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Thread: Pricing Quilts

  1. #1
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    Pricing Quilts

    I have decided that pricing a quilt would be somewhat like pricing a diamond.

    With diamonds, it's color, clarity, carat size, and cut.

    With quilts, it's size, materials, difficulty, and workmanship.

    So - when someone asks - what is a quilt worth? one needs to know more than just the size of it.

    I suppose one can also add 'who made it' to the possible value of a quilt.

  2. #2
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    And add what the buyer has to spend.

    Auctions are a decent place to get some idea of what sells. A GOOD auction, that is, not the old junk auction down on the corner.
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  3. #3
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    If made and given as a gift, you can add the Mastercard catch phrase: “Priceless.”

  4. #4
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    It's been a few months so I'll post this again for this topic. You can tell by the "price of fabric" section that it is already outdated, but the end still justifies the means!

    Jan in VA

    What It Really Costs To Make a Quilt

    QUEEN SIZED, MACHINE PIECED, HAND QUILTED

    MATERIALS:

    Fabric 12-16 yards @ $9per yd. $108 - $144
    Batting $25 - $40
    Thread $8 - $16

    Total $ invested $141 - $200


    LABOR HOURS:

    Piecing 20 to 60 hours
    “Setting” (designing your quilt) 10 to 20 hours
    Quilting 100 to 750 hours

    Total hours invested 130 to 810 hours


    TOTAL COST

    Paying $1 per hour (Would you do this type of work for $1 an hour?!)

    Materials $141 - $200
    Labor $130 - $810
    Total $271 - $1070


    Paying minimum wage $7.25 (by law in 6/2009)

    Materials $141 - $200
    Labor (130-810hrs) $942.50 - $5872.25
    Total $1083.50 - $6072.25


    Paying skilled labor wage $20 per hour (Don't you consider yourself trained and skilled in this craft?)

    Materials $141 - $200
    Labor (130-810hrs) $2600 - $16,200
    Total $2741 - $16,400




    (Found on the Internet 1995; unknown author)
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
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  5. #5
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    thank you, I am so tired of hearing "3 times the cost of the materials." No one EVER suggests to a painter that he sell his painting for 3 times the cost of materials, or a woodworker, stained glass artist, or whatever.
    If I get my materials on sale, and then cut them into tiny pieces and piece an intricate design, 3 times does not even come near what I am going to charge. Now if you want a quilt with just 12" squares, OK. Maybe.

  6. #6
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    I'm with you, ptquilts. For quilts, a much more accurate guideline is to price by the square foot based on the quiltmaker's level of accomplishment and the complexity of the design.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  7. #7
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    Wearing my killjoy hat here...

    A quilt is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

    (That's assuming you are referring to its cash value. My parents would definitely tell you the quilt I made for their fiftieth anniversary is priceless - but I doubt they would have paid me $20 per hour for the 200+ hours of hand quilting I put into it!)

    Alison-the-Reluctant-Realist

  8. #8
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    One of my favorite stories is about my accountant who asked for a double wedding ring quilt. Now, this guy charges me a BUNCH of money for a twenty-minute job on my books every now and then: he very quickly changed his mind about wanting it when I told him what I would charge for a King-sized DWR...$1200...wanted to know if that wasn't a "little pricy"? and when I told him what the cost of just the fabric and batting was, he really had a fit. I more or less told him to take it or leave it...I couldn't make a profit doing it for any less...WHAT ARE THESE FOLKS THINKING??? And no, I didn't make it for him! He was too cheap to pay an honest price for it...
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!
    Momto5

  9. #9
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    See!! He, the trained, experienced accountant, didn't consider YOU 'skilled' or trained. It annoys the socks off me and that's why I regularly show the "What a Quilt Really Costs" article to as many people as I can.
    Send him a copy!!

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
    Living in the foothills
    peacefully colors my world.
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  10. #10
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    We seem to be talking about multiple things here...price, cost, value and worth can, and often do, have very different meanings, not to mention interpretations. Interesting topic, bearisgray.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  11. #11
    Senior Member stillclock's Avatar
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    textile work has long been a radically underpaid trade, in large part because it is traditionally women's work.

    the whole horrible concept of piece work - that no matter the labour involved, the finished product is worth x - has been a massive issue in women's labour. we still use piece work concepts in textiles. quilts are one example. beading - especially bridal beading - is another.

    but. the market is the dictator, and the ultimate answer has already been given. it's worth what someone will pay.

    i always chuckle when people suggest i make quilts for money. at the rate i quilt they'd be worth a college fund or two by the time i delivered them. another time i made a twirly skirt for my girl out of quilt fabrics and someone suggested i sell those. i saw her gulp when i told her there was $45 worth of fabric alone in the skirt, nevermind the labour and potential cost of distribution etc. boo-tique! snork!

    ifi make a quilt for you it's because i love you more than words. the chances are i might ask you to help pay for the materials anyway, unless otherwise stated

    aileen

  12. #12
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    I think the more experienced (and aware) we become, the more we value what we make - and also know how little most of the rest of the world values (and is willing to pay for) what we make.

  13. #13
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by momto5 View Post
    One of my favorite stories is about my accountant who asked for a double wedding ring quilt. Now, this guy charges me a BUNCH of money for a twenty-minute job on my books every now and then: he very quickly changed his mind about wanting it when I told him what I would charge for a King-sized DWR...$1200...wanted to know if that wasn't a "little pricy"? and when I told him what the cost of just the fabric and batting was, he really had a fit. I more or less told him to take it or leave it...I couldn't make a profit doing it for any less...WHAT ARE THESE FOLKS THINKING??? And no, I didn't make it for him! He was too cheap to pay an honest price for it...
    Ditto - I sold an antique quilt once to a psychiatrist - he thought it was a bit high in price. I bit my tongue to refrain from commenting on how much HIS services cost!!
    And yet I have been at craft fairs and someone who doesn't look like they have two nickels to rub together, will buy a quilt and not quibble about price.

  14. #14
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    Another thing to consider is location, what part of the country you live in.
    http://www.oregonquilting.net
    I choose to give my life away for things that last forever

  15. #15
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    I quilt because I love it. I quilt for others cheap because I like quilting. I can't afford to buy as many quilt tops as I want and I don't need a closet full of home made quilts that I can't use. So my "perfect" solution is quilt for others. Why would I charge $20/hour to do something that I want to be doing? something that brings me joy and peace and pride? If I didn't have someone else's top to do, I would be bored, and/or spending money on something else.
    You can have any design you want. As long as it's loops!

  16. #16
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AshleyR View Post
    I quilt because I love it. I quilt for others cheap because I like quilting. I can't afford to buy as many quilt tops as I want and I don't need a closet full of home made quilts that I can't use. So my "perfect" solution is quilt for others. Why would I charge $20/hour to do something that I want to be doing? something that brings me joy and peace and pride? If I didn't have someone else's top to do, I would be bored, and/or spending money on something else.
    I quilt for others because I love to quilt, and I charge enough to pay for my next project with the hopes to make some fun money.

    I was at a quilt store the other day when a young man came in wanting to know if he could get a quilt made for his bride - they were getting married in about a month. I was standing there w/ the owner and he got a lesson in how long it takes to complete a quilt. I had a sample of a block - intricate block that takes about 45 min to complete.

    I was able to break down the cost and time, he understood more. Ironically, the $1000 - $1200 wasn't a problem. I wish I could have done it for him. I have 3 projects in front of when I could start his and that means I'm booked til next summer before I could even get to him.

    Told him that his idea would make a great 1st year anniversary present!
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    We seem to be talking about multiple things here...price, cost, value and worth can, and often do, have very different meanings, not to mention interpretations. Interesting topic, bearisgray.
    Yes, this is an interesting but confusing topic because of price, cost, value, worth, as well as hobby, business, vintage finds, etc.

    I make quilts because I enjoy doing it. The cutting, piecing and quilting makes me happy. I am a bit of a perfectionist and relish the challenge. I buy quality material, but don’t intend to sell anything, so I never considered the monetary value of a gifted quilt.

    I’ve been crazy about jigsaw puzzles since I was a kid, and have shelves stacked with puzzle boxes, some quite expensive because they're "collectible." I can pull one out, complete it, undo it, return it to the box, and do it again later. I can’t do that with the quilts. I keep the puzzles and give away the quilts. I consider both a relaxing hobby.

    When you sell your quilts is it considered “egg money” or is it taxable income or barter? That would surely make a difference, no? Say it’s etsy or ebay sales that are taxable (don’t know if they are) can you deduct your costs and maybe the price of a new machine? Hmmm.

  18. #18
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Yes, MattieMae, if you sell a quilt it is considered income. You can deduct the cost of the materials used and that's pretty much it unless you are a business (with a license).

    I was asked by someone if I would sell the wolf quilt I have as my avatar - it is 41" in diameter - I told them sure, for $10,000. I wasn't interested in selling it as it was a gift for my daughter, I traveled across the country from Washington to Florida, up to Ohio and back to Washington collecting material for it, and have around 250 hours in the creation and quilting of the quilt. And I found out that if I sold it, the lady who designed the wolf pattern expected me to pay her 10% of what I sold it for!!! Be aware that many quilt pattern designers will either not allow you to sell a quilt made with their pattern or expect you to pay them a kick back for your creation using their pattern. If you are interested in making quilts to sell, be safe and use historical patterns that are free of copywrites or design your own pattern completely.

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    Thanks for that information Farm Quilter. I think I'll keep it my hobby. Great blog and quilts.

  20. #20
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farm Quilter View Post
    Be aware that many quilt pattern designers will either not allow you to sell a quilt made with their pattern or expect you to pay them a kick back for your creation using their pattern. If you are interested in making quilts to sell, be safe and use historical patterns that are free of copywrites or design your own pattern completely.
    This is just not true and there are court cases that prove it. It's a frequent topic of discussion here as a search will show.

    Unless you actually signed a license agreement when you bought the pattern, the designer has no say in what you do with works made from it as long as you do not claim it as your own original design. She can neither forbid you to sell it nor charge you a pecentage.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  21. #21
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptquilts View Post
    thank you, I am so tired of hearing "3 times the cost of the materials." No one EVER suggests to a painter that he sell his painting for 3 times the cost of materials, or a woodworker, stained glass artist, or whatever.
    If I get my materials on sale, and then cut them into tiny pieces and piece an intricate design, 3 times does not even come near what I am going to charge. Now if you want a quilt with just 12" squares, OK. Maybe.
    Same goes for knitting (& crochet), I can buy a big skein of Red Heart Yarn for well under $5. There is nothing I know of that I would use all that yarn for and then sell it for $15. I'd give it away------but sell it? NOT HAPPENIN'
    Bad Spellers of the World
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  22. #22
    Super Member Farm Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    This is just not true and there are court cases that prove it. It's a frequent topic of discussion here as a search will show.

    Unless you actually signed a license agreement when you bought the pattern, the designer has no say in what you do with works made from it as long as you do not claim it as your own original design. She can neither forbid you to sell it nor charge you a pecentage.
    Thanks, Ghostrider! I talked to a shop that is the outlet for this particular designer and that's what she told me - 10% of the sales price to the designer of the pattern. I paid my money for the pattern and I think that's all the pattern designer deserves. Boggles my mind to think of how much control this particular designer wants with something I created. I know designers work hard to create their patterns, but they get paid for that work with the sale of the pattern and that should be the end of it!!! I really appreciate you clearing up this matter!!!

  23. #23
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptquilts View Post
    thank you, I am so tired of hearing "3 times the cost of the materials." No one EVER suggests to a painter that he sell his painting for 3 times the cost of materials, or a woodworker, stained glass artist, or whatever.
    If I get my materials on sale, and then cut them into tiny pieces and piece an intricate design, 3 times does not even come near what I am going to charge. Now if you want a quilt with just 12" squares, OK. Maybe.
    I agree -3 times the materials may have worked for construction a long time ago-but quilts.The skill of the quilt piecer/quilter,etc is a factor.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

  24. #24
    Super Member Boston1954's Avatar
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    Paying skilled labor wage $20 per hour (Don't you consider yourself trained and skilled in this craft?)

    Materials $141 - $200
    Labor (130-810hrs) $2600 - $16,200
    Total $2741 - $16,400


    I think I would ad in electricity for the sewing machine and light to work by, and gasoline to get to the store to buy the materials. If someone were doing this as a true business, they factor in everything.

    That was VERY interesting, by the way.
    Life is not a movie. No one is going to yell "CUT" when you make a mistake. - Anne L. Fulton

    I am from the South....39 miles south of Boston.

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