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Am I being screwed over and what should I do/say? (A bit long)

(43 Posts)
kyala Thu 26-Jul-07 10:57:10

Ok I may be being a little oversensitive because I've only got about 7 weeks left of my pregnancy so thought it'd be a good idea to get a second opinion!

Basically I'm a dressmaker and a friend asked me, a couple of months ago, if I'd be able to make her wedding dress, of course I said "Yes" but she then said she only has about £100 to spare for it! (Last year I made one for £300 and that was scraping it as it was!) Anyway, she bought some of the fabric and has since paid me the rest of the money (in a couple of bits here and there) but I haven't actually started working on it because the wedding's next year and I don't want to do anything cos she wants to lose a load of weight first.

Anyway, yesterday she's asked me to make her bridesmaid dress too, which is great but the total price of the dress means that I'd only be paid £15 to make it!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not sure what to do as she's now actually quite a close friend (and I don't really have a lot of friends) and obviously don't want to let her down but also, obviously, don't want to spend loads of time working on 2 dresses that are going to take me weeks to make and not be paid what I'm worth for them.

Has anyone else ever been in a similar situation? And what have they done about it?


lailasmum Thu 26-Jul-07 11:00:08

Maybe she just doesn't realise how expensive and time consuming it is to make a dress. Have you let her know the hard facts?

CharleeWeasley Thu 26-Jul-07 11:01:50

Could you do the dresses as a wedding present then not get them a gift?

hertsnessex Thu 26-Jul-07 11:02:49

id let her know what you normally chage - then say as you are such a good friend , i will only charge you xx - so she is still getting a bargain - but you are being paid fairly for your time. be clear from the start.


Scoobyc Thu 26-Jul-07 11:04:09

You could say you'll only have time to make one because of the baby. Sounds pretty selfish of her tbh.

Boredveryverybored Thu 26-Jul-07 11:07:17

It sounds like she is taking advantage, because you're a friend.
I would either as suggested make a decision to make her wedding dress with no charge or your time as a wedding present, but tell her you can't do the bridesmaid dress too.
Or work out how much you would normally have charged to do what she's asking, show her the figures and offer a discount. I she can't/won't pay then don't do it.

I think if you just go along with it and say nothing, it would bother you so better sorting it out with her now.

agnesnitt Thu 26-Jul-07 11:10:32

On a personal level I would never insult a friend by offering so little for their services

I would hope your friend is just clueless, as I'd hate tot think she was aware she is trying to shaft you royally.

I hope you can sort his out amicably, because there is no way you should be underselling your services like this. I know she is a friend, but there are still limits to what you should be expected to do.


bookthief Thu 26-Jul-07 11:11:59

Hopefully she doesn't realise how much of a favour you've really done her with the wedding dress. You need to tell her something like you were glad to make the wedding dress for her on a shoestring because she's such a good friend/it's her special day blah blah blah... but that you would have to charge her your usual price (less a discount for a friend if you want to be extra generous) for a bridesmaid's dress.

Or just say that with a small baby you just won't have time and wouldn't want to rush the job.

I don't think you're being screwed over unless she has all the facts and is using emotional blackmail to get you to do this. Probably best for your friendship if you think charitably of her at this stage. I'm sure she'll understand and be a bit shocked once you explain.

People often don't understand that you need to be paid a fair wage for your time when you make things - I don't know why!

pirategirl Thu 26-Jul-07 11:17:57

Do you think she measn to offer you more money, and is just asuming you would realsie this?

Or do youreally thik that she is expecting you to do them with the original money, (hope i understood that right)

skidoodle Thu 26-Jul-07 11:18:42

OMG those prices are crazy. Wedding dresses cost 1000s these days. I'm sure you can get them cheaper if you look around, but the going rate is a lot more than 100!

I think the others are right, you should just explain to her what you normally charge and give her a discount for her being your friend (or as suggested, a very generous discount based on the dress being your present).

I just got married and my photographer was a friend and initially she said she'd do it for the price of the materials. Then she realised she was going to do it all digitally and so the "materials" would cost hardly anything, so she gave me a figure for the job and I said that was fine. I wasn't offended or anything that she asked to change things, although I think she felt a little awkward bringing it up.

If your friend is not crazy she'll understand.

Tortington Thu 26-Jul-07 11:20:18

if i had your skills and a friend askmed me to do it - it would be my gift to them with no payment required.

LIZS Thu 26-Jul-07 11:21:18

I suspect she's just being naive rsther than specifically taking advantage. I bet she doesn't realise how many hours would go into making it , and you could say whilst you'd do the wedding one at a low rate as a favour you'll have to charge her full amount for the bridesmaid as someone will need to watch your baby while you concentrate. Had you been able to make both now it might be different.

collision Thu 26-Jul-07 11:25:47

I hate situations like this and really feel for you.

Custy - I know what you are saying but this woman wants a wedding dress and a bridesmaid dress and is hardly paying her anything and the OP is having a baby!!

I think you have to say something because it will bug you and what if you go to the wedding and it seems like she has spent £100's on flowers and cake and venue and only given you peanuts for the dress?

You have to say something. And dont do the bridesmaid dress.

JeremyVile Thu 26-Jul-07 11:29:50

She's taking the piss. Do her dress as you've agreed, but dont do the bridesmaid dresses.

greenday Thu 26-Jul-07 11:31:04

Yes, I agree that you should treat them as gifts to her, so you don't have to spend any more on her. Perhaps you could mention to her that making the dresses will be your gift to her and all she has to pay for is the material and that you'll ensure that you'll keep cost within her budget.

I think your friend is rather inconsiderate and selfish. At best, she is clueless and over-excited about her wedding to be sensitive to the people around her. Weddings can make a person so self-focused and self-indulgent.

greenday Thu 26-Jul-07 11:33:50

Oh, and forgot to mention - agree that you should sit her down and explain the process of making a dress. She needs to understand the effort she's putting you through, otherwise, if she is already so unreasonable to make such requests, what's to stop her from whinging about the result of the dress, etc.

And it would be the best way of pointing out that your pregnancy would affect the timing, etc.

fedupwasherwoman Thu 26-Jul-07 11:37:14

develop carpel tunnel syndrome after doing the wedding dress

wrist splint courtesy of ebay

jobs a good'un

kyala Thu 26-Jul-07 11:45:48

All good points but feel I should add a couple of notes (as if the original wasn't long enough, sorry)

*We've not been invited to the wedding so didn't think we had to get presents! LOL

*We recently held birthday party for both our DD and her's: she spent half as much as we did and yet she's just got a new mobile phone for only £200!!! (the week before! She has a perfectly good working mobile as it is!)

*Her mum makes clothing so she knows how long it takes to make things, and I told her how long each piece would take when she asked me to make them.

*She knows how much I usually charge cos she's quite a close friend and we talk about my work etc as she's, aparently quite interested LOL

I wish she was just being naive but, knowing what she knows she really shouldn't be!
Am thinking it might be an idea to just give her bakc her money and suggest she gets her mum to do it?!
It is only going to bug me otherwise and, seeing as I'm not good enough to even be invited to the wedding, wouldn't be a great loss if she did take offense and get silly over it? (Or am I now getting more wound up. . . . Off for a cuppa)

kyala Thu 26-Jul-07 11:46:51

fedupwasherwoman: Love that suggestion but I know she'd claim poverty and wouldn't pay out LOL. . . . In fact she'd probably do the same to me and claim that me making the dress caused her uneccessary suffering LOL

Freckle Thu 26-Jul-07 11:50:05

Blimey, I think she is taking the p*ss to be honest.

Just say that, with the baby due so soon, she ought to arrange for her mum to do it as you don't think you'll be able to devote the time to it.

I don't think I'd want her for a friend at all tbh.

LIZS Thu 26-Jul-07 11:50:08

Presumably she hasnlt sent invites out yet - has she told you you're not invited If so she's not that close a friend - tell ehr your normal rates, maybe offer a small discount for friendship's sake, or she can go elsehwere !

hufflebranpuff Thu 26-Jul-07 11:57:21

Why haven't you been invited to the wedding if you're a close enough friend to be expected to give your services for free? This whole friendship sounds a little one-sided, although I'm sure there must be positive aspects from her friendship too.

I would just say that you won't have time, what a pity. If her mum can make clothes then perhaps she can do it, or perhaps she could buy a lovely bridesmaid's dress somewhere like Monsoon. As you've already agreed to make the wedding dress I think it would be a little unfair to back out of that now, unless there is loads of time for her to organise something else. If it's a really nice dress then perhaps you could use one of her wedding photos for your portfolio.

I would be tempted to send her a bill where you itemise how much you would normally charge (ie number of hours x hourly rate) and then beside the figure put "gratis" or something like that in brackets so that she knows how much you are doing for her.

tracyk Thu 26-Jul-07 11:57:50

What was your answer to her when she asked you to do the bridesmaid dress? Have you already said yes?
Its a bit of cheek if she hasn't invited you to the wedding - or is it a really small family only one?
I'd still get a friend a bottle of champagne or something even if I wasn't invited to the wedding.
So I'd say that you'll do the wedding dress as a pressie but won't have time to do the bridesmaids dress.

kyala Thu 26-Jul-07 12:00:53

We went through her wedding guest list and seating plan a couple of weeks ago, we're not on them!

Maybe I will just let here know that things are going to be put on hold until after the baby's born and then, once I've cleared my head a bit, can think things through more clearly, hopefully this will get her off my back a bit more and give me time to think about how to approach the subject etc.

Thanks for all the advice, but then, knowing my hormoanes ATM I might just end up doing something silly lol (Does anyone know if you can buy a straight jacket off Ebay? Might need it, just for the next 7 weeks LOL)

Thanks again guys, big help

OrmIrian Thu 26-Jul-07 12:02:30

Is she screwing you over? Probably not at first as she might not know how much it really costs. But i think she is being very cheeky about the bridesmaid dress. Hoping that as you agreed re the wedding dress you'll just say yes again without arguing the toss

I think you are going to have to give the facts. Fabric will cost X, other notions will cost y, it will take me Z hours to make. For both dresses. And do it soon as if she needs someone else to make it or to pay you more, she needs to factor that in to her total costs.

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