How Long Did That Take You To Make

I often get asked how long a quilt takes me to make. Quilt appraisers might incorporate this information into an appraisal, but I think other makers ask this to understand the scope of the work that went into making the quilt and that they might want to make something similar. I personally like to loosely track my time so that I can set reasonable self-imposed goals (i.e. goals that don’t add too much stress).

For the last several months, I’ve been roughly tracking my time to make various quilts to answer this question. Here is how the time breaks down on one of my recent quilts (quilt shown above with my photo assistant), an original design quilt that measures 54″x76″:

  • Design: 2 hours
  • Initial strip piecing, planning, and organizing: 7 hours
    • Pressing
    • Strip piecing (incl. cutting)
    • Organizing into for each row
  • Piecing “rows”: 27 hours
    • 75% pressing
    • 25% sewing
  • Quilting: 15 hours
    • Up & Downs: 8 hours
    • Across: 7 hours
  • Binding: 4 hours
    • Machine, first: 1 hour
    • Hand binding, second: 3 hours
  • Thread Burying: 1 hour
  • Total:56 hours

I shortened this blog post from what I originally wrote here, because I decided to leave my totals open to interpretation. My intent is not to cause production envy, it’s more to show a relative breakdown and explain that this particular quilt played to my strengths. My strengths here were translating an original linear/geometric design with strips finished at a half-inch, and finishing with domestic machine straight line quilting (with a walking foot). I did very minimal seam ripping here (on piecing and/or quilting), but there have been other designs where that is not the case.

Planning my next big quilt with this colorful Kaleidoscope stack of wovens from @alisonglass. Shipped quickly from @serendipitywoods. Fun things ahead! #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 ...

105 4

Basting is done. Quilt conversations with a 3 year old: Silje: “Mommy, I like your fwuilt!” Me: “Thanks! Is it kinda like a blanket?!” (her previous words) Silje: “Yes, a blanket but with stripes. And it has sharp things.” (safety pins) #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope ...

262 2

This quilt... moves forward. It takes about 40 minutes per round, where a round is adding two color strips and two white strips to eight different “nonblocks” (with pressing in between each added piece). So, I’m aiming to finish about one round a day while I also work on some “secret sewing”. I wish I could move faster on this, but such is life and it is tedious. 😂🤷‍♀️😂🤷‍♀️ #momlife #parenting #thisisparenting #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope ...

239 9

My trusted photo assistant and a finished quilt! Trusted until she dropped my quilt and stepped on the corner. I remained calm until we got home and I washed it. On the way to photos, she told me, “I never feeled clouds before”, in the context of talking about rainbows. She helped hold the backdrop frame as the wind was trying to knock it over, and she even took a couple photos for me. #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope #machinequilting #machinequilted ...

500 23

I’m at a weird lull between projects and I don’t know what to do with myself, so I’ll share another favorite photo with my lovely-almost-kindergartner-assistant. What do you all do in between projects? I feel like I’m just putzing around! #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope #machinequilting #machinequilted ...

206 11

I stayed up irresponsibly late last night and haven’t done laundry all week, and here is where I’m at. Husband says it’s ok bc this is one of his favorites. 😂😂😂 #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope ...

994 63

Hooray. It’s binding time! #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope #machinequilting #machinequilted ...

155 5

Thanks for all the comments on my quilt share yesterday! Husband Aleks was especially thrilled to be called smart and wise for supporting me. That didn’t go to his ego at all 😂😆 I’ll be at the @blissfulgallery here in Winston-Salem later today doing a demo and selling some of my finished quilts! Come say hi!! #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope ...

247 9

A successful open sew with @kathleenbaden and my friends at the @villagefabricshop. I accomplished my goals! I have what I estimate to be a few more hours of quilting on this, then blocking (though it lays pretty flat) and binding. Thanks for all the positive feedback! #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope #machinequilted #machinequilting ...

307 6

Baby piles remain. On doubt: I’m at that part of the creative process where I’m doubting how this will turn out. Has my time been well spent? Have I made good design decisions? *sigh* The final piecing and quilting always gives some clarity there. 😬😁😂😬😁😂 #quilt #quilting #sewing #fabric #modernquilt #modernquilting #modernquilts #makemodern #makersgonnamake #creativelifehappylife #stephskardalquiltsaug2018 #originaldesign #showusyourmqg #machinepieced #machinepiecing #juki #aurifil #aurifilthread #sew #makemodern #alisonglass #alisonglassfabric #kaleidoscope ...

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    karen s
    August 15, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks so much for this, Steph! So often online it seems that quilts just miraculously appear, with no sense of the time and effort that goes into making them. Your post reminds me that creating beauty takes time–lots and lots of time. And that if it took you 56 hours, it will take a rookie like me a lot longer, and that’s okay! PS–You have an adorable photo assistant!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    August 22, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I love seeing this breakdown! Do I remember correctly that you work on a semi-industrial machine? This is a key factor for me that has reduced my piecing time.

    • Reply
      stephskardal
      August 22, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      Yep – Andrea – I think we have the same one maybe, because you told me about the T-gauge? I have the Juki TL-2200QVP Mini. It’s been great, as long as I keep it clean and oiled 🙂

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