How much to pay seamstress?

This is way OT, but I need help from someone with sewing experience. I had a woman from my mother’s church fix a zipper on my coat and when I asked how much she wanted to be paid she told my mother to tell me “merry christmas”. She’s an amazingly sweet woman so I need to pay her but I don’t want to insult her either. It is a down coat that goes down to my knees and the zipper is 36" long. I want to know how much to pay for the actual work and the cost of the zipper. I can get that from the store unless someone on here would know how much a 36" zipper costs off the top of your head. :slight_smile: $40? $50?


Gee, I’ve not bought a zipper at a retail store in years, I save and reuse them or buy them when I find them at thrift stores for really cheap. See if you can find out how long it took her to do the job and figure it from there? Maybe call somewhere like a dry cleaners and see how much they’d charge. I only do things like this as a labor of love. I would accept a gift from someone I’d done a repair job for, one friend I’m thinking of would offer to take me to lunch or something. If she’s not desperate for the ca$h, maybe you could provide a gift certificate to a beauty salon for pampering or for dinner for her and a friend, or take her out yourself. Since she said to tell you merry Christmas, I feel like you really can’t pay her for the job. It has to be a gift.

I agree. I think a better thank you is a small knit gift and maybe a gift card to a restaurant she likes or store where she can get supplies for her own hobby. Or maybe some baked goods to go with a little knitted gift.

I just had another thought. Gas prices are horrendous and if she drives, a prepaid gas card that just happened to find its way into hands might be very handy for her.

Yeah, you’re definitely better off giving her a “thank you” gift rather than paying for her work (as others have mentioned). A hearty thank you in written word and gift is much less likely to offend!

I’ve been sewing most of my life and often fix things for people. I think if that was her reply, I would opt for a hand made item for her (most people that do some form of craft or art really appreciate the work that went into the item) or a gift card that she would like. I think sometimes its hard to charge people when you don’t do things like this for a living. I sell some sewn items and know what to charge for them, but when people ask for alterations or repairs I have to think about the time and materials involved.
I looked at JoAnn’s website and a zipper that length was 4.99. I’m not sure how long it would take her to put it in.

Thank you for the ideas! I really appreciate it. A gift card for gasoline is a great idea. And maybe for Joann’s too. She made the bridesmaid dresses for our wedding so she’s a pro. And such a sweetheart. I’m sure it didn’t take her long at all, but I did inconvenience her for a bit by asking her to fix it for me. So I want to give her something she can really use. But I didn’t want to offend her either. Which, of course, she wouldn’t be because that’s the kind of person she is.

Yep, a gasoline or JoAnns gift card are great ideas. (As a seamstress, I’d personally go for a JoAnns .:wink: )

I love fixing up things for people, but feel awkward if they try to pay me.

And yes, a zipper like that is five dollars or less, and 36 in. hmmm…I’m sure she’s awesome, so, based on my experience, it probably took her about fifteen min, more or less. I’ve put 20-22in zippers in dresses, in about 10 min, and as I’m not a pro, so she could have been a lot quicker.

It might be a nice idea to wait for a holiday, like Valentine’s Day or something, and give something to her then. That way it doesn’t seem like you are trying to pay her, but giving her a nice gift and a “thanks for all you do”.

This is a great idea! I will wait for Valentines Day. Thank you so much. :slight_smile:

This was a down coat that would require a separating zipper so it would have taken longer. Plus it is 36" long not the standard 18-20" zipper for a dress. At the least it probably took 30 minutes. She had to carefully remove the other zipper then pin this one in etc. I too do this kind of alterations and I do not like to charge. A gift certificate to Jo Ann’s or Hobby Lobby would be a great gift to give her. Then she can select what she needs or wants.