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.

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  • 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
    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
      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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