Help Please?!

So after my earlier post I’ve had several comments and even more emails asking about my selling quilts.  I’ve had all sorts of comments…sell them on ebay or etsy or on the blog.  I’ve thought of that…I just don’t know how to price things or how to liquidate them.

Maybe you can give me some advice.

Two quilts on my list to see are Candy Wishes and Peaks and Valleys both were featured as a Moda Bake Shop quilt.

Here’s Candy Wishes.


The quilt is 63″ x 77″.

It’s a simple design.  How do I price that?  I know there are lots of prices over what you might think it’s worth…but there is a difference in what someone would pay.  What do you think?

Next up is Peaks and Valleys.

The quilt is 84″ x 96″.

Again…don’t think only about the cost of the fabric and time…think what someone would actually pay.  I always think that price is much less.

I’d love to hear you opinions….

17 thoughts on “Help Please?!”

  1. Jo ~ After reading about your garage sale in a couple of your posts and that you would be selling many of your quilts in said sale I’ve thought and thought about your quilts. Although I wouldn’t be much help suggesting prices I do think a garage sale is not a place to sell your wonderful quilts where people generally look for & expect things to be priced cheaply! I think that your quilts need to be showcased elsewhere were they will be appreciated for their beautiful designs, fabric, construction and quilting.

  2. I agree with Penny – garage sales are not the proper place to sell your quilts as people are looking for bargains and will even offer you less than priced. Find another venue – purhaps where you have your machine serviced? We have a home business and we have a contract sheet for commission work that we even use for those items sold. Cost of all materials (at what it would cost you to replace – as we sometimes buy on sale or use gifted supplies), cost of quilting (I know you self quilt, but see what pricing is for this and apply), and pay yourself (we use $10 hr for construction).

    I am just using a quick ‘eye-ball’ of your two quilts in fabrics used, quilting, estimated time – the Candy Wishes should go no less than $350 and the Peaks and Valleys no less than $600

  3. wow! what a collection of beautiful quilts! I have to chime in here- I’m with the other gals- a garage sale may/may not be the best place to sell quilts… folks do expect to find cheap deals. however- you’re a well known quilter-so maybe that will make a difference. I think Sharon’s prices are a bit high, but that’s just for my area. yours may be different. I think the “standard” for pricing quilts is to go by how much it would have cost to machine quilt them, and then X 3. if you really love a quilt, make it a bit more.
    also: if you’re pricing them as low as you say, offer them to your readers! I bet they’d (we’d) snatch them up!!! put a number on each one, tell price, add shipping, and I bet you’d sell ALOT! (kind of like you did with some of yoru extra notions and stuff, not too long ago).
    hope that helps- and have fun!
    PS: I understand that you don’t want/need all those quilts- do your children want them? seems a shame to sell all those beautiful quilts!

  4. I agree with the previous suggestions. I would suggest waiting for a quilt show and sale in your area to get the right price. Or at a local quilt shop. The suggested price by Sharon is right on in my opinion.

  5. is there a farm auction business near you? if so you might want to talk to them and see if they will take your quilts on consignment. Since they are both new and published, that should bring the price up a bit from what it would normally be.

  6. You would be right in the price people are willing to pay being less than they are worth. I make ceramics and pricing pieces it a very difficult thing for me, and I have started pricing pieces slightly differently depending on where they are going to be sold. But even still I know my limit for a piece and won’t sell it if it isn’t worth my time.

    My mentor explained a good method in instructing me how to price items. And it is all about knowing what you are worth. You have to decide how much your time is worth per hour. For my ceramics, I have some training but no MFA or even a college minor in art, it has always been a little more than a hobby. I work on it one night a week and have for about 7 years now but in no way am I a master. When looking at equipment, my skill, difficulty of the work and years I’ve been doing it: I decided that my time is worth $20 a hour for my ceramics pieces.

    So you have to think about how much your time is worth to you as well as how skilled you are, on top of what the fabric costs, etc. I’m sure you spend more hours on a quilt than I have ever spent on a ceramics piece but it is the same concept. How much is your quilting time worth to you?

    I had an art show a few years ago and it was a joint show with a quilt to fill out the wall space in the gallery. At the time I didn’t quilt so I thought her prices were pretty high… and then I started quilting. Looking back on the skill that she had I am a bit mad at myself for not at least purchasing one of her smaller pieces. And that is the problem with quilts. If people don’t understand how much time goes into them they really don’t understand the pricing.

    If I were you I would probably try to find a way to sell on the site. Folks that visit this site know your work and how much time goes into a project so they won’t find the prices unreasonable. I’ve read several blogs unhappy with Etsy fees but if you have no problem paying the fees they are a good place because people who look at your stuff on there will hopefully have a good understanding if pricing too. When I think of Ebay I think I’m getting something for a steal, but I also don’t know who the seller is which is unnerving. I probably wouldn’t pay as much for a quilt on Ebay as I would on Esty. But that is all just my personal stigmas for the two sites.

  7. I’m in agreement with Sharon about the pricing. A few years ago, I spent some time with paper and pencil and calculator, and figured out what a quilt cost to make by the square foot, taking into account the cost of the fabric for the top and the backing and the batting. I think I used the average of $10.00 a yard for the price of the fabrics. I added in an allowance for my time, and came up with a cost of $!0.00 per square foot for a finished quilt to sell. If it had extremely dense quilting, or really intense piecing, the price would be more like $12.00 per share foot. I have sold quilts using that formula. The added advantage of asking a price that reflects at least the cost of making the quilt, is that it will be purchased, and looked after as a thing of value. You really don’t want people purchasing it as something cheap, because then there is a greater likelihood of it being treated that way.

  8. I would start with the blog:
    List the quilt, dementions, and picture and cost plus shipping. Have the interested peeps email you. And when a quilt is paid for take it off the blog. If it is pending say that in a different font to keep this a business deal – You will have more traffic to the blog than to your garage door. In the pricing it gets tricky – why are you selling these? Too get rid of them or to make money or some of both.

    Now what to do with those that do not sell after a week or two? Then if you are still interested in selling perhaps go to the next venue – ebay or etsy?

    Keep the blog post just sale of quilts. I am thinking of the space you will have after this sale and am jealous. .

  9. Just read the prior blog post…. with five other families it sounds like a day to get ripped off of quilts, especially the small ones. Since they are priced I guess I would suggest to put some of the small ones in where they can be watched and see what interest there is.

    I did not catch when this sale is to be May 1st? If you go the blog route, I would be sure and mention that the funds you collect will go towards batting, etc for donation quilts.

  10. Selling your quilts for “cheap” or “what they would pay” undermines everyone who sells quality quilts, and makes it difficult for others to earn fair pay. Please price your quilts fairly. Look at similar on Etsy to determine a fair price, going by size and the amount of piecing involved. You can estimate your price by figuring the cost of fabric, thread, batting, and backing (retail prices based on what you used, whether or not it’s quilt shop quality fabrics) and multiply that number time 3. That’s an easy way. There’s another, based on how much you would pay yourself per hour plus the cost of the materials. I do know many of your fabrics are from the company, and others are from thrift sales, but you’ve still put work into the projects. Selling it for Walmart’s price doesn’t do anyone who sells quilts any good. You can’t sell your designs and a piece of your heart for cheap.

  11. Jo, please don’t undervalue your quilts just to get them sold! It’s unfair to you, and it’s unfair to the people who are also out there trying to sell quilts for a living wage. When someone wants me to make them a quilt, we decide on fabric, pattern, and quilting style, and then I sit down and write them out a detailed estimate. Fabric, batting and thread at my cost (including shipping charges if I have to order online), an estimate of how long it will take to press fabric, cut the pieces, piece the blocks, determine the arrangement, and sew the top together, piecing and pressing the back, times my hourly rate (currently $10 which is really not enough, but I do agree that there is a limit to what the market will bear.) Then I charge for the quilting, based on the complexity requested. Overall simple patterns (not pantos) are $.015 per square inch, more complex is $.02 per square inch. Straight line quilting on my domestic is charged by the hour. And then binding is a separate charge, not nearly as much as some others charge for it, but a rate I’m comfortable with. And then the cost of washing, drying, and mailing. If I use fabrics from my stash that are already paid for, I estimate the cost of the fabric at $10 per yard. (Even if the fabric was given to me, I charge them for the fabric. That way they won’t go tell a friend that I made a baby quilt for them for $50, and the friend comes to me and wants the same, even though they want it made from something I don’t have on hand.) Then I write up a detailed estimate outlining all that I’ve just mentioned, and send it to them with a promise that if they decide they can’t afford that, I won’t be offended – just tell me! I warn them up front that hand-crafted quilts are not cheap!

    I started doing this when someone asked me to make them a t-shirt quilt, and I wasn’t sure how much to charge them. In my head I thought, “Oh, I’ll just charge them $150 for materials and labor.” But fortunately, I thought that might be a little too much (ha!) so I worked up an estimate. Wow! For a t-shirt quilt the size she originally wanted, my estimate came to $400!! We ended up working together to come up with a compromise both of us were happy with.

    Amazingly, Catherine’s method of estimating the cost of a quilt comes out pretty close to my prices, although I’m not sure $12 a square foot is enough for intricate piecing and/or intricate quilting. I think there might be levels of up-charge for those things to add to the $10 per square foot base price. For example, an intricate baby quilt measuring 36 x 44 with dense custom quilting at $12 per square foot would only cost $132. In my opinion, that’s not enough, simply based on the time involved. A small quilt can take just as long to piece as a large one – ask anyone who’s made a miniature quilt!

    There – I’ll get off my soapbox now! If you’d like the form I use to estimate the cost of a quilt, let me know and I’ll email it to you! It’s saved me many a time from forgetting to charge for batting, or binding – you know, the little things!

  12. I too have excess quilts and wonder what to do, last year I donated to a local thrift store for their annual quilt show and only 1 of about 15 very nicely hand quilted quilts made it to the sale the rest went to the employees ahead of time which they later denied, I have sold on ebay for many years and as the years go buy the selling prices have steadily DECLINED AS I LIVE IN SMALL CONDO AND HAVE OVER 45 QUILTS and a dozen or more tops and no access to a garage sale many years ago I got good prices at the amish auctions but the shipping and selling fees and declining prices meant 30 to 40 a quilt I would rather donate

  13. Another venue to look at for the pricing of the quilts as well as selling your quilts if you are so inclined is I always take the price of the fabrics (including batting) and what I would charge a customer for the quilting and multiply that number by 3-5 (depending on the difficulty level of the piecing) to price my quilts. Don’t sell them for the same price someone can go to Wal~Mart and buy a quilt!! Our time and creativity is valuable and if we don’t value it, no one else will either!

  14. Advice from my quilting instructor on establishing a value for your quilt:

    Add up the cost of the fabrics, batting, backing, and what you pay your long arm quilter to quilt the quilt (in your case the going rate for your area) then double that price. This is the value of your quilt.

    Another option could be to donate a quilt to a favorite local charity group to raffle off as a fund raiser for their group.

  15. This may have been suggested already. You could put the quilt on your web site and give a minimum bid amount and a cut off time/date. Then have anyone who wants the quilt send you an email with the amount they are willing to pay. (Use a different email address than your personal one or business one.). When we have an auction of our quilts at guild, one quilt may go for a lower amount and then a very simple quilt will be higher simply because more than one person wanted the quilt. You could also donate a quilt to a museum, library, or school to use as a fundraiser. They’d make more money than one person would pay for it. Thanks for sharing your quilts and creativity with us.

  16. Thank you for opening up this conversation, Jo. I’ve been curious about how to go about selling some quilts too. You’ve gotten lots of advice. I’ve no doubt you’ll sell every one of your quilts very quickly.

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