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sewing for others/buying fabric

MrsSewnSew | Posted in General Discussion on

When sewing for others, do you buy the fabric yourself or allow the other person to bring it to you? What if they have bought the fabric and you can’t possibly lay out the pattern and have enough? In my situation the customer has gone on vacation and I can’t get in touch with her to find out where she made her purchases.

Edited 5/23/2002 1:34:09 AM ET by MRSSEWNSEW


  1. LizMaynard | | #1

    Most of the time my customers bring me fabric then I purchase linings, intrfacing, etc.  If she has just brought a picture for me to copy, I require a fabric deposit to cover costs for me to purchase all.  I'd set her garment aside and go to another unless you just want to chase all over to match fabric but I prefer to spend my time more wosely.

  2. Laurie41654 | | #2

    Have you just started sewing for others? I usually try to get a good "feel" of the customer and what they know about fabric before I agree to do anything. Also, if the customer buys the fabric themselves, make it known before you even look at what they have that you have to approve the fabric for the design they want. I only say that because some people do not have a clue about things like the amount of "give" or stretch a fabric has and how much is needed for the pattern they want you to make. Sometimes, it can be fun (I've done this) to shop with the customer and give them some ideas as to possibilities and choices. That way, too, you can have a little more control over the compatability of the fabric and the design.

    Good Luck.............

    P.S. Have a question for you? If you are doing alot of sewing for others, how do you charge for what you're doing? It is so difficult for me to ask someone to pay me. I could use some ideas..Thanks..

  3. ClaireDuffy | | #3

    Hi,  I sew for others all the time. I have only once been shopping with a client but she is also a good friend and she trusted my judgment completely. It was great fun helping her spend her $$$$. 

    I also try to inform a customer of the type of fabric suitable for the design they have in mind and try to steer them clear of cheap and nasty. It means the garment will at least be nicer to sew if not easier and the finished product will last longer for the effort choosing a better fabric.

    I also used to have trouble asking people for money but when one of my husbands workmates told me his fiance was charged $60 to have the front half  of an A- line wedding dress taken up (it would have been $120 if it had been the full hem) I decided it was time to review my prices. I was charging $10 to take up a dress hem.

    The most useful suggestion I was given was to have a couple of friends call other dressmakers and ask them how much they would charge for a given garment and see what the going rate is.

    The thing to remember is that you are being paid to do something they are unable to do and that is a commodity which you should charge for. You wouldn't expect a plumber to fix your loo and then say 'Oh, I don't know what to charge you!'. Think about how long the project will take you, if you don't know start timing projects until you get an idea of the time involved, and then ask yourself what is a fair hourly rate. Or you can find out what the industry standard is and go by that. Or you can consider yourself an artist and charge what you like. Good luck

    CLAIRE from Oz

  4. ecansell | | #4

    I do custom sewing, also.  The majority of my jobs are home decor--window treatments, slip covers, bedskirts, pillows,etc.  I go to the customer to measure  and tell them how much fabric to buy.  I buy lining, zippers, cord filler and thread.  If I were to construct garments, I would ask to see the pattern and make sure they know how much fabric to buy.  I agree that any job should be accepted only when you have reviewed the garment or item and have some say on the fabric.  I've had questionable fabric presented to me to do cushion covers and always tell the customer what problems could come up because of loose weave, patterns printed off grain.  Good luck.

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