A Bleg

Five years ago I made about 80 Christmas stockings in a camouflage pattern, stuffed them (items donated by friends), and sent them off to some marines I knew who were in Afghanistan.

Four years ago, I sent over 100 to some National Guard soldiers in Bosnia.

Three years ago, I sent some, I’m not sure how many, but definitely less than 100, to Kosovo where my husband was.

The one I made for my husband was extra special, of course. I took a uniform shirt (BDU top for those of you in the know) and cut the stocking out of the back panel. I removed both chest pockets and his name label and the US ARMY label and stitched one pocket and label on one side and the other pocket and label on the other side. I used 550 cord (looks like an olive green round shoelace) for the loop for hanging, and the finishing touch was white fluffy trim around the top. It was (and still is) very high-speed.

A woman who worked with him in Kosovo liked it so much, she ordered some for herself. She provided the BDU tops, and I charged her $35 each.

My husband decorates his desk at work every Christmas with his stocking. It always gets tons of compliments. Soldiers don’t think it’s “nice” – they think it’s great and want one too. My husband’s boss saw it last year and decided she wants to order 33 to give to everybody in the office. They (the boss, my husband and somebody who is probably responsible for their Christmas decorating contest of which these stockings will play a central role) had a think-tank meeting yesterday morning and came up with a design. They want to use the ACU pattern (a new camouflage pattern, for those of you NOT in the know), 550 cord, white fluff, and then stitch on two pieces of velcro – one that is meant for the soldier’s name tape and one that is 4″ x 4″ and can be used for a unit patch or rank or whatever.

Not including materials (the velcro is the most expensive supply), how much should I charge for the labor end of this? Or, put another way, if you or someone you knew were interested in a camouflage patterned stocking (stretch the imagination, you civilians), what do you think would be a fair market value? And how much should I discount that for my husband’s boss who is buying them out of her own pocket? (Do you see the sticky situation my husband has caused me?)

Update: see the finished product here.

7 thoughts on “A Bleg

  1. First rule–don’t discount the price below your material costs!Estimate the hours to do this job. What would be a fair hourly rate? You are not obliged to discount it for the boss.She is buying these and presenting them as her gifts. If you discount them they become gifts from the two of you. You can offer a volume discount if making 33 can be done more efficiently than making 5. Your time is valuable. By taking on this task you will taking time from your family. This may require expenses like eating out more or buying more convenience foods. On the other hand how much do you want to contribute to the office Christmas party/spirit? You can discount the price and consider it your donation.

  2. If it’s a gift she wants to buy, you shouldn’t discount just because. That wouldn’t really be fair to you. So, you’ve charged thirty five dollars for labor and a few miscellaneous supplies in the past? How long do they take to make? Will you have to provide the ACU material? I’d say, charge a fair wage for yourself and your materials, and don’t get shortchanged just because she’s the boss. (And I think that sending stockings to the soldiers overseas is a lovely gift.)

  3. There’s ACU print fabric at http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com I’ll get you a more direct link. I’ve looked at this twill fabric so many times, thinking it would be great for something…but what…looks like you’ve got the answer I was wondering about.

  4. http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/catalog_itemdetail.aspx?ItmID=BF290I think you could do really well with this…I buy almost all my skirt fabrics for my dresses at fashionfabricsclub. I’m pretty confident in their fabrics…best I’ve found anywhere. Great price too…however, plan accordingly, shipping takes about two weeks to my house…but since you’re closer to their side of the country it might get to you faster.

  5. Angoraknitter – check out < HREF="http://www.magnafabrics.com/images/camouflage/camNew/camouflage1.htm" REL="nofollow">magna fabrics<>. They have the material priced at $1.85 per yard. It’s too late to cal them today…I’ll call tomorrow and make sure they’re still in business and see what lead time is.

  6. Escooze…but….I want pictures of your creation….sounds awesome!

  7. How about you figure out how much the materials are for each and then estimate the time to make one.,,,,I would guess about $20 (or possibly more depending on the size)…. do you have a pic of one? My dh is not deployed but I still might be interested

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