If you’re someone who has ever sold custom quilts you know a lot of time and energy goes into selecting the perfect fabric and making the actual quilt.
If you’re someone who has ever purchased a handmade quilt - do you know the material costs involved in making that quilt? Or the number of hours that went into it?
I started my business selling handmade quilts and other home goods. I quickly realized a lot of people don’t know how much goes into making a quilt. When I sat down to calculate the costs - I ended up subtracting a couple hundred dollars off the price because I wasn’t confident that there would be people willing to pay for a quilt that expensive. Even that reduced price wasn’t a fast seller…
I fully understand how $500 could sound very high for a throw size quilt when you could pick one up from Target for $50. (No shade to Target - I love Target!) However, if you’re purchasing something handmade there’s obviously way more time and energy that goes into it and the person making those quilts deserves every dollar in order to keep their business going. Let’s walk through it together and maybe be a little more willing to pay for what we are getting.
A quick note: This is only meant to be a conversation starter. I am by no means the authority of quilt costs. You decide what you feel comfortable charging. My intention is only to explore the costs that go into making a handmade quilt so that people who are not quilters can see more clearly what the costs are.
I’ll be using the Playroom Quilt Pattern as an example since it is my best selling pattern. Baby and Throw size quilts are the two most popular sizes so those are the two I’ll walk through for pricing.
I am going to assume solid, quilters cotton so here is the cost for the materials to make just the quilt top:
Fabric A 1.25 yards = $12.50
Fabric B 1.75 yards = $17.50
TOTAL - $30
Fabric A 2.25 yards = $23
Fabric B 3.25 yards = $33
TOTAL - $55
Now there’s the backing for the quilt. I like to use “special” fabric for the backing of my quilts. Something like a canvas, a woven or even a soft double gauze would be nice. That can range in price so let’s go middle of the road on this price estimate:
1 ½ yards = $25
3 ½ yards = $55
To finish of the quilt your quilter will make a quilt sandwich with the quilt top, batting and backing. Of course there are a lot of options for batting as well but I am going to assume a simple cotton batting. After quilting they will bind the quilt either by hand or machine. Those costs are:
Binding ⅜ yard = $6
Binding ½ yard = $8
Additional Note: There is also the option to have the quilt done by a professional longarmer which could add anywhere from $100-$200 to the cost.
Ok so the quilt is done! Now let’s think about alllllll the time that went into making this beautiful, modern quilt shall we? I recently tracked all the hours spent on a few throw quilts and came up with a range of 20-24 hours. A baby quilt takes around 8-10 hours. Depending on the intricacy quilt pattern this can range greatly. Also the quilting design can cause the hours to vary depending on how complicated the design is. The time estimates below assume a 2” cross hatch quilting or a simple 1” horizontal quilt design.
8-10 hours = $120-$150
20-24 hours = $300-$360
I’m also assuming a $15/hour rate for their time. This is a personal preference, but I think $15/hour is more than fair for the time and physical effort that goes into making a quilt.
With all of that information it’s time to look at what the total cost should be for a custom quilt:
Baby Size Quilt:
Material Costs - $66
Labor - $130
Throw Size Quilt:
Material Costs - $145
Labor - $330
I hope this is helpful to see the cost that goes into making a custom quilt. The next time you commission one - think about these numbers. If you’re someone who makes custom quilts - do you need to raise your prices? I hope you’re charging what your work is worth!
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