A very sweet lady phoned me to ask if I would have time to repair her husband’s “favorite” jacket. Now many of you may know that a husband’s favorite jacket is sacrosanct and must be preserved and guarded at all cost. So it was no surprise when she described this as a “lining project”. Another seamstress referred her to me as she does not do this type of repair…she is smarter than I am at times.
I agree to see she and the husband the following day after the woman’s regular hair appointment at a salon. So the day of the appointment in walks the cutest little roly-poly lady with the most outstanding hair-do I have ever seen on a woman way past retirement age. Picture Cindy Brady from the Brady Bunch with totally grey white hair complete with pigtail ribbons.
Yes, this grown woman was the exact copy of this little girl and she explained that she used to take care of the children in the midway…the midway…did this woman work traveling carnivals? Not quite she was an entertainer at Circus Circus and she was voted employee of the month and year many times. The award was always a jacket: And at some point she asked for a jacket to fit her husband and he fell in love with this one. The only problem is loving a jacket means wearing out the lining and then looking for a seamstress who wants to make a pattern, and replace it…enter moi. I realize that the entire lining is gone, sleeves and all. I explain to them both that the labor alone may cost more than the jacket itself and the husband starts to pout. His bottom lip juts out and he sulks. That’s when “Cindy” says “oh, he pouts all the time and I make him put 25 cents in a jar every time he does it. Last year I ended up with $200 in pout money”. Have you ever heard anything like that? Well, they agree that any amount I charge will fulfill this man’s dreams of a restored jacket and the pout disappears.
Do clients realize what goes into making a new lining? Apparently not as the dry cleaners who told them to just tear out the old one and then refused to make a new one were clueless. I feel sorry for old folks who are told bad instructions and are left holding the bag/jacket. So first things first, I measure the jacket and then trace out a pattern pulling all the ribbed areas out to full width. Here is where I started:
Polyester lining is cut and assembled and inserted along with minor repairs to ragged pockets and broken seams along the way. No sense putting in a nice new lining and leaving pockets with holes and gaping seams is there? The center seam of the back section is given a wide (2 inch) pleat for ease of movement and I remember to stitch it first be leaving the pattern paper on while I serge the first seam. And then using the sewing machine to actually make the neck and waistband pleat seam:
If you don’t add a center back pleat you may have the client back within a year with a torn lining…Oh we don’t want that!!! A couple of hours later we have a finished project that will give this man more good years of pleasure and some place to store his wrinkle straw wrappers and used tissues.
So for those of you who have wondered about the twirly denim skirt saga…the woman called to say she would come by at 4 pm to get her skirt. She asked again for the 4th time what the price would be and then said she did not want to see me at the door and that I could just put the skirt outside and she would leave the money.
Well, Mrs. Mole does NOT play that game especially with this little filly. I said I was home all afternoon and would meet her myself.
She walks slowly and arrives looking totally different from the first meeting…how so? Well gone is the Rita Hayworth wig of raven tresses, stage make-up and false eyelashes and high heel boots. This women walks up my pathway looking like she has had a hard weekend as my brother says “trying to keep up with the big dogs”.
My husband who was tending his seedlings on the windowsill shelf in his front office noticed that she walked like my mother, very unsteady unbalanced and taking very short steps like an 86 year old. Strange composure for a professional dance competitor isn’t it? Well, I show her all I did to her skirt inside and she keeps shaking her head telling me that she would have done the job exactly the same way. I show her the receipt where I list one hour’s work while charging her for 30 minutes and she tells me that I did not need to list everything. Then she says “I will not be using you again as you are TOO professional for me and too experienced”. Trying with all my might to be polite I respond, “well it is bridal season now and I will not have time for regular alterations anyway.
These types of customers make me want to hug all my regular ones who smile and are happy they have me! Every once in a while maybe we all need a bump in the road to appreciate the smooth?