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Professional Quilter and Bad Workmanship

by Becca Kauffman
(South Carolina)

I gave my top to a professional quilter and paid $626 to have it quilted. I thought because she had done beautiful work before that she would do that on this quilt. Well, it is awful.

I have had many opinions from many quilters and it looks like a 2 year old did it. I am very upset and feel like I should just cut it. I cried for two days and I want to know what do now?



A lot of how you proceed depends on the type of 'bad quilting' it is.

If it's difference of design opinion...

If you told her to 'quilt whatever she wanted' and you don't like the design she used, but the quality of the quilting is good, then part of the problem is yours because you left the design decision all up to her.

If this is the case, honestly, I'd probably rip out the stitching myself, maybe try to get something off the price because I wasn't happy. But I don't know for sure about that. I quilt all my own quilts and don't have actual experience with differing opinions on design.

One of my friends has ripped the quilting out of two quilts.

One, the quilting was just plain bad.

The other, she'd left the quilting design up to the quilter and, in the end, didn't like the design the quilter choose. There was nothing wrong with the quality of the quilting on the second quilt.

In both situations, my friend removed all the quilting stitches herself and 'ate' the fee.

If the quilting truly sucks...

...the tension is bad...the stitches are messy...threads are hanging all over...stitches are coming out, then the first question I have is 'Do you have a written contract?' Does it describe ways to remedy a situation like yours? If it does, then follow the steps as laid out in that document.

Regardless of that, you must take it back to the quilter and explain why you are not satisfied with her work and what you want her to do about it.

I strongly recommend that you write everything out. It will make it easier to discuss the problems with your quilter, you'll be less apt to forget something in the moment and you'll be able to leave a copy of this list with her.

Also include what it will take to make you whole.

Does that mean she rips out the quilting and returns the quilt top (and whatever else you supplied) and the fee? Does it mean she re-does all the quilting for the same fee? Do you want her to even touch any of the stitching on the quilt top? Do you just want your payment back? Know what you want before you talk to her.

A reputable quilter wants satisfied clients. If she has a good reputation, as you have indicated, I suspect that she'll want to correct the problem if she can. Until you tell her, she can't do anything.

For situations like yours...

...from both the customer's and the quilter's perspective, we have these two pages:

Of particular interest, one of our readers suggested that a professional quilter can have insurance for just such a situation. It's worth a chance to check for your situation. You may have to give up your quilt for awhile as the insurance company works it out.

Readers, if you have experienced this same problem, please let us know how you handled it using the 'Comments' link below.

Thank you.


Julie Baird

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