Friday, November 20, 2009

Counting the Cost

How do you figure the cost of a project?

After my mom died, in one of her notebooks we found a careful record of fabrics she had purchased for quilting projects--color, price, yardage, and shop. Included was a list of quilts each piece had been used in, and who had received the quilt as a gift. It's the closest thing we have to a portfolio of her projects, and it was fun to have a window on the amount she had spent for each quilt at the time.

This brings back to mind a question I have thought about now and then: how can we best calculate the cost of any given project?

This may not be the most burning question of life. Why would we want to know the cost? Many projects are mostly about the satisfaction of creating something beautiful and original, but many more are about the satisfaction of spending less and meeting needs while fulfilling the urge to create. The one certainly does not exclude the other! It's all about creating beautiful and functional things.

Having an idea of the cost of a project does help us to compare the price of making an item versus the price of simply buying it. Certainly in sewing, paying full price for fabric, trims, and notions for a project can be more expensive than a purchased item--even without counting in the time involved. On the other hand,we fortunately have coupons and sales--and the options of thrifting and recycling!

Calculating the cost of an item may well also increase the satisfaction of its creation. Making things for less increases what I call the 'glory points' quotient.

Here's my own philosophy about figuring the price of a sewing or crafting project: the price of any item purchased for that project is counted as part of its cost. Any reuse of patterns, thread, trim, scraps, and so on is then free!

This means that your sewing becomes more economical as your stash of materials increases. For me, having materials around me gets the creative juices going, and a great part of the reward of creation is making something beautiful and functional for the house or family from almost nothing.

It's well worthwhile to inexpensively add to the stockpile!

1 comment:

  1. Good philosophy! How cool it must be to flip through your mom's notebook!


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