When people have special skills, we often want to tip them for their service. Tipping is common practice in the food industry and the hair industry, but what about tipping in the clothing industry?
So, do you tip a seamstress? It is not necessary and often not customary to tip a seamstress. Generally, alterations are quite expensive, and there’s no need to tip a seamstress. However, tips can sometimes be appreciated for larger projects like wedding dress alterations or for last minute alterations.
Tipping a seamstress is not a customary practice, so if you tip them, they may be caught off guard. It’s important to read the full details and advice about tipping seamstresses below before pulling out that extra cash.
Do You Tip A Seamstress?
When someone does a great job on a service for you, it’s sometimes a natural inclination to want to tip them. Some industries rely on tips for the workers to get by.
For example, wait staff at most sit-down restaurants rely on tips to make end’s meet. Many waiters only make around $1-3/hour from their employer, so tips are vital to their income.
Hair stylists, whether they do haircuts, coloring, blow-outs, or special occasion styling, also appreciate tips.
This is not only because their work requires a lot of skill that untrained people can’t do, but because they often make only a fraction of what the hair service costs.
In some salons, hair stylists have to rent their chairs, paying the shop owners a monthly amount to keep their chair.
However, when it comes to seamstresses, their pay structure is a bit different. They’re often paid fairly for their labor, whether by the shop owner or by owning the shop themselves and setting their own prices.
Typically, you do not tip a seamstress. But there can be exceptions to the rule, so let’s explore further.
When To Tip A Seamstress
While tipping isn’t customary for clothing alterations, there are certain occasions where you may consider tipping. One is if you have a large and complicated project, such as wedding dress alterations.
If you are taking your wedding dress to a local seamstress, you may want to consider tipping, depending on the price. When they’re charging a price much lower than what others have quoted you, tipping can be a nice gesture.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should always tip for wedding dress alterations.
If you purchased your wedding dress from a large chain bridal store such as David’s Bridal and you have them doing the alterations, it’s not in your best interest to tip.
They often have many different seamstresses working on the different parts of the dress behind the scenes, so tipping just the one you meet during your fitting appointments won’t really be rewarding everyone.
It can also be a good idea to tip your seamstress if you’re coming to them with last minute alterations that you need in a hurry.
If they choose to accommodate you, that means they’re pushing other projects to the side and having to rush to get your project done.
It can be a good idea to show your appreciation for that extra effort by giving them a small tip at pick-up.
How Much To Tip A Seamstress
Although tipping in the food and hair industries usually runs around 15-20%, this amount won’t apply to tipping your seamstress.
If you do choose to tip your seamstress, you can keep it at around 10-15%. This will often be sufficient for the work they do, considering they are already getting paid a fair wage.
This range isn’t one to stick too closely to, though. The tipping amount for seamstresses isn’t really a fixed range.
Usually, tips for seamstresses end up being anywhere from $10-40 depending on the work.
If your alterations are costing upwards of $500, there’s no need to pay them $50-100. Instead, you can tip around $20-40, and that will be enough.
Again, this isn’t a strict rule. If you choose to tip, you can give whatever amount you feel comfortable with.
Best Way To Tip A Seamstress
Once you decide to tip your seamstress, it’s important to go about it the right way. The first and most important thing to do is to ask if your seamstress accepts tips.
This can save you both a bit of awkwardness if you try to hand them tip money and they’re not expecting it. You’ll also want to wait until the final appointment when you come to pick up your clothing to tip.
It may make things awkward if you already tipped them before they even finished their work, so wait until the end.
Finally, be sure to tip in cash. There may not be a space on the credit card receipt for a tip, and you may have already paid in full before picking up the final piece.
So remember to bring cash to your final pick-up appointment if you plan on tipping.
Problems With Tipping A Seamstress
As we mentioned above, it can get awkward if you try to tip and the seamstress isn’t expecting it.
Sometimes the seamstress may seem rude in the way they respond, even if they don’t intend to be. This is only because they’ve been caught off guard and aren’t sure how to respond.
If they try to hand you back the money, you can either take it back or insist they keep it.
Either way, if things get awkward, it’s best to make a polite and quick goodbye, thanking them for their work and maintaining a friendly demeanor.
Even if they’re acting a little rude, stand-offish, or awkward, it can help diffuse the situation if you maintain a polite kindness until you leave.
When Not To Tip A Seamstress
Even if you want to, there are times when it’s better not to tip your seamstress.
The first would be if they don’t accept tips. You never want to put your seamstress in an uncomfortable position. If they already told you they don’t accept tips, don’t try to give them one anyway.
Another would be if the job is already pretty high in price. Chances are, if your project is costing you $500 or more, the seamstress is getting paid fairly for her time and work, and a tip is unnecessary.
This is especially true for seamstresses who own their own shops.
If you’re working with a seamstress who owns her own shop or works out of her home while owning and maintaining just a small business, you won’t need to tip.
They’re already getting all of the profit that there is to make on the project, so anything extra is unnecessary.
Another time is one that we mentioned earlier. If your wedding dress is being altered by the bridal shop you bought from, there is no need to tip.
First, there is usually a team of multiple seamstresses working on a bridal gown at a large chain bridal store. Your tip would likely not be split among them but go to whoever you handed it off to.
Second, a large chain bridal store already has a fair wage pay structure in place. They are required to pay minimum wage, though seamstresses can make anywhere between $15-35 per hour.
The seamstresses you work with at a bridal store either won’t get your tip or won’t need it, so save the cash for other expenses.
Alternatives To Tipping A Seamstress
If you really want to show your appreciation for your seamstress but tipping isn’t an option, there are a few other things you can do for them.
The first is to send them a photo of you in the dress. Especially if it’s a bridal gown or large and complicated formal gown, such as a prom dress, it may be a nice gesture to send them a photo.
Not only do they get to see how beautiful you looked in it on your special day, but they can put the photo up on the wall or in a photo book and use it to showcase their skills to other prospective clients.
Another idea is to send them a simple thank you card. Although it may seem like a small gesture, a thank you card can go a long way.
Writing them a quick note to tell them how much you appreciated their hard work and how much they loved wearing the garment can be just the encouragement they needed that day. Finally, you can also choose to write a review for their business online.
For seamstresses who own their own small business, this can be a huge help to them. Small businesses thrive on customer reviews and often can’t survive without them.
This can also be good even if you’re working at a larger bridal store. You can mention the seamstress you met with by name and give her a glowing recommendation.
You never know if this might earn them a raise or bonus at work, or simply give them nice recognition from their employer.