I got contact for a job recently and they want me to give them a price list for patternmaking. I usually charge by the hour, since it can be difficult to know what something will take… sometimes simple styles take up a lot of time if the client keeps changing their mind, etc.
However, I think this gig could be a great learning experience for me and I’d like to work with them if I can. Debating how to set up a price list, how general or specific I get (ie Top/dress vs top dress w/button front, collar, etc ect).
I was thinking of having like a base price for a garment, then adding columns for types of closures, collars, asymmetry, and so on, then just making those prices based on what I think it would cost me per hour, plus a little extra for padding.
I’ve got kinda the same thing happening with textile print work. I had to give a price before starting but she turned out to be pickier than I expected. After 2 weeks, I just said, can I charge after because some of these projects are taking much more time than expected. But not to worry, prices won’t get crazy high. She was willing to try. I ask her for an amount with an , is this ok? She’s always fine and it feels more fair to me.
I would warn you to be * extremely * general in terms of pricing by category but very very specific in terms of scope.
For example, if I was working on a per-project basis I would charge between $200-1400 for most dress patterns, depending on the complexity of the design, the clarity of the design information, the sewing complication, the timeline expected etc.
Clearly that’s a huge range, but dresses can range from a simple straight grain camisole shift to a fitted evening gown with a corset foundation. There’s a huge amount of range of effort to be made! Further, the more guesswork I have to do in patternmaking, the more I charge. Did they draw the back? How does it close? do they know how they want it constructed to meet their costing or I do I have to just figure something out? Do they expect this exact pattern to work for first all the way into production, or are they going to revisit and adjust in PP? All those questions are things I have to assess in order to figure out how much to charge them.
As far as scope, I generally include a single sewn proto in muslin (using their sub fabrication to test drape costs extra), a fitting, and a round of revisions to the pattern, no alterations to the proto. If they want to redesign in the fitting, I charge them extra to revise the style into the new shape and if they want it sewn up again as a second proto or even if they want to proceed to SMS, then it’s an additional charge. I find if you let people know up front about the exact scope you’re charging for, then they tend to stay on track better and do less designing in the fitting.
the other thing you need to charge for is email/phone call/back and forth time! Since you can’t really charge for that you have to bake it into your rate. I suggest looking at projects from the scope of a work day and a half work day including talk time then set a desired income per day, mine is $400 and price from there. I can make 2 tailored pant patterns in a half day but if I’m also paying to have a proto sewn up and then fitting and revising them, I’m going to charge a full day for each.