Those of you who know me or write to me regularly know me to be a calm, patient and very non-confrontational introvert who just wants to help clients look good but this week someone changed all that.
It started with a phone call from an older woman:
Woman: I have a very much loved 1939 jacket I want perfectly copied and a perfect pattern made.
Mrs Mole: I can do that, please tell me more about the jacket
Woman: I bought it in a thrift store in California for $14 and it has to be reproduced in the finest wool available and be perfect, every seam, every detail.
Mrs Mole: I can do that, but normally I don’t take apart the garment to copy it and make a pattern.
Woman: I WANT it taken apart and copied exactly and I WANT many more jackets made in all colors.
We make an appointment for the following day but after speaking to my friend and fellow seamstress, Joyce, she says she sees “red flags” and warns me yet again this gal may/
will probably be trouble. But, ever the optimist, I decide to not judge the woman too harshly as on the phone some come off as bossy/ hostile/demanding but in person they are more relaxed and easier to work with.
The doorbell rings the next day, 20 minutes early, an in she walks, complete with Kabuki make-up on an 80 year old face. She looks around my sewing room and asks, “How long have you been sewing” and I reply “only 40 years for clients” and she replies, “And you LIKE doing this?” My response is always, “Yes, I love it”.
She immediately tells me that she was a “wardrobe consultant in a fashion institute” and she continues to know all about fashion and pulls the old jacket from an old bag. It is a raggedy, stretched out, sagging black wool one-button waist-length jacket with a narrow shawl collar and 2 double welt pockets and the weirdest shoulders I have ever seen. They look like someone shoved a baked potato in each where the shoulder pads should be so I mention to her that they look a little wide. “Well”, she says, “That is what I love about this jacket and you can see I have worn the elbows completely away and put on suede patches by myself. Yes, indeed, there they were both put on with long hand stitches and even they look very worn through.
She continues to parade around my room admiring herself posing in the mirror telling me how well it fits, pulling it at the sleeve hems and waist and primping and repeating how perfect it is on her and how perfect it has to be once reproduced and how she wants these exact baked potato shoulders. That’s when I straightened up and told her: “I won’t be copying your jacket.”
Her totally encircled black kohl-lined eyes opened wide and her heavily hot pink rouged cheeks sank and her mouth dropped open in shock. She said she did not drive all the way to my house (7 miles) to be told NO. Then I explained that I did not judge her on the phone but noted that every third word was “perfect” and I decided to meet her in case things were different in person but they are not. I said I could not work with someone who expected such perfection because instead of looking forward to the process and client I would DREAD it every day. I said that at my stage of life it is wise to honor instincts and gut feelings and not add more stress than is necessary.
She puffed up and corrected/
blasted me and said, “I am very easy to work with as long as the jacket ends up exactly perfect and you can find the finest wool in the world just like this one”.
I said I was sorry but I was set on not doing this for her and there was nothing she could say to make me change my mind and wished her well on her quest to find someone who COULD work to her specifications. Once she was on her way to her car, I wandered into Mr. Mole’s office to tell him what had happened and he said he did not know how I could have been so brave and stand my ground so well since this is not my nature. To recover, I managed to pour myself a diet Dr. Pepper and take a few deep breaths and try to stop shaking….whew!
So, back to sewing projects, just to tempt you, here are a few photos of lined sleeves for a new jacket for Nancy.
The sleeve lining is cut the length without hem allowances. The sleeve hem is 1.5 inches with a 1/2 inch seam, that leaves a 1/2 bagging for the lining hem. I stitch the sleeve and the lining separately and then together in the round RST. Pulling the lining flat I stitch in the ditch on the wring side and this makes an inch topstitching on the right side and allows the lining to bag a little.
Pin the lining to the gathered cap, the underarm seam and allow the hem to bag a little: Fingers crossed it will be finished this weekend so Nancy and I can go out to lunch and celebrate my birthday.
Wishing you all stress-free clients and easy sewing!