Shop Products
Houzz Logo Print
dandylandy

labor costs for custom curtains or drapes

13 years ago

Hi everyone,

Would people mind sharing what they paid for labor (not the fabric) for curtains and drapes?

Please include:

1. Size of window

2. Length of drapes (e.g. did you do full-length puddle on the floor, or in some rooms stop at the window sill height, etc.)

3. How installed?

4. Where you live (we live in NYC so I will adjust up for quotes from elsewhere, but please still post, b/c it is useful information!)

I am just trying to set up a budget, and would like to plan in this cost in very rough terms.

Many thanks!

Comments (50)

  • 13 years ago

    I'm in the Richmond, VA area. Prices varied (depending on window size and complexity of treatment) from a low of $300/window up to $850/window. That's before materials. I haven't done them yet b/c once I chose my fabric, I was at over $2K for each window/FD in the great room. I just couldn't choke it down after spending so much during the build....

  • 13 years ago

    dixiedoodle, thanks for the info.

    Today I had time to call a few places and none of them would give me even a rough estimate over the phone. They all want to make an appointment to see the place. I understand this is necessary before a final quote, but I was trying to narrow down a list of 10 purveyors to about 3.

    What bugs me is this is not rocket science - if I ask for a GENERAL range for a solar shade for a few 5x6 picture windows, I expect someone to tell me - that is going to be ?? APPROXIMATELY $150 for the material for each window and ?? $125 labor fee for installation, for example.

    I have looked at a lot of blinds and shades and curtains and valances and so forth online, but would definitely rather support someone locally to measure and install.

    I'd be happy to pay for labor, but no one wants to quote me a price that way... And I want to support local businesses, and would even gladly order the materials through them at a slight markup to online retail, but so far I am finding they are not as responsive to questions as online retailers...

  • 13 years ago

    the big problem with ballpark pricing is, it really locks someone in, even if it technically doesn't.

    if I tell you its between 300-850, you hear $300. even if you don't think you do, some people do. then they look at the job, and its a $650 job, or you pick an expensive fabric and its a huge window and each window is $2K. Either way, in the consumer's head the price just doubled or more.

    basically they don't want to tell you something over the phone that is going to make it a much harder sale when the realities don't line up with low end of the averages.

  • 13 years ago

    Why not just have a few over to get real prices? Most places I know won't piece meal rates. A ballpark figure I use is about $125 per foot of width, this would be basic materials and hardware. It is very easy to go higher.

  • 13 years ago

    I went to a discount fabric store that had clearance fabrics, got a reference from them for someone to make the drapes and I was really pleased with the results and saved alot of money.

  • 13 years ago

    I don't know where you are with this project, but here's my .02. I also live in the Richmond, VA area. I have a really hard time paying the kind of money normally charged for custom draperies. If you have a little time & patience, can sew a straight line and follow directions, they really aren't that hard to do. I just finished making my own pinch pleated drapes for my dining room after getting a quote pushing $1500 for one window. A lot of that was in my fabric choice though.

    What was quoted: 2 flat panel draperies (fixed - not to be closed) and 2 swags that hung over the side panels. The labor portion was about $500 to make them, another $120 for measuring, and $170 for installing.

  • 11 years ago

    I have found 50.00 per width to be fairly standard for the area - including Atlanta. That does not include fabric, hardware or hanging. It does include lining and interlining, but does not include the cost of the materials for lining and interlining. That is for a simple pinch pleat and is a labor only price. Of course, if you want to add a tape, a border, more elaborate pleating or other details, the price goes up from there.

    As far as fabric goes, it can run 20.00 a yard to 200+ a yard. Same with hardware - the sky is the limit. You should be able to get a good estimate if you find a fabric you like and use that and price out the lining and interlining and labor.

    Hanging would be separate if you don't want to hang them yourself.

    Of course those are Atlanta prices . . .

    If you have anything wider than a single 3' window, you probably need something wider than a single width. We had a triple window in our old dining room and we didn't ever close them (nor would they have covered the window) and we used a width and a half. That covered probably a 1/3 or 1/2 of each window on either side and let it still look like a triple window but didn't look skimpy. I would not have used anything less than that.

  • PRO
    11 years ago

    Well I'm in the business and it really depends on who you use to do your work. If you find a workroom that prices more at wholesale rates you can get panels for $45 - $50 a width, but if you are working with someone who is more on the level of a drapery designer - you will pay a good deal more per width. The professionals I network with (myself included) are more expensive than what's been quoted above. Not to say that more $$$ is always better, but just know what you're getting for $50 a width.

    And yes fabrics are pricey - especially through a design professional but you can get fabrics that are only available to the design trade and you won't see them in Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn, or the local fabric store. Your treatments tend to be more "one of a kind" and made specifically for you.

    You're paying for design assistance when you hire a drapery designer, thus the price is higher. If you are a DIY'er and you know what works in your space and you want to do the legwork to buy the supplies (fabrics, linings, interlinings & hardware), pick out the treatment design, then you can certainly save money and use a workroom for the sewing side of it only and save money (if you find someone at $45 to $50 a width.)

    Just see a sample of their work! Just saying!

  • 11 years ago

    I don't think 50.00 a width is unreasonable. I have a highly skilled lady in Atlanta that charges that, works regularly with designers, and it is "perfection". I used someone in Athens who also charged that and while she is very good, she is not on the same level.

    This is an example of the 50.00 a width lady. Of course this was a bit more because of the ties at the top and the piping and border on the bias. Her charge for a width without all the extras is 50.00 though so the idea that you can't find someone good for 50.00 a width is not correct, at least in this part of the country.

    I did have some drapes made for my husband's office and had to drive to the country to do it (and we are in a small college town so we are not big). She charged 35.00 a width and they were fine. Particularly for his office. Cheapest I have heard of though.

    Whoops - can't get my photobucket account to let me attach the picture!~

  • PRO
    11 years ago

    No I'm not saying you can't get good work for the price you paid just that the 2 prices listed were low to what I would consider reasonable, based on my profession. I am actually surprised that in the Atlanta area she isn't charging more for her time than that. I'm in SE TN and the cost of living is less here and my rates would be double hers. I'd love to turn her onto the WCAA chapter in Atlanta!

    I really just wanted to make people aware that they may have to pay more than the rates listed, especially if they require design services.

  • 11 years ago

    Interesting. I have been doing design work for a while and that seems to be a general rule of thumb in Atlanta. . . Are you in Memphis? I lived there for a while but never had any drapes made :). A lot of it is going to the right person. This lady is a gem and does lots of work for people "in the know". I am sure there are plenty who pay much more than that in Atlanta. My mother used her first 20 years ago and we have been consistent customers since then so we may get a better price than average. Point being - there are often wonderful seamstresses who are reasonably priced in various areas. You just need a "lead" to find them!

  • PRO
    11 years ago

    I'm in the Chattanooga area. Yes there are drapery people out there at various prices. It sounds like your person knows what she is doing!

    I am more in the design & fabrication aspect of the business and work with clientelle in their homes - bringing the fabric books/hardware lines to them and selecting for them, which comes at a different price point. Alot of the workrooms & drapery designers I network with are as well. There are those that are workrooms only - some are "to the trade only" and some offer their services to retail too. I only hope that when they offer their services to retail - they price accordingly! I won't go into that as it's a whole "nother" subject about this business and has no place on this forum! LOL

    You are fortunate to have found a great person to do your draperies in your area! I imagine that when she works with you, it's almost like working for a designer as you already know what you want and have already selected fabrics so the design process has been taken care of.

    I bet you can't wait to get some done for your new home (or maybe you already have.) I have barely had time to get my own done since we moved in a year ago, been too busy sewing for others! But it sure feels good when I am able to complete a room (no longer the cobbler who's children have no shoes.) But I've only completed 3 rooms. UGH

    Good luck!

  • 8 years ago

    If you have any sewing skills at all, drapes are easy: They're just straight lines. The important thing is doing the math and the laying-out properly -- once that's done, a novice seamstress could do the sewing. If you're nervous about messing up expensive drapery material (and, oh, yes, it is expensive, and you need yards and yards and yards of the stuff -- I understand the reluctance to take scissors to such an investment), buy some sheets at Goodwill and do a quick mock-up first. Don't worry at all about a hideous pattern or stains -- just see if you like the fullness and the quality of your work. Keep in mind, of course, that drapery fabric will be much heavier and will look better than your mock-up exercise.

    Bonus: If you do all the drapes yourself, you can be sure that all your lining material is the same, which means that all your windows will look the same from the exterior of the house.

    Another option: If you can't find someone to do it at a reasonable price, call your local high school and talk to the Home Ec teacher. The two at the school where I teach are wonderful seamstresses and do small projects fairly regularly.

    I was at over $2K for each window/FD in the great room.

    Well, for a double or triple window, if you have lined full-length drapes -- and remember, those wide curtain rods aren't cheap -- plus shades or plantation shutters, yeah, I can see how you can reach this price for the total window.

    if I tell you its between 300-850, you hear $300. even if you don't
    think you do, some people do. then they look at the job, and its a $650
    job, or you pick an expensive fabric and its a huge window and each
    window is $2K. Either way, in the consumer's head the price just doubled
    or more.

    That's a fair statement. People do tend to listen to the lowest price, while holding in their minds the top-of-the-line window treatment they saw in a magazine photo shoot. The two don't necessarily mesh together.

  • 8 years ago

    mrspete, that was a spammer since this thread is over 3 years old.

  • 6 years ago

    I know this is an old thread, but can someone tell me what you mean by $50.00 width? would that be fabric width? I am looking at some 10' long drapes some at 65" wide and some at 105" and am not sure how the math works. thanks for your time.

  • 6 years ago

    Thank you so much

  • 6 years ago

    @athensmomof3 would you happen to have still have the referral for the seamtress in Atlanta?

  • 6 years ago

    What you need to do it FIND the seamstress that does the work... She can tell you how much fabric to purchase for the job you want. She may not do the install, Most can do that yourself... Some may come do measurements for you IF you already have your rods up...or once you do. OR you can do your own measurements and show her what you want. Many are glad to take on a side job from you direct. I did some work temp for a lady with a small interior decor shop... I made a beautiful valance, finished aprox 60" wide. It fit more flat and tailored, 2" rod poc and was installed on a decorative rod. The valance had a beautiful trim with tassels sewn along the bottom edge, It had 3 soft scollops across the bottom and was lind. This is not a difficult valance to make for the seamstress...Big thing is having a larger table to lay the fabric out on etc... The decorator also sold the lady the fabric. (she had samples) and ordered from a co online. She paid $19 pr yd and told the woman she needed two yards. ??? ONE was more than enough, which was the minimum order. THEN she charged the customer $45 pr yard for the fabric. The lining was bought at Joanns for $6 per yard, and she sold that to the customer for $15 per yard. SO customer is not up to $120 , (her profit so far is $70) I hadn't known this woman long... my first job for her... (just being paid cash and wasn't sure what she'd pay) but I was going to do this one job and see. OMG, When I was done and took it back to her, she was thrilled because it looked wonderful... and she handed me a check, (not cash as stated) for $25. ;o( She said she paid $25 per width lined, $20 per width unlined. Hardly worth it... About that time another customer in the shop wanted to know how much that would cost her. She sort of beat around the bush...etc...I sort of walked off some pretending not to have heard it... She almost whispered and told the lady It was costing this customer $380 OMG. She put out $80 max and charged $380 ?? A $300 profit for one valance? OF course she's in it for money, but it seemed excessive to have never even went to the ladies house... didn't sell the hardware, or install... I did not ever do any more work for her...


    BY all Means, locate a seamstress contracting work and get a far better price... She can triple her earnings and you still not pay half of what the shop charges

  • 6 years ago

    Betty your answer would mean a lot more if you tried using paragraphs and didn't make a single run on paragraph and run on sentences.

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    Hi, own a drapery business, and if you have your own fabric and lining, the cost is 22.00 a pleat .
  • 5 years ago

    I'm going to resurrect this thread again. I need to replace four roman shades -- plain, no flaps, blackout lined. I'd like to know a fair price on just the LABOR. I live 30 miles north of Chicago.

    The shades are 70" long. One gang of three casements is 88" wide. The other casements are in a bay, with one gang of 74" wide and a pair of 22" wide.

    Would shutters cost more than shades?

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Shades are far more costly than curtains as they are labor-intensive. Go to your local Calico Corners and you'll get a general price. They use an excellent commercial workroom. There are very few ladies who still sew custom curtains and blinds these days. Most have retired or died and no one young is taking their place. Home Ec? Very few schools even teach it anymore.

    As for the poster who quoted a price per pleat...well that was a first for me. Ive never heard of curtains being priced by anything other than per width from either a private seamstress or a to-the-trade workroom.

    It's not the labor for curtains that is costly- it's the material. It just keeps going up. I just looked on Brunschwig & Fil's website: fabric I purchased for $136 @yd (retail) 6 years ago us now $296 @yd (retail). I think I bought 22 yards for 2 windows, using 1 1/2 widths per window (little room for much stack back). That's over $6500 for just the fabric, before lining, interlining, rods, installation and labor. It's one reason we don't see many curtains, even in high end decorating. I'm glad I bought that fabric when I did, and that as a designer, I paid the to-the-trade price!

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I have not read through all the comments and I apologize if this is a duplicate question. I will be making 4 standard 84" long curtain panels (lined) with invisible tabs. How much should I charge my client? Also, she has already purchased the fabric. Thanks!!

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    Chisue - when making roman shades nowadays most drapery workrooms use special headrail systems and ladder tape applied at each vertical row of rings so they are compliant with current standards that prohibit choking accidents. These extra steps and supplies have driven the pricing of romans quite high. The last time I priced a big roman shade job, I ran the numbers for shutters and shutters would have been less. . Anglo - YES fabric has gotten so high, as well as foam, and hardware. And I too had never heard of pricing panels by the pleat. That’s an interesting concept. Season - do you have a drapery business? There are lots of variables in pricing. I would be happy to give you some online forums, websites, and schools if you’re interested. My panel price begins at $125 per width and goes up based on what I’m doing. If I don’t sell the fabric, my labor rate is higher.

  • 5 years ago

    Hi Vanessa! I run a small business. I enjoy sewing and I've made lots of cutrains for myself and family. This is a first time actually charging a client. My client will be providing the fabric. What is Mena t by charging by the width? I'm pretty sure I understand but just want to be sure! Thanks!

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    I started the same way season! A width is one single panel (generally 54” before side hems). I charge 1/2 widths as a full width. So a 1.5 is priced as a 2 width.
  • 5 years ago

    Ok, thank you so much!!

  • 5 years ago

    Thank you all. Very helpful. (No more Calico Corners here, Anglophilia, but there are other fabric vendors outside of decorators.)

    My quote of $1800 labor only was from JC LIcht. Installed was $3200 for pretty 'meh' fabric. I don't even really want fabric (fade, rot). This is a SW exposure MBR.

    I'd consider shutters if I could somehow create adequate room darkening. Maybe I could find darker between-the-glass shades for the Pella casements. Currently those are opaque, but not blackout. (I don't think Pella offers that option anymore, but I see the shades say "OEM Shades - Ford City, PA".)

    Why does everything turn into such a *project*? lol

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Hi! I’ve been looking everywhere some help of how much to charge to sew a scalloped valance, remove the old one and instal new. Window is 14 feet width and 21“ high. Costumer is providing fabric and lining. Thanks!

  • 5 years ago

    I just got estimates on several triple bedroom windows. Blackout Roman shades vs. plantation shutters with the handle (which is apparently about 10%cheaper).

    the Plantation Shutters are surprisingly quite a bit cheaper. These are Graber. I’ve had them in another house and although not as good at darkening a bedroom as the Roman shades, they do a pretty darn good job. These are guest bedrooms and my boys bedrooms in a new house. Thinking the shutters will be dark enough although I would have rather had the blackout shades.

    a few years ago the shutters were ridiculously expensive. They have come down in price.

    the master is getting 2 finger euro pleat blackout drapery. Simple off white fabric. More than I want to pay. I was surprised at the price. But everyone in business deserves to make a profit.

    i didn’t price just labor. No one around here does that as far as I know.


  • PRO
    5 years ago
    Carola - there are lots of variables in pricing. My starting valance price is $50 per linear ft for the most simple treatments and goes up based on complexity and increases with add ons. This is my labor pricing IF client is buying fabric through me. My labor is higher when i use COM. A scalloped treatment likely has seams at each scallop section/adjoining pleat/scallop. If that’s the case I’d go up on my pricing.
  • PRO
    5 years ago
    Ilovered - you are so right!!! Shutters are now less than roman shades. I have a hard time believing it myself!!! I think you’ll be happy with the shutters in the rooms you’ve selected. If you get used to total blackout in bedrooms, then it’s hard to ever sleep in a semi blackout room! So let them get used to semi dark. Lol
  • 5 years ago

    Vanessa...called my gal and I’m meeting with her Tuesday because I’m being fickle and changing my mind. She probably thinks I’m nuts. Think I’m going with the Roman shades instead. All of the windows have a view of the lake and after she sent me the configuration for the shutters I realized the view would be blocked much of the time unless the panels are open. And when the panels are open, they stick out into the room. Uh boy.




  • 5 years ago

    PS I’m disappointed there is no really good way to clean the Roman Shades other than with a vacuum.

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Red. Here’s a visual for you to consider. If you go with the largest size louvers (4.5”) it gives you the most view to the outside. I recommend them to clients who want to see their views. This isn’t to dissuade you from getting roman shades if that’s what you really want. Im not sure what your window treatment professional had quoted you in louvre sizes. I’ve had custom Window treatments in my home for up to 15 years and never had them professionally cleaned. If they’re made with good linings, they can last many, many years. Just use a duster or the dust wand in your vacuum now and then.

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'm having a hard time posting the photo from the internet. I hope this link works:

    https://www.palmettowindowfashions.com/design-details.html

    Scroll down to the window that shows all 3 louver sizes and note the view to the outside is better with the largest sized louvers. This is not my website but one that I came across online that shows the louver sizes side by side.

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    I make custom drapery and pillows. I charge $200 for roman shades and $200 a window for drapery.

  • 5 years ago

    This question may have been answered before, and if it has, please forgive me. For the first time ever, I am charging someone for making drapes. She is providing the fabric, and she wants something very basic, very narrow and short. I’m having a hard time deciding what to charge her. It is basically something to keep the light out of a room, so just a rod goes through the top. However, there is the cutting and measuring of the fabric, and sewing of it, the wear and tear on my machine...HELP, ...PLEASE!!!! I usually just give away my generosity, however, now I need the income! Thank you!, TAMI GUTHRIE. Ohio

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    HU 740. I own a retail drapery workroom. I carry fabrics and make onsite visits to clients homes. I generally charge a consult fee for my visit to measure and select fabrics. It sounds like you’re working with the customers fabric (COM is customers own material). My labor for a single width lined drapery panel begins at $135 per width and goes up based on what I’m doing. This is what I charge for a client who is buying fabric through me. My labor rates are higher for COM.
  • 3 years ago

    On the price to make a curtain, $135 per widht. Is that price for any lenght?

  • PRO
    3 years ago

    Longer panels are more per width. Anything over 108” starts adding on $.

  • 2 years ago

    Can someone tell me if triple pleat curtains cost more than double pleat?

  • PRO
    2 years ago

    No they should be the same labor price.

  • last year

    when you say $50 a width is it $50 for fabric and $50 for lining making it $100 pr. panel?

  • PRO
    last year

    I’m not sure which person said $50 per width but it was likely for labor and wouldn’t include fabric. HOWEVER, the prices on this thread are old. Everything has gone up ALOT in the past 2 to 3 years. The only place you could find a panel for $100 per width (labor & fabric) would be an Internet ready made!

  • last year

    I just paid $1800 to reconfigure 4 panels into 2 longer panels to work in the new house. It was worth it because it was expensive Schumacher fabric and it goes with all the other elements in the room.

    The other thing not mentioned is lead times ... everything takes a lot longer to get delivered or completed these days.

  • last year

    I was talking just labor price. Drapery fabic being one width, lining being another width, making it $100 per panel for labor.

  • PRO
    last year

    Tammy if you find a local workroom who does custom work you’ll likely be in the $175 - $250 width price range for labor on a lined panel per width. (Or higher based on a lot of factors). Generally there’s a slight discount for an unlined panel.

  • 10 months ago

    I'm about to make 117" interlined double pleat drapes with a finish
    Width of 56" and
    Length of 108". These will be hand sewn with the exception of the pleat sides. I don't want to overcharge, but I also don't want to undercharge for detailed custom work that will take a long time. There will be 2 separate panels