How much does that quilt really cost?
There is a graphic that makes a semi-regular appearance on social media that I both agree with and disagree with. It’s this one…This is listing the costs of fabric and accounting for time to make the quilt, and then finish the quilt. The itemised list is good and does show the costs quite well. However it needs to be noted that these costs are not in Australia dollars, nor are they reasonable. This graphic estimates the quilt to have costed $888.26 to make.
… Now let’s consider an Australian version of this graphic.
Quality fabric in Australia is not found at $11/m, nor is quality wadding found for a similar price. Professional or not, the minimum wage is higher than $10/hour. A quick google search tells me that the minimum wage is $17.70 per hour. Without going into what variances there are let’s make the assumption that a person who is making a quilt is actually a career person and earning the money to buy the necessary items to make the quilt.
I still think this is a conservative estimate, as quite a lot of fabric in Australia costs more than $20/m and I have given a low estimate for the wide backing fabric at $22/m. Yes, you can buy normal width fabric and piece it for backing, this doesn’t necessarily reduce any cost and certainly adds time, but that’s another discussion.
A quick estimate of the area of a quilt 65″ square gives 2.7square metres, I have upped the fabric required to 3m required to allow for piecing. The actual costs would be higher again due to the variety of fabric purchased and the pattern used. Remember, I’m doing an estimation of costs, this is less than the 5m given in the original.
I have used the same hours as given in the original to cost for labour hours, and depending on the block this may actually be a low estimate of time.
As a long arm quilter I have added my costs as they would be for anyone at the time of publishing this post. This alters from the original but I believe it is comparable, the quilting costs are almost double what is given but I have not included the labour time for quilting. The binding cost is what I would charge and I would not take 10 hours, even for hand stitching. The cost shown is for machine finishing the binding.
My estimate for the same size quilt in Australia is a conservative $1298.00, yes almost $1300.00. For a well made, well finished item that will last for many years.
What’s my point?
My aim is to share that a quilt gift is a huge investment of time and money, heart and soul. If you are so fortunate to receive a quilt as a gift, please consider all the time and effort that has gone into the making of this item.
I see so many times in craft groups online where a handcrafted item has been given as a gift and disregarded, not used, given away, used in the dog’s bed (oh yes! so many times), treated as a ‘cheap’ gift, instead of valuing the gift for what it is.
What am I really saying?
I’m not saying the quilt maker wants more or less gratitude due to the investment they have made into a gift for a recipient. The gift has been made with love and much thought.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t give quilts as gifts. (ooh, double negative, sorry!)
I am saying that quilts are a valuable gift.
I am saying if you want to buy a quilt, from a quilt maker, a quality product that will last years, it won’t be the same cost as buying a blanket from a variety store.
I am saying if you are a maker and reading this post, please, please, value your skills and time appropriately. If you don’t then others won’t realise the true cost of such a unique item.
I am saying if you receive a quilt- use it, love it. Ultimately it’s fabric and can be washed. The giver wants you to use it and get the same enjoyment as they had in the making.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you agree?