Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Do you sell your quilts?

Completeshandemonium's blog the other day really got me thinking about the cost of quilts. Years ago I had heard you were supposed to charge three times the cost of your materials. Somewhere along the way I picked up the following:

What It Costs To Make A Quilt
Queen-Size - Pieced - Hand Quilted Material:
Fabric $170 to $200
Batting $25 to $40
Threads $10 to $20
Total Invested: $205 to $260
Hours: Piecing 10 to 40 hrs.
Setting 2 to 10 hours
Quilting 500 to 950 hrs.
Total Hours Invested: 512 to 950

-Paying $1.00/hr (Would you do this type of work for $1.00/hr.?)
Materials: $205 to $260.
Labor $512 to $950.Total $717 to $1,210

-Paying minimum wage ($5.15/hr)
Materials $205 to $260
Labor: $2636 to $4892 Total $2841 to $5152

-Paying $20/hr (skilled labor)
Materials $205 to $260
Labor: $10,240 to $19,000
Total $10,445 to $19,260

We who quilt all have worth. When we are motivated by showing love, concern and comfort to others, what does it cost? Our talents are gifts and we make treasures. Made with love and consideration.... OUR QUILTS ARE PRICELESS!! Not enough money in the entire world can buy a quilt of THAT kind. QUILTERS DO HAVE WORTH!

Since the quilt that I made recently for my Grandmother is the only quilt I have a record of time on, I'll add that quilt up as my example. Honestly, it's the only quilt I ever put a dollar value on...and now I'm glad I've never added up any others because the total was quite shocking. Hopefully my Hubby isn't reading my blog or I'll be banned from ever stepping foot in another quilt store!! The thing is, 26 hours was just because I picked a pattern that I knew I could put together quickly and because I had a ridiculous amount of nervous energy and wasn't going to sleep anyway. It was pure determination of wanting to make this for my Grandma as quickly as possible that got it finished in 26 hours.

Twin Size - Machine Pieced 100% Cotton Material
Fabric - 12 Yards @ $9.00/yard = $108.00
Batting - $20.00
Threads - $13.00
Basting Tacks - $5.00
Borders on a Roll - $30.00
Total Invested = $176.00

Hours: Ironing, Cutting, Piecing, Basting, Quilting, Labeling, Removing Border Paper & Basting Tacks
Estimated 26 Hours

Paying $1.00/hour (I sure wouldn't do this for $1.00 per hour. That takes the fun out of it and makes it a job, not a hobby.)
Materials $176.00
Labor $26
Total = $202.00

Paying minimum wage (Wisconsin is currently $6.50/hour)
Materials $176.00
Labor $160.00
Total = $336.00

Paying $20/hour (Skilled labor)
Materials $176.00
Labor $520.00
Total = $696.00

And wait...taxes would take a 1/3 of that...I'd be back down to $484...subtract my materials and I'm down to $308...and suddenly I just made only $12 an hour. NOT WORTH IT!!

Who the heck in their right mind is going to pay $696.00 for a simple twin sized quilt? I'd have a very difficult time making a quilt to sell; it would suck the fun right out of it. I think I should stick to making them for for the same reasons I've always made them....just because I want to, when I want to, what patterns I want to and what colors I want to...whenever the spirit moves me to make one or to gift one.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 - Per Hour?...Yeah, Don't Think About It!
Posted by Anonymous (
Diane here...The mind does boggle over these considerations, Jen. I was thinking about the same thing regarding the romance books I write and publish as Diana Laurence. Last year, for example, I'm sure I put 700-800 hours into this vocation/hobby, and seeing as I didn't even make a profit, my hourly wage is pretty sad! But when I hold those paperbacks in my hand or get a fan letter or see myself referred to in some stranger's blog, how do you put a price on that? And writing for me is like quilting for's not as if we could stop ourselves even if we wanted to. LOL

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by scissorhandscps (
Made the mistake of mentioning your price thing to my husband and you're right. He said, "Yeap, just as I've said all along, a complete waste of time! Except to someone who enjoys it. He has never recieved a quilt from me. I have two in the works but they may find more appreciative homes. Sad but true. Interesting to see what the Basketball quilt will bring in. I think I will print this out and send it with the quilt.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Cre8tiveQuilter (
Don't get me wrong, I love to quilt and think it's worth it for myself. It's just not something I would ever want to do for profit. I think if I were to be paid the amount that someone else feels it was "worth" it wouldn't be "worth it" to me at all. I think I would begin to resent it. I know I wouldn't feel the same way about quilts with fabric and patterns that other people pick out. I guess I'd rather go through life loving my hobby than resenting it or putting it aside to work on something else. Charity quilts and pillow cases, now that's a whole different ball game. It's something that I do because I want to. If I didn't like the the pattern I was working on, I could change it as there's no set demands on the project. I've been thinking latley that I'd like to make a quilt to auction for breast cancer, instead of just the two blocks that I made. I guess I justify this because it's something I'm driven to do, in pattern and fabrics I'm choosing. For me it would be about the thrill of how much it could go for at auction...but that's also driven by what people are willing to spend for that particular charity, not entirely the quilt itself. I've made a few quilts over the years where people have requested certain colors or patterns and I've found those people to be the least happy with the outcome. I'm sure that's where I'm gun shy to do it for profit. I'd be so worried about everything having to be "perfect" that it wouldn't be fun at all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by 51050 (
I had a bad experience sewing flowergirl dresses for the daughter-in-law of a friend. I gave her a price for the original dress idea, but that changed several times. I ended up not making a dime off the project. Not that I was in it for the money, but when someone asks you do to something like that, you don't expect to do it for free. Since then I don't sew for profit. If a friend asks me to do some alterations for them, I'm happy to do it, but I tell them if they want to give me something, fine. If not, pass the favor forward. Usually I get paid more than I expected, because I don't expect anything. I look at quilting as a creative outlet. I do it for myself. If the recipients of the small quilts I make for shower or wedding gifts really like it, that's the frosting on the cake for me! My husband never complains. I guess he figures it keeps me home and happy, and I never complain when he goes out golfing. I can stay home and sew - or go to a quilt show or shop. Rhoda

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by bobbinhead (
I've had friends ask for quilts as well. However; I've had to charge for them. My time is worth something. I have them pay for the fabric, batting and thread if I have to buy it. I have a set charge per yardage for cutting and piecing. I cannot charge by the hour as you have said as I've put in as much as 60 hours in piecing for one quilt. At 20 dollars an hour that would be 1200 dollars just for piecing. I love quilting because it's my way of expressing myself. For me, charging by the yard is far more practical and fair to both the recipient and for me. I also give my quilts away because I want them enjoyed and not sitting in my closet hoping for a better home. I don't really do quilts for profit or for pay because so many problems result of it.

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