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Thread: Mimimum investment to start quilting ?

  1. #1
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    Mimimum investment to start quilting ?

    If someone had absolutely nothing in the way of sewing supplies - no machine, no books, no fabric, no thread, no needles, no cutting equipment (no sicossors), nothing related to sewing - and wanted to make a lap size quilt (approximately 45 x 60) - approximately what would it cost?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Diannia's Avatar
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    Great question! That depends on a lot of factors...does the person have access to borrow a sewing machine, are they going to purchase it new or perhaps a yard sale or 2nd hand shop? Do they have a quilting friend that could loan them a cutting mat and rotary cutter or are they close to a Joann's and can use their coupons to get a discount on these items? Are they going to purchase the fabric at a quilt shop or a discount shop (like Joann's) or online? It could run from under $100 to $500...or more. Too many factors to say exactly how much. I know my sewing machine was used but still cost me $1200 BUT it has lasted for 8 years and will go for many more. A lot of my accessories I've gotten at yard sales, estate sales and Joann's (using coupons) BUT I've had 8 years to accumulate them. Fabric can be as little as $4 a yard or over $12 a yard...it depends on where it's purchased and the quality. I know many people use old cotton clothing from 2nd hand stores for fabric too.
    I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!

  3. #3
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    I just started doing this about 2 years ago, and I was taking a class that was making a quilt about that size. Let me try to remember.

    I'll talk about the machine at the end of this post.

    Cutting mat, rotary cutter, and ruler I bought in a kit by Fiskars. That runs about $54.99 at JoAnn's - now half off. I also used a half off coupon when I bought it, so let's say $30 for that.

    Scissors probably run about $8.

    Books would depend, but I'd say $0 because most of that can be found online. Maybe $10 for a Craftsy pattern. I've also found craft books at Goodwill for super cheap, about $.50

    Fabric and batting - for that size quilt, at a place like JoAnn's you are probably looking at $150+. At a quilt store, at least $200. And I'm really bad at estimating costs for fabric (ask me how I know...) so that's probably super conservative.

    Thread - about $8.

    Needles - about $5.

    As for the machine - it varies greatly. I realized that the new machines I could afford would not likely last long and wouldn't be worth the investment, and the ones that would last would have run me probably $500 +. So I ended up going the vintage machine route. I happened to be very lucky and had my Grandmother's FW sitting in the closet. I got that all tuned up and ready to go (last servicing/use had been in the 1970's!) for $90. I eventually picked a nice 70's Kenmore that does zigzag and other stiches for $50 (and that came with a nice sewing basket!). So....for a machine you can spend just about $0 or thousands of dollars depending. For my purposes, I'm going to say $100 for a machine.

    So, that's $311. And that's a very conservative estimate. I'd say you could easily be looking at $500. It's a very costly hobby! And that doesn't factor in the fabric addiction that will develop and the money sink that becomes!
    My Machines: Singer Featherweight 221 (c. 1940), Kenmore 158.1430, c. 1926 Free, Singer 66-8 Redeye 1921
    Coveted: Singer Rocketeer, Elna Supermatic (green)

  4. #4
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    I think if you went with low cost clearance fabric or even thrift store men's shirts, scissors, needle, thread and then batting, you could do it for less than $100 actually. But it would all be hand sewn/quilted and take quite a bit of time. The most expensive part could actually be the batting. I am specifically thinking of the hexagon GFG quilts. You can print free paper ones, but do have to cut them out.

    Quilting used to be much less expensive until we decided we needed all the tools, such as the rotary cutter, mat, rulers, etc. Leftover dress fabric was used along with feedsacks.

    If you go buy a sewing machine, rotary cutter, mat, ruler, thread, needles, batting, fabric, etc, I would agree it could easily run $500 or more.

  5. #5
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Quilting isn't an inexpensive hobby but then so many hobbies require a larger investment. You really don't need everything that is listed. If she is a friend, I would let her borrow the basics. I have extra rulers, rotary cutter and an older mat.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  6. #6
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    Minus the sewing machine I probably spent $150 getting started.

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    Then again, you can do it with just scissors, ($5), needle and thread (another $5); used Goodwill-type fabric or old clothing of 100% cotton ($3-4); and a cheap batting (on sale, small, $8-10) for a total of $20-30; use an old milk carton for a template (cut with your $5 scissors); measure with a household ruler or a school ruler you swipe from one of the kids....it is possible to make a nicely done four-patch for next to nothing unless you really want to make the investment everyone has mentioned. Just sayin'.....
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!
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  8. #8
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdegenhart View Post
    Minus the sewing machine I probably spent $150 getting started.
    When I started (circa 1970) that $150 covered the sewing machine, too. LOL
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  9. #9
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Plus the cost of a beginning quilting class.
    Sandygirl

    Janome 9900 / Janome 9700 / Janome 3160 QVC/ Janome 1100D serger, Juki 2020 Mini
    Singer Centennial model (inherited from my late, fav aunt!)

  10. #10
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    My sister used to chide me about the amount of money I spent on quilting stuff-I reminded her that I didn't smoke (she did) and that I had half a closet of clothing, most of which I had made (she had two closets full). Quilting brings me happiness so I spend my portion of money there. But I might add that few hobbies are cost free and probably not cost effective. I think its prudent to really think about how many rulers and gadgets you need or want to be responsible for. Lots to think about but If you find happiness in learning to quilt, welcome to our society of contented people.

  11. #11
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    If you use a rotary cutter please buy a cut resistant glove and wear it every time you cut with a rotary cutter.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  12. #12
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Starter machine 100+
    Ruler/mat- 50
    Fabric for first quilt-100-150 depending on price
    Dong hesitate to check ebay for scissors and rotary cutters, sometimes they are cheaper. I started with a low end brother and they can run from basic 75 to about 200. If you want something you can grow into a PC420 will run 400 so it is all what you are willing to invest
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

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    Wow, I didn't realize people were paying so much for quilting supplies. I'm an estate sale junkie - realizing also that I live in a large urban area where there are LOTS of estate sales every weekend - and I've picked up almost all my quilting supplies and fabric stash at estate sales, including my sewing machine, at incredible prices. At one estate sale alone, I acquired a huge library of books, patterns, magazines and newsletters for $40 - the woman had over 80 quilting books.

  14. #14
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momto5 View Post
    Then again, you can do it with just scissors, ($5), needle and thread (another $5); used Goodwill-type fabric or old clothing of 100% cotton ($3-4); and a cheap batting (on sale, small, $8-10) for a total of $20-30; use an old milk carton for a template (cut with your $5 scissors); measure with a household ruler or a school ruler you swipe from one of the kids....it is possible to make a nicely done four-patch for next to nothing unless you really want to make the investment everyone has mentioned. Just sayin'.....
    I love it! So glad you said it!

  15. #15
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Here's the thing.

    Most people don't start with "nothing" and decide one day, "I'm going to make a quilt". If someone decides they are going to "quilt", first they have already usually decided they are going to learn to "sew". If they really want to sew and don't have the supplies, they can usually spread the word among their friends, aunts, moms, mom's friends, etc. and "bam", they'd have the basic supplies, assuming they aren't picky.

    You all really CAN make nice things from cheap thread, cheap fabric, etc. I've been working at a whole series of quilts made completely from "upcycled" fabrics. You can do it and it cuts those costs down.

    With a coupon, the batting from Hobby Lobby would cost about $20, the fabric is "your choice"--from $0 (recycle what you already have) to $300-400. The thread, about $5 from Walmart for a rather large spool of Coats and Clark all cotton(if you must) for about $5, I think it was. I did this last fall, when I was in the states for my daughter's wedding and needed to buy thread. a rotary cutter, etc. in order to finish a quilt.

    I've made these quilts from 100% upcycled fabrics. The thread (a couple of dollars for the piecing thread--the quilting thread was a bit more expensive but I don't buy it just for a certain quilt--I have big spools of it) and poly batting (about $5 per quilt) were new, obviously.
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    and I've got a couple of tops that I've made from things purchased (cheaply) from local second-hand shops:

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  16. #16
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    I don't believe quilting is expensive at all.

    It's one of the cheapest and most practical hobbies one can have.

    Initially, the biggest expense would probably be a sewing machine but if you're handy you can fix up a used one fairly cheap

    Needles, pins, thread and such are cheap. I buy scissors from the dollar store.

    You can make your own templates out of old cereal or beer boxes

    Batting can be purchased on sale

    As a previous poster mentioned, upcycling clothes can work beatifully for piecing and if you use thrift store sheets backing can be really cheap.

    I started with Dresden Plate pillows

    I was 18 when I made my first quilt

    Denim blocks with red sahing and dark blue calico cornerstones. Batting and backing were two old blankets. I tied it with some yarn I had laying around.

    I used my mom's Morse Fotomatic and all her stuff. She hated to sew-just did mending so she didn't mind

    The quilt wasn't a thing of beauty but it was good enough for picnics at the beach. I used nothing but old clothes to make it

    It's a cheap hobby, IMO

    It keeps me out of the store because I'd rather be sewing so I save money that way

  17. #17
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    Recently I made a purchase at JoAnn's without having the rest of the quilt fabric with me. When I got home, it was perfect with the others so asked my daughter (who lives near the store)to pick up an additional 2 yards for me for the quilt for her son. "Mom, are you used to paying that much for fabric?!" She grew up in 4-H and knows what fabric cost in those days of yore so it came as quite a shock to her what has happened to fabric prices.

    If you are working on a lap size quilt, shop the remnant bins for small cuts. Good buys there, too. That's how my stash got started!

  18. #18
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    I was blessed to have a sister that quilted for many years. She made me a care package of supplies due to fact she had collected so much over the years. She had duplicates and triplicates of everything I needed to get started. She hit her stash and sent me a box of fabric. I sewed so I had a machine. She even gave me books and magazines to look through. Then I hit utube and practiced and less than three years later I have a great quilting room and many quilts constructed. It is a wonderful hobby that grows with you. Reading the post and actually thinking what it would have cost me had I not had my sister sharing with me makes me very thankful.

  19. #19
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Like most hobbies or whatever it can be as much as you want to spend.
    I use to sew clothes for myself and three kids so I already had somethings and gradually bought other things I wanted and thought would get me better results. In fact I still buy what I think will get me better results. I replace worn out supplies as often as I think they need to be replaced.
    The only hobby I have now is quilt making and I make 10 -18 per year. I bought my fabrics at scattered times. Again fabrics can cost whatever one wants to spend.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  20. #20
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    justflyingin - those are beautiful quilts!

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    I think a problem a lot of us run into (myself I know) is we are collectors. I know I have probably five pairs of scissors, stacks of patterns, and just in general to much because I am an estate sale junkie and I can't say no to a sale. So even though the first quilt I ever made probably cost about fifty to sixty dollars now I have a collection of quilting/sewing accessories. Lol!

  22. #22
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    justflyingin - those are beautiful quilts!
    Thanks for the kind words.

    I do tend to get frustrated with people when they say "how expensive" our hobby is. What hobby isn't expensive?

    Golfing? Eating out? Scrapbooking? Boating? Skiing? Cross stitching? Painting? hmmm

  23. #23
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Originally quilting was done by hand piecing and hand quilting old clothes. So, old clothes, needles, thread, scissors, maybe a sheet for the back or some more old clothes, and some sort of batting... (if any).... $30?

    I have purchased some wonderful vintage Singer machines for $20- $25 each, some even came in cabinets. It doesn't have to be expensive.

    That being said, I think most people come to quilting with some sort of sewing knowledge/background. So they would already have a machine and supplies to get started.
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  24. #24
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    I am thinking that - even way back when - there were two main types of quilts -

    "fancy/heirloom/company best/special" type quilts that the makers purchased new materials for - and then the ones made from "whatever" that were made primarily for warmth.

    Even the ones made from "whatever" seemed to fall into two categories - some appeared to have had planned layouts - and others were "just put together".

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    If someone had absolutely nothing in the way of sewing supplies - no machine, no books, no fabric, no thread, no needles, no cutting equipment (no sicossors), nothing related to sewing - and wanted to make a lap size quilt (approximately 45 x 60) - approximately what would it cost?
    I see where others have come up with some good estimates, but I do believe quilting and especially sewing in general is such a valuable life skill and/or hobby. People find ways to save all the time if they really want to, but whatever you put out in money will be returned to you tenfold in a fulfilling life skill.

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