How Much Does it Cost to Have a Memory Quilt Made?
December 2nd, 2019
By Andrea Funk
There are 3 major cost involved with making a memorial quilt:
Materials: Fabric, Batting & Thread
Labor: Skill & Time
Style: Traditional, Puzzle or Other Style
A memory quilt celebrates the life of a loved one you have lost. Before you have a quilt made, learn about some of the costs that go into making a memory quilt. With this knowledge, you will be able to choose a quilt maker based on your wants and budget.
On the Internet, you can find memory quilts ranging in price from $100 to well over $2,000. Why such an extreme price range? There are many factors that influence the cost of making a memory quilt. Below are the top three factors that influence the pricing of a memorial quilt. We will also look at how these effect your quilt.
There are 3 major materials that go into all quilts. The quality of each type of material can range from cheap low quality, to expensive. Higher quality materials will cost more. This cost will be reflected in the price of your quilt. If a quilt is very inexpensive, the materials used to make that quilt will also be inexpensive.
Although memorial quilts are made in many different styles, added fabric is generally used for the backing and binding of the quilts. You can read more about backing and bindings here.
Think about fabric quality like you think about bed sheet quality. The lower the thread count, the cheaper the sheets. This same principle applies to quilting fabrics. You want fabric with a high thread count.
Fabrics can be made from 100% polyester, 100% cotton and any combination of the two. 100% polyester fabric with a low thread count is inexpensive, whereas, 100% cotton with a high thread count is much more expensive.
The fabric a quilter uses in your quilt will effect the longevity and feel of your quilt.
Cheap fabric does not wear as well as a high quality fabric. This means that the life span of the quilt will be shorter if a low quality fabric has been used.
Cheap fabric also has a different feel than a high quality fabric. It might make your quilt feel more scratchy. It might also pill very quickly. This is a texture that will make the quilt feel less quality.
Read more about fabrics used in quilts here.
Batting is the “stuffing” that is used in the middle of a quilt. Batting is something that cannot been seen when you look at a quilt. But just because it is invisible, doesn't mean that it is not important!
Batting comes in a variety of quality levels – from thin 100% polyester, to high quality needle punched cotton batting.
Polyester batting is the worst. It tears easily, bunches up and will poke out the back of the quilt. The thicker the polyester batting, the more difficult it will be to fold your quilt. Thick batting will also effect how the quilting looks on your quilt.
Needle punched cotton batting is the best choice. It is stable. This type of batting is difficult to tear. This is the best type of batting to show off the quilting done on a quilt. Read more about quilting styles here.
Cotton batting will cost two to three times more than polyester batting. This cost will be reflected in price of your quilt.
The batting used in a quilt will effect how the quilt feels, looks and folds. The photo here show how different batting will effect the folding of a quilt. Both quilts in the photo are the same size. Each was folded in 16th's. The differences? The quilt on the left has cotton batting and the quilt on the right has high loft (thick) 100% polyester batting.
The funny thing? The quilt on the left is warmer than the quilt on the right.
You might not be able to see the batting in a quilt. But it's important. This is something that you will want to ask your quilt maker about. Here's a list of questions you might want to ask your quilt maker.
All quilts use thread for sewing the blocks together and quilting. Thread is an integral part of any quilt! You don't want the thread to fail.
There are cheap threads that won’t withstand time and use. There are quality threads that will. The less expensive a quilt, the more likely it will have been made with cheap thread.
Thread is an easy place for a quilt maker to cut corners. Assume that the less expensive a quilt is, the lower quality thread that will be used.
Want to learn more about Memorial T-shirt quilts?
Check out our learning center.
Another cost calculated into the price of a quilt is labor. Minimum wage is about $9 to 12 an hour. Typically, minimum wage is reserved for entry level and unskilled workers. Accomplished quilt makers are not unskilled. Usually, they should have five to ten years of quilt making experience – the more the better.
It takes skill to make a memorial quilt. If it didn’t take any skill or experience, you would make it yourself.
Highly skilled and talented quilters make the nicest memorial quilts. This means that their hourly rate will be much higher than minimum wage.
If you want to only pay minimum wage to a quilter, expect an entry-level unskilled quilter to attempt to make your quilt. If you value the clothing and memories you are putting into your memorial quilt, an inexpensive quilt should scare you!
How long does it take to make a memorial quilt? This depends on a number of factors including quilt style, complexity and craftsmanship. A low-cost quilt will take less time than a more expensive quilt. This means that the low-cost quilt will have a simple style without any complexities. The workmanship may also be questionable.
The Worth a Quilter Places on His or Her Work
If a quilter under prices their work, they are telling you up front that they do not think that their time and skills are good enough to charge more. Think about what this tells you. If someone does not find value in their work, will you?
When you compare the prices of memorial quilts, keep in mind that you are paying someone for their expertise and experience. The less a quilt cost, the lower your expectations should be.
If you are planning a memorial quilt, you only will get one chance to have it made right! Saving a few dollars is not in your best interest.
There are many styles of quilts that can be used for a memorial quilt. Most clothing quilts are made in two typical styles – those that are made in columns and rows and those that are made with our Too Cool puzzle style. The number of steps and the amount of time it takes to make each style is vastly different.
A traditional style memorial quilt is made from blocks in columns and/or rows and the blocks are all one size. This makes the project very easy and involves very little planning and time to layout. This means that a traditional style quilt will be the less expensive option.
But it also means that you will have an uninteresting quilts. Rows and columns are just not that exciting. Read about traditional style quilts here.
The “Too Cool” or Puzzle Style
A memorial quilt made with many different sizes and shaped blocks involve a lot of consideration, planning, math and other time consuming steps. This style of quilt takes 10 times or longer than a traditional quilt. But it will be an interesting quilt! Read more about puzzle style quilts here.
The quilt here is made from dress shirts in the Too Cool puzzle style. It as a 2" solid + 4" pieced by 2" solid border. Read more about borders here.
A memorial quilt made with other styles too. The more complex the style, the more it will cost. When you are looking for a quilt maker to make a unique style of quilt, expect to pay a lot!
These and other considerations are indicators of the quality of a quilt. They also greatly influence the price of the quilt.
For example, someone with great skill and artistry using cheap material might make a good looking quilt, but that quilt still has been made with cheap material, it will look cheap and not wear well. Conversely, a quilt made with high quality materials that is poorly made is still a poorly made quilt.
You want a quilt that is made from high quality materials by a skilled and artistic quilter. Read more about finding a quilt maker here.
Look carefully at the cost of memorial quilts. Be sure to know what you are paying for. A quilt that costs only $100 is probably going to be a disappointment.
We are here to help you get started on your memorial quilt.
Here are the first steps.
Back to: Memorial & Memory Quilts
Below are some examples of memorial quilts. Each a little different. Read more about what you can use in a memorial quilt here.
Andrea Funk is the inventor of T-shirt quilts made with multiple blocks sizes. The modern method of making T-shirt quilts. In 1992 she founded Too Cool T-shirt Quilts. Her life has been immersed in T-shirt quilts ever since.