“I’ve never commissioned anything before…/ I have no idea how much something like this would cost…”
This process is new to a lot of people. I highly recommend you read this short article at Costumer’s Guide. It will help you understand why custom costumes are priced the way they are and give you a glimpse into the commission process. If not the whole article, then please read this excerpt if you are new to the commissioning process.
“So, how much do you charge for a costume?”
That depends on a number of factors! They can vary greatly.
I couldn’t charge a flat rate because I might A.) charge way too much for the customer,
or B.) charge way too little and lose tons of money.
It depends mostly on:
- The costume’s labor requirements… most costumes take me at LEAST 10-15 hours (that would be for a simple thing, like a cloak). Entire outfits can be around 50-100 hours, and when you get into detailed victorian gowns or tailored suits, don’t be surprised if it’s 200-400 hours.
- The materials, fabrics, trims, notions (how many, how quality they are, how much of each, do they need to be ordered online (add shipping)…
- How close of a replica you want (if it’s a replica)
- Time constraints (any deadlines?)
- Size (sometimes more fabric/trim is needed for larger sizes)
- Difficulty (if there’s lots of custom things that require special labor it might get more expensive). I keep in mind my experience, quality, and dedication to each project and customer. These costumes or custom clothing are an investment and will last many years due to the high quality of the item, and they are made specifically to your body and your preferences!
If you want a quote on a costume, it would take me a few days to calculate (unless I’ve already calculated a similar costume before). I have to sit down and spend a few hours on estimating how much labor (step by step), list of materials, quantity of materials, price of materials, research, and scoping out a lot of materials online (I don’t live in NY or LA where there’s ample fabric & notion shops).
It takes me up to a few hours to fully price out each costume, as well as determine if the costume can be made by a deadline.
So it’s best to fill out the form on the price estimates page to get a custom quote!
(On a FB, Instagram, Tumblr, or other post)–
“How much does this cost?”
Please, please fill out the form on the price estimates page to get a custom quote.
The reason being – a post that might show a costume already completed – is specific to a customer’s size, preferences, level of detail, and time constraints. It might be more expensive or less expensive for you! Everything is custom because you are custom and unique :)
“Can you make [this] for me?”
I can make MANY things for my customers! I can also be hired for services [styling, painting, etc] that you might need help with on a project. I have a variety of skills!
“Do you do Plus Size?”
Yes! And I can create costumes OR regular clothing for you.
“Do you do menswear?”
Yes I do! But be aware that menswear often takes twice or three times the amount of work as certain womenswear garments. Tailoring takes educated skill, time, and care, so labor is a little more expensive. However I know you’ll be pleased with a custom piece tailored specifically to you, that will last for years to come! Shoot me an e-mail and discuss what you might have in mind and we’ll talk about it!
What is your scheduling process?
I often book up months in advance, so it’s important to contact me as early as possible! To gain a spot in my schedule I do require a small non-refundable down payment, to assure the commission is a serious request. This payment is a % of the final cost, so it will vary from costume to costume.
What is your commission process?
Every commission is unique! But generally:
— If the costume isn’t started right away, a down payment is usually paid in advance to keep a spot in my schedule (see above).
— I work out a payment schedule with you that fits with both our finances.
— Generally I receive a 2nd payment right before I’m about to start the costume (on the time we’ve scheduled to start).
— I get detailed measurements for you before I begin the project. I’ll usually do this a little in advance of the start date, so your measurements are current. Please be aware that I will create the garment based on these measurements, so accuracy is key.
— Some items like robes, skirts, etc that are adjustable – I will go straight into making the final product. Any kind of garment that is very fitted or tailored (Victorian bodices, menswear, anything form-fitting) I will create a mockup that will be sent to you in the mail. You will try it on and take photos, and I’ll walk you through the fitting process so we can see what adjustments need made. Then you send the mockup back and I work on the final piece.
— I cannot stress the accuracy of measurements! :) Having someone else take your measurements is key for accuracy. If your measurements are way off, it delays things via time, (I may need to send an additional mockup), and it could shrink the budget to allow for multiple mockups (materials costs, extra labor, extra postage). As long as you’re accurate and generally stay the same size, there should be no issues whatsoever!
— Depending on how expensive the commission, we may discuss doing another payment DURING the commission.
— When the commission is completed, I will need all final payments before I can ship the costume. If you can’t pay it off right away, I will hold the item for you until it’s paid in full.
— We will discuss shipping options when the item is ready to be shipped out, and it will be tailored to your needs/wants. All items are insured and include tracking information.
— Feel free to contact me after you receive your item! I always love to hear from my clients!
— (not a requirement) If you share photos of the costume I’d be honored if you could link back to my website or Facebook.com/enchantedseastudio – it would help me stay in business and potentially have more clients :)
“What if I’m trying to lose or gain weight during the time my costume is being built?”
It’s very hard for any costumer to accommodate you if you are going to drastically change size during the process of building a commission. I strongly suggest changing size beforehand, and then having the commission done with current measurements. (We can schedule a commission far in advance!)
I can do certain things with bodices like include a corset back to help with this, but I’m extremely limited. Please chat with me if you’re at all worried and we’ll discuss options!
All commissions are different, so some MAY (keyword: may! or may not!) be easier to accommodate than others. But as a general rule, I highly suggest against it due to uncertainties (budget, more labor, more time needed, not reaching deadlines).
“But what is a general/ballpark figure for a costume?”
What have other people spent on my costumes? Often it is in the range of $500 and up (for simpler costumes) and $1000 and up (for middle-of-the-line ensembles) and $1500 & up for detailed replica or historical pieces. Costumes you may see on TV, movies, or stage might look simple at first — but looks can be deceiving. Some costumes can take over a hundred hours, and that labor costs money. Not only that – but you must understand that this labor is a specialized trade as well.
Imagine how much a custom-made piece of furniture like a desk would cost for experienced labor and materials – it’s no different. You can’t expect a premium craftsman to be able to make you a $1500 piece of custom furniture for $100 just because IKEA sells a cheap mass-marketed alternative. Therefore, please do not expect me to make a full costume for you for $50 because that’s how much something costs in a Halloween store! It would be great if that could happen, but it’s literally impossible :)
Custom beading, embroidery, fabric painting, fabric/trim weathering, hand-sewn details, complex/custom patterning, understructures (linings, boned bodices, structures under skirts), ruffling/pleating, pressing, adding closures, etc. takes many hours of labor when you break down each step involved.
I will quote you a fair labor price and find the best mix of quality materials at affordable prices. Your costume or garment will be made to your body’s specifications and last you many years. I aim to please, and I want all my customers to feel very happy about their purchase!
“I can’t afford a full costume – but –
could you make [this] accessory for me
or do [this] service for me*?”
SURE! I’d love to help out in any way I can. Are you a seamstress, but might not be able to custom-paint boots? I can paint those boots for you. Do you need a custom dying technique or painted technique on a costume? I can do that. Do you want custom embroidered appliques? I can do small embroidery on my machine and I can hand-bead as well. Would you like a tiara made or custom jewelry? I can do that too. I also style wigs, alter garments, make masks, props, and even do custom artwork for you (design a costume, or create a portrait of yourself – whichever!
Just tell me exactly what you want me to do – and we can talk about shipping things to and from me, labor & material costs, and anything else involved.
*Excludes sewing patterns. Please see below \/
Do you make patterns / will you sell your pattern to me?
Sorry, I do not sell patterns.
“Will you ship a costume to me?”
Yes! Almost all of my commissions are far away from me, so I ship all over the world.
Can I pick up a costume instead of having it shipped?
Yes! I am located in Ohio.
Can you drive the costume out to me instead of shipping it?
Yes – for a fee. This is a rare scenario but I offer it if you want. Why would you want this option? If you can’t drive out and pick it up, as well as-
–If you’re nervous about your garments being mailed and you’d rather have them delivered by myself
–If your garments are extremely high value ($5000-$10,000 and beyond) and you want them handled/delivered only by myself
–If it would be MORE expensive to ship it than to pick it up or drop it off. (Things like Red Death with so many large pieces, and with it being so valuable — would be in the ballpark of hundreds of dollars to ship and insure. Some people might prefer to pick it up or have it dropped off if it’s cheaper and easier).
The fee would obviously depend on distance (gas/mileage etc).
Can you recommend anyone who does the same quality of work as you but charges less?
As impertinent as it is, I actually get this question a lot! Quality comes with years of experience. The absolutely dedicated service I provide is something very unique and worth a lot. In addition, these garments are made privately in the USA – and not in a sweat shop like our modern clothes and budget costumes.
I do know a select few people who I think have exceptional sewing skills and put things out comparable to my own work — but they are slightly more expensive than I am. So that wouldn’t help you! ;)
But if I can’t fit your deadline in my schedule, then I’d be happy to recommend one of those costumers I trust and think would do an excellent job for you.
You get what you pay for. It’s always worth the extra penny for experience, dedication, and long-lasting quality items!
Remember, “You can have something cheap, you can have it quick, or you can have it quality, but never all three.”