How much for this dress?!? (or what I wish I could tell people)

Here’s the handmade dress that you asked me to make… and said that of course you’d pay me to sew it for you. I hope you  like it. It’s custom fit to your measurements, using the fabric that you picked from my stash and the pattern that you provided to me (I’m so glad you found it for only 99 cents!).

So I thought you’d like a breakdown of the costs. Here you go:

First, my hourly pay. I do have a college degree, and although it’s not in the field of garment construction, I used to work in the field that my degree was for and I really enjoyed the challenge. But back to this, I also have over 30 years of experience sewing garments and other items (since I was about 6, yay!). Combine 30 years of experience with a college degree and boy, I should be asking for quite a lot of money! But since you are my friend I am only going to ask you for $15 an hour. I’m sure you won’t mind paying me this little bit since I am taking time away from my family to sew your dress, right?

And now I’m going to tell you how long it took me to sew it. Don’t worry, it was actually a quick sew.

I spent 1 hour coming to visit you and taking your measurements, discussing any changes you would like to the pattern, etc. Good thing you live so close – I won’t include my gas or wear and tear on my car.

Then I pre-washed your fabric and carefully dried it. I won’t charge you for this either because you are my friend, and I was making dinner for my family at the same time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Next I spent 1 1/2 hours preparing the pattern pieces based on your measurements and the alterations you wanted, and cutting out the fabric. This could have taken much longer but like I said, your dress is an easy sew.

Actual construction of your dress only took me 6 hours – 3 sewing sessions while my kids watched movies, yay! Oh, well let’s add in an hour for unpicking and fixing a couple mistakes. I had never sewn this pattern before and I knew you’d expect me to make it perfect.

So 9 1/2 hours of my time at a friends-only rate of $15/hr equals $142.50.

The fabric that you picked from my stash cost me $12/yd.  This fabric is now out of print and I was saving it for a dress for my daughter but you’re right, I will probably never get to that so I’ll sell it to you at my cost. $12 times the 3 1/2 yards I used for your dress equals $42.

And the interfacing, thread, and wear and tear on my cutting tools, sewing machine, and serger? Oh, don’t worry about that. We’re friends!

The dress looks beautiful on you! The bill? Only $184.50. 

What? You were actually asking me to knock off a dress that you saw at Ross (it was sewn in a third world country and the seamstress made a few pennies that day) that would have cost you only $39.99? 

What a great deal! Why didn’t you buy it?

This, my friends, is why I don’t sew for money. I sew mostly for the love of it. But I’ll gladly teach you to sew! Has anyone else had thoughts like these?


p.s. some of you have been asking about the pattern I used to make this dress. I blogged more about it here. Thanks for asking! ๐Ÿ™‚

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. ๐Ÿ™‚