The Cost of a Keepsake
Many of the items on this site are designed as keepsakes and mementos, either for that special someone in your life or for your enjoyment. And, as you peruse beautiful souvenirs, you glance at the prices and think, “How can that be so expensive?” Well, I’m going to break down the costs involved using a baby quilt as an example.
The first thing that comes to mind when creating something is to figure out what you want to make. Okay, I need a pattern. A plethora of ways exist. I often go back to patterns I’ve made before. So, in this case, we’ll use the Baby Bargello pattern, designed in Eileen Wright’s book, More Twist and Turn Bargello Quilts.
So it didn’t cost me any more than the book did. Okay, what’s next? I love the colors in the book, but I would like to try other colors as well, so we move to fabrics. This bargello pattern takes ten fabrics, each ½ yard (really only a 1/3 of a yard), so a jelly roll might be sufficient. It all depends on what the jelly roll contains (is it 20 strips or 40?). Or depending on how much fabric you have lying around, you may pick out and sort your fabrics. Jelly rolls are not expensive; they may not be the right colors or hues for your baby bargello so that they can become costly. For example, for my baby bargello in Coral, I used Art Gallery Fabrics Color Master in corals, peaches, and whites. Granted, I got two baby quilt tops from it, but it was $64.95 plus tax and shipping (see https://www.fatquartershop.com/half-yard-bundles). This particular quilt also requires 2 ½ yards of fabric for backing and binding, which I purchased for $11.00/yard.
The quilt took me about 4 hours in total to cut and sew. So if I was worth, say, $30.00/hour, that was $120.00. Because I don’t do longarm quilting and have it sent, that cost has to be considered. For those of us that are math-challenged, this little cutie has cost me $179.97 ($32.47 for fabric, $27.50 for backing fabric and binding, and $120.00 for my time). Let’s add standard long arm quilting at .02/inch and average cost of about $70.00 plus batting, and we’ve got ourselves a $250.00 baby bargello quilt!
Many of us artisans and crafters love what we do. We can find ways to make gorgeous, unique crafts meant to be family keepsakes or special memories for significant others. We can use less expensive materials or simpler patterns. The more of a particular pattern we make, the less time it takes us to make one. Alternatively, what I have been doing is running my embroidery machine while I’m sewing. This brings the cost down for each individual pieces. What is unfortunate is that usually, we take our time off the top and end up selling our creations for cost or at a loss. That is a shame because it does take time and effort to create. Craftsmen and artisans should be paid at least a living wage so we can continue creating wonderfully individualized pieces that will last for years.
At the end of the day, I want everyone who purchases beautifully created quilts from me will have a truly one of a kind piece of art, that will be appreciated and loved for years to come!