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Forum > Miscellaneous > How do I figure out what to charge for sewing? ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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How do I figure out what to charge for sewing?
Rosie who use to be Rose
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Rosie  who use to be Rose  Friend of PR
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Ohio USA
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Date: 2/26/11 4:59 PM

The word has gotten out at my church that I sew and I've got people asking me to sew things for them, to alter things for them, fix things for them, etc. They'll buy the thread, fabric, patterns, neddles, etc. but what do I charge for this kind of thing? I don't have a clue. Mimum wage? Can anyone here help me out?
Thanks,
Rosie

LouisaP
LouisaP
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Minnesota USA
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Date: 2/26/11 5:11 PM

At the risk of dampening your enthusiasm, I would suggest running to hills for your life! Sewing for other people, when you are unsure about pricing, is the most soul-sucking experience I've ever had. Your so-called clients will nickel and dime you to death, and take all of the fun out of sewing.

No, unless you are a child laborer in Indonesia, you DO NOT charge minimum hourly wages!!! You label yourself an Intermediate sewer, so you're experienced and pretty darn good at what you do.

Personally, I won't pick up a needle to sew on buttons or hem pants for a penny less than $10 an hour. I don't need the money, I'm offering a convenience and a service. If my client balks, I tell them to take it to the dry cleaners and put it in the queue there. I can't be bothered.

Fussy, meticulous sewing, like skating dresses and regency costumes and bridal, jumps to $15+ an hour. If I have to put aside my own project to sew on a deadline for someone else, I need to be properly compensated.

If you don't desperately need this income, I'd strongly advise politely refusing. It isn't worth the hassle. Have fun working on your own things, on your own schedule.

GlButterfly

GlButterfly
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Date: 2/26/11 5:29 PM

Rosie, every situation is different and yours may be a pleasant one. What I would do is to contact about three cleaners (or other shops where mending is done) in your area and find out about their pricing. Then price your work a little lower as you do not have the overhead which these places do. Then set a price for each job and do not accept work which is beyond your sewing ability. Good luck to you.

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That's Gl = for Gloria, not G. I.

skae
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In reply to Rosie who use to be Rose
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Date: 2/26/11 6:13 PM

As a person that does alter for other peopleclothes. On some projects i charge 10.00 and hr. Simple projects like pants hems jeans and others. I would charge jeans. 8.00 dress pants 10.00 with lining 12.00. Sewing outfits it would cost them more then rtw. I kinda stay away from that. Alterations I find it is kinda fun to do and you can make more money doing that.
But first get a feel of and see if this is what you want to do.
In my case I like to sew for older people I do go to there homes.
they really appreciate it a lot.
Hope this helps.
good luck in what ever you do.

------
Ecclesiastes 11:7,8 Nothing on earth is more beautiful than the morning sun. Even if you live to a ripe old age, you should try to enjoy each day, because darkness will come and will last a long time. (CEV)

Michelle T

Michelle T
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In reply to skae


Date: 2/26/11 7:54 PM

Quote:
dress pants 10.00 with lining 12.00.


And if it were me, I would charge twice as much for lined slacks, you are doing twice the hemming.

DH loves cuffed slacks and I do not do cuffs, I pay $20.00+ per pair to take them to a dressmaker.

I paid the same dressmaker $45.00 to have the sleeves hemmed on my leather jacket. There was a lining, interlining and a fused original hem.

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Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

sarah in nyc

sarah in nyc
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In reply to Rosie who use to be Rose
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Date: 2/26/11 8:08 PM

Minimum wage is for unskilled labor. what you are doing is skilled labot. call up a tile setter or a carpenter ask them what their hourly fee is..that's what you should charge.

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sarah in nyc
www.sewnewyork.blogspot.com

goodworks1
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Date: 2/26/11 8:30 PM

If I were you, I'd set some prices for some common jobs, like hemming, zipper replacement. That way as you get faster with the work, your rate per hour will increase. I think this is what skae does (above).

Be careful not to set your rates too low as it tends to be difficult to raise them later...

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blog: goodworks1.wordpress.com

goodworks1
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Date: 2/26/11 8:31 PM

Oh and go to the sewing-for-pay forum here at PR and you'll get a lot of help. (You have to contact Deepika to join.)

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blog: goodworks1.wordpress.com

Sharon1952
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Date: 2/26/11 9:48 PM

I have learned that most people have no clue what is involved in doing even the simplest sewing jobs. They never think about the unsewing time required, the fitting, etc. I would come up with a short list of common sewing tasks and have it ready to give people. Then you don't have to hem and haw over prices.

Here is what I charge:
Hemming pants $10
Hemming lined or complicated pants - $25
Replacing jeans zipper - $20
Hemming skirts - simple - $15
Hemming skirts that are pleated, or complicated - depends
Alterations- start at $40 and depends upon the # layers, seaming, etc.

Most people think it will be cheaper to have you fix it than buy a new one- not so. Most people think you can do miracles with ill fitting clothes - not so.

At church if I really want to do the sewing for someone- I do it as a gift. I do not mind offering my talents- but I often resent being paid by people who do not appreciate the years it took to get my skill. Don't undervalue yourself. It's one of the fastest ways for sewing to become drudgery.

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Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown

skae
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In reply to Michelle T


Date: 2/26/11 9:52 PM

thats nice that you would charge twice as much. I am doing alterations for ladies and men that are on a fixed income. leather jackets are differen't if you make a mistake on that one they are unrepairable. that's why i never do leather. I also enjoy visiting with these people allot of them are house bound.

------
Ecclesiastes 11:7,8 Nothing on earth is more beautiful than the morning sun. Even if you live to a ripe old age, you should try to enjoy each day, because darkness will come and will last a long time. (CEV)

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