If you’re like me there’s something about a charm pack or layer cake in your favorite designer fabrics that has you lusting to get your hands on all those different coordinated prints to make something magnificent. Mind you, I could also have named this post “Buyers remorse when I thought it would be appropriate to make a farmers wife quilt with a layer cake, charm pack and solid white yardage”
One of my biggest fears with the Moda pre-cuts is cost. While I get a wide variety of fabric I always feel like I’m not getting as much bang for my buck
One of my biggest fears with the Moda pre-cuts is cost. While I get a wide variety of fabric I always feel like I’m not getting as much bang for my buck as I would if I picked up yardage or even a pile of fat quarters. Then I get to the issue of not wanting to spend more than $100 on a fat quarter bundle every time I fall in love with a fabric line. What’s a girl to do? Math!
That’s right math. I put together a quick chart comparing the value of each standard Moda bundle, from charm squares to fat quarter bundles who has the most value? I used the prices at the Fat Quarter Shop for all but the individual fat quarter which I used my local quilt shop’s price. I’ve made two charts, one with square inch and one with square footage cause one might make more sense to you than another.
Cost/Value per Square Inch
|Ingredient||Height||Width||Quantity||Cost||Cost per sq in *|
|Mini Charms||2.5||2.5||42||$4.50||1.71¢ sq in|
|Charm Pack||5||5||42||$10.00||0.95¢ sq in|
|Layer Cake||10||10||42||$39.00||0.93¢ sq in|
|Jelly Roll||2.5||42||42||$39.00||0.88¢ sq in|
|Desert Roll||5||42||20||$39.00||0.93¢ sq in|
|Fat Quarter (individual)||18||22||1||$3.75||0.95¢ sq in|
|Fat Eigth Bundle||9||22||40||$72.00||0.91¢ sq in|
|Fat Quarter Bundle||18||22||40||$124.99||0.79¢ sq in|
|Yardage||36||42||1||$10.75||0.71¢ sq in|
|*Note: Yes the cost per square inch is a fraction of a penny on all but the mini charms|
|Formula for cost per square inch (with height and width both measured in inches):
Bundle Cost/(Quantity Per Pack * (Height * Width))
Cost/Value per Square Foot
|Ingredient||Height||Width||Quantity||Cost||Cost per sq foot|
|Mini Charms||2.5||2.5||42||$4.50||$2.47 sq foot|
|Charm Pack||5||5||42||$10.00||$1.37 sq foot|
|Layer Cake||10||10||42||$39.00||$1.34 sq foot|
|Jelly Roll||2.5||42||42||$39.00||$1.27 sq foot|
|Desert Roll||5||42||20||$39.00||$1.34 sq foot|
|Fat Quarter (individual)||18||22||1||$3.75||$1.36 sq foot|
|Fat Eigth Bundle||9||22||40||$72.00||$1.31 sq foot|
|Fat Quarter Bundle||18||22||40||$124.99||$1.14 sq foot|
|Yardage||36||42||1||$10.75||$1.02 sq foot|
|Formula for cost per square foot (with height and width both measured in inches):
Bundle Cost/(Quantity Per Pack * (Height * Width)) * (12 * 12)
Cost/Value per Cut Yard (36″x48″) ** Added Feb. 28 2015
|Ingredient||Height||Width||Quantity||Cost||Cost per yard
(36″ x 48″)
|Fat Quarter (individual)||18||22||1||$3.75||$15.00|
|Fat Eigth Bundle||9||22||40||$72.00||$14.40|
|Fat Quarter Bundle||18||22||40||$124.99||$12.50|
|Formula for cost per cut yard (36″ x 48″) measured in inches:
Bundle Cost/(Quantity Per Pack * Height * Width) * (36 * 48)
When it comes down to it there’s not an enormous value difference comparing a designer bundle to the designer yardage
If you’re not a data person (I am, so that table makes me warm and fuzzy) here’s the breakdown:
- Yardage is the cheapest
- Layer cake is BARELY cheaper per square inch than a charm pack
- Mini charm packs are low value and should be treated as a novelty or utility
- Fat quarter bundle is the best value for variety
- When it comes down to it there’s not an enormous value difference comparing a designer bundle to the designer yardage
- For the same price as a layer cake you could get yardage that yields 52 10×10 squares with some scrap (3.72 yds)
Here’s a hypothetical
Assuming an average designer line has 35 different prints If you bought 1 yard of each of those prints you would yield 10 layer cakes + 6.5 charm packs + scrap
- Cost of 35 yards of fabric: $356.25
- Cost of 10 layer cakes and 6 charm packs: $450+
- Making pre-cutting just about a 25% upcharge
It’s clear that pre-cuts are more expensive but that premium provides the variety we want, that being said I think my tipping point is at 3 layer cakes, if I ever find myself buying that many for a project I think I’d rather re-evaluate the pattern and swap out some yardage!
How much is each cut costing me?
I’ve also always wanted a quick way to look up how much each individual charm square or jelly strip was costing me! While I was doing the math this was also really easy to figure out.
|Ingredient||Quantity||Cost||Cost per Quantity|
|Mini Charms||42||$4.50||$0.11 ea|
|Charm Pack||42||$10.00||$0.24 ea|
|Layer Cake||42||$39.00||$0.93 ea|
|Jelly Roll||42||$39.00||$0.93 ea|
|Desert Roll||20||$39.00||$1.95 ea|
|Fat Eigth Bundle||40||$72.00||$1.80 ea|
|Fat Quarter Bundle||40||$124.99||$3.12 ea|
- Weights & measurements from the Moda Bake Shop
- Pre-cut pricing from Fat Quarter Shop
- If you want to dig into the formulas I used to get these numbers you can access the Google spreadsheet of data here
Wow! I’ve always known it’s cheaper to purchase yardage (though, as you pointed out, pre-cuts allow for the variety we want), but it’s interesting to see how it all breaks down.
Glad you found it useful Deborah! I’m just pleased I justified that buying pre-cuts for most of my projects isn’t going to make me feel like I’m throwing money away unnecessarily!
This is so useful! Thanks for posting!
Glad you found it useful Elsie!
So glad I found your post. I’ve wondered about the cost breakdown but the idea of doing all that math kind of made my head spin. Of course, there has to be an upcharge for the bundles it requires an additional step in the process and there is some waste, but it’s about variety and convenience and what price any consumer is willing to put on those two factors. Thank you for laying it all out there for all of us to see. Great!
Terri, thanks for doing all the math. I’ve always considered it as “math as a foreign language” and it makes my head hurt. LOL. But I’m happy to know the results of your study. Have you ever thought of sharing these results on Pinterest? (If you already have….just disregard my note please). ….i personally think you deserve a Nobel prize for your article…(only just barely kidding) again, thanks for your post..Happy Quilting!!!
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