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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: Shirlene
Date: 04-17-2007, 03:54 PM (1 of 7)
I am doing a project for a lady who is opening a tea room in her consignment shop. I am adapting pre-made dining room chair covers to look like the sides + back of an old style pinafore apron. I am not sure what to charge this lady. She is providing me with the fabric. I feel torn because this is one of my first "paying gigs" as a sewist AND she got my name through a mutual upholsterer acquaintance from whom I stand to gain a lot of I'm doing this more as a favor to him.
So I'm making a prototype and I'm thinking I should charge a little more for the prototype and less for each successive chair cover, say $40-50, then $25-30.
I'm pretty sure this lady will balk at those prices; I get the feeling she thinks she should only have to pay me $5 each! I thought that if she does balk, I will offer that she pay me for the original and then find someone else to sew the rest....but I don't want to burn any bridges...aaarrrggghhhh!! Any advice here would be appreciated! Thanks! Shirlene:dave:
User: Shirlene
Member since: 03-16-2007
Total posts: 7
From: lizzybugsmommy
Date: 04-18-2007, 09:04 AM (2 of 7)
I would charge $8-$12 hour. I would also charge $.25-$.45 a mile. IMO
Good luck
Catherine lb_pml&cb=PW

Husbands gone fishing..... I've gone fabric shopping
User: lizzybugsmommy
Member since: 05-20-2006
Total posts: 207
From: MaryW
Date: 04-18-2007, 10:38 AM (3 of 7)
This is a common problem with people who are just starting out. They don't know what to charge. Your time is worth something and so is your expertise. Do NOT underestimate your skills. If you don't think you are worthy, no one else will either.

What do people in your area charge? If it is a blue collar town you may have to be more price conscious and careful than if it is a high end community. See what the alterationists at local dry cleaners charge. $5.00 is out of the question. Give her an estimate and see what she says. Better to know right away than sew for little or nothing.

Read this and remember it was written a few years ago but the advice is still solid.
owner/editor of Sew Whats New
User: MaryW
Member since: 06-23-2005
Total posts: 2542
From: Carol in ME
Date: 04-19-2007, 08:49 PM (4 of 7)
"Old style pinafore apron" could involve quite a few pieces and gathering.

I wanted to sew covers for my own dining room chairs, and found the fabric itself was going to cost more than ready-made covers. It sounds lovely, though. And I am starting to wonder if we sewists should put more effort into teaching ourselves, and each other, techniques to overcome price resistance. Instead of griping about "Nobody will pay..." we must find ways to "sell the product."

You are going to provide a product that she can't buy, after all. She wants the atmospere of her tea room to be original. What you are doing for her can't be accomplished with the covers from her local home decorating store- Certainly not Target or some other discounter. A less-experienced sewist would probably do it for less: with less finesse and competence, too.
User: Carol in ME
Member since: 01-27-2003
Total posts: 105
From: Shirlene
Date: 04-19-2007, 09:36 PM (5 of 7)
Ya know, I really haven't been keeping track of how long it has taken me! Because I sneak a little time here, a little time there, before the baby gets up, while he's napping, after bedtime - you get the picture. There ARE several pieces/parts and I think it is a little more difficult to adapt something than to start from scratch with your own pattern. Plus I ended up doing the ruffles the old fashioned way - basting stitch and hand gathering. I just wasn't liking the results produced by the ruffler attachment, could be because the accent fabric is a thick barcloth. Anyways, I meet with the lady on Saturday and I think I'm just going to ask for $30 each and see what happens. I might even consult the mutual upholsterer acquaintance - he e-mailed me to see how it was going and said "make sure you charge her enough"!
User: Shirlene
Member since: 03-16-2007
Total posts: 7
From: Shirlene
Date: 04-21-2007, 08:40 PM (6 of 7)
I met with the client today - she LOVED the chair cover! She called 2 of her friends to come over and see it and was SO excited - I sure didn't expect her reaction! Anyways, I asked for $50 for this one and $40 for the following ones. She paid it readily, no balking. I probably could have asked for more and she would have paid it, but I'm not into price gouging. I mean, I spent at least 20 hours on that first one, so at $50, that is sweat shop wages; but the next ones will be easier. I dunno; I guess you have to start somewhere!!!:up:
User: Shirlene
Member since: 03-16-2007
Total posts: 7
From: Linda in Colorado
Date: 04-22-2007, 12:34 PM (7 of 7)
Allll riiiight, Shirlene! Wonderful that you got $50 for the first chair seat cover and will get $40 for each of the rest.

And if you had asked for more, you would not have been price gouging. People do have to pay for your expertise!

You go girl!
User: Linda in Colorado
Member since: 03-27-2000
Total posts: 102
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