The amount of time it takes to make a quilt will vary based on the size of your quilt and your method of assembling the quilt. A baby-size quilt (40” x 45”) with a simple design, pieced and quilted by machine could take as few as 6 hours to complete. A king-size quilt (108” x 110”) with an intricate pattern pieced and quilted by hand could take several years to complete.
When we’re considering how long it takes to make a quilt, we need to first define what making a quilt means.
If you are piecing the quilt top and sending it off to a longarm quilter for quilting, the time you put into making your quilt could be much lower than a person who plans to piece the quilt and quilt it themselves. Because of this, I’m going to break down the estimated time frames for each step in quilt making.
You can use these estimates to calculate how long your project will take depending on what methods and which steps you plan to do yourself.
How Long Does it Take to Piece a Quilt Top?
Piecing a quilt top together is made up of two steps: cutting and piecing.
You can purchase pre-cut quilt kits or use pre-cut quilt fabric like charm packs to lessen the amount of time it takes to cut your fabric or completely remove that step altogether.
The amount of time it takes to piece a quilt top depends heavily on the pattern. For example, a simple patchwork pattern made out of 5” squares will piece together much quicker than a double Irish chain quilt pattern. Both patterns use small squares of fabric, but one is much more intricate than the other.
Generally, the smaller your cuts of fabric are, the longer it will take to piece them together. One method to speed up the piecing process is called chain-piecing. This is where you run each step of assembly through your machine at the same time. You can think of it as an assembly line for your quilt top. Once one step is complete, you will move onto the next step for all of your quilt blocks.
I polled my Instagram followers to see how long it takes them to make a quilt top. When asked what the shortest amount of time it took them to make a baby quilt top, the majority said it took them between 3-5 hours. This amount of time sounds right if you are planning a quilt top that has large pieces and a small number of seams.
The shortest amount of time it took the majority of my followers to finish a large throw quilt (60″ x 70″) was 10 hours. This lines up with my experience, too!
A simple baby-size quilt top (40” x 45”) will take anywhere from 3-9 hours to make. A simple large throw-size quilt top (60” x 70”) will take anywhere from 10-20 hours to make.
If you are a beginner quilter, it might take you 2 or 3 times longer to make the same quilt top as an experienced quilter. At the end of this post, I’ll show you how to estimate exactly how long it will take YOU to make a quilt top.
How Long Does it Take to Piece a Quilt Backing?
A quilt backing can be as simple or as intricate as you want. If you are using wide 108″ fabric for your backing, this step won’t take long at all. All you’ll have to do is trim your backing to size.
If you’re using regular width quilting cotton, you may have a seam or two to piece and press, but this is still pretty quick.
Some people prefer to have more intricate quilt backs. Karen Brown from Just Get It Done Quilts has made a video about her “afterquilt” process. If you choose to make an “afterquilt”, your backing could take longer than your quilt top! Check out Karen’s afterquilt video below:
Making a seamless backing will take about 10 to 15 minutes for a baby-size quilt (40” x 45”) and 15 to 20 minutes for a large throw quilt (60” x 70”).
Piecing a simple quilt backing with one or two seams will take about 15 minutes for a baby-size quilt (40” x 45”) and 30-45 minutes for a large throw quilt (60” x 70”).
How Long Does it Take to Baste a Quilt?
Basting a quilt tends to be one of the quickest steps of the entire quilt-making process. How long it takes you to baste your quilt will depend on your method of basting. I’ll talk about two methods today: pin basting and spray basting.
How Long Does it Take to Pin Baste a Quilt?
Of course, the larger the quilt is, the longer it will take to baste. Pin basting is more time-consuming than other basting methods, but it is a favorite because it’s low-cost and easy to do.
Pin basting consists of pinning the quilt top, batting, and backing together every 3 to 5 inches. Having a large floor area to lay out your quilt will speed up this process.
It will take around 15 – 30 minutes to pin baste a baby-size quilt (40” x 45”) and 45 – 60 minutes to pin baste a large throw-size quilt (60” x 70”).
How Long Does it Take to Spray Baste a Quilt?
If you want to speed up the time it takes to make your quilt, spray basting is the way to go. The speed and ease are the main drawing points of this method.
One downfall is that you’ll be using an aerosol can and the spray can get into the air and on your floor if you’re not careful. A well-ventilated area is a must-have for this method of basting.
It will take around 10-20 minutes to spray baste a baby-size quilt (40” x 45”) and 25-35 minutes to spray baste a large throw-size quilt (60” x 70”).
How Long Does it Take to Quilt a Quilt on a Domestic Sewing Machine?
Quilting a quilt is one of the most time-consuming steps when you are making a quilt.
If you want to skip this step altogether, you can send your quilt to a longarm quilter. Longarm quilters generally charge a rate per square inch of fabric, so the larger your quilt is the higher the cost of quilting will be.
Some quilters send their quilts off to a longarmer because they enjoy the previous steps more than quilting. Some quilters prefer to quilt their own quilts on their domestic sewing machines. It is all up to personal choice and there is no wrong way to make a quilt!
The size of your quilt and the type of quilting you want to do will greatly affect how long it takes to quilt your quilt. A more intricate design or a design that requires you to change your thread color will take much longer than a more simple quilting design.
One of the fastest quilting designs is wavy lines. This design is easy to do because you don’t have to worry about your lines being perfectly straight and you don’t have to start and stop your quilting often. The further away the lines are from each other, the faster you’ll be able to finish your quilting.
An all-over wavy line design could take anywhere from 1-3 hours for a baby-size quilt (40” x 45”) and 3-6 hours for a large throw-size quilt (60” x 70”).
HELPFUL TIP: When deciding how far apart your quilting lines should be, refer to your batting as a guide. Batting will always list a suggested amount of space between quilting so you can be sure that your design works well with your batting.
Another quick quilting design is cross-hatching. This all-over design looks like an angled grid on your quilt. The further away the lines intersect, the faster it will be to finish the quilting.
A cross-hatch design could take anywhere from 3-5 hours on a baby size quilt (40” x 45”) and 6-8 hours on a large throw size quilt (60” x 70”)
If you’d like to check out some fun quilting designs that you can do on your domestic sewing machine, I highly recommend purchasing the books WALK and WALK 2.0. These books have a ton of fun designs that will help you level up your machine quilting skills.
How Long Does it Take to Bind a Quilt?
The last step to finishing a quilt is binding. There are two methods for binding a quilt: machine binding and hand binding. If your goal is timeliness, machine binding is the way to go. But if you want a seamless and clean look, hand binding might be right for you.
How Long Does it Take to Machine Bind a Quilt?
While binding does take some time, it’s significantly faster when you’re using your sewing machine. For these numbers, I’m factoring in the time it will take to square your quilt, make the binding and attach the binding.
Machine binding a baby quilt (40” x 45”) will take anywhere from 1-3 hours. Machine binding a large throw quilt (60” x 70”) will take around 3-5 hours.
How Long Does it Take to Hand Bind a Quilt?
The amount of time it takes to hand bind is very subjective because each individual person hand sews at their own speed.
Hand binding is not the fastest way to finish a quilt, but it is a favorite among quilters!
A lot of quilters find that they enjoy the extra “handmade” touch and hand sewing can be very therapeutic. It’s a great way to stay productive while you’re watching your favorite TV show or listening to an audiobook.
You can expect hand binding a quilt to take around 4-6 hours for a baby quilt (40” x 45”) and 6-9 hours for a large throw size quilt (60” x 70”).
How Long Does it Take to Make a Quilt?
Taking all of these parts together we can estimate how long it will take to make a quilt. Below is a handy chart that shows how long it will take to make a simple baby-size quilt and a simple large throw-size quilt. The columns show the shortest estimated time to the longest estimated time.
|Baby Quilt (40″ x 45″)||7 hours||14 hours||22 hours|
|Throw Quilt (60″ x 70″)||17 hours||28 hours||38 hours|
Keep in mind that these are estimates and the actual amount of time it will take you to make a quilt will vary. With all of the different methods there are to make a quilt, it’s nearly impossible to accurately measure the average amount of time it takes to make a quilt.
If you’d like to get a more specific measurement for yourself that takes into account your personal speed of quilt making, check out the next section below!
How to Estimate How Long it Will Take to Make a Quilt Top
If you’d like a more precise measurement of how long it will take you to make a quilt top, you can do a quick calculation to help you estimate the time commitment.
Grab some scrap fabric and time yourself cutting and assembling one block of your quilt. This process works well for patterns that have repeating blocks.
After you have your time frame for one quilt block, you can multiply that by the number of quilt blocks in your pattern for a rough estimate of how long it will take to piece your quilt top.
Of course, if you use time-saving measures like cutting multiple layers of fabric at a time and chain piecing, you’ll be able to shave a significant amount off of your estimated time.
To get an even more exact number, time yourself chain piecing together one row of blocks. Times this number by the number of rows in your quilt and you’ll have a pretty close estimate for how long your quilt top will take after your pieces are cut.
I like to use this method as a way to get a rough measurement to help me understand exactly how large of a commitment my upcoming project will be. Plus, making a test block before you dive into your pattern is a great way to get familiar with the pattern!
HELPFUL TIP: Use your scrap fabric for test blocks. Test blocks are a great way to use up any outdated or “ugly” fabric that you’ve been holding onto. The best part is that a test block doesn’t have to look pretty – its function over beauty!
Now that we know how long it can take to make a quilt, I’d love to know – how long does it take YOU to make a quilt? Do you keep track of the time you’ve put into your projects?