Friday, January 06, 2012

Calculating Costs

In my last post I talked about my fabric swatch tests, the dye test and the batik test.  Today I want to talk about cost comparison.  Ultimately, I will want to choose the fabric that works best for my needs, but if I can choose the least expensive, I will.  
Each of my fabric samples had different widths.  This is important because if you buy a yard of fabric that is 108" wide compared to 42" wide, you will get 3 times more fabric with the first one per yard purchased.  Is it 3 times more expensive?  Or is it cheaper??  Good question!  To be able to compare the prices I calculate the price per square foot.  See the following for an example:
The taxes are usually paid for local purchases.  The shipping costs are for the on-line orders.  It could make a difference in your decision. I like buying local, and I like the immediacy of it's availability....assuming someone local has what I want. Another factor to check... sometimes when you buy 10 yards or more, you will get a better price.  And sometimes, if you buy 100 yards, the price gets even better!  Perhaps you could consider going in with a few friends?

Caveat...Shrinkage....I did not measure shrinkage in my testing or my calculations. It is usually a small factor, from 1 - 10%.  It might be a good idea to check it for any new fabric samples before ordering a big batch. Measure the fabric swatch before washing and after.  Get a ratio of the two measurements and compare across all your samples.

Now, since I have already calculated the prices for my samples, I will share them with you.  They do not include shipping, taxes, or shrinkage. (Sorry, wish I knew how to format this into a table...)

Kaufman pimatex (not PFD) = $0.75/square foot
Testfabrics, 419W = $0.41/square foot
JoAnns Legacy Muslin = $0.37/square foot
Dharma  MCCB Cotton Broadcloth, 59" = $0.59/square foot
Dharma CCL Cotton Lawn = $0.49/square foot
Dharma SWCB60 Cotton Broadcloth = $0.39/square foot
Dharma PTC45 Pimatex PFD = $0.60/square foot

So which was my favorite?
Well, the JoAnns was the least expensive, did well in the dye test but failed the batik test.  I will definitely buy some and use for the backs of my quilts, especially since the width is so awesome!  108" !!!  NO more piecing the backs!
Next in terms of price is Dharmas Sandwashed Cotton Broadcloth.  Good price, but the red dyes were not as intense and bold as several others on the list, so I'll say no to this one.
Next is Testfabrics, 419W.  It did super on the dye test and the batik test.  The price is really good....and a little secret, if you ask for seconds, the price is half of what I showed here.  This is a no-brainer.  It WINS hands down over all the others.  If it was as wide as Jo-Anns, I'd buy it for all my needs!!  Also, as a side note, the Testfabrics is sold per meter....not per yard.  It adds an extra step in the calculations, but basically a meter is slightly bigger than a yard.

Last, as mentioned previously, I did a batik test on all the samples.  I had another agenda for this test because I wanted a large batiked flower for another quilt (I am not showing that yet, sorry!).  However, I assumed that drawing a big flower with the tjanting tool would be a drippy mess and I was not expecting much success.  I took 26 big squares representing multiple samples of my test fabrics.  Surprisingly, they all looked really good.  It wasn't as hard as I thought, or my skills are better than my confidence.  So....I have enough for both the original project and a new one, that I am calling Urban Daisy.  It is 25 daisies, and is king sized.  I tore each sample to fit on my batik frame, slightly larger than a fat quarter.  After dyeing all of them, batiking the daisy, bleach discharging, and overdyeing, each was trimmed to 19" x 19".  I am happy that the testing gave me the knowledge about which fabric I want to buy, and more so, that the leftovers gave me a new bright quilt.  Here is a closeup.  Yummy and warm!


Norma Schlager said...

I knew that "secret" about the seconds. I was told by their sales rep who I met in Houston. Unfortunately they don't always have them, but if they do it's a huge savings. I love your daisy sampler quilt. It certainly is yummy and warm!

Kathy York said...

Thank you! Another good reason to go to Houston....fortuitously running into sales reps! Hey, it was great to meet you!

Sheila said...

What excellent information!

Frieda said...

Thanks Kathy, that just confirmed that I am using the best choice in fabric. Thanks for doing all the work.
I love the new quilt!

Vivian Helena said...

thank you for doing the comparisons. I have used Testafabrics seconds in the past. But for my classes use Hoffmans, grey goods are the ones they use for their batiks..
I will try the Joannes,, sounds like a great idea for backs.
Loved the info on your climbing.. I am lucky to view from the bottom, and we live in Coarsegold, very near Yosemite.. Love your art work

Kathy York said...

You have inspired me to call Hoffman and check them out! And, I am so, so, so jealous that you live so close to the valley. At this point, I would be lucky to view it from the bottom too, though some lovely hikes would be nice as well. Thanks for writing!