Do You Tip a Tailor? How Much to Tip Seamstress For…

For some people tipping is mandatory and the attitude of different waitresses and waiters is that if they don't get a tip, then their service & friendliness drops. For others, it is a gift for extraordinary service and an act of free choice.

Do you tip a tailor? Let’s just say you can if you want and if the tailor or seamstress is not offended by the act of gratitude. There is no law making tipping mandatory so if you feel like they deserve a tip then you can give one. Sometimes it is just good business to do so.

To see if you should tip a tailor or a seamstress, just continue to read our article. It explores the topic as some people feel very strongly about tipping and think everyone should do it. Sometimes tipping should be done when the tailor goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Do You Tip a Tailor?


This will depend a lot on how you view your tailor. Some people equate tipping a tailor with tipping a urologist or a dentist, doctor, or even a butcher. The people in these professions are paid very well and tipping would seem out of place.

If you think you should tip because you live in a country that has tipping as a part of the service industry, then you may be inclined to tip your tailor. But tipping is not necessary for this part of the service industry and maybe a box of chocolates or champagne at the holidays may suffice.

But there are a couple of facts you should know. First, the tailor is not underpaid like waitresses, etc., often are. Second, your tailor or seamstress may own his or her shop and make good money. Third, tailoring options are usually included in the price so they are not fixing your clothes for free.

That means you do not have to give them extra money when they perform a service for you. (Read also how much to pay a seamstress per piece)

Do You Tip a Seamstress for Alterations?


No, you do not have to but if you are a regular customer and know their situation, you may add a tip in out of kindness. But make sure you do not insult them or you will be looking for a new seamstress to handle your clothing needs.

The seamstresses we have known were all well or owned their own shops. They did not need a tip and they charged a fair price for their services. Tipping is optional and may not need to be done under these circumstances.

But if the seamstress handled special orders for you and put off other work in favor of meeting your deadline, then a tip may be in order. They are accommodating you and making sure you get your repairs done quicker than normal.

Tipping depends on what country you are in as well. Some countries, like South Korea, frown on tipping and it is not usually wanted. Unless you use a service near an American Forces base.

In those cases, you should follow the cultural custom and not tip.

Do You Tip Wedding Dress Alterations?


If you bought your dress from an expensive wedding dress boutique then the answer would be no you shouldn’t. You are already paying for those alterations through the high cost of your nice wedding gown.

But if you use a local seamstress or a friend who does the work for 1/2 to 1/3 of what it would cost to have done at a wedding dress shop, then you may be inclined to give a tip. That would simply be courteous and a show of appreciation for their hard work and low fees.

Now if the seamstress is merely an employee of the store, then you might consider giving them a tip. If they are the owner then no you shouldn’t unless the above situation arises.

In other words, it will depend on the situation and how you view tipping and their service. Use your best judgment in this area of the fashion industry and go with what you believe or your gut feeling.

Do You Tip a Tailor at a Department Store?


Generally, no you do not do this. The employees at department stores are usually well paid for their services and tipping is not the custom. Not all aspects of the service industry are under any tipping rules.

There is no law stopping you from giving them a tip and you should judge the circumstances surrounding the work you want to be done, the attitude of the tailor, and other key factors before slipping them that extra 5, 10, or even 20 dollar bill.

If you are in a country like the Philippines, then yes you should add a little tip because those tailors, even in their own shops and department stores, are not paid that well. Economic circumstances may influence you to give a tip or not.

The best thing to do is play it by ear. In well to do western countries, any work done on your clothing is usually already calculated into the price and alterations are generally free.

While tipping is seen as a good thing in restaurants, bars, lounges, hotels, and similar service outlets, tailoring and alterations are not generally seen as a place to give a tip.

Do You Need to Tip a Tailor?

No. For the most part, tipping a tailor would not be appropriate. But there are some exceptions to this unwritten rule. Special cases may demand that you add a tip in for the services rendered. Those special cases are as follows:

  • Its a rush job - You need it yesterday and your tailor or seamstress accommodates you by moving you to the head of the line.
  • You have a large order - If the alterations you need to be done are on many different clothing items and beyond 2, then you should include a tip. You are asking them to do a lot of work for you.
  • They do exceptional work - When that happens you should reward them for their service, the care and talent they used to make your repairs.
  • You want to build a relationship - Good tailors are hard to find so giving a tip not only rewards the tailor for their hard work but helps them see you as more than a customer.

Tipping is your call. Normally, a tip is seen and defined as a free gift to show appreciation for the hard work someone has done for you. It is not something that should be demanded or forced. So do not feel guilty if you do not tip your tailor or seamstress.

How Much to Tip a Tailor or Seamstress

There is no hard and fast rule on how much you should tip like there is for restaurants and other services. The general rule of thumb for the latter service industry is between 10 and 20% of the total bill. For tailors and seamstresses, your tip may be along the following lines:

  • 1. On orders over $40 between $10 & $15
  • 2. Between 1 and 10 alterations at one time without the rush notice- 10%
  • 3. Large or rush orders completed on time- between 10 & 15%
  • 4. A show of appreciation- between $20 & $50
  • 5. Complicated orders- up to your inclination but usually not less than 10 to 15%
  • 6. Custom tailoring- roughly 10% but you can add more if the work is exceptional

But tips are not usually given to the owner of the store. They are already making a profit on their alteration charges and generally, those charges are folded into your purchase price.

There is no obligation to follow the above recommendations. They are merely suggestions only and you should tip on a case by case scenario.

Tip Tailor for Hemming


Unless it is a rush or a custom job that received exceptional work, we are going to say no, do not tip in this case. Usually, hemming is part of the purchase price and you do not need to add more money to your already excessive bill.

For the most part, tailors and seamstresses are paid very well and a tip may insult them. It does happen as some people have professional ethics that are not as common as they once were.

Some Final Words

Tipping a tailor or seamstress is up to you. What has been mentioned above are simple guidelines to help you make your own decision on this issue. You know your tailor or seamstress so you are the best judge of what you should do in these situations.

Do not feel guilty if you do not tip because the cost of hemming and some alterations are generally part of your purchase price. Tipping has always been a free gift of appreciation, not something that is mandatory or enforced by law.

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