May 18, 2011

What It Reallly Costs to Make a Quilt: Updated!

QUEEN SIZED, Machine Pieced, Hand Quilted


See chart at bottom for an updated 2023 pricing.

Fabric 12-16 yards @ $9per yd. $108 - $144
Batting $25 - $40
Thread $8 - $16

Total Money Invested $141 - $200


Piecing 20 to 60 hours
“Setting” (designing your quilt) 10 to 20 hours
Quilting 100 to 750 hours

Total hours invested 130 to 810 hours


Paying $1 per hour (Would you do this type of work for $1 an hour?!)

Materials $141 - $200
Labor $130 - $810
Total $271 - $1070

Paying minimum wage $7.25 (by law in 6/2009)

Materials $141 - $200
Labor (130-810hrs) $942.50 - $5872.25
Total $1083.50 - $6072.25

Paying skilled labor wage $20 per hour (Don’t you consider yourself trained and skilled in this craft?)

Materials $141 - $200
Labor (130-810hrs) $2600 - $16,200

Total $2741 - $16,400

Data based on Internet figures from 2009 not on any of the 5 quilts currently on my bed ;) And as a reader as mentioned....what about the costs of using your sewing machine? Maintenance, depreciation...oh much else we could all be adding in!

Anyone want to comment with an estimate of how much you spend (not counting your labor) for various sizes of quilts you've made???

And of course, as time goes by, things cost more and more. So, even buying fabric on sale, on discount, or using sales coupons how does it increase?

Molly Sparkles recently blogged about it both on her own blog and on Sew Mama Sew.

Here are some paraphrasing of her thoughts:

Other considerations: The design concept time fee to cover the cost of figuring out fabric choices, amount needed, cutting and assembly it etc.
Costs of fabric in the US. is typically around $8-12 per yard, fabric in Australia is typically $18-24 / yard (metre). Worldwide average $15 per yard/metre

Do you order online and then pay shipping..for a quilt sent to various countries that might add in another $50!

How much are you worth an hour? Molly figures $30.00 / hour. She based this on the 2011 median wage (not mean/average) in Australia of $57,400 / year. That equates to $29.05 / hour. Based on inflation, and to make calculations a bit easier,she rounded up to $30.00 / hour.

Long-arm services, and times for sewing the binding ?

Molly added in a 20% profit margin, because otherwise a quilter is  just breaking even.
And well, you add it all up (less quilting and binding), and her 72″ square quilt top is valued at $1616.34 (formula calculation error!) $1,421.34 AUD.

Here is a graphic chart courtesy of google search to show how this was calculated:

Total reality cost of her 72" square quilt?  $1,421.34 !!!!

And now? How much more in 2023?

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands sharing an imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon and back again. 

Creating,designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting from my heart and with my hands.


Peggy said...

I am afraid to add it all up, I may put myself in such a shock I would never quilt again. Thanks for putting in it perspective though.

jovaliquilts said...

Quilting is not a cheap hobby, that's for sure! Because we enjoy doing it, most of us quilters don't think about it in terms of $$$, but I do sometimes when someone asks me to do something quilty for them. They truly don't know what they are asking!

Merry said...

Thank you for this! I have a few family members that need to realize that quilters are not their personal bed bath and beyond store.

Scrappy quilter said...

I'm afraid to add it up. Material here is anywhere from $14.95 - 21.95 a metre. Batting is less because I purchase it at discount. Thread I'm not even sure. Hours....many and our mimimum wage here is $10.50 an hour. I don't make quilts to sell for this very reason...most don't realize just how many $$ have gone into them. I prefer to just give them away. Hugs

Susan said...

Owning a quilt that was handmade with love...priceless. ;o)

Tonya Ricucci said...

excellent post. and yet what can a person manage to sell it for? tuck it away in a cabinet for 200 years and your descendents might get the money.

Joyce said...

This is exactly why I cringe when someone asks me to make a quilt for them. If they don't quilt, they truly have no idea of the cost involved....if they quilt, then they'd probably make their own! It's a no win situation. Do you ask a fair price and then make someone mad? I agree with Scrappy Quilter. I usually just give them away!

Marge Gordon said...

Thank you so much for this informative post. I wish the whole world could read it… I certainly will use this when someone asks me how much a quilt is worth. Thanks again
Delaware Quilts

Unknown said...

I'm just about to price a couple of child size quilts for the craft fair on Saturday - I think I need a bigger label!!!
I agree with Scrappy Quilter - really you can't beat making them with love in your heart for a gift to someone special - in everyway they are PRICELESS!!

Sue said...

Someone I'm not close to kept asking me to make a quilt for him - he said he'd pay me! (Clueless!) I finally said I would put him at the top of my list for $10,000. Still waiting for that check!!

Anya said...

People (non-quilters, of course) often ask me why I don't make quilts to sell. This is exactly why I don't! I only make them to give away to people I care about.

Darling Millie said...

Even if you charge a (2011) reasonable price of $12.50 - $15.00 per square foot... it adds up fast.

I do not make quilts to sell for that reason, and I don't make them for family members who just want one. I just say No.

Folks just don't get it.

Roxanne said...

Whew! I'm reeling from sticker shock! I didn't know my quilts were worth that much. I agree that it's only worth making them to give them away to someone you love. I admit though that most of my fabric stash was acquired when prices were lower. I remember the days of $1.99 a yard. Oops, I've given my age away.

Phyllis in Minnesota said...

When someone asks me to make a quilt I always tell them they have no idea of the cost, but lets start with just the fabric at $10.00 a yd., their eye brows rise, then I mention the batting, thread, labor, etc. and just about when they are ready to tell me they had no idea it costs soooo much, I tell them I'd be very happy to teach them to make their own quilt.........I've have "no takers" thus far and sure I won't.

Allie said...

I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get my jaw back into position - wow. Not a frugal hobby for sure!

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Oh Michelle, too scared to work it out!!
But this is a reason not everyone is "quiltworthy"!!
Cheers, Tracey

Clare said...

It's our hobby and we choose to do it because we love it. We also choose to make quilts for charity because that's the sort of people we are.

However, we do not make quilts to order and we do not do commissions. I wish friends and family would understand that.

My Dad keeps pestering me to make him a wall hanging and is getting cross because it hasn't happened overnight. If he keeps on at me he ain't getting one!

Caren Kristine said...

That's why I am very careful about who I make a quilt for! Unless I know it will be appreciated I won't make it. You can forget about selling one for what it is actually worth!

Rae Perez said...

WOW! Honestly I never thought that much about it. I sold one quilt for way less than even the fabric was worth but I just chalked it up to a learning experience. People really have no idea of the time that is spent on making one.

Adrienne The Artichoke Quilter said...

I have begun doing commission quilts, charging $12 per yard, $20 per hour, "normal" long arm quilting rates ... most come in around $1000. customers have not balked... but lots of quilters have. we are worth it!!!!! I usually underestimate the setting time, but am getting better, and it gives me a chance to do quilts i'd never do for myself. of course when one gal wanted a king sized cathedral window (4" units), i quoted over $8000 ... for some reason, that was too much! HAH i didn't want to do it, anyway ...
adrienne the artichoke quilter

jenclair said...

Whoa! Amazing, isn't it? I shudder to think of the times I've passed up a quilt because of the price, even knowing the price was more than reasonable!

Barbara Sindlinger said...

Yikes - if it wasn't for the theraputic value of quilting, I might not make so many quilts. Of course, I don't count my time - but I knew the fabric and the rest was expensive. Just think of the investment we have in our stashes.

Michelle said...

I made myself a quilt for my birthday last year and figured what I'd spent on materials (for the stuff that was already in my stash, I used what I had paid or what I would usually pay for it).
The details are in this post --

For my 60x60" throw, I spent a little less than $30. Almost a third of that was on the batting alone.

Making a quilt is expensive, but it doesn't have to be...just depends on what your priorities are.

Would I make someone else that quilt for the $30 my materials cost me? Depends on who wanted it and what they wanted it for.

Anonymous said...

From Jocelyne: And what about your sewing machine expenses? The yearly cost for maintenance and repairs, and even depreciation can really add up!

Anonymous said...

I have a stressful job, so I began quilting to relax. My seams were a quarter inch, but all other rules were thrown out the window. As my form of therapy, it is still less expensive than an actual therapist, not to mention medications and ocassional brain surgery. Besides is Mother isn't happy, neither is anyone else in the house:) Life is short and quilting makes me happy:)

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

Electricity to run the sewing machine, the lighting, and the room temperature. Did you include the cost of gas or shipping and tax to purchase the fabric? How about the time planning the quilt and selecting the fabric.

Michele Bilyeu said...

Oh, my goodness gracious me! You ladies are going to bankrupt us all with all of these added ins..ha ha.

Or else...simply remind us that we are totally invaluable and quilt because we love it irregardless of the cost.

And I am patting myself on the back for using ALL of my scraps and buying on sale/clearance and scrounging for free ;)

And if you are buying gorgeous new fabrics...well we are all trying to support the economy and fill the world with beauty!

debbie m said...

Most of my quilts are mailed to family and friends as gifts. I usually insure the package for quite a lot. An example would be the twin size quilt I gave to my great niece last year. It was a very simple disapearing 9-patch where I cut the original squares 5 inches. I think it started as 15 9-patch units. I insured it for $600.00. I know I couldn't sell it for that, but knew I had much more time and money in it than the $600.00 would cover if it was lost in the mail.

Elaine Adair said...

I am also a quilter, giving them to loved ones, and never selling them because they would cost too much! My DH makes Model Boats, STARTING from parts purchased from expensive kits. Many times he adds materials as needed to make them more realistic. The "kits" start at $150, up to $300.00 or higher. Like us quilters, he puts in 200-300 hours on each project, and even counts GLUE, at $3.00/tube using 25-30 tubes.

A man asked DH to make a model boat for him. When DH asked what the man's budget was, the man said "about $100.00"! That barely covers the glue! Just goes to show that people do not realize what goes into hand work!

Anonymous said...

Makes me want to be a lot choosier about which patterns I want to make. Why waste my precious resources on ugly quilts, or ones I am only ho-hum about?

The Calico Quilter said...

I recently sent five quilts to my nephew's family in Berlin. I agonized over what to value the quilts on the customs form since I knew they would have to pay import duty on them. Finally, I just added up the cost of the materials and the longarm quilting service charge - nothing for my time and work. Even with the fabrics bought on sale and a very nice deal from my quilter it was a scary number. I have never sold a quilt but give away quite a few. I'm sure no recipient except my quilting mother ever understood the monetary value of their gift. So be it, because I make them more for me than them, if truth be told. It makes me happy and it's got to be cheaper than psychotherapy and valium! LOL