TGIFF – Costing Sheets

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of publishing an article on the Sew Mama Sew website about the cost of a baby quilt. It was an exhilarating experience for lil’ Miss Me, and the comments so many of you left on the article were spot on, providing lots of food for thought. It made me so hungry I had a glass of champagne! Well, now I want to update you with what has happened since then: it has sold for my asking price of $259.09 AUD! See, it can be done!
I provided my costing sheet to the buyer to clearly show the high costs associated with making a quilt, even one as simple as this. I won’t break down all of the rationale behind each section (you can go to the original article for that), but suffice to say, the buyer completely appreciated this document. I’m confident that this clarification is what made the asking price easier to swallow, and made the sale happen.
(UPDATE: The numbers-savvy Leanne from She Can Quilt (who not so ironically is co-hosting a math-themed Decipher Your Quilt series) found a small mistake in the costing sheet. The “Production” sub-total wasn’t summing the “Sewing Binding” cost. The corrected versions are available to download from the same links below. You can easily adjust it yourself as well. Thanks Leanne!)
Because of that, I want to give these costing sheets to you! I’ve provided two formats, a Microsoft Excel 97-2004 Workbook, and an Apple Numbers Spreadsheet. Download one, have a play, and then use it with your next quilting project. If it worked for me, it’s sure to work for your own brand of fabulousness! If you do use my costing template, I’d love to hear how it works out for you!
Linking up with TGIFF!

Show me the Benjamins.

36 Responses

  1. Charlotte says:

    congratulations on the sale!

  2. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Thank you for helping us all to realize we are indeed sew worth it! You are the champion of 'the cause'!

  4. Kristy says:

    I'm happy to hear that your quilt sold and it's story prompted another glorious post for us…and a cheat sheet no less. Congrats!

  5. Jessamie says:

    Congratulations and thank you for the sheet as well!!

  6. Sooli says:

    Thanks for sharing the worksheet. If I ever decide to sell a quilt I'll be all organised! So did you list the quilt on Etsy or somewhere else or did someone just say, 'I've got to have it" and wave a fistful of dollars at you?

  7. Tiffany says:

    Yay! This is great news! I'm also curius about how the sale happened and whether or not you listed it somewhere.
    You have inspired all of us to value our work for what it's worth!

  8. Pat says:

    Love this, but you will never convince me that you made that quilt with only 1/2 yard of thread. 😀

  9. Am L says:

    Congrats! I downloaded the excel spreadsheet, and will let you know when I use it. I tend to keep a running total of cost in my head as I go, but never calculate the time I spend with cost. Of course, I also never make quilts to sell.

  10. Excellent! Thank you for sharing this worksheet! So far I'm only sewing to gift things, rather than sell them, but my husband is always asking me to figure out the cost. He's a numbers guy, so he just likes to know the "data". I just want to make a gift, but it will be nice to know exactly the value of the gift (besides "love", of course). I think that my husband wants me to really acknowledge the value of what I'm making for others, and you are inspiring me to know what my work is worth too. Thanks, Molli!

  11. Way to go, Ms. Molli! I do think education and being open about the costs and time it takes will help us to get fair prices for our work. Thanks for sharing these worksheets!

  12. Farm Quilter says:

    Great resource – thanks for sharing with us!! How do you figure how much thread you use? I know that in Australia folks won't even work for McDonald's for less than $20 an hour…don't you think you are cheating yourself as a quilting professional by charging only $25 an hour? Congrats on the sale – that's always a good thing!!!

  13. Anne says:

    Yessss, thank you for making this available!! You are awesome!!

  14. Laurelle says:

    Awesome that you sold the quilt ! Thanks for the sheet 🙂 I am guilty of not including my time in an estimate because I love the whole creative process in making the quilt. I feel like I would like to just get a bit of money back to cover the cost so I can buy new exciting fabric. Your sheet will make it easy to keep the costs real in my head 🙂 (Just quietly, not sure though if I want to know how much Im spending! ) Thanks for sharing will definitely give it a go.

  15. Katy Cameron says:

    Glad the sale worked out so well :o) Now for your next trick, pattern costings :oD

  16. Had a friend commission a quilt for her daughter. I used the sheet to plug values in according to the size and complexity she requested – and it blew her away. She confessed she was hoping to pay far less, and then asked for a smaller, less complex design to accommodate her budget. This was excellent for opening up discussion! I also modified it for smaller commissions – baby gifts, zipper pouches, etc. – and it's been very helpful. Plus it will make taxes much easier to figure out as we keep records of expenses! Thank you so very much!

  17. This is so great of you to share this! I'm going to include a costing sheet with a donation quilt. It may drive the bidding amounts up higher, making more for the charity!

  18. Kaesey says:

    Thank you! I read your article on Sew Mama Sew and it struck a cord. As a writer I also struggle with getting paid appropriately for my work. (500-word article for $25? Um, no.) I think anyone in the arts fights the battle between the work involved and what people think they should pay for an "optional" item – not that art and beauty is optional in this world! But let's face it, we don't fix plumbing, solve medical crises, or sell food and diapers. Being able to SHOW the work and materials cost helps enormously in people getting paid a realistic amount for what they do. And I'm so glad you sold your quilt!

  19. Leanne says:

    Wonderful idea and I'm so glad it worked. But I am worried that maybe you added up the production time wrong?

  20. Jehnny says:

    Awesome, I think your costing sheet is great! I was just reading a blog on why illustrators are not paid enough/respected enough, so I think that there is always that 'fight' when doing something artistic/crafty. I think when something is "accessible" or "can be done by anyone", there is a general disregard in terms of value and how much work actually went into the finished product.
    ps, your quilt looks great too!

  21. Thank you, Molli! Your posts on this process have been very informative and I've enjoyed following along the dialogue that's happened since your first piece. I just landed my first baby quilt client, and while I cannot justify quite your price considering training, experience, locale, etc, I did not back down from what I think seemed a little high to the client, but that I know was very fair overall and will allow me to be paid for my work. I really appreciate your contribution to this arena for quilters, and thank you for sharing your worksheet!

  22. DeborahGun says:

    oh so brilliant! I think actually being able to show someone why our quilts are worth so much will help them understand it a little bit better – and your sale completely demonstrates this. Thanks for sharing the spreadsheets 🙂

  23. Ali w says:

    I absolutely applaud your stance and your efforts in getting a true and fair price paid for quilts.The tide will turn!

    I don't sell my quilts and even out of curiosity won't use your costing sheet to work out my "investment" in my own quilts – I dread to think what I spend on the fabric alone and should my dear husband ever find one of the working sheets… well let's just say he'd have an excuse to buy even MORE garage tools!!

    (I just did a Kaffe workshop and we made the snowball quilt which meant fussy cutting from yardage. The workshop was about $250 and I know I spent at least $500 on the fabric and I haven't even made a backing yet!! It is outrageously stunning but I can just imagine putting it in your costing model and the look of shock on someone's face as I inform them of the resulting "price". That quilt is purely about indulgence for my hobby and I know in years to come as I wrap myself up in it I won't think of the cost, I will think of the workshop experience and all my friends in this hobby, and how much satisfaction I get from learning new techniques.)

    Thanks, Molli, you are making a difference in this industry!

  24. … if you build it, they will come.

  25. I will use this sheet the next time someone asks me to make a quilt for them! I usually say they have to buy the fabric and that baby quilts start around $50 CAD for the top. Have had only one taker so far, and she is still picking out her fabric!

  26. Love your quilt! The colours are lovely.

  27. This is great! I keep saying I’m going to keep track of my costs and hours and never do. So this will give me motivation to do it for each quilt! Thank you!!!

  28. Cindy says:

    I can’t get either sheet to download or save for some reason. It’s there any way someone can email it to me or convert to a pdf?

  29. Heather V says:

    I have come back to this each time I move/switch computers (having lost it twice now), and use it now that I’ve started selling quilts (not too often); it’s so helpful and helps me make sure if I’m taking time out from working on my personal projects, I’m getting paid enough to do so 😉 Thanks so much for making it available for us.

  30. Thank you for sharing your work and experience! Being able to download the templates is a life saver. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

  31. I use your sheet frequently, and send others to it as well. Thank you so much for sharing this resource. My first to clients turned me down, but the third one is paying what I asked for! I’m sure it is at least partly due to the fact that I gave her this sheet to explain my price.

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