The Cost of a T-Shirt Quilt

I recently was helping a professional quilter to figure out what to charge for a start-to-finish T-Shirt quilt. Together we did a cost analysis and it was very enlightening! Then in an online group, someone else asked how to charge for making the same kind of T-Shirt quilt.

I wrote out the cost analysis, posted it to the group and I thought you would be interested in seeing it. And here it is –

T-Shirt Quilt, Start to Finish, Cost Analysis (or What to Charge a Customer for this Type of Quilt.)

This quilt is to be made using 15 T-Shirts, cut to 12 inches square – 3 shirts across, 5 shirts down in a traditional horizontal setting – with 2 inch sashing and 4 inch, straight set borders.

The approximate finished size of the quilt is 52 x 80 inches.

Let’s start with the quilting –

Backing fabric, 4.5 yards @ 10 per yard = $45
Batting, 2 yards @ $10 per yard = $20
Thread = $15
Binding, 22 running /perimeter feet at $3 per foot = $66.
Applied with home sewing machine, front and back. More if hand stitched to the back
Quilting Labor, 4,160 square inches @ .04 cents = $175
Yes, I know that this is high, but there can be ALL sorts of problems quilting on T shirts, even if you do all the    piecing.

For the quilting, my total would be $321

Now for the piecing –

Interfacing for behind the T shirts, 4 yards @ $4 per yard = $16
Sashing and Border fabrics, total of 4 yards @ $10 per yard = $40
Piecing labor, 15 hours @ $15 per hour = $225
I have made T shirt quilts and there can be a LOT of time involved even with “simple” piecing.

The piecing total would be $281.

Add the quilting total ($321) with the piecing total ($281) for a grand total of $602. For simplicity, let’s round that to $600. This would be the MINIMUM I would charge for this quilt.

Now, lets take $600 divide it by 15 T shirts used in this quilt, for a total of $40 per T shirt.

Let’s take this one step further. Let’s assume that you customer is not satisfied with 12 inch blocks in a traditional horizontal setting. She wants something “different” and you have to come up with a unique setting and work with MANY different sizes of T-Shirt logos, etc.

I would start at a price of $40 per T-Shirt then ADD A LOT of extra $$$. How much is a LOT EXTRA?? Only you can answer that question, but I would at least DOUBLE what I have priced in the traditional setting.  I would charge at least $1,200 for this type of quilt. If there was extra supplies / fabric / interfacing, etc., then this price would also increase.

Here is something else to remember. Be sure to receive at least HALF of the amount you are charging  – which is non-refundable – when the order is placed. You have to purchase supplies and your time is valuable! When the quilt top is ready to be put on the quilting machine, another one quarter or the cost is required and when the quilt is completed, the remainder of the fee is to be paid.

Be sure to document EVERYTHING about this custom order, from start to finish!

Let’s face it, making a quilt from start to finish can be a lot of fun, but it is our WORK! We should be paid a reasonable fee for our time and our skills to make a special, unique, one of a kind quilt that is going to last a long, long, time!

I look forward to reading your comments.

From Worst to Great

A few weeks ago I wrote about the WORST quilt ever! I recently got an email, with photos, from Charlotte in NH, about a t-shirt quilt she had made. Charlotte’s t-shirt quilt is one of THE BEST t-shirt quilts I have ever seen!

With her permission, I am posting her photos and her story about the quilt.

Click on any photo for a larger view.

Car t shirt 2

 

This all started when my husband was deployed to Kuwait. Somehow, Jim (co-worker) saw my Picasa album of my finished quilts. He said to John (husband), do you think there is a way to incorporate my collection of t-shirts into a quilt? John said – oh sure. John volunteered my services free of charge. I had never made a t-shirt quilt before but knew I could do it. Jim left Kuwait in May of 2013. Mid June I got a box with 15 t-shirts from Jim. These t-shirts commemorated road races that he participated in. He wanted someway to display and pass on his collection of t-shirts to his family.

Car t shirt 1

Because this is likely to be passed on for generations, I wanted a unique design. I took pictures of all the shirts and brought them into EQ7 to start the design process. When I spoke with Jim, he said that he wanted something like a ‘spoke’ with emphasis on the first race. The center medallion represents his first race then from upper left clockwise the others are positioned around the quilt.

Car t shirt 3

The backing of stars was chosen by John. He wanted something patriotic since both work for the Dept. of Defense. I quilted it on my HandiQuilter Fusion with ProStitcher using Quilter’s Dream Select Poly and Anne Bright’s design – Vanilla Cream. This is a big quilt – 100 x 110. I am very pleased with the finished product; I hope Jim is as well. The quilt was sent to him and he should be receiving it soon.  My charity of choice is Quilts of Valor. 

Cindy’s Comments – This is a beautiful quilt and you did an EXCELLENT job! I know he will be proud of the quilt.

Feel free to leave comments about this quilt. I will make sure Charlotte sees them.