A few months ago I was at one of many quilt guild meetings and an elderly member waved me over. She explained that a long time ago she had bought this quilt kit with the intention of making it up for her daughter. At one point she lost the kit somewhere, and in the intervening years, her health declined. Recently, she unearthed the kit again and wondered if it would be something I would be able to finish for her.
Of course, I said, but I wouldn’t be able to say how much until I saw the kit itself. It could be anything from super easy to applique difficulty level or a million small pieces. Between the weather and forgetfulness on both our parts, I finally laid eyes on it in late November. Okay, it didn’t look too difficult, but I was getting busier with other quilts.
I spent a half hour doing some basic math, reading and re-reading the directions, and writing hen scratches on a sticky note. Then I got Ron to check my work. It all seemed fair to both of us.
The next day (or so) I called her back again to give her the news: I can do it for this price (tax included) but it would also be made the week before Christmas with last minute delivery. Even if I had to drive it over to her house on Christmas Eve.
“Well,” she said, “It’s waited this long, so I’ll pop it in the mail and tell her it will be there right after Christmas. That’s fine. Also if possible can you make it bigger? If you have to increase the bill that’s fine too.”
I spent about another half hour checking the included fabric against the directions. This is when I discovered there wasn’t the same variety of prints as the original pattern. This is fine – if the pattern called for 2 similar green prints, I’ll use the same in both places, checking the picture to make sure those two fabrics weren’t next to each other. That look fine or at least workable for a few different fabric. There was also a panel for the pattern, which makes things easy.
The other thing I did was measure each included piece of fabric to make sure there was enough for each plus the substitutions. I even added up all the fabric amounts in the pattern itself, and compared it to the total yardage of fabric in the kit. It turned out there was a full extra yard, math-wise. Great!
I also thought it would be interesting to write out for others to follow along, and to write about pricing and costs. I know there’s been various charts and posts going around about pricing quilts for sale, and I have plenty of opinions.
So here’s how I figured out what to charge for this quilt.
The reason I chose an hourly rate of $25/hr is because I feel it is fair for the level of skill needed in this quilt. It is not something that would take a great deal of skill – not beginner level, but not expert level either. Also I don’t want to undervalue my work. This is above minimum wage and I’d like to replace, roughly, the hourly wage from my last job. (About the same skill level – something not everyone does, but you can learn without going to school and getting some sort of degree. It’s also more than many workers in factories and small industry manufacturing make for garment sewing – arguably, to me – a higher level of skill.)
I time myself on quilts, off and on, to figure out roughly how long certain steps take, so I used those guesstimates to figure out how long it would take for me to construct the quilt top.
The rest of the breakdown in Canadian dollars is as follows:
– 7 hours @ $25/hr for quilt top construction, including design work and customer interaction, including binding by machine ($175)
– our 1.5 cent rate for allover quilting for 55″ by 61″ ($51)
– loading fee, as per usual ($20)
– batting & backing fabrics from our shop ($40)
This comes to $286 and change, so with our 15% tax will be $328.90 which she was fine with. Remember, she has supplied all the materials for the top itself. If I was making a similar quilt for someone else and choosing fabrics from the shop, this would be added to the bill.
I am timing myself as I go, partly to double check my work, and partly to see if there’s wiggle room. Oh, and also so I can report back to you, dear reader. I am not including time spent writing this series of blog posts. That’s just my own regular business costs.
What do you think? Is 7 hours for just the quilt top construction enough? Did I forget anything? Could you do the same top in more or less time?