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Retreat from a commission?

Oct 21, 2010

    1. Hello! I haven`t found something that matches- so I have opened this thread.

      I asked a person on an other BJD forum for a sewing commission. I liked some of her punk-related designs and asked for a two-piece outfit for one of my boys.
      I send her a short description of my boy and what I want to have done (in short:He is mage. A skirt, a top in black/grey colours with only one secondary colour. A Punk design would be ok)
      She didn`t know, how much it will cost and send me a description of the fabrics and what she want to sew. It sounds good- a little bit too elegant but I had trust her skill as a designer.
      When I got the pictures from the nearly finished I was shocked- it looked good! But it was too colourfull (she had mentioned some flowers on the top, that are just shimmering- but they really stick out-and they are in arround 5!! different colours) to name one point, that won`t fit to my description.
      And then came the second shock: the price.
      So I said to her, that it is (in my opinion) overprized and that some details aren`t as I expected. I can understand, that she is mad at me- but she has written a few times, that she hopes, that I dont like it because she want to keep it for her doll.
      I have learned for myself, that I will make a more detailed description and insist on a prize before the commission starts. And, I will insist on pictures from the fabric and intermediate steps too >.>

      So my question is:
      Is it ok to refuse a commision, if it does not look like you want it? Or if the prize is too high? (Or both Oo.)
    2. I would say no. You entered into a contract, and you'll have to fulfill your part. You commissioned her to do that work for you so it's a one of a kind outfit. I would say go through with it and then put it up for sale. You might lose a few dollars on it, but chances are if it's well done there will be a buyer for it. On the other hand she should have shown you updates more often so you could have told her what you don't like before it was finished. Good Luck!
    3. It is a seamstress's job to complete a commission as closely as possible to the customer's expectations and to quote a price up front. The customer's job is to communicate those expectations. It sounds like you were both at fault here.

      Given that you were not quoted a price until the work was over, I cannot fault you for wanting to "retreat" as you put it-though I can fault you for going ahead with it without knowing the final cost! However, a commission where the price is communicated up front and both parties are in agreement about the design is a different matter and I would certainly consider it flaky behavior to back out of such a commission-and would give appropriate feedback. It takes a lot of time to make a custom outfit, particularly if there is complicated patterning involved. If you got a reputation for such behavior, you might find that no one would be willing to do custom work for you.

      Most seamstresses will be only too happy to send you photos of the fabrics before the work begins and some in progress and final pictures.

      It looks like you need to communicate with your seamstress about whether she does in fact want to keep the outfit for her own doll. That would certainly be the best situation for the both of you. If she doesn't, then yes, I think you need to pay up and be a little smarter the next time.
    4. Reiterating a little what Isabeau said here.

      You're both at fault, but because you are both at fault it is okay in my opinion to back out of that commission. You should never enter a full contract without a price. Likewise, anyone doing a project based on commission should never not quote you one.

      My dad is a contractor, sometimes a project goes over what they call a "bid". They either contact the person and tell them that A) the materials they wanted weren't available or B) the weather caused a problem. In all other circumstances, unforeseen costs are taking on by the contractor and it gets ate out of their pay.

      Having said that, it's also the seamstresses job to somewhat match you're idea. Expressly saying you only want one other color used and using way more, is a violation of the contract too.

      It'd be no different then if I commissioned a faceup artist to do a natural face up, and I got back something that completely goth, of course I wouldn't want it. However, if all the specifics were met, regardless if the person likes it or not, it's not the person's fault if they followed your specifics. Then, no, you shouldn't back out of the contract, eat the costs and then sell the outfit.
    5. I'm going to have to go with the others on this, both of you are at fault. I myself am a seamstress (for human clothing, mostly), and I can tell you most seamstresses worth working with will tell you what kind of price you can expect (maybe not always an exact, but an idea), and will follow your design as closely as possible. I actually bring my clients to fabric stores and help them pick out the fabrics they need and help them find other materials or concepts if price is a concern. Once they pick out the stuff and pay for it, it is then my responsibility as a seamstress to make sure I follow their concept as close as I possibly can. If they wanted their jacket to be say, lime green and brown, I am essentially contractually bound to make it lime green and brown, even if I don't agree with the idea. Unfortunately, there are some out there that won't tell you things unless you are persistent. Instead of allowing them to proceed with the commission as you have done, you need to take the "I'll wait while you get me a price quote." approach. Never, and I repeat, NEVER have anybody do anything custom for you without a price quote. For these seamstresses you may also have to be persistent about getting photos of progress. Most of my clients would rather I didn't send them progress photos because they're usually local and can come see it themselves whenever they want, but I would very happily give any one of them a picture if they requested it.

      In this case, if the seamstress really wants to keep the outfit for her doll, sure, back out, but don't make the same mistakes again if you want to avoid the trouble. If she doesn't really want the outfit, buy it and then take the loss to sell it.
    6. I have once entered a commission as a client without a fixed price quote. It told the seamstress that I wanted something in the spirit of one of the outfits she made for another customer and I fully expected that the price would be in the same spirit. (=expensive) I made the choice to give the seamstress free reign by not giving a fixed budget or clear description and knew there would be broad range for the final quote and a surprise for the outcome, but I did expect that the work and finished project would reflect the price.
      I did get design sketches and pictures of the materials to approve before the seamstress would start working on the actual outfit. Even without giving a fixed budget and clear description, I was involved in the whole process and I wouldn't expect differently for that price. Backing out, because I wasn't happy with the final quote or outfit, would be very unprofessional of me. The end result reflected the choices I made at the start of the commission. I was happy with the outfit as I was very open towards the seamstress' vision, which is something you need to be if you give free reign.
      Despite this I do agree that setting a max and min budget before accepting a commission (by both client and seamstress) is the best way to deal with commissions.

      If you have a fixed budget, you should let your seamstress (or other artist/commission taker) know in advance. They can then decide what's possible within that budget and then you decide if that's what you want. Nobody can read your mind. You need to tell people what you want or else you risk people making wrong assumptions about what you want.
      It sounds like the seamstress Uldred talks about thought she was given more or less free reign and that Uldred would be open towards her vision and ideas. A misunderstanding that can be prevented next time.
    7. I'd say yours is a rare case.
      If you had been given pictures of the fabric, and been told a price, then I wouldn't deem it ok to back out, because you would have known what you were getting.
      But you clearly didn't get any pictures of the fabric, since you weren't expecting flowers on it. That's both your fault. She should have given pictures without you having to request them, and since she didn't, you should have requested them, especially because you said they didn't really sound like what you wanted in the first place.
      And honestly I don't think it's ok for anyone to sell commissions without telling you at least a rough price first or giving you something to compare to. I would hope that anyone who sells commissionable services would be able to think about the design, and what it would take to make, compare that to their previous experiences with sewing other outfits, price check fabric and come up with a price. Even a rough one.
      I think not giving any price, at all, is setting the whole thing up for failure, because one person's idea of affordable or expensive is not another's. Having not ordered from her before, and not compared it to any of her previous orders, you had no idea what the price would be.
      I don't think backing out of a commission is okay, but in this case you're both at fault, and you've clearly already figured out where you went wrong, and won't let it happen again in the future.
      I hope the seamstress learned her lesson too.
    8. Thank you.
      I am still waiting for an answer from her. I have learned a lot for my next commissions.
    9. At first, I got a little confused with this :sweat(prize = price) but that's my fault...:lol:

      But to the question, here's what I would've done if I were the person you commissioned:

      I'd submit a sketch first and foremost. And I'd give a price right away before I did any work. I'm surprised this person didn't give you a price before you commissioned her.

      Then, if you didn't like something (like the flowers you mentioned), I as the person working for you, would be open to your thoughts. My payment depends on if you're happy with the commission. If you say you're not crazy about this or that, and then I get annoyed at you, then that'd be my problem. Since your person is getting snobby with you over the fact you don't like part of the sketch, then they really shouldn't be offering their services, because they're going to come across this a lot.

      And you have to ok both sketch and price before she does any work for you. It's customer service, and if she wants your business, she should be willing to work with you.

      In this case, I think you can refuse it, especially if you feel she's responding rudely to you. But refusing a commission should usually be done, I think, before any actual sewing has taken place.
    10. oh sry! I have corrected it.
      I try to get better in english.
    11. Also agreeing that there is fault on both sides but I don't think it is right to reject the commission.

      I think that when you ask for something rather vague (no sketch, no link to specific things they've done telling them exactly what you want copied, no photo of something similar from a human size costume/cosplay) while giving the artist some free reign you have to take responsibility for it when it's done. Is it a skirt and top? Is is mostly black and gray? Then you got what you asked for. If the flowers can be removed than remove them. Otherwise sell it when it arrives and call it a learning experience.

      I also think the buyer needs to set the budget limit if there is a price that is higher than what they are willing to pay, otherwise the sky is the limit! I have to ask what is this high and unexpected price? How much higher is it than other pieces the seamstress has made?

      I'm sure the person you commissioned has also learned something from this - send photos to cover your a** even if they are not requested.
    12. And give a price quote before you begin. Personally I have firm prices for commissioned stuff, and I get half in advance. Still, even if I wasn't going to do that I would want to have the price agreed upon before I started to work, because really, the last thing I want is to hear is "That's too much," after I have spent my time and materials to make something. I need to know that I'm going to get payed and that the person I'm working for knows how much to pay me.
    13. Also: when you ask for pictures of your item, ask for GOOD pictures. I learnt the hard way after getting a wig that had looked mostly-OK in the maker's ill-lit photos, but I didn't want to pester her for better pics... and when I got it home I found ghastliness that wasn't covered in the photos, and which I hadn't thought to ask about. I really couldn't use the thing at all. But I had already approved it & already paid for it, so what I really bought myself was a Learning Experience. (Which is also valuable, in itself. ^^)
    14. Well she said she hopes she can keep it. In that case let her keep it I guess and you will both be happy.
      Clothing commissions are VERY Risky unless you can see her style is very much like the style you want, same with faceups.
    15. I agree that the entire commission was improperly handled.

      It was your responsibility to tell the seamstress exactly what you wanted before entering into the commission. You should have provided pics, either in drawn or photo form, or a detailed description of the design. You also should have been specific about the color scheme, what type of fabric you wanted and asked her for a price range.

      She should have told you whether or not she could produce the costume you wanted, discussed your fabric choices if she felt they were inappropriate for the outfit, suggested any trims, laces, etc that she felt would enhance the costume and given you a fixed price.

      I do commissions myself and all of these details are discussed before I accept a commission. I know as exactly as possible what my customer wants and she knows what to expect. I keep in constant contact and ask questions as they arise before proceeding.

      I send photos of the fabrics and any trims that I plan to use for approval. I also send pics of each piece when it's completed.

      All of these issues should have been discussed and agreed to before the commission began. That's the best way to insure that my customer will be happy with the outfit I produce.

      Fortunately I've never had a customer refuse an outfit, or been unhappy with one and I truly believe it's because we keep in contact and everything is worked out in detail before and during the commission process.

      As to the question of whether or not you're obligated to pay for the commission, I think because there was a misunderstanding on both sides, perhaps it would be fair for her to accept a lesser amount than originally quoted. Unless she wants to keep the outfit for her own doll, I feel you are obligated to pay for it, but that because her methods were not quite professional, she should accept a of lesser amount of money.
    16. Yes I took hours and hours coming up with all the details for my Unoss outfit commission. We did a ton of back and forth. I even shiped my Unoss body to her to tailor make the pants as I wanted them tight! I got exactly what I wanted it was a dream come true! but I also selected the dressmaker who I knew had a very similar style to what I wanted.
    17. She did say she had a chance to approve of the fabric choices and she did agree to certain elements that were described to her sight unseen that she now dislikes. If she kept telling the seamstress "Yes, I trust you!" I don't know how that is the sellers fault.

      Mind you, we are only hearing one side of the story and have no real proof of what was said to whom and when. If this comes to bad feedback on this or another forum we may indeed hear both sides which could change the point of view on everything! Nothing against the OP but people do tend to cast themselves in the best light when looking for help in a situation like this. That makes it hard for me to say what the seller should do not having heard their side. From hearing the buyers side, I think she should go through with her commitment.

      Now that I think about it, I don't know that this thread should even be happening since it's a bunch of people commenting on one specific transaction and not true "general discussion" of the topic. hmm.
    18. Nothing was mentioned about leaving negative feedback, which would be unfair to both parties in this case, I feel. It's true we've only heard one side, and I didn't mean to judge. I was only suggesting a compromise.

      It sounded to me like the poster did not want to pay for the commission. However the person she commissioned spent time and effort to make it even if the poster says it's not what she expected.

      If I were the person doing the commission I would rather accept a lessor amount of money than no money at all, but that's just me. To me a compromise is a better solution than both parties being unhappy.

      Leaving negative feedback is another issue entirely.

      I hope that both parties can work it out so that the issue can be resolved amicably.