if anyone is actually making money and if you are, are you really making enough to make it worth your time? Interesting, eye opening thread.
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#42 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 05:40 PM
 
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Amy, ITA. I've totally thought about that. I would definately consider my business a "hobby" only because I am losing money doing what I do. The thought of closing shop has crossed my mind many times. But, to me it's also my art, kwim? It sounds silly, but it is! But still, I can keep my art to myself and not sell it. I think for me, I *have* to work. I've always worked and ran our family business for a few years until I gave birth to our 1st daughter. It's in my blood. Both my parents owned their own businesses, so that's also a factor, I feel, for my decision to open a store. Now that my youngest is almost out of diapers, I am beginning to see other opportunities in my horizon :LOL. I really love cloth diapers, they are so fun for me. But there will come a time when I will want to move on because it's just not financially feasible any longer.
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#43 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 05:55 PM
 
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For the first two years that I did this for a living I made NOTHING ...basically the business bought fabric and I worked for free ... and because there was no profit (and I needed the money) I basically almost put myself out of business robbing peter to pay paul so to speak.

However ...after passing that learning curve ...and surviving ... I changed what I did ...designed a diaper that was simple to make and very easy when made in an assembly line. I am VERY concious of paying myself a fair wage AND of re-investing adequately into materials. If I didn't make enough money doing this I wouldn't be able to stay home with my daughter ... it's that simple ... dh would insist that I go back to work because we just can't afford to live in the city we live in on one income. We've had the cost of daycare argument too many times to remember but he always thinks it'll be cheaper than it is and I always think it will be more expensive (in more ways than just financial). SO I really had to make this work as a viable business ... and yes I take everything into account. I've even started getting the fabric I use washed professionally (which saves me time and water and wear on the machines ... but adds $1 to every yard ...as I had already been including washing into the cost of my products it does nothing to the cost of them retail wise and certainly saves me several hours of back breaking labour (hemp is SOOOOO HEAVY when wet ...especially 10+ yards at a time).

Anyways I guess my point is that I can't afford for this business to be my hobby and I am fortunate that I enjoy it as though it were while still forcing myself to be streamlined and efficient in the manufacturing.

tireless sewer of teeny little clothes for Bamboletta dolls ...

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#44 of 49 Old 08-27-2004, 06:49 PM
 
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OMG, did you have to tell me that I am a slave to diapers. LOL! I sincerely wonder why I got back into the business sometimes. I must be making money but it is a far cry from what I should be making.........kwim? My time is worth just as much as anyone elses but for some reason because I choose to be at home it is not valued as such. Go figure. :
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#45 of 49 Old 08-29-2004, 02:29 AM
 
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I spent a lot of time last year coming up with a design that was faster to make than my orignal T&T design. It works pretty well, but lots of my customers prefer the original. I'd planned to start doing a combo of types and pricing them at different levels, the turned the highest with the foe bound a bit cheaper and then a "budget" version that is just serged. Well I'd been thinking of the new pricing and starting to feel bad that I was raising prices to high, but I'm working on a batch of the T&T design right now and I'll be darned if I'm gonna underprice myself again. Just the trimming, turning and pinning alone is worth the price. I really want to be doing this years down the line and I'd rather lose some customers over high prices than lose my mind over low prices!!

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BigKid (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
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#46 of 49 Old 08-29-2004, 11:09 AM
 
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I only sew/sell at what I consider "hobby" level (not wahm level). It takes me about 15 mins. start to finish for a wool cover (not counting felting time), about 15-20 min for a pull-up and a tad bit more for a fitted. That's uninterupted though. Interupted, well we all know that takes a LOT longer, since you have to get back into the rhythm again.

My soakers are contour and hidden, so it helps that I can cut out (rotery) a huge pile and the serge them to have on hand. I tend to have everything cut out and ready to go when there is free time. I minimize switching thread by piling like colors together and doing them at once. (varigated loop threads are awsome for this, since on my serger I can change out the needle thread w/o much hassle) I also use a large cone for my sewing machine and do up a bunch of bobbins at once so that's an easy fast switch.

My MIL was just here and she thought I was short changing myself but don't we all.

I don't know how any wahms do it with children under 5 or are homeschoolers since there is so much focus and time needed for our children. The only "free" time I have is after all go to bed and I'm usually whomped by then myself to focus on a straight line.

If I could afford to pay wahm prices, darn skippy I'd be buying all wahm products, but since I can't ds gets mommy made custom britches. We really ought to set aside a day or more throught out the year to celebrate wahms/wahds imo.

Ahhh tea the essence of life.
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#47 of 49 Old 08-29-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DreamingMama
Well consider this. A diaper costs $12US to make a large and it takes you four hours to make. You charge $18 so you have $6 over the cost of materials. Even if it only took you an hour your only getting paid $6 for your time. Now if you charged what you should for this diaper it would cost your customer $62!!! That is not going to fly, no way. So you are forced to charge a few dollars more then it costs you and forget you had to make it. :LOL So wool is $4 a roll and it takes 3-4 rolls to make a pair of pants and that is like $12 max. So if you add on your wage of say $10 an hour it is $92 for an 8 hour job but if you were to charge the same as a diapermaker you would be getting $21. That is why people justify saying longies should not cost more then $20 because the diapermakers are not getting paid so why should the knitters. I know that is so stupid. And my butt will fry in hell for even saying all this but hey I understand the customers point of view. I hate it but that is life in this screwy world. We work for nothing and people still complain.
I totally get what you are saying Kathleen!! It probably won't be popular, but I understand it!! That diaper WAHM doesn't make a wage for all of their sewing time, but knitting WAHMS do actally get a decent wage for their time.

I think that is a very intelligent breakdown of the two. People are more willing to pay what wool is worth and less likely to pay what a handmade diaper item is really worth. It kinda sucks.

Mamas don't be mad at me for understanding her post. I know you knitting Mamas aren't getting rich either. Both art forms are highly time consuming and very valuable to the CD world.
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#48 of 49 Old 08-31-2004, 09:20 PM
 
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There was some talk on this thread about how rethreading your serger slows you down.
Did you know, that you can just cut the threads off, and attach the new thread off the cone to the thread you have just cut off, make sure the knot is small, and you don't have to go through the whole process of rethreading the whole thing.
I didn't know that you can do this, that's why I am posting this, I hope I don't look like an a$$.

ETA: except for the needle thread of course!!
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#49 of 49 Old 08-31-2004, 09:27 PM
 
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That is how I change my threads....but it is still a pain to change 2 or 4 colors for only a few diapers. And I have an industrial serger, so if the thread breaks while doing this, it is a royal PITA to rethread. Actually, if the thread breaks at all, it sucks. It is definitely NOT user friendly....but I love the way it goes through multiple layers of fabric like a hot knife through butter.

I had two cones of Maxi-lock, the huge cones, I forget how many yards. I had them in my needles, and both cones had cut thread in the middle of the spools. And not just one place, but many, many places. That was a PITA too!
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