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The Sew What’s New Archive

This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: AndreaSews
Date: 04-11-2007, 09:21 PM (1 of 11)
Here's a link to the FAQ page of a professional dressmaker and author. I thought it might be useful to some who are in various forms of "the business," for perspective. It's a little long, but worth scrolling down and through. I thought she stated very well many things that the businessperson is often called upon to explain to customers.
Barbara Deckert Couture FAQ (
User: AndreaSews
Member since: 02-18-2005
Total posts: 1007
From: dianasiah
Date: 04-11-2007, 10:08 PM (2 of 11)
Hey Andrea...

Thats a cool link. Love the way Barbara Deckert answers all those questions.. These questions are always being asked and its great that she has a dedicated page to answer all these..

I have no idea why some people always like to, "Oh!! Sewing is so easy!!" or "Can you sew put a zip into this old dress for me? its just simple sewing!!" Well, of course I know its simple sewing!! Just need lotsa time to analyse how, when, where and what to do!! Planning time is so precious... I spent tons of my time planning projects and not that much on my sewing machine..

Really wish they will start sewing and then, they will understand..

Feel free to browse...
User: dianasiah
Member since: 10-20-2006
Total posts: 24
From: plrlegal
Date: 04-11-2007, 10:47 PM (3 of 11)
I have people that I work with are always telling me how simple, easy and quick a sewing project they want done will be for me. NOT!!! I patiently explain to them that they are probably right and they have the right idea so they should go purchase the needed equipment and learn to do it for themselves. I've come to the conclusion that they think if they inform me how simple, easy and quick it will me for me to do it that I will agree to do it for nothing for them. NOT!!! Mos of them have stopped asking me if I'll do random sewing jobs for them since I've given the same answer multiple times to different people. We have a new young legal intern that just cannot understand why I won't consent to just whip up some creations that she has in mind for a lot less than it would cost her to purchase them at a department store.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: Bama
Date: 04-12-2007, 08:01 PM (4 of 11)
I know just how you feel Patsy. I have a co-worker that has talked me into doing free hemming and alterations for her in the past. I caved in out of pity. Not anymore. Now I tell her I have too many things I want to sew for myself and don't have time for free sewing anymore. She still asks all the time. She told me just today that she would have a nice pair of pants to wear if I ever get around to hemming them for her. :re: Some days she even asks me what color of thread is currently threaded in my machine, thinking I'll hem her pants if it's the same color. :bang:

Thanks for the link Andrea. :up:
User: Bama
Member since: 03-21-2000
Total posts: 2116
From: plrlegal
Date: 04-12-2007, 10:06 PM (5 of 11)
Bama the people in my office don't even ask anymore. One dodo bird occasionally makes the remark "when Patsy has time to make me some skirts" and all I say is "keep dreaming Marilyn". Andrea thanks for the link. That lady has the right idea. Set your policies and prices stick to them.

User: plrlegal
Member since: 05-19-2001
Total posts: 318
From: teezy
Date: 04-14-2007, 12:41 AM (6 of 11)
Do you sewers out there think there is a market out there for someone who is very good at copying garments.(Me) eg a client can send their old favourite (slacks for example) and some fabric, I can copy them?

I know about copyright laws etc, but are there many people out there that even like to do it? It is something I have been thinking about for a long time.

What do you think ? Any opinions?

thanks Teresa
User: teezy
Member since: 10-27-2006
Total posts: 4
From: Magot
Date: 04-14-2007, 11:40 AM (7 of 11)
Very interesting Andrea, thanks. The pictures are a little poor quality but interesting to see the work she produces - the plus brides all look delighted to be made into Princesses iinstead of hiding!
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: PaulineG
Date: 04-14-2007, 06:11 PM (8 of 11)
Do you sewers out there think there is a market out there for someone who is very good at copying garments.(Me) eg a client can send their old favourite (slacks for example) and some fabric, I can copy them?

As requested teezy - an opinionated Aussie is getting back to you. LOL

Probably there is a market for this service but the problem is, and I believe always will be, that although people might want this sort of service they are not prepared to pay a reasonable price for it.

I can remember hearing often in the past the stories of people who had stopovers in Hong Kong on overseas trips, ecstatic about having items either copied or custom made. A significant part of their satisfaction came from the fact that they got their garment made at a fraction of what it would cost here.

I know myself that I have a couple of garments that I dearly love (the fit is just exactly right and very flattering) and would if at all possible get multiples of - if the price was right. Which basically means - I would be prepared to pay the same price as I paid for the item when I bought it retail. Maybe a little more. I doubt there would be much of a profit margin involved for this sort of sewing.

It would depend a lot on finding the right marketplace - getting the word out in the areas where there is enough cashflow to support the service.
User: PaulineG
Member since: 09-08-2006
Total posts: 901
From: VenusElaine
Date: 04-15-2007, 06:55 PM (9 of 11)
There is a huge market for people who would like custom designed AND fitted clothing.
There is a very small market for those willing to pay for this service.
RTW is such an overpriced, and therefore greatly discounted area, everyone expects comparable discounts.
I recently had e-mail correspondence with a bride who desired a very specific and intricate gown design. When I e-mailed her with a price to custom-fabricate this gown, she replied she could obtain it from the designer for the same price. Mass produced and requiring alterations vs. custom fabricated and fitted gown for the same price?
Which would you choose? And which should you choose?

"Always put as much effort into your marriage as you do into your wedding."
User: VenusElaine
Member since: 10-22-2005
Total posts: 126
From: Helen Weiss
Date: 04-16-2007, 02:07 PM (10 of 11)
I have no trouble getting $20.00 per hour for my alterations. I charge a flat rate on some jobs, for example $10.00 for a simple pant hem, $15.00 for lined and cluffed pants.
User: Helen Weiss
Member since: 10-16-2003
Total posts: 69
From: greatseams
Date: 04-16-2007, 06:23 PM (11 of 11)
Thanks so very much for the information. I charge a flat $10.00 per hr on things that I have no idea how long it will take to complete. On cutting and hemming pants, I can do them all day long for $15.00 and no one complains. Then there are the jobs that I do for free...for active Military for example. Both of my sons were not elegible to serve (one on dialysis and the other with an eye injury requiring surgery) so I do this as a way to serve my Country. Now...I do have my share of "bad apples" the ones who ask the impossible, and when I can do them...then they gripe at what I charged them. Once I had to take a private school jumper and cut it down to fit and 18in American Girl doll. I supplied everything but the uniform, did all of the work, and presented it to the customer. I gave her the bill, and she really got ugly, and said that she could have ordered the doll uniform cheaper. I had spent days on the outfit making sure that everything was perfect, and didn't charge her for all of the background work...just the 3 1/2 hrs it took to cut and sew it all up. That was the last time I took a job making a doll outfit.
a few spare hours, a stash of fabric, and a well oiled machine...
User: greatseams
Member since: 03-28-2007
Total posts: 22
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