Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Altered State II - Thanks for Your Suggestions

Thanks everyone. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions on my previous blog post. I was able to spend some time gathering information for my price list. Rosanne great suggestion on checking my local library for Mary Roehr's how to book on alterations. Saturday afternoon I took a trip to the Woodson Branch Library. Well they didn't have a copy of Roehr's book, but I found tons of books on crafting. Two on related subjects: "Do You Sew for Profit?" a guide for wholesale, retail, and consignment by Barbara Wright Sykes and "The Fashion Designer Survival Guide", an insider's look at starting and running your own fashion business by Mary Gehlar. Both of these are of great interest to me, but are a little off topic. More about that in another post.

This weekend I was able to get some of the alterations done, with one more to complete. Thank you. God! What I wanted to finish most was a price list for alterations. DONE. The price list represents the alterations that I've done in the past. I used information from web and local dry cleaners' price lists. There were a few website that had comprehensive information on Sewing as a Business similar to the text I mentioned above.

Here is my first draft of the Alteration Price List.

Pants unlined $10
Pants lined $15
Cuffed pants unlined $12
Cuffed pants lined $18
Skirt straight unlined $12
Skirt straight lined $24
Skirt flared to full unlined $18
Skirt flared to full lined $24
Sleeves unlined $12 Sleeves lined $18
Jacket sleeves w/vent $24
Jeans $15
Fitting Adjustments
Straps (camisole) $12
Sides taken in or tapered unlined $10 - $16
Sides taken in or tapered lined $24 - $36
Waist taken in unlined $18
Waist taken in lined $18 - $36
Tapered pants through hem unlined $14
Tapered pants through hem lined $24
Repairs and other adjustments*
Replace elastic $6 - $12
Replace zipper skirts $12
Replace zipper dress $12 - $24
Replace zipper pants $12
Reattach zipper $6 - $12
Add hook and eyes, snaps $2 set
Add machine buttonhole $2 ea.
Replace/add button $1 ea.
Shoulder pads inserted $12 - $24
Shoulder pad removed $9 - $18

Prom and evening dresses – depends on style, fabric, etc. Alterations for special occasion garments will be based on $20.00 per hour. Minimum alteration charge $16.00per appointment.

Important Note: The above prices are estimates of general services to be rendered. Special requests can increase the cost of the alterations due to an increase in labor.

Thank you for your patronage.

*Required notions are provided.

This time around I really didn't follow any specific guidelines offered in the information. I kinda combination bites and pieces to come up with something to test on returning and potential clients. My goal is to keep alterations down to a minimum.

For those of you who may be faced with the same challenge, here are some websites that might be helpful:

MSU Cares
CraftLink Resource Centre
Marcia's Makings New Construction and Alteration Pricing


  1. I think this is a great price list.

    Sadly, because of your skills, I'll bet people will come to you regardless of price. :)

  2. I agree. Clients seem to be happy to pay whatever the amount so they can continue to wear their favorite garments. I think the price list is great!

  3. Congratulations on making a price list. I find it hard to say no, and even harder to charge! I told my husband the day I actually make up a price list is when I'd start charging :)So you are well on your way.

  4. You might also want to put a line in there about how long the client has before she can return something and get her money back...just a thought!

  5. Cennetta, you're in Chicago aren't you? You might consider titling your alteration list "special pricing for family and friends ONLY"...or you might be inundated with alterations.
    I've done alterations here (a whole season through prom and bridal, referrals from the bridal salon), and it was a nightmare in that I hate doing them, but the pricing was a whole lot higher than your list. Minimum charge, walking in the door, was $50, and we charged out at $25/hour for anything over the first hour. Many were just hems - but that was a $50 charge on a hem - many were 3 layers, chiffon, poly satin and lining. The pricing was set to accommodate brides, but hopefully discourage other alterations - and even that high it just didn't work to discourage very much.
    The fabric store where I taught had someone who did buttons and the charge was $1 to sew on a button, $5/buttonhole to make new buttonholes.
    It's great that you're making a list, but be careful that you don't end up creating a monster for yourself because your prices are so reasonable.

  6. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Carolyn, Great suggestion. I didn't think about the possibility of someone wanting their money back. I will add this condition.

    Marjorie, Great tips for improving the "list". I originally thought I'd use this list for "friends/family" and potential referrals. You are right, compared to other lists and suggestions, my prices are low. I have been extremely cautious with pricing my services (Chicagoland rates) for the simple fact that I have not had any formal training other than home economics sewing class, which may not be considered as formal training. I come from a family of sewists of sorts. Occasionally I alter formal wear charging no where near the prices that you quoted. I've been robbing myself.

    And you are right again about "creating a monster". After completing the alterations for a recent client, I gave her a list. She said, "I'll pay whatever." A few of the people that I sew for have told me horror stories about simple jobs commissioned by the cleanser that practically render their garment unwearable.

    I really appreciate everyone's suggestions with this and will take another look at the prices.

    Thanks again,



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