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How To Price Making An Entire Quilt

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Morning Folks

 

I've made a few prayer quilts and going away quilts to members of my Sunday School classes lately.  Suddenly pictures of the quilts got passed around and I'm having people come up to me talking about how beautiful they are and some are asking me how much I would charge to MAKE them a quilt....not just quilt one (although one person has some old tops to quilt)....but to actually make the entire quilt.

 

How in the world would you figure out how much to charge to make a quilt?  I wouldn't want to price myself out of the ballpark but don't want to give my work away either.  I don't think they know what they are asking.

 

I know to figure the cost of fabric, batting, thread but would you price your work by the hour for the making of the top and then by square inch to actually quilt the top?  I know it figure on how hard the pattern was to make.

 

How would all you smart people figure the cost of making a quilt?

 

Thanks

 

 


David

 

 

 

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David:

 

The minimum wage in Texas is 7.25 per hour from the internet.  That is not much to live off of in my opinion.  Some have proposed the the lowest living wage is $15/hour.  Using that figure, I would increase it by 7 percent; since you have to pay both the employer and the employee Social Security tax.  That works out to be $15.75.

 

What did you pay for your sewing machine and quilting machine?  You have to account for those costs.  Are you going to put your machines into business service and depreciate them over their lifetimes?  It can all get complicated.

 

Thus I say you charge at a minimum of $20/hour.  Maybe even $25/hour, since your skill set seems to be rather high level in the pictures of your work you have shared.  Then you need to start a stopwatch the second you start ironing or cutting fabric, and time for every second of you work.   You charge for the time you are moving one square from one spot to another, seeing which looks best.  You charge for your time standing there looking at the quilt deciding how you are going to get the quilt design to fit into that difficult.  When you take a bathroom break, answer the phone, get lunch, stop the stopwatch.  

 

With all the said, I would say you find a standard pattern.  With a standard quilt design you want to use for these quilts to be sold.  Then make that standard quilt, timing how long it takes to make and finish as described above.  This way you can tell your potential buyers what a quilt will cost them, plus materials.  

 

I think too many quilters price themselves out of business, since they do not earn minimum wage much less pay off their equipment.  I wish you the best of luck.

 

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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I usually only quilt for myself....have had some friends ask if I would make a quilt for them....so...I say..sure...you buy the fabric ( I offer to go with them) and then I say...also help me piece the quilt...yep...I do that....and I give them basic pressing directions...tee hee...anyway....most of the time they look at the price of fabric and that stops most of them....some get past that step and help me "Press" and layout the piecing....then I "let" them help me pin the quilt to my leaders..tee hee...I have only had two that actually had me make a quilt and out of the two only one who came back for a second...that said...I really have given away several quilts that I choose to make for my family and friends....but I figure having them go through the steps gives them a better appreciation of what goes into making a quilt.  I also do not like working with time lines....Lin  oh...and then as they are friends, I have not charged them for my time or my actual quilting time...but I do say going out for dinner would be fine...If I was doing this for pay of course I would want to get at least $15 an hour.  (until my skills improve, then more).Lin

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First of all, David, do you even want to make quilts for others?  If so, I would think a minimum of $20/hour, plus the cost of materials.  You are right about not giving away your work, and if people don't want to pay a reasonable price for it, then they don't really want an original quilt made by a quilt artist.  Other posts in the past have talked about a minimum of $20/hour for making backs, fixing top issues, etc., as that should be about what a quilter makes for quilting, and time spent on other tasks reduces the time available to earn money quilting.

 

There are lots of people selling quilts on the Internet on Etsy and other sites.  You could check some of those prices, and see how they compare with what you want to make.  And if those prices seem extremely low to you, you could always refer the people talking to you to those sites.

 

I had a friend ask me to make 3 T-shirt quilts for her nieces after their father died.  It was not something I wanted to do, and since I only quilt for myself, or for charity quilts, so I told her no, and recommended checking on-line with some of the many companies that offer that service.  She ended up finding someone local who said she would do it for $200/quilt, including materials.  My friend thought that was kind of pricey!  I told her that was a very low price.  Don't know what her SIL decided to do, but I am really glad I did not take on the task.


Betsy

quilting with Emmeline, a 2011 Freedom SR

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I tell people, rule of thumb, queens start at $1000 for commission quilts. Price goes up or down depending on size of quilt and complexity of the design. That's usually enough to stop them. I don't like working for nothing for people who have NO clue of the amount of time and expense that goes into a quilt. I had one guy ask me why it was so expensive as it was "just sewing." So I educated him on the costs and hours asked him what he made per hour at his job. Then I asked him if he had the equipment, time, or skills to do it himself, because I would be happy to charge him to quilt and bind it when he finished! It just doesn't set well when people want a quilt, but don't want to even pay enough to cover the cost of the fabric.

I also sell quilts at an annual craft fair. I sell queens for around $600-$700. Much less than a commission quilt. These are easy patterns and fabric I've found on sale. They are quilts I just wanted to make and don't have someone in mind to gift it to. It's so funny when people say they LOVE a certain quilt, then proceed to ask me if I have it in xyz colors. Clueless. Do I look like a department store?

I've had boutique shop owners "kindly offer" to buy ALL my quilts (my whole booth) for 50% off the asking price. I refuse THEM,(I would rather donate them), and ask why I should PAY THEM to work filling their shops so THEY can double their money. One shop owner has come to the craft fair every year for the last 5 years and asked me the same thing. I guess she's hoping to get a different answer. Not in this life....


Merry Jo

Merry Jo Rembold, Julian, CA

APQS Sales Representative

Millie & Quilt Path

Facebook: Creative Quilting by Merry Jo

Merryjorembold.com

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Hi David. A friend of mine who appraises quilts and judges shows gave me insight to estimate the True Cost to you of making a quilt. When I figured it out - no one in my area would pay that much. However, things to think about: time designing or cost of pattern, time shopping for fabric and consulting, time preparing fabric (wash, press, cut), time constructing, time quilting, time to make binding and apply, plus the cost of fabric, batting, and thread, etc.

 

So, how much is your time worth to you? Will your area support a fair price for a professionally made quilt?  I finally decided that for me, it all boiled down to what the market in my area would bear. For example, an original design lap quilt that "cost me" $450 at $10/hr, won't sell for that. But 3 x the cost of supplies might. Ask a close, personal non-quilting friend what they would pay for it. That will be a clue.

 

So, I don't generally make quilts to order. For a really good friend? Maybe.


Sharon

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Very well said Merry Jo, people are not educated about our Quilts.

They are all handcrafted and involve a lot of time, money, talents & energy to produce.

Quilts are true labors of love, therefore priceless.

Your quilt customers are so lucky to own one of your treasures my friend and for anybody who sell a handcrafted quilt, you are all generous souls.


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Corey Starkey

IQ & Bllissed Millennium

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Thanks for all your replies.  I'm not foolish enough to think that these people will ever actually order one but I did feel like I owed them an answer and didn't quite know where to start.  I do have a neighbor that said he would give me $500 plus they pay for the supplies which would not be a bad deal but they want a king size memory quilt and I can only quilt a queen size on my frame....that may be a good excuse for me to get a larger frame.  LOL

 

Thanks again.


David

 

 

 

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I made a queen size quilt and donated it to our church to be raffled off to help a family that had many bills for cancer treatments. I donated it because it was a high price ticket item. The quilt was sold for $57! I was so angry that it was sold for so little money and the person that bought it knew how much it should have cost. I will never donate a quilt again. There is to much work to making them and the cost to make them cost a lot too.

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Sheila S.

 

Your story is why I believe raffles need to set reserve/minimum prices for items.  The first time I donated some expensive items to my school's yearly raffle, I did not do that.  They sold for much less than they were truly worth.  I now stipulate with my donations that unless my item reaches the reserve price in the silent auction, I will keep the item and donate my reserve value.  It has worked out great, and the school now does it for most donated items.  There is no reason, when you are trying to raise funds for needed issues, that they sell for less than their face value.

 

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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I've donated to raffles and auctions both.  Every year my church and our quilters provide quilts to annual quilt auctions at two Bible Camps.  Some years they do fairly well, other years not so much.  We used to make one quilt each year to be auctioned but since they didn't seem to make more than around $250 to $300, we decided to make five for each camp in hopes that they would each bring around that amount - as a few years ago a quilt would be auctioned at around $1k.  I do have to mention that one quilt last year brought $4k for one quilt, and this year one was auctioned for $850 - but these are certainly the exception. 

 

I echo what the other members have said about not short-selling yourself when making quilts or quilting quilts for others.  I believe quilters should be targeting $25/hr (after expenses) - other professionals certainly earn more than that for their work.  This is just my opinion and I'm sticking to it.  I'm not in business because I wouldn't be able to make that wage.  One of my quilting friends who is an award winning quilter has stopped any custom work because she can't make what she needs to as a business professional.  She only does computer aided quilting now.  Sad to lose such talent to our area.


Norma H with Schultzi, my Blissed Millie - Circle Lord and Quiltazoid enhanced

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I only quilt for myself however I've been asked twice to make a quilt for others. 1st time I tripled the cost of all of material and thought NO way they would agree. It was for my sister in laws, father. Both my brother and sister in law agreed without hesitation. Both said they thought I would charge more considering how much time I've put into theirs. 2nd time was my hair dresser of 17 years. She asked me to do a tshirt quilt for daughter's graduation. I had never done one and since she knows EVERYONE in our community I was a lot intimidated. So I told her $25 for each shirt and my practice materials. Again to my shock she has agreed and has been collecting shirts for the last 3 years. For every sport or activity she orders an extra tshirt for this quilt. Every 6 weeks, at my appointment, she tells me how many she has and her excitement. So far asking fair price has not turned anyone away. I don't want to start a business. I like quilting on my own time. Plus no one can complain about a quilt given to them but paying for one I would have to listen to nit picking. I wouldn't take that very well and the customer would not be happy with me afterwards lol.


Wanda

Lake View,Iowa

Quilting with Patience (2004 Millennium) since 2013

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First time I made a commission I had a hard time deciding how much to charge...maybe it was a twin ish size..said I would try to make it for $400 or so but costs quickly added up ...ended up charging $500 and she was happy...But it was still too little ....

Same person asked me again and I made a total of five quilts for her ...price went up depending on size and design and the most recent one was $825...

I try to do a breakdown of fabric cost, which was mine...batting, thread, etc, longarm quilting , labour for cutting, piecing, etc...

Try to be fair...she knows the value and never complained...

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The first lady to come up to me about making her a quilt came back up to me Sunday at church.  She wanted to see pictures of some of my quilts I had made.  So I pulled out my phone and was showing her some.  She then asked if I had started on her quilt.  I said, "What quilt?  You haven't ordered one...you just asked me if I would make you one."  She then said can you have it made by October 25 which is when she wanted to give it to her daughter.  She then asked how much it would cost.  I said, "Well, what size?"  She said I don't know.  I said, "what pattern do you want to use?  Yep, you guessed it.....I DON'T KNOW.  So I said, "I can't give you a price without at least knowing those two things."

 

"Well, approximately how much do you thing it would cost?"  (Remember this is a very old lady)..  So I started telling her how much just materials I had in a lap quilt I was making....before I got through listing the cost of the fabric her response was, "Oh, I can't afford that.  Never mind."

 

I think she had thought I was going to give her one.  I had given a lady in my class a prayer quilt for her sister who was going through chemo and the class had seen it.  Now I have a LIST of people wanting to know when they would be getting their quilt.  I just tell them they are on the list.

 

David


David

 

 

 

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I've only made one quilt from start to finish for someone--a friend--and it worked out well.  She bought her own fabric and I charged her $20/hour for everything else, yes, even sewing on the binding.  Her queen size quilt ended up costing her $850 plus the cost of her batik fabrics.  She was happy, I was happy.


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Coyote Creek Quilting

APQS Authorized Sales-Service-Education

Millennium

406-930-0663

montanaclarks@gmail.com

www.tinteepeelogcabin.blogspot.com

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I have two thoughts on this.

 

First, you are worth your own time. I would not price anything, quilting or creating, for less than $20/hour, no matter what part of the country I live in. I am worth $20 per hour. I have taken more classes than I can count. I have spent money on supplies and tools that are not cheap. I have been trained and have the skill to do my job. Again, I am worth $20 per hour. 

 

Second, we are pricing ourselves out of business.....this is coming from the devil on my other shoulder. The cost of fabric, tools, knowledge, etc, costs a lot of money that most people, who do not understand, are not willing to pay. They do not look at us as HVAC installers, or plumbers, or mechanics, who they would pay a lot of money to for their service.

 

Maybe this is where we need to educate others. Take the time to tell them about our business and why it costs so much, but how much it is totally worth the money and effort. 

 

My angel on the other shoulder says $20 per hour.


Mary Beth 

Powered by 2009 Freedom

Future winner of the Millie Sweepstakes

http://marysnutshell.blogspot.com/




 

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I have a long list of what i TELL them.

 

Time which is money and gas to do the shopping, and Hope I  get the colors

they want and which is a highlight.  Then take it home, and they can wash dry,

and press it without creases, or pay me to do it  figure $15 perr hour, and soap

and water, wear and tear on the washer, dryer etc..

 

then time to figure out how many of which pieces to cut and then do it.

Time to sekect thread foir piecing and of course wear and tear on the Sewing machine.

Oh, Yes! don't forget the coswt of those pricing cutting blades, needles and thread.

 

By the time I'm  done (these are people I don't want to quilt for)  I'm up aeround 
$700.. for a twin, and that's not a wide twin.  Not many people are takers and those aren't

held off I just tell them I'm no longer ablebut they can go uo to Cape Cod and get some

real beauties for $1700, $1800. if on Sale!   ROFL    I 'm  so  bad!  ';O))

 

 

Sorry for typo's, I just can';/t correct them all

Edited by RitaR

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Decide what your time is worth to you.  How much do you want to make per hour?  Give an estimate of the total number of hours you think it will take you to make the quilt (add a 10% cushion).

 

I give a relatively high ball park estimate in terms of number of hours to piece the top.  If my estimate is too low.  I only charge the customer the number of hours I estimated and then I learn to do better estimates in the future.  If my estimate is high, I only charge the customer for the actual number of hours I spent on labor. 

 

I track my time very meticulously with a stopwatch app on my tablet.  There are several free apps you can use for this purpose.  I log the time onto the invoice each time I quit for the day. 

 

My customers are happy with this methodology and for those that feel it is too expensive (because the project is much more labor intensive than they imagined) I offer to "help" them make the quilt.  They can come to my house, use my tools and sewing machine, and I'm just around to answer questions.  I charge very little to just be there because I'm usually working on other projects at the same time.  They learn in the process and have really appreciated the experience.  A couple of my customers later returned to have me piece the whole quilt top, but now understand the amount of effort involved. 


Lora.

Lora in California -  Ultimate I with IntelliStitch and IntelliQuilter.  The Thimble Bee http://www.thimblebee.com

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Just my thoughts about making quilts for donation purposes.  (and I probably won't be very popular with my opinion -- just saying...)

 

You need to let go of the "value" of the item that you donate.  Once it is out of your hands, the value is established by whoever buys/wins it at whatever event you've donated it to.  As long as the item is bought/won by someone that will truly appreciate it, even if it doesn't bring what you know it's worth, you've been a blessing to someone else.  That in and of itself it a true reward.  For me it's a matter of heart, letting go, and letting God deal with the rest. 

 

I, like you, donated a large lap quilt to a church silent auction.  I had personally spent over $200 in materials on the quilt and IMHO it was a beauty.  When it sold for only $50, I was hurt and disappointed (and yes a little mad).  As I was walking away, I heard the woman that won talking to a friend of hers.  She was almost in tears.  She had recently lost everything in a house fire and this quilt was the first thing she could afford.  She was so grateful to have won the quilt.  I was ashamed of my initial resentment at the low winning bid.  God had a plan and I just needed to get over myself and let Him get on with it.   It just showed me that you never know how you can bless someone else when you take yourself out of the way and let God work.

 

Now, I make donation quilts and drop them off.  I don't want to put myself in the position of not being happy with the buy/win value of the quilt.  I drop off the quilt and let the chips fall where they may.  I feel good about being able to contribute something beautiful and pray that whoever ends up with it is blessed by it and loves it. 


Lora.

Lora in California -  Ultimate I with IntelliStitch and IntelliQuilter.  The Thimble Bee http://www.thimblebee.com

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I donated an artsy type quilt to my church for a silent auction it was 60 x 60 and

I had wanted to sell tickets but church didn't want to cross line,  that is it considered gambling

line.  You know how we are in the south.  Anyway, I put a minimum bid on it of $200.00.

Not even a bite.  Got the quilt back and I am happy to say that if it had gone for less I would

have felt worse.  Lots of wonderful comments about how talented I am and the beautiful work I do.

 

But no one was willing to put in even the minimum bid. 

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