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  1. #11
    Moderator Amulya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A'isha Azar View Post
    Dear Group,
    First, the idea of charging by the hour is almost impossible. No one ever gets rich building belly dance costumes unless they are using very cheap (think overseas) labor, as do most wholesale costume suppliers.
    I found it not profitable. First you would have to have access to wholesale beads and fabrics and most of us don't. Remember you'd have to buy quality bras to use for the costume and that is going to cost quite much too. The work you spend on it and the price you can ask for a costume just don't compare.

  2. #12
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Maryam,

    You could always make the dress as a wedding gift, if you do not feel comfortable charging, and if you don't need the money. If you can use the money, just charge what you like and feel is fair - perhaps the price of something particular that you need or want, like dance lessons or materials for your own project. Tell your friend what she is "buying" for you, it will make her feel good.

    The problem with doing big favors for friends, is sometimes *everyone* wants you to do the same big favor for them! So if people start asking you about doing *their* wedding dress, you may need to discourage them. Giving the dress, or swapping is a good way to do that, because then people don't feel they are entitled to buy your services for the same $$ price.

    Tell people that you were very happy to make the dress, but also tell people inquiring about the cost or similar gifts: "It was a lot more work than I thought! And I'm not sure I will be ready to do such a big project again anytime soon!" That way, you will only have to do the sewing you *want* to do, and not end up doing everyone else's projects while your own hobbies are neglected.

  3. #13
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Costumes, etc.

    Dear Amulya,
    I bu most of my beads from a place in western Washington, USA, called "Shipwreck beads" and pay wholesale by the kilo, usually. Shipwreck is a place I could stay in for hours, and occasionally do!! they ahve everything for the bead enthusiast. There is also a place in New York that is great for buying beads, but the name escapes me momentarily ( a side effect of being 53 years old, I guess.)
    Shipwreck buys many of their beads from, I think Hungary. There must be a wonderful place to buy them there!!
    Regards,
    A'isha

  4. #14
    Member Mariyam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by da Sage
    The problem with doing big favors for friends, is sometimes *everyone* wants you to do the same big favor for them! So if people start asking you about doing *their* wedding dress, you may need to discourage them. Giving the dress, or swapping is a good way to do that, because then people don't feel they are entitled to buy your services for the same $$ price.

    Tell people that you were very happy to make the dress, but also tell people inquiring about the cost or similar gifts: "It was a lot more work than I thought! And I'm not sure I will be ready to do such a big project again anytime soon!" That way, you will only have to do the sewing you *want* to do, and not end up doing everyone else's projects while your own hobbies are neglected.
    These are real words of wisdom and you have actually verbalized my biggest fear: I have never had the intention of turning it into a "job" and I certainly never will. I never take on a sewing project that was imposed on me, I'm usually the one who offers. And to me, that's where the difference lies. When I'm offfering, it's because I know that I will have the resources (=time!) to take on the project. Otherwise, I know I'll be stressing out and that I won't be happy. I want sewing to remain a hobby I enjoy, not a source of stress. I guess the same goes with dancing, I'm sure you professionals will agree: if it becomes a source of stress and a source of distress, it's no fun anymore...

    I know people will be impressed, I know I'm going to be congratulated and I'm sure I'm going to have tons of comments like "My cousin/sister/niece/neighbor is getting married/prom/party, can I give her your name?" And honestly, I'm not ready for that and I never will...

    This is probably why I feel bad about asking for money from my friend, as making the dress was about making my friend happy, making sure she's the best looking bride she can ever be, so she can cherish this moment forever. Just knowing that makes all my efforts worthwhile. It's so personal, there's a little bit of myself in that dress and I cannot do the same for a stranger or a "client". So I admire those of you who are making garments or costumes for total strangers!!!

    One of my teachers once talked about setting up her own troupe and knowing I can sew, she asked me if I would like to make simple costumes for the group (I'm emphasizing the word simple!). I said yes, of course, because that teacher is a darling and my fellow classmates are great gals. But we're not there yet! Classes have yet to resume, we have to figure out the who/what/when/where/why of the troupe and then only we can start thinking about the costumes...

    Anyways, THANK YOU for your message da Sage, you hit the nail right on the head, you have no idea!

  5. #15
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Mariyam, I think you must be a very good and generous person. I made my own wedding dress, and my quick and firm answer to anyone asking me to make a dress for them would be a polite verbal refusal, matched in my most secret heart by a scream of, "Not just no, but hell, no, I'd rather be nibbled to death by ducks than make another wedding gown." I firmly believe that brides and dancers alike should not ask their friends and students to donate long hours of labor as a favor- or worse, act like being asked to spend a hundred hours sewing on a dress is some kind of honor being bestowed on the potential laborer. Yeah, I know, I sound like an ungenerous grouch, ad I don't mind helping my students out with costume making directions and some practical help, but to make costumes for an entire group??? I cannot imagine asking a student to do such a thing, but then I make costumes myself and know how much time it takes to make even a simple circle skirt.

    I suggest contacting professional seamtresses and tailors in your area and finding out what they charge per hour. There is a lot of protest in this forum about dancers providing their services free and undercutting the professionals, and the same can be said for the business of sewing. If you don't want to get into the business of sewing professionally or as an amateur for others, and feel you need a good excuse, you could offer this one.

    End of rant.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  6. #16
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Prices, etc.

    Dear Shanazel,
    I think you have said it just perfectly!! While costuming has an esthetic reward, it also MUST have a monetary one, because it is HARD WORK!!!
    Regards,
    A'isha

  7. #17
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Hi Mariyam,

    I don't sew much for other people, and when I do, it's always really a favor, not a business (whether or not they pay me!). I make that pretty clear. I really like the designing and looking at the finished product part, much more than the sewing!

    A (Dutch) friend of mine sews beautifully for herself, and she also made an elegant wedding dress for her friend, and a sharp tailored suit for her mother-in-law. All of a sudden, *everyone* wanted her to make clothes for them, both friends and relatives (which was very uncomfortable)!:eek: She had to put her foot down, but it would have been easier if she had started to gently discourage people from asking, from the very beginning.

    I always tell people that I'll be "happy to help you learn to sew for yourself"...that is a good line, too! And also, "Sorry, you can't borrow my sewing machine - I need it at home."

    I would encourage you to have a couple of other troupe members help you with sewing costumes, especially if you wind up making more than one set of costumes. It is easy for non-sewers to discount the time and trouble of sewing, even though they have decided that it's "too hard" for them to do themselves. But making the first set of costumes, would be a great and generous way to help the troupe get started. I would be so proud to see a whole troupe in my costumes!

  8. #18
    Member Mariyam's Avatar
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    When I'm talking about making costumes for the troupe, I mean making about 5 circle skirts with no trimmings whatsoever So this isn't much work, it can bedone in one afternoon on a rainy day! LOL I'm not talking about making complicated skirt, bra and belt sets... uh uh, I wouldn't get into something like that! :eek:

    I'll prepare some replies for the ever insisting persons :p

  9. #19
    Member Mariyam's Avatar
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    If you are curious about the dress, here are some pictures:

    Photo 1
    Photo 2
    Photo 3
    Photo 4

    Never mind the mess around, when I'm busy sewing, I forget to clean up

  10. #20
    Moderator Safran's Avatar
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    Oh Mariyam, that dress is gorgeous... I especially love how you've laned the fastening at the back with a row of pearls + the whipped-cream-like top layer of the skirt part! I now completely understand why you fear that there will be a line of brides-to-be at your doorstep soon

    Shanazel and others - I find your rant completely justified. This is why every dancer should try to sequence-bead-fringe a belt of their own first.. Then they'd have a completely different view on the prices of costumes

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