Why do quilts cost so much? This is a question I hear frequently. The general public or non-crafters look to department or big box stores and see quilts sold for $25 -$150. When a quilter prices their handmade quilt for $200 - $1000, it's often met with shock and disbelief. How can that be? Is it overpriced? No. Too many times it's actually underpriced.
So let's break it down. Cost of materials, cost of services, and cost of workmanship. This is using materials and the pattern for "Baby Boutique" by Studio 8. FREE PATTERN: Baby Boutique – Ivory Spring (pictured below)
Free pattern (bonus!)
•5 years of fabric total, this includes the body of the quilt and the backing. At $12/yard........$60
•batting (the filling in the middle)........$10
•quilting and binding services...............$100
•And finally an hourly wage of $15/hr for highly qualified and expert craftsmanship x 5 hrs (if they are very efficient!).....$75
For this is a small, baby quilt - only 35"x44", the baseline cost is $245. If you are looking for a queen size quilt, then the total is quadrupled at least (approx $1000). This is just an example, there are many variables including skillmanship.
I've used costs at the lower range. Fabric can cost as much as $18/yard. Batting comes in cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, poly. Longarmers can charge anywhere from 1-3 cents per square inch. As for hourly wage, I would argue that an expert artist should garner 3-4 times as much.
So when you receive or give a gift of craftmanship, please acknowledge and appreciate the value!
Are your borders wavy or ruffled? Are they tucked at the corners? Often, quilters sew long unmeasured border strips onto the center until the end and cut off the excess. Others use the measurements that the pattern gives. Both methods can leave you with borders that are too long or too short. The result is loose wavy edges or a puckered center. As a longarm quilter, this can be difficult to work with. It's not always possible to quilt out the excess, pleats are sometimes necessary.
So how do you get nice, flat borders? Just a few, super-simple steps!
1. Press the center.
2. Measure through the center of the quilt, edge to edge. Cut your fabric to that measurement x2 strips.
3. Attach strips with pins, sew those borders onto your center, press the seams.
4. Measure again through the center in the other direction, including your newly added borders. Cut your fabric to that measurement x2.
5. Attach strips with pins. Sew those borders on and press the seams.
6. Continue with this sequence until you've added all your borders.
*A note about a pattern's border measurements: these are for quilts that are exactly correct. You may start with them, but be prepared to adjust accordingly. They do not allow for any minute differences in technique in sewing, seam allowances, feed dogs, cutting, etc. These tiny differences can add up over the course of an entire quilt.
Today I'd like to talk about the dreaded Quilt Police. We've all met one. The conversation goes a little like this...
"Oh no, you can't use that fabric - you have to use only quilt shop cottons. Or, you have to use only cotton thread. Or, you can't use that pattern or those colors together." The list goes on.
Don't, I repeat Don't listen to them! There are no "nevers" or "always" in art. Of course there are those rules that you should follow (1/4" seams, etc). If you decide to row against the tide or choose tools, fabrics, or methods that are different from the customary, then you must be prepared to adjust accordingly. But be wary of those individuals who believe that their opinions are set rules.
You know what you like. You know what makes you happy. Good education and guidance is invaluable. Seek it out and use that knowledge, on your terms.
I quilt because it makes me happy. If you are not finding joy or having fun, then you are doing it wrong.
ENJOY! And Quilt Creatively!