The Costs of Fashion

And How To Calculate What You Want To Pay.

I’m not talking about the ecological price of fashion, for as long as you only use natural fibers, like I do, the cost is negligible.

The Cost To Your Wallet

This is to many this is the important point. How much do I have to pay? Can I pay less somewhere else? Before you do much of that you need to understand…

The Cost Of Making It

There are two parts to the cost of making something. The Cost Of The Materials and The Cost Of Time.

Some styles, yes probably only take an hour, maybe two, to make nicely. Especially if they are mass produced, but even some slightly customized pieces won’t take any longer. Even a fully customized to a odd body shape, may depending on the style, only take an extra hour.

But, as soon as you add lots of details, even if you aren’t supposed to notice the details, (looking at smoothly set in sleeves, they are the literal worst) the time adds up. And the more seams, particularly fussy seams, the more time.

People should be paid well for their work. Here in the USA, the minimum wage is a little over seven dollars an hour. But that is for unskilled labor, so many people recommend that seamstresses ask for more. I have slightly mixed feelings about asking for more, because it is already expensive enough to pay for many full days of work.

That is in America though. The cost of living is higher. So we need more money to survive. So… You look for somewhere with a lower cost of living and pay them!

Yes, this is a great idea. Buy “everyday”, “basic”, clothes from a shop that cares about their workers, it strikes the best balance between the cheap things that come from Chinese Slave Labor and the expensive things that will support someone.

Look for people who mention living wages and other such terms. Look for shops that talk about knowing their workers. Ask about how much they pay. You may get a slightly odd quote, but there may be a reason behind that. If they tell you they “pay per piece” glance at their price extremes and you should realize why, some garments are hard and some are easy.

So now that you’ve read through the lecture on supporting others, let’s talk about materials. Look at the specs for the dress and at the details, then look online for how much that material would cost. Then subtract up to 20% on the assumption they got it at wholesale prices.

So how much should you spend? It depends. But spend wisely.

We’ve Got Pockets

Whenever it was I spent 10 days off grid. I found it to be super inspiring. On the second Thursday we had a cook out for dinner and after the guys showed up we started talking sewing.

Yes, that happened. And No they didn’t mind. And Yes as I often find they had useful inputs.

I had mentioned to my best friend that I wanted to go visit Israel with her next year and I figured we needed at least a thousand dollars each. She had recently been hired to make little girl dresses. Upon finding that she enjoyed it, she has been working on setting up a shop. We were talking pricing.

JH said when someone other than his job was wanting his time he asked for at least $25 an hour per person. He got paid that much, his brother would want that much, his machinery cost that much to run. This added up to $75 per hour for him and DH to cut down a tree. One tree took them only an hour and the man paid them $200.

Let me not say anything. Take a deep breath. I’ve had people tell me that $35 was to much to hem a pair of pants. But they were willing to pay fifteen dollars.

This is all to say we were encouraging SH to bump the finished price of the dresses to the $70-$100 range. Sew much closer to what she should be earning.

In turn I mentioned my sewing plans. So often I have seen complaints about how women’s clothes just don’t have good pockets. And on the flip side I have often seen ladies worrying if the pockets will be to much. I was wondering why don’t I make a clothing line where pockets are the statement of the piece.

My family expressed doubts.

I explained I was considering making a blue skirt with orange star shaped pockets on it.

My family thought that sounded horrible.

I fell quiet, but that vague idea stuck in my brain. Finally today I was able to put on paper rough sketches of that idea and another one.

Pardon my terrible drawing skills.

On the left we have a skirt designed to look like an upside down flower. The pockets are quite visible as they are representing the sepals.

On the right is a modified version of blue and orange. The color has been changed to yellow and the stars are evenly spaced. I haven’t yet decided if the little stars should be pockets too. And is four star pockets around the waist good or should I go for the semi subtle three stars like Orion’s belt?

A pin cushion topped mason jar with a few buttons in it

 

So bountiful hay to my best friend.

For re-inspiring me to start sewing again.

For re-inspiring me to start designing again.

For giving me such a handy pin cushion as a belated birthday present. I know you don’t read my blog, but still.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

If I were to make skirts like these how much would you pay? Would you pay $200? Would you pay $250 if I made sure to use sustainable fabric? People often pay tons of money for clothing of little quality. From people they care little for. Fabric costs money, but the most expensive part is the labor.

A yellow and purple plaid with with white writing saying "leave a comment"

PS.

Speaking of sewing I have recently agreed to sew a dress inspired by a book as an art project. I would really like to put my best foot forward with doing this. But I need nice fabric and notions in order to do that. If you would like to help with this in any way at all please check out the Go Fund Me I put together and either share it or give a donation. Every dollar helps.

PPS.

Speaking of obvious pockets don’t you think that an evening gown with a blue jean pocket or two sounds like something that could come down a runway?

Sister Cady Skirt

The style of skirt that is currently available in my etsy shop is what I call a Sister Cady Skirt.

As skirts go a Sister Cady is pretty simple, an a-line with a pocket or two. The fabric is the most interesting part. See the featured image if you don’t believe me.

But it has hidden advantages. Depending, this type of skirt can take up the least amount of cloth, making it cheaper than the more flashy types. It also is wide enough that most every day actions are perfectly simple to do in one.

According to the internet in America, Cady means simple happiness. I imagine that she has her life planned out. She will get married at nineteen, to the man she been in love with forever. They will have ten kids, and she will home-school them. They will have a garden and chickens, a dog and a cat.

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My Etsy Shop Is Open

D and I have finally gotten a couple of items up.

Depending on popularity D will keep making her art. This is the only option to get right now.

cutpaper-bird

Any clothes items will be unique. Most of them will be made by me! Currently the only thing have have good enough pictures to sell is this crazy skirt.

blue-and-white-skirt

I need to add an edit to tell how long it is. I’ve not gotten very far on any of the other details of setting the shop up yet, but you can check it out by following this link.

 

 

The Families of Clothes

As I get closer to finally being able to start selling my handmade clothes, I am reminded that A suggested that I have more than just basic descriptions. She suggested that I write about who would wear them and tell stories about their past.

So I’ve been at work coming up with “families” for the different types of clothes. I want to make it so you can tell what it is by its name.

So far I have Princess Shorts.

I also have Sister Skirts.

There will be Everyday Elegance Dresses.

I’m pondering using the phrase “it’s a split” for culottes, split skirts, and pants.

I suppose I could use Basic Blice for the shirts. Sorry for the awful language joke.

And if all else fails Mister E Man’s might work.

All this really says is. My cold is mostly gone, so I don’t feel bad about sewing. Most of the fuss that goes into getting a Etsy account is out of the way. I love backstories and I also enjoy puns.

I’m looking forward to starting the Etsy shop, I will sell only things made from found fabrics on there. I hope to earn at least enough money for my best friend and I to be able to visit Israel.