Smart people often say that when you are good at something, you should never do it for free. Thus, if we’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort into honing our sewing skills and would like to charge for them now, we need to create a sewing services price list.
Of course, a custom sewing price list may not be at the top of our to-do list. But it is essential to figure out how high sewing prices per hour are so that we can start profiting from our skills. That’s why we have done our research, scoured the forums and learned how much people charge for their sewing services.
To charge for our sewing services, we have to consider the amount of time sewing takes out of our day. If we have a not-so-great sewing machine that tends to ruin the fabric, which we then have to fix, then we would essentially have to charge more. We’d have to invest more time in one project because of that.
However, providing sewing services while using bad equipment is not a good place to start. If one is serious about becoming a seamstress, having all the necessary tools is crucial. The quality of the clothing they make or alter should be incredible.
Nevertheless, one thing’s for sure — we should never do anything for free. Of course, we can break this rule if we are doing something for our family members or someone we love. But in the end, sewing is still a job, and everyone has to pay rent, bills, etc. The only thing we have to pay attention to here is that we don’t charge too much for some basic things or too little for complicated projects.
To get an idea of how much tailors and seamstresses charge on average, we turned to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the data from May 2017, the mean hourly wage for these occupations was $15.46.
Meanwhile, according to PayScale, a seamstress usually charges about $12.57, while the average hourly wage for a sewing machine operator is about $11.67.
Of course, that’s all in theory. Every seamstress out there has the right to create her own price list and stick to it. Moreover, she has the right to give out discounts for simple projects if she so pleases.
It is important to note that the level of expertise will determine how much we can charge for sewing. If we are used to sewing by patterns and cannot do a pattern ourselves (or we are afraid to do it), then we cannot possibly charge the same hourly rate as a professional seamstress.
What’s more, we always have to take into account that designing something from scratch will obviously cost more. In essence, having something custom-tailored is a luxury. It is not as easy as going to a store and picking something in our size. When you have a seamstress at hand, you can expect that the clothing will fit you like a glove, no matter what kind of garment you’ve picked.
Thus, a seamstress doesn’t have to charge about $12 for everything. The prices go up if she has to use a heavier fabric, if the thread has to be top-notch and if the detailing on the clothing is abundant.
Contrary to popular belief, seamstresses do alterations the most. Since fast-fashion stores and boutiques often make clothing according to some standard measurements, we cannot really find something that fits us perfectly there. So a good solution is to make some alterations and ensure that the garment enhances each part of our body.
Still, the prices will depend on the type of alteration at hand. On average, these are the prices for the most basic changes anyone could ask for:
For the most important gown of her life, a woman would have to pay a seamstress to alter it to perfection. However, that means paying:
Having custom-made pillows or cushions is a great way of adding a touch of class and uniqueness to one’s home. However, if we want to charge someone for making these, we will have to take into account the amount of time we will spend making them and how many we have to make.
On average, for making pillows, a seamstress will usually charge anywhere from $15 to $50. The price will depend on the size of the pillows and the design. If the design is standard and there are no special details needed, then we won’t be able to charge too much for it.
However, the price always goes up if we have to buy the fabric and the stuffing. In general, these are the things the clients should buy, but they would have to consult with us beforehand. Otherwise, they might buy the wrong fabric and be adamant that we use it for the pillows. That could only lead to trouble later on, as some fabrics are just not strong enough for custom cushions.
Sewing patches on a coat, for example, is a nice way of sprucing up the entire design. However, patches can be sewn on either by hand or with a sewing machine. Thus, the price will depend on the method we use, the fabric and the size of the patches.
In general, a seamstress should charge at least $3 for each patch, but even that is not enough. This sort of sewing requires one to be quite precise, so extra effort is a must. Up to $10 is a good price if we are using a sewing machine. However, if someone wants us to sew on patches by hand, then we should aim for at least $30 to $40 per patch.
Sewing curtains is not the trickiest sewing project we will ever have, but it does require a good sewing machine and perseverance. Thus, if we want to charge for sewing curtains, we have to decide if we want to charge per hour or per panel.
In general, it is always best to charge per hour, as you never know what could come up in the meantime. So for an hourly wage, aim for $10 to $15. Still, if you want to charge it per panel, then $20 would be enough, depending on the type of fabric and design. And of course, any additions would have to be charged as well, so keep that in mind.
If we are working off a pre-made pattern, then we can charge for our skirt-sewing services about $35 if the skirt should have an elastic waistband. More structured designs will obviously cost more. In essence, the price should start at about $40 and go up as the designs get harder and the fabrics heavier.
The price of sewing a dress will depend on a variety of factors, such as the type of dress, the complexity of the design, the fact that it has sleeves, multiple zippers, etc. So if we want to charge someone for making them a dress, here’s a quick cheat sheet of average prices most seamstresses would use:
Charging for a pattern we have made ourselves is even trickier than charging for our sewing services.
When creating a custom pattern, the seamstress has to calculate the exact measurements and make sure that they fit together correctly. If she’s off just one little number, then the whole pattern can look wonky, and the clothing made according to it won’t look right.
Thus, we have to charge a lot for our sewing patterns. If the designs are simple, then anywhere from $150 to $250 would do. However, if the design is elaborate and it took us a long time to make it, then anything below $1000 is selling ourselves cheap.
Giving sewing lessons is an excellent way of sharing our hobby with other sewing enthusiasts. However, we mustn’t underestimate the fact that we would be spending at least two hours per each class talking about sewing and showing them everything we know.
Thus, we have to come up with the right price. If we use this formula, we can earn a lot from giving sewing lessons:
We can use this formula for one-shot classes and adjust it a little bit for weekly lessons, for example, Beginner Sewing 101. In any case, if the price seems a tad too high, then we can adjust it or offer some discounts.
If one decides to become a freelance seamstress, working out the rates will be tricky at first. Most people just feel guilty because they have to charge others for their work. In any case, family members are the ones who are most likely to use our services at first.
Nevertheless, each freelance seamstress can determine her own rates and decide for herself how much she wants to charge. On average, the hourly rate is about $20, depending on the state and the level of expertise. But if you check out Upwork, you will see that seamstresses are charging about $35 per hour on average.
However, if you are not sure where to start, then just take the average sewing rate and add it to the cost of the materials. That’s how much you should charge for the projects. Still, know that there won’t be any money left for maintenance. So if you are just a beginner, start with this formula but make sure you up the prices as soon as possible. Once you get better at something, you will be free to charge more for your expertise.
Hopefully, we have helped you get an idea of how much you should charge for your sewing services. No matter what you do in life, know that you should never sell yourself cheap. So if sewing is your passion and you want to turn it into a real business, create a custom sewing price list and start charging for your skills.
If you think that we’ve successfully shed some light on one of the most important parts about starting a sewing business and helped you, then don’t hesitate to share this article with others. Moreover, let us know what you think in the comment section below and do say if you charge differently for your sewing services.