Thursday, September 15, 2011

cost of making a quilt

I recently received an email asking me the approximate cost of a quilt.  Well, naturally it depends on the size of the quilt, the cost of fabrics used in the quilt, the type/cost of batting used.  Also, a determining factor is whether a person quilts their own quilts or send them out – that's a whole other question!  Anyway, thought I'd share my thoughts/ experiences with you and I would love to hear other's input on this topic! 
The average size quilt that I personally make is at least 70 X 80” .  I consider this a good 'personal' size quilt.  So to estimate the cost of fabric, figure the square inches of the quilt – top, backing and binding!
70” X 80” = 5600”  X 2 = 11200”  (remember the backing!)  now to figure approximate yardage, divide the 11200” by 1296 (square inches of a yard) =  8.65.  So rounded up to 9 yards of  fabric used and we all know that we use more when figuring in seam allowances and trimming AND if you piece your backing - (remember this is very approximate!)  So figure how much you pay per yard for your fabric.  I'm going to figure low and say I've used a coupon for my fabric at JoAnns or Hancock and figure $5.50 a yard X 9 = $49.50 for fabric.  Well, lets add in a half yard for binding and you're at $52.25 (without tax and/or shipping if you use mail order). NOTE: double this figure if you're buying your fabric at full price at a quilt shop!   Batting:  your batting again will depend on the brand and kind you use.  I believe the most common batting used is Warm & White / Natural.  I buy mine by the yard and at JoAnn's without a coupon is about $12.00 a yard for 90” wide.  Again, I try to buy my batting using a coupon so 40% off and I will pay $7.20 a yard.  Now I would use the width of batting for length but I will still need 2 yards of batting so I'm at $14.40 in batting (again no tax or shipping figured in) .  I'm at $52.25 for fabric and $14.40 in batting for a total of $66.65.  This does not include threads for piecing or quilting.  This does not include your time,  and -  people – if you're making a quilt for profit – PROFIT!  Charge for your time!  So here's a formula to use for your approximate cost of a quilt:
  Square inches of finished quilt size X 2 (because of backing) divide by 1296 (square inches in yard), add a half yard for binding.  Multiply that number by your average cost per yard of fabric and you'll have a very approximate cost for your fabrics.  Figure the cost of your batting, whether you buy the prepackage/cut or buy by the yard.  You can add your local tax rate to get even a clearer idea of those costs.  And always, figure your approximate time to construct the quilt!
Okay, so this is a very low and rough estimate for a quilt that measures approximately 70” X 80”.  I figured 9 yards of fabric but, again, I know I'd be probably be using/buying more.  Batting you always cut larger than the size of the top and if quilting on a longarm setup, it's even a bit more.
How about you?  How would you figure the cost of a quilt? 


Linda said...

Several years ago my local quilt shop in North Carolina figured that the average quilter spent $150 on materials for a quilt. That seems right to me! You can't count on getting materials on sale, so you should figure in the regular cost of fabrics. Fabric around here is now $10.95 a yard and up! If you used 9 yards you are already up to $100 (remember tax - that is an expense!)Batting is $14 a yard and it takes 2 yards at least! Now you're up to $128. Thread is expensive, too. You need thread for the top and the back, so at $8 a roll (and it is often more) you are up to $$134. I use spray basting and that is about $15 a can here. Now I'm up to $149. This does not take into account any other materials you might use. Pattern? rotary blade? electricity? When you are making a quilt for profit, you have to consider these things. This does not even take time into account!

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

I agree with Linda - but I would round it up to $150 - for materials only. Then you have to add in the cost of labor - say another $150 (15 hours @ $10/hour). Now you're up to $300 for materials and labor. One rule of thumb is to take that cost and multiply it by 3

1 for materials and labor -
1 for overhead (patterns - books - tools - rulers - mats - blades - electricity - etc.) -
1 for profit -

Now you're up to $900. Who's going to buy a $900 quilt??