Longarm Quilting FAQ

The Quilting Cowgirl

Longarm Quilting FAQ

Question #1: How much do longarm quilters make?

Answer #1: I charge two cents a square inch for all over, edge to edge quilting. (More per square inch for custom quilting) If a customer brings me a queen size quilt top that measures 100 x 100, that is 10,000 square inches times $.02, which equals $200. That is $200 for my labor charge only. 

This does not include any extra costs for thread color changes. I also sell batting and backing fabric ( which I buy at wholesale) or the customer can bring their own. I also have a binding service and I also charge for additional services such as piecing a backing, making binding and attaching, squaring a quilt top after quilting and making labels. The total cost to my customer may very well be more than just my labor charge but I also have the ability to make more based on the extra service options that I can provide.


Question #2: How much does it cost for longarm quilting?

Answer #2: Most longarm quilters charge by the square inch. The larger the quilt and the complexity of the quilting design, the more the costs will be. Also factored into the cost, is the preparation time to prepare the quilt for quilting and the supplies such as batting and thread used in the quilting. Quilters who do CUSTOM quilting often charge several cents more per square inch for this type of quilting due to the complexity and original freehand designed quilting.

Question #3: How long does it take to quilt with a longarm?

Answer #3: It depends on how big the quilt is and the complexity of the quilting. On a queen size quilt 90 x 100, using an allover edge to edge type quilting it could easily take 6 to 7 hours or longer. To custom quilt a quilt of this same size, it could take 20 to 40 hours depending on the quilters skillset and the complexity and density of the quilting.

Question #4: What is the best longarm quilting machine for home use?

Answer #4: The best longarm machine for home use is one that the quilter can use with ease and is most comfortable with its basic functions and will fit in the space requirements of the owner’s home. Not to mention, one that is the most budget friendly for that individual quilter. Every quilter has a different budget for machines they can afford.


Question #5: Is quilting an expensive hobby?

Answer #5: Quilting can be as expensive or inexpensive of a hobby as you make it. As with any hobby, a quilter will find ways to make their hobby work with their personal budget. This hobby does require some initial investments of a sewing machine and some basic sewing supplies and tools along with the building of a fabric stash.

Question #6: Do you tip a longarm quilter?

Answer #6: Tipping a quilter is not required, just like any other business. A tip can be given to a quilter as a reward for going “Over the top” with their talent, design, time and effort. Tips tell your quilter that you are extremely happy with their talent, quality and timeliness.

Question #7: Why do handmade quilts cost so much?

Answer #7: Simply put, because of all the hours of laborious love and materials that go into making such a treasured heirloom. Handmade quilts are made to last for well over a hundred years. But factoring in the cost of the machines, supplies and talent it takes to prepare a handmade quilt, are the expensive things behind the quality, long-lasting heirloom that someone spent hours on end creating just for the perfect recipient.

Question #8: How much does it cost to have a quilt professionally quilted?

Answer #8: To have a quilt professionally quilted by a quilter with several years of quilting experience under their belt, one could easily expect to pay between $.02 and $.10 a square inch for the quilting labor. This does not include making label, piecing backing, making binding and/or attaching, batting, thread color changes or special quilting designs or specially purchased digital designs.

Question #9: How can I learn quilting for free?

Answer #9: Luckily we live in a time of the Internet and social media. There are multitudes of quilting tutorials and videos, as well as free patterns and instructions found all over the world wide web. One can also utilize local resources, such as sewing guilds or organized sew groups or cooperative learning environments that host free demonstrations.

Question #10: How do I choose a longarm quilting machine?

Answer #10:

There are several important key factors to consider when choosing a longarm quilting machine. 

1. Warranty- Is machine built to last your lifetime of quilting and have service readily accessible if needed? 

2. Customer Service- An invaluable resource is having someone to reach out to to handle issues and troubleshoot errors. 

3. Stitch Regulation -- Consistent stitches with hand movement and machine speed will result in beautiful quilting 

4. Sewing head size -- Quiltable (throat) space for doing quilts with larger blocks, wider borders and medallions or center star quilts 

5. Ease of use and learning applications-- Is it easy to load a quilt on, & if computerized-- the simplicity of software applications. 

6. Affordability -- finding the right machine to fit your quilting budget after considering the above mentioned key factors.