Saturday, March 7, 2009

How long does a Quilt Take?

March 7, 2009

I have often been asked how long a quilt takes. The average size quilts that I make are 80" x 75". This will fit a full size bed comfortably.

Here are approximations in terms of time.
  • Thinking of design (15 - 30 minutes)
  • Thinking of fabrics (15 -30 minutes)
  • Buying fabrics (30 minutes, not including driving time)
  • Washing and drying of fabrics (15 minutes active time)
  • Cutting / piecing (6 -8 hours, depending on complexity of pattern)
  • Piece backing of fabric (2 hours)
  • Sandwiching of quilt / pinning front, batting and back together (2.5 hours)
  • Quilting (8 - 10 hours)
  • Create binding and binding of quilt by hand (3 - 4 hours)
  • Admiring of finished quilt (15 minutes)
So in total, labor time for a quilt is approximately 23 - 28.5 hours.

In general, most quilter's do have a day job, so quilter's do not sit at a machine for 8 hours a day continuously.

I quilt on average 4 hours a day on a week day, and on the weekends, I can quilt up to 8 hours a day. So if you are expecting a custom quilt from a quilter, give them at least 1.5 - 2 months to complete the whole project.

If I am motivated, for a full size quilt, I can do it in 2 weeks. What this usually means is neglecting everything else in the world. :)

The time estimates above is assuming a quilter uses a sewing machine. Quilts that are done by hand are a different animal all together. On average, my wall hangings take 6 - 12 months to finish. The appliqueing, quilting and binding are all done by hand. The only time the quilt sees a machine is when I have to piece the backing of the fabrics together to make it a larger piece, assembly of the binding to make one long piece, and attaching the binding onto the quilt and then finishing he binding by hand.

I make quilts for the joy and love of quilting. They make perfect gifts because it will hopefully be used on a regular basis and will last for a long time. I love making baby quilts, because of the thought that it will grow with them for at least a few years.

So the next time you pick up a quilt and look at the price tag, think about how much time it took this quilter to make the end product. This is not only true for quilts but other artsy fartsy things like paintings, ceramics, wood carving, jewelry, beading, tapestry etc.

Quilt & Bitch


omgwtf said...

thought you might enjoy

Elaine Yu said...

Thanks for educating the readers on how long it takes to make a full quilt, indeed it is a labor of love in terms of time commitment. I will never look at a quilt in the same way again.