Little Miss Bride Come Lately

For months I knew she was coming. Her wedding date was given as June 14. She was the last of the June brides to even show up for her first fitting 3 weeks before the date.

She had ordered her dress and been measured and re-measured, signed the contract, agreed on the dress sizing and then showed up on my doorstep.

As she entered the studio she started right on her list of “wants”:

I want it taken in very, very tight

I want fake boobs sewn in

I want the straps shortened

I want the straps to be hand lined as they are scratchy  P1170503

I want the train removed P1170505 copy

I want the entire lace hem edging removed and re-attached higher up

She tried on the dress and I started pinning and discussing her options.P1170501

During the pinning she explains to me that she had a tight budget and saw the perfect Anthropologie dress for $600 but didn’t buy it. She went whole hog and bought this Wtoo dress for $1000 and now had buyer’s remorse. She claims the sizing was all wrong. She tries to dump this on me knowing the quote is coming up next.

For all that she wanted, most of it done by hand would be at least 6 hours. The removal of the lace hem edge (3.5 yards) and re-attachment would take 4 hours on it’s own. Every single stitch would have to be unpicked first and carefully placed higher up, basted and re-stitched on by hand unto the fragile tulle beneath.

My suggestion of a bustle to eliminate the train being removed and edging replaced would have saved her 2 hours but she stated emphatically,

“NO TRAIN, NO BUSTLE”.back Frenchback

She tosses into the conversation that she has a friend up north who is a professional seamstress who makes costumes and maybe she could do some of the work…I say she can farm out whatever parts she wants, I don’t mind. Then she says the friend is so busy making all the lace tablecloths for her wedding that she cannot ask her to do one more thing…lucky girl.

To save another couple hours she could have had the dress just hemmed without the edging attached, not as nice but if we were going for the bargain alterations…that would be the ticket. Her answer was “NO NEVER”.

Then, I said, she could think about it over the weekend and/or see another seamstress and her answer was : “NO, You are it”.  Crap…sure wish she would have dragged that dress around town to try and find a better quote.

Three days later, no word from her so I called to ask what she wanted me to do…she said she needed more time and while being so fixed on what she Didn’t want, she could not focus on the price vs. what she really did want.

Three more days went by, we are 2 weeks from the date and she calls me from morning until night asking for more photos and different ways for me to lower the price…all she wanted to pay for was 2/3 of the quote…really just mental masturbation as I am surely not dropping the price and she will have to slim down her “wants”.

I’m sure she spent the whole day sending the photos to all her friends and family and wedding planner and photographer asking their opinion and in the end she caved. In her last phone call, she said I should go ahead with everything and SHE would make the decision about the 4 hour hemming job as we rolled along.

That’s when Mrs. Mole put her foot down/took a deep breath…I said, “NO WAY, I don’t start a project without a definite ending, drop the straps, drop the lining, drop the bustle idea and we can work together”. So I started in a cut-down version of her list and a week later, 1 week before the wedding date, she finally agreed to come for her second fitting when everything was basted.

So there we were, Friday afternoon, she OK’s the bastings and I ask when does she want to pick up the dress. “I will be back Monday to pick it up” and I returned, “you won’t be picking it up because it will not be ready ” so she says “Don’t even ask me to come Tuesday, I am way too busy“. So we agree on Wednesday which is 2 days before the wedding. Cutting it very fine, I can manage the final alterations and as she is at the front door putting on her shoes to leave she casually remarks, “at least I have 2 weeks before the wedding”…WHAT? Yes, readers…Brides lie too.

Wednesday arrives and she tries on the dress…it is perfect, it is really tight and the hem has been all sewn by hand. She looks at the hem and says, “Yes my friend up north is a professional seamstress and she said it would HAVE to be done by hand.” Well, la-dee-da, so glad I did it the professional way!!!

Sadly, these are the brides that leave an impression and not the good kind, but I can smile…there is a check in my hand and 8 more brides to get through for July and they are nice and appreciative…small mercies.

 

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48 Responses to Little Miss Bride Come Lately

  1. Good heavens…you DO get some ‘interesting’ clients! She’s lucky you agreed to mess with her dress with her being such a trial :)

    May her check clear without any problems…!

  2. Sharon Polaceks says:

    Thata Girl! Stand your ground. This is not “Let ‘s Make A Deal” ! Good job!

    • mrsmole says:

      You know, Sharon from dealing with brides that they feel they have paid the most the should have for the dress and resent your fees but we are in much demand!

  3. Tia Dia says:

    Yech…. that dress looks like an overgrown tablecloth. Professionally hemmed by hand. Huh.

  4. Sarah says:

    That dress material reminds me of net curtains my Gran once had. Sorry, felt bitchy, but honestly, Mrs Mole, how on earth do you bite your tongue?

    • mrsmole says:

      It was like net curtains cut on the bias with 2 layers of knit lining…but if you have to have a clingy dress…this is the one…don’t forget your Spanx!

  5. accordion3 says:

    What a PITA she was. Just so relieved you got paid!

  6. June says:

    These kind of women leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Good for you for continuing to work with people like her, I would find it hard not to smack her. :b

  7. Din says:

    Every time I start thinking about doing bridal alterations, like clockwork one of your posts pops up and reminds me why it’s probably not a good idea for me. I could not abide some of your clients. You must have infinite patience. Keep the stories coming though :)

    • mrsmole says:

      The stories will continue as the brides wander in with stars in their eyes. Some days I think they are from the Twilight Zone and have been sent to spread evil around my sewing room and it could use a good karma cleansing after the write the check! Thank you for dropping by, Din.

  8. BeaJay says:

    You have such an interesting job. I think I would have committed Hara Kiri by now if I were you – or perhaps murder.

    • mrsmole says:

      My poor husband has to hear all the grim details of these babes every day at 5 pm over cocktails. Good thing he finds all this fascinating and a study into human nature. He will certainly celebrate when I finally retire.

  9. Valerie says:

    Mrs Mole, You are the Saint of Alterations. I think I would have shown her the door.. At least it makes for a great story!

    • mrsmole says:

      It is all entertainment, Valerie…weird requests, deadlines and bad attitudes…part of the job and also soothing egos and nervousness over making such a big step and spending WAY too much money on these celebrations. Starting life with huge debt can’t always be good for a relationship! Amid all this chaos they want you to say that their dress is the most gorgeous you have ever worked on and you love their choice of shoes be it sandals or cowboy boots or flip-flops. All this costs nothing and adds to their most wonderful experience of being the star of the show.

  10. So wait….if her seamstress friend was so wonderful, why didn’t she give her the most important item – the wedding dress- instead of the tablecloths (that no one cares about)? And good for you on putting your foot down, she probably works people over to get what she wants all the time, and she gets it because they’re sick of her.

    It constantly blows my mind how expensive these ugly cheap-looking dresses are.

    • mrsmole says:

      Someone said it looked like a maxi dress you would wear to the beach or curtains…go figure! At least having a bustle would have said, “I’m a wedding dress”.

      • helenkosings says:

        Yes, I am finding it very hard to believe she spent $100 on that dress……much less $1000. Peter over at the Male Pattern Boldness blog asked questions about alterations; I found your blog last week & spent many hours reading it & it reconfirmed my ideas about alterations. Here is (most of) my reply to Peter:

        *** Where do you draw the line with doing alterations for others?***

        A] If they won’t pay me a WHOLE lot of money: I charge $50/hr for simple alterations; $75 – 100/hr for complex things. This is usually plenty to stop 99% of all requests. :) Think that’s a lot of money? Maybe, but there are several local shops who do lovely work for far more reasonable fees & other folks oughtta patronize their businesses and not bother me or learn to do it themselves. With the Internet, it’s SO much easier to learn how than EVER before….so get out yer thimble & get to gettin!

        B] I will outright refuse (meaning I won’t do it for ANY price) to do “crazy”: 1-crazy mash ups, 2- crazy expectations, 3- crazy client and/or 4- crazy hard. Life is too short….and so is my sewing time.

        C]If it’s for a very close friend who’s going thru a rough patch or little kid or an excellent cause I *might* do a freebie but that’s totally up to me & my whims.
        *** Are there some people you simply can’t (or won’t) say no to?***

        - immediate family. Even then, I try to do one of two things: 1) spend some fairly serious effort to talk them out of it or 2) make them sit with me and learn how to do it themselves.
        ————–
        You are a very decent person to continue being kind & courteous, as well as doing **excellent work*** to these terribly rude clients.

      • mrsmole says:

        Helen, thank you for taking the time to research others’ feeling and prices and thoughts on alterations. Your blog is a hoot and I have just purchased the book in Kindle format that you recommend. Your life history is fascinating and uplifting and I am sure you are a real joy to be around! I was blessed with unending patience which is not always a blessing when dealing with difficult people. I have to learn to stand my ground more often…but then don’t we all? I enjoy Peter’s blog as well and realize we are all in this together and have to help each other to find joy and goodness in this life. My blog is my soapbox letting people know that there is always a funny side to life and tomorrow indeed will be a better day.

    • mrsmole says:

      It’s funny but my husband said he saw her walking up the path to the front door and he knew she would be trouble and when he heard her voice he absolutely knew….that’s one reason why I am still crazy about him after 20 years of marriage.

      • helenkosings says:

        Good man! He’s paying attention.

        I’m delighted you got the book – I’ll be curious to know what you think of it. And many thanks for the kind words about my blog & my life.

  11. theresa says:

    I sure hope this bridal season brings you some sweet ones too.

    • mrsmole says:

      Most have been sweet and grateful and even helpful when the dresses have been the not so easy type. I’d rather have it that way, believe me, Theresa. Dresses are a lot easier to deal with than clients and I would be happy if the dresses were left at the front door without confronting clients…ha ha.

  12. prttynpnk says:

    Wedding day bait and switch!? How rude- she isnt dealing with a kid- you deserve more professionalism from your customers!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Anne, she has many lessons to learn and one was that not all seamstresses will drop their prices. I’m sure she will not leave a review on my Google or Yelp page but not many do once the wedding is over. The other lesson is buying a dress over your budget is stupid and not listening to the seamstress about a nice cheap bustle is the other…ha ha

  13. sewbussted says:

    Well, what I feel like writing is not ladylike at all, but it regimes with witch. Wait, I think they are one and the same. The fact that you didn’t throw the dress at her is a miracle.

    • mrsmole says:

      You are really caught in a web once you start pinning as they think they have to leave the dress and stay with your business. No matter when I say, “hey take it around town and get a second opinion” they never do. Being so important and not wanting to put themselves out is another reason they don’t leave with the dress in hand. Bitch, witch, spoiled brat…all adds up to a bridezilla…thankfully they are few!

  14. robindrush says:

    I love your stories. First, they are a constant reminder of how the public views people who provide professional services. Second, they reveal how idiotic, unrealistic and bridezilla-ish (?) brides can be. And finally, how you really have to like what you’re doing because sewing for others (or doing almost anything for others, really) can really cause you to rethink your profession and challenge your sanity on a daily basis.

    • mrsmole says:

      Sanity? Robin, you have to be half crazy to do this job! I always equate this to going into a hairdressers and telling them you COULD cut and color your hair at home but that you will let them do the job instead. Yes, you could do the job but it would look a mess…same with the dress…go ahead and sew it yourself and get into trouble and there is no one to get you out. I don’t cut or color my own hair, I leave it to a professional and I leave a tip, a very rare commodity in this business.

  15. Monique says:

    What a nervous bride! She sure knows how to prioritize, too. I agree with the comments above and hope your 5 o’clock made it all right again, Mrs Mole. :-) These stories make me wonder how the bridegroom is. And the friend was probably wise to choose the tablecloths, not needing to do alterations on those.
    Enjoy your Sunday!

    • mrsmole says:

      Ha ha, Monique…tablecloths vs a wedding gown…yes indeed she chose the easier one! And she is lucky that she lives 7 hours away so fittings would require quite a lot of gasoline as well as time! Today is Father’s Day so a little less sewing and a dinner out with my husband and parents.

  16. birdmommy says:

    I live in hope that many of these women are lovely people in real life and that the stress of the whole wedding situation is just making them act like horrid witches.

    My husband says I’m ridiculously optimistic…

    • mrsmole says:

      Your husband is right…my husband is right…watching someone walk along a sidewalk can tell you much about their view on life…”I am special, I am entitled”. It is like the Ugly American scenario…on vacation we Americans have an attitude that everyone will accept dollars in all countries and if they don’t speak English, you just shout back louder and they will understand. If clients knew the trick to a great relationship was to hold back a little, get to know the seamstress and her style, before unloading both barrels at the front door…things might go better…ha ha My sewing room door is 8 feet from the front door and some days it is hard to just get them that far before they start ordering up stuff. I feel so sorry for their future husband and in-laws.

      • birdmommy says:

        I thought it was funny when I went fabric shopping in New York – in a couple of shops they asked about my ‘accent’ and when I told them I was Canadian, they switched to French! Very kind of them, but I’m actually not bilingual. :)
        (Apparently it’s such a quick trip from Montreal to NY that a lot of Francophones go on a regular basis – lucky them!)
        When we in the UK a cabbie asked if we were Canadian – we were very impressed and asked how he knew. He told us that he always says either Canadian or New Zealander (depending on the accent). He says Americans/Australians don’t mind being mistaken for Canadians/NZs, but some people get pretty tetchy if you do it the other way around! :)

  17. lauraalyss says:

    I enjoy your stories so much. I am constantly in awe how you hold your professional stance and do not allow them to devalue your work or your time. It is inspiring!

    • mrsmole says:

      Thank you, Laura…my followers are inspiring too when they write to me privately to share their stories of similar clients….we all need to offload from time to time…it’s a tough business making silk purses from sow’s ears!

  18. Jennifer S says:

    When I first finished school, I had made some western shirts that I was trying to get rid of at a farmer’s market. It also was to help drum up some custom sewing. I did a small amount, but the thing that stopped me from custom sewing? A bride. Who wanted me to make 4 or 5 Scarlett O’Hara inspired ball gown from forest green satin with black lace petticoats. A year in advance of the wedding she wanted the dresses done – my first thought was what if one of the girls gets pregnanant? I drove the hour and a half to the city that my grandmother lived near to visit a fabric store that carried this kind of fabric to price it out. (TG I made it part of visiting her, that way I didn’t have to charge this nutter mileage) At the time I was still short selling myself, so even with the expensive black lace, I think I was only going to charge her $500. She got angry and said that her friend had had similar dresses made for only $125 each. I very nicely told her she should find out who made those dresses and contact her, because I couldn’t even buy the fabric for that kind of money. Now I only alter grad dresses for my nieces. Because I know that they love the fact that they have an aunt who can do that for them, and then I don’t have to figure out how much to charge them, because I can make it a gift, which nets me big hugs and no complaints.

    • mrsmole says:

      No one can make formal dresses for $125 with or without fabric and the sooner clients realize that, the faster they will wander into a David’s Bridal and but something off the rack that fits and is the exact color they want. Making 5 Scarlett O’Hara dresses is way too much to ask and what would those bridesmaids have done with the dresses after the wedding? Sold them as costumes or drapes? Thanks for the great story, Jennifer.

  19. Carolyn says:

    Oh Lawd I have to hand it to you because I would have sent her packing. You have the patience of a saint!!! Glad you have the check in hand and let’s hope that it’s good!!!

  20. mrsmole says:

    Thanks Carolyn, I’ll be depositing it on Monday…fingers crossed!

  21. Alex Carr says:

    I hate that woman. Grrrr.

  22. CarmencitaB says:

    I know having customers like that is a trial for you but man what delightful tales they make! You make me laugh every time. If I may, she could have bought the same dress at my op shop last week for 30€. But maybe we shouldn’t tell her that.

  23. mrsmole says:

    After her wedding and dragging that dress through the dirt and rocks in the park, that is all it will be worth anyway. I don’t know why women buy expensive dresses to get married in fields to collect twigs and shit in their lace hems…it’s a wedding, people…not a photo shoot for Vogue! Thanks for commenting, Carmen!

    • Monique says:

      You mean it got worse, Mrs Mole? What frustration, knowing that in advance! Hope the cheque was good and you can file this experience away. No doubt, there are more to come.

  24. You are a true saint with a place held in Heaven ! How did you not accidentally stick her with your needle! How did you not tell her that you’ve seen clothes with better quality at KMart? I do feel for her Groom! But you know…..sows ear!

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