Questions to ask a sewing and design professional:
When choosing a seamstress or design professional consider whether you can work with them comfortably. Then, consider price, location, experience, etc. The rapport you build first will make the entire transaction much more enjoyable! Always plan to meet with the professional in person. You may want to meet with more than one professional before making a final decision. Here are some important questions you’ll want to ask:
Have you done the kind of work I want done (home dec, bridal, etc.)?
A sewing and design professional should be able to reference some work similar to what you want done. Members of the Sewing Referral Network or the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals will gladly refer you to someone they know in their networks who can help you if they can’t.
May I see some samples or photos of your work?
Any professional should be able to provide some sort of portfolio. Usually photos of sewing work captures a sense of quality design and fit. Many consumers don’t have the training to be able to tell other attributes of quality and must rely on such portfolio entries such as prizes in juried contests and other demonstrations of quality to judge the less obvious characteristics of the work.
Do you have a written agreement?
Most professionals have some level of written agreement. For a simple alteration, it may simply be a receipt tab. For a custom designed wedding gown, it most likely will be more elaborate. The intent is to protect both the designer and the client from misunderstandings and disappointment.
Is a deposit required?
For projects involving the purchase of materials and/or many hours of work, most professionals require a deposit and have an outlined payment schedule.
Do you have references from other clients?
As a professional builds their business, they will have many references. Remember that when calling those references that they have offered themselves as a favor to the professional. Please treat them respectfully. Consider whether you would be willing to be a reference and what you might say!
What special/extra services do you offer?
Many times sewing professionals can offer many services that you haven’t thought of. If you are inquiring about a custom wedding gown, ask if they can construct a coordinating veil or hat, or can recommend other wedding professionals such as photographers, dry-cleaners, etc. Many professionals have other skills than what they advertised and also have many contacts for some of the other services you may need.