stitching the standard

My Problem with "I Could Totally Make That"

How many times have you heard this in an artists alley, at the Renaissance faire, or online? The implication is “I won’t/you shouldn’t buy that because it’s you could make yourself”.

Assuming you had the skills, and enough time, practice, materials, and labor that yes, you could in fact make that, you may not want to. Let’s do some math. I was looking at a whimsical jacket last faire when I heard someone whisper that horrid phrase to their friend.

Guess what? I could probably make it too. Looking at materials, it would run me at least $75 in fabric, not accounting for notions. The jacket fabric itself was composed of several other fabrics, which, at my estimation, would take me at least 15 hours to lay and piece correctly, and to fit it. Minimum wage (which, REMINDER, is not standard stitching rate) is $10 an hour, so that’s $150 plus $75, making a grand total of $250 in cost for me, not accounting for notions and assuming shopping didn’t take me long. This is also assuming I live in a vacuum without work or school and have infinite time for frivilous self sewing, which, spoiler alert, I don’t.

The woman was charging around $200 a coat. But this woman has put so much time and love into her product that it shows, and the years of experience she has in making that specific coat are well worth the $200 or so dollars she was charging for them.

Other reasons why this is shitty:
-It devalues artists with the assumption that anyone could do their job.
-It continues to force artists to drive prices down to compete with corperate/other companies undercutting them, meaning choosing between eating or gas money for some people.
-It just makes artists feel bad. Its not like they can’t hear you. They don’t waltz into your work and criticize your performance. Don’t be a dick.

Can’t afford a piece? Here are some options:
-Save money for it. Yeah, 10$ a month doesnt sound like much, but thats just 2 Starbucks.
-Ask artist about payment plans. Some media lends itself more to this than others.
-See if the artist has other cheaper products you may enjoy.