Why Are Quilts So Expensive?

I remember when I started quilting I often wondered why I would see these $300,$500 even $1,000 dollar quilts for sale on ebay or etsy. How could something cost so much? I found out real quick why they were priced high.
Fabric for one thing! All fabric is NOT created equal. Don’t get me wrong ill buy the occasional walmart fabric here and there but I refuse to use it in any quilt that ill be selling.

The first time I went to the Quilt Cottage I was amazed by all the beautiful fabric(if you live or go to Corpus Christi, Texas I suggest this quilt shop, it smells like home and the fabric is awesome and so is the rewards program!). Then I started touching the fabric and well let me tell you it was like heaven. Just the softest fabric ive felt in my life…then i looked at the price..$10.00 A YARD!! Precuts were even more expensive, charm packs arn’t so bad its the layer cakes and fat quarter stacks that really surprised me.

I went ahead and bought my first layer cake and some fat quarters they had on sale. Since then I have never turned back, of course now I check online first as you can get that $10 a yard fabric for $5 a yard online. Of course when I make my monthly trip to CC I make sure to go and support the brick and mortar store because hey those stores are starting to be a dying breed!! (always support your local store!)

Just trust me on this ok? Go to Hobby Lobby, Joann’s, or Walmart and touch their fabric then go to a local quilt shop and feel theirs…you will notice a difference. Its rough and hard but the good stuff is soft and wonderful!

Now lets talk about thread..thread you ask? Well when you make these beautiful quilts you want something that will hold up for years don’t you? So far i’ve found that Aurifil and Connecting Threads has been the winner in my house. Aurifil is pricey but sooooo worth it trust me! Obviously some machines don’t like certain thread but almost everyone i’ve talked to loves Aurifil. When I started quilting I had no idea what all the fuss was about this thread. I thought my walmart cheap thread was ok…boy was I wrong!!

That cheap stuff will cause sooo much lint in your machine its ridiculous! On a whim I bought the grey Aurifil and never EVER looked back. The lint cut down was amazing, I didn’t have to clean my machine as much(I was doing it daily it seemed like!) It’s about $12 for a spool but it’s got about 3500 yards on each spool which lasts me a long time. I decided to try Connecting Thread’s awhile back because they are a bit cheaper and the quilting group I am in a ton of ladies suggested it. I am so happy with that thread as well, my machines love it and the lint isn’t too bad either 🙂

Batting is another expense. What kind do you want? How heavy do you want it? How big of a quilt are you making? Now i’ve yet to try bamboo or wool batting but I have tried a number of polyester blends. Currently I use Mountain Mist because my local store was trying to get rid of a huge box of them(got twins,kings and queens for $2.50 each!) I actually really like it. It quilts up really well and its very light weight. In South Texas you want light weight when you have 100+ temps in the summer. I have also tried Warm and Natural on smaller projects like baby blankets and mug rugs. I really loved it and it quilts up nicely.

Now lets talk about time…so far we have the cost of fabric, thread, batting and now we need to talk about HOW LONG it takes to make such beautiful works of art. Piecing a quilt(meaning you put all the little squares and triangles together to make a pattern) takes some time especially if you want some crazy,awesome, complicated quilt. For me piecing even the simplest of tops takes at least 12 hours…that’s a long time. After it’s been pieced then it has to be basted(meaning top,batting, and backing) Now I pin mine which depending on size(lets go with a twin size quilt) that takes me about 2hrs. Finally comes the quilting so far we have 14 combined hours…quilting takes even longer. Straight line quilting and stitching in the ditch (you stitch basically all the seams or ditches) probably doesn’t take AS LONG but that’s still another 10-20hrs….but what if they want Free Motion Quilting done(basically all the cool shapes you see now a days like stars, meandering squiggle looking lines etc) that could take even longer. I’ve known women who have spent 50+hrs on a quilt just quilting it!!

Would you like an example of what a quilt from me would cost? Here goes..recently I quilted a twin size quilt. It had beautiful batik fabric and gray fabric on it. Batik is expensive because of how they make that certain fabric. I spent about $100 on that fabric and the gray fabric. Now we add in the thread I used a whole spool so $12 bucks for that, the batting was $2.50(remember i got it on sale yay!) it took me 2hrs to pin it and 20hrs to quilt it. All in all its $350 for a twin size quilt and that’s a bit on the cheap side because i am still sooo new to this. I know some ladies who wont even give prices anymore because people are so surprised they would charge so much!! they tell them listen how about you come with me to the quilt shop and I will show you exactly what to buy and you buy the materials…by the end of it those people understand WHY we charge what we charge. If you want done something done right and it look beautiful then its going to cost.

I always know when someone isn’t serious about buying one of my quilts, because after I give them a quote they never return my messages and quit asking me about making them one lol. I appreciate the people out there who understand what it means to get a homemade quilt, how much work and love go into it. It’s hard but I love it, I love making quilts and even if people stop buying them from me I will continue to make them and pass them onto my children(they may end up with hundreds of quilts but that’s ok at least they will be warm huh?)

I hope I kind of helped you understand why they are so expensive and maybe you learned to appreciate a quilt someone gave you just a bit more! 🙂

Happy Quilting!
Catherine

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3 thoughts on “Why Are Quilts So Expensive?

  1. You are so right! I am often amazed by some of the really low prices (even below $100) that some people ask on etsy for their handmade quilts (and other items). Those low prices really don’t take into account all of the work that went into making it. I make bags and I have had people ask me to make them a bag and when I give them a quote they usually also lose interest quite suddenly. If you want something unique and handmade, you’ve got to pay for it. My time is valuable!

  2. I use Connecting Threads thread and I noticed a big difference in the amount of lint, I’m on a tight budget, so this is great thread for my work. When you look at some of these fabulous quilts and see how much work went into them, and just imagine how long it would take you to make a quilt, then the cost makes sense.

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