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How do you charge for your quilts?

blingy | Posted in Quilting and Home Decor on

At some point I think most quilters are asked to make a quilt for someone.  My question is how do you come up with a price?  Do you use the better fabric from a quilt store or do you use the questionable stuff from Jo-Ann?  Do you charge by the inch or by the total amount you have in the quilt?  I have made a quilt for everyone in my family for Christmas (these are gifts) but should someone want to have me make one like those, what do I say?  Each of these quilts cost about $300, not to mention my time, thread and wear and tear on my machine.  How do you price quilts for sale?




  1. gailete | | #1

    I have made only a few quilts for pay and didn't negotiate ahead of time. One was a baby quilt where I was handed two sets of uncoordinated fabrics with an idea they got from the cutting girl at Walmart where they bought the fabric. After ascertaining that I could actually make it up how I felt like, I made a charming quilt including adding fabric, backing, thread etc. What a low blow when my sister handed me a check for $65! I could tell she thought she was paying me a huge amount!!! Cross her off my list and I decided then I would never sew for her again as it was obvious she hasn't truly appreciated anything I had ever made her (I had been suspicious of this fact prior to this, this quilt just confirmed it). My mistake was in not being clear up front about the cost and my expectation and hers.

    A year or so later, my BIL came to me and asked if I would make a quilt for his grandson and handed me $200 and told me to tell him if I needed more before I was finished. I made a nice rail fence twin quilt and it was fun to use all new coordinating fabrics that I picked out (ended up with lots of scraps and chunks of fabric leftover which he didn't want). When I was done, I shipped the quilt out to his grandson for Christmas. He was thrilled and paid me the another $100 when I saw him again. I know he was short money at that point in time and he felt bad that he didn't have more to give me as he knew quilts cost that and more. I enjoyed myself and liked sewing for someone who understand the time involved, etc. in a project like this. Wasn't his fault his truck (he is a trucker) broke down and needed expensive repairs at Christmas! Anyhow this same BIL, I am working on a quilt for him out of scraps of 40 years of sewing (plus scraps from the quilt he paid for). I know he will appreciate this gift.

    I realize this doesn't answer your question, but what I'm trying to say is I would NEVER again sew anything for someone who doesn't understand the time, fabric, wear on the machine, etc. no matter how much they paid. Anyone who wants to hand you $65 for 65 hours of labor can go jump in the lake. If they ask you to make them a quilt, ASK THEM how much they are willing to pay. This will give you a good idea if they are in the ballpark of what a quilt is worth. If you want to make quilts for charity, there are plenty around, but if you want to sew for pay, you need enough to cover the fabric, thread, wear on machine and equipment, etc. plus a fair amount for your time. Also be clear as to who gets the leftover bits of fabric. On the $300 quilt, the store lady had miscut a piece, plus some plans got changed midstream so I had several yards of leftovers.

    You also have to take into consideration how complicated the quilt is. Is it a simple 9 patch or is it going to be hand appliqued Baltimore Album quilt. Are you going to have to work with colors you hate and depress you or will it be a color family you can get behind. How much leeway will you have in designing the quilt or will they be very specific about what they want. Sewing is a hobby and it sounds like you enjoy quilting, don't turn it into a grudge job that isn't paid enough and so you feel put upon to do it. Just because they are family doesn't mean you should give your work away to them if they ask for a quilt. Family should pay just as much as someone you don't know. All ideas here are for you to contemplate when thinking about what to charge and pitfalls you may find.

    1. User avater
      blingy | | #2

      Gail, that is a good point that I probably have never thought of!  Who gets to keep the leftover fabric!  And it's another good point to ask people how much they are willing to spend UP FRONT.  That would help guide me as to using the good fabric or the cheaper stuff.  Thanks for the input!



      1. gailete | | #3

        You are more than welcome. The easy part to charging for a quilt is the essentials (fabric, etc.), it is the other things that you have to figure and they don't always appear at first thought, which is why I thought telling you of my experiences might help.

  2. rodezzy | | #4

    A good formula is 2.5 times the cost, hours and wear and time put into the quilt.

    Example:  $300 x 2 = 600 plus $150 for everything else.

    If it was especially labor intensive.... estimate your time per hour and keep track of the time spent. Laborers where I work get around $25.00 per hour.  You are worth that on a labor intensive quilt.  Hand work I would say $40.00 per hour. 

    There are sites selling quilts that you can look at and get a feel for what is being charged.

    A simple four patch baby quilt sells on line for $65.00 and up.  Depending on the price of fabric.  Check it out.  And I don't mean Ebay.  Type in "baby quilts" and skip all the bargin sites and check out sites from individuals selling them and so on.  You can also check out "quilt designer" sites.  They charge into the thousands.  Good luck. 

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