Your Job is So Easy

I love my job, sewing is my passion, but there is a down side to such devotion.

So what happens when the mother of a bride tells me that my life and job are so easy? She says my job is Stress-Free, not Physically Straining and Fun.

After the smoke cleared from coming out of my ears, I responded:

Maybe you don’t realize what seamstresses do that causes us to have twisted, sore necks and shoulders and arms aching so badly we need regular chiropractics and bodywork just to get up in the morning to start all this over again.

Maybe you don’t realize that wrestling with 14 pound ivory satin and lace and netted alligators and trying to get them under the presser foot of a sewing machine requires some real muscles and strength day after day.

Maybe you don’t realize what it is like dealing with at least 30-40 different¬† brides, their mothers and 30 additional bridesmaids and working to their deadline dates.

Then the bride chimes in, “Yeah Mom, we don’t realize the eye strain and hand co-ordination it takes to sew fine edges of lace and hems and buttons all day.”

Things got real quiet and all they could say was…”well, your sewing room seems real calm.”¬† Yes, it is calm…most of the time.

But not all this week was as jarring as that…my client, Nancy, you all know how she loves to wear those sheer jackets I make for hergreen-chiffonred-chiffon

…well the girl was out on a toot “up North” and guess who she ran into at a shop? kimKim Novak, the famous actress, walked over to her and said, “I love your jacket!” Poor Nancy was so stunned/gobsmacked/speechless that she didn’t have the presence of mind to say, “I know a good seamstress who can make you one” and hand her my card…ha ha.

Next time, a whole heap of trouble and labor in the form of metallic lace and a dress 4 sizes too big is coming your way! Thanks for all your comments and for stopping by…have a cool week…hang out near a fan!

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44 Responses to Your Job is So Easy

  1. prttynpnk says:

    Oh wow! Bell, Book and Candle is one of my favorites!
    People- they have no clue- do they picture those 1800 matrons stitching daintilly on a standing hoop while their daughter plays on the pianoforte? Thats how I visualize your work area- very genteel!

    • mrsmole says:

      OH NO, Anne….it is new age music, candles and birds on feeders outside the window while I drag gowns across the carpet to shove under that darn presser foot and answer the phone.Pianoforte? That would just be a gathering place for dresses in the production line….ha ha

  2. sewbussted says:

    I live by the motto that all things work out for the best in the end. Who knows, Ms. Novak could have been your worst nightmare yet! Sadly, we would have loved the stories ;)
    BTW, my mom was a true girl of the 50′s. She named me after 2 actresses, Rhonda Fleming and Kim Novak.

  3. mrsmole says:

    You are right, Rhonda Kim…not all famous people can be easy to work with! You are blessed with two good names…my parents named me after both grandparents and couldn’t think of a name for my younger brother so they used the name of the street we lived on at the time.

  4. girl in the stix says:

    Yes, don’t you love it when clueless people tell you how easy your job is!?! “This hem will take you no time!” (100 inches of poly-satin–or is it satan?). Once an acquaintance came up to me and asked if I could help with sewing some table cloths for her daughter’s wedding. I said sure, but get the materials to me ASAP, as the wedding date was only about a month away. I didn’t hear from her, until FIVE days before the wedding! Oh, yeah, I wouldn’t even have five days–the tablecloths would have to be shipped to Texas. She thought I could sew two huge ruffled burlap tablecloths (Pinterest I hate you!) in a day or so. Did I mention I work full-time? And that I’d have to sew many, many, many yards of burlap twice for the ruffles (hems and gathering)? And that when I suggested using fray-check to offset some of the sewing time, she very seriously said she couldn’t short cut quality at her daughter’s wedding. Thank God, I had enough brains to say no.

    • mrsmole says:

      Florists tell me Pinterest has made their jobs so hard since brides request flowers that are never in season. And now ruffled burlap tablecloths…HOLY CRAP! So glad you bowed out of that project. If they can’t shortcut on the wedding…then plan ahead better…no one is sitting by the phone just waiting for your call…most seamstresses are booked 6 weeks or more this time of year.

  5. People don’t realize all the *ish you have to deal with in sewing, it’s a devalued job, especially during from home. No matter what the people think, I love what I do and bump the rest. That’s all I have to say because I could go for days on this subject.

  6. Sandra says:

    Of course, any MOB who says that is responding to your grace, calm, and pleasant demeanor — no matter how you (might) really feel! You are like an Olympic athlete — you make it look so easy!

  7. It is all so true … however look at bride wearing piece of art made by you makes it all worth it :-)

  8. Tia Dia says:

    Well, I certainly don’t sew as much for other people as you do, Mrs. Mole, but there are people in my life who know that I sew (or hear that I sew) and play down the time/skill required. I always say my fees are too much for them to afford and leave it at that. Go to your local discount “designer” garment outlet and pick up something that supports the modern garment slave trade if you don’t want to pay a living wage for skill and time! Smoke out of the ears, indeed…

    • mrsmole says:

      We have enough Ross and TJ Maxx, Target and Old Navy stores here to keep the slave trade going. I see cheap and nasty dresses for $12 that need alterations that will cost 3-4 times what they paid…sad.

  9. Oh dear Mrs Mole. I can imagine the discipline it took to give an even semi-polite answer to that. I am reading whilst on a tea break (translation: if I don’t stop for just 10 minutes I wont be able to stand up straight when I eventually have to) and understand just how you must have felt. I imagine that everyone who sews for profit will understand the ‘smoke’.

  10. mrsmole says:

    Oh Kim…standing up from time to time is very important! I read in the UK Daily Mail newspaper online that it might even prolong your life…goodie…more years to sew!

  11. What on earth would possess someone to say that? People have no manners these days! At least you had the presence of mind to politely respond to her rude question instead of beating her over the head with her daughter’s wedding dress to show how heavy it really it is.

    Your post reminded me that I have to rework my sewing set up, as the desk I work on doesn’t extend to the left and anything slightly heavy pulls the fabric to the left. I’ve been able to get by but I think I’ve reached the tipping point if I want to handle gowns and other heavier garments.

  12. mrsmole says:

    Hi Amy, at the end of my sewing set-up, on the left is a table my husband made with a piece of wood from Lowe’s and some foldaway metal legs. It was used to extend our dining room table but I decided if he cut the legs shorter I could use it more often in my sewing room to let the wedding dress fully recline while sewing one end or another. I covered the wood with a bath towel and stabled the edges to the under side.It is perfect, about 26 by 36 inches. Somewhere in my past posts there is a picture of it.Good luck!

  13. Jane Urbach says:

    When my daughter got married, I had to mostly only run the sew machine/serger for a week. I had fitted the bodice of her gown in muslin 6 months earlier, when I got there (She lives about 900 miles north of me) she decided the skirt needed to be raised about a 1/2 inch on the bodice, (it was only basted on) I had already lined and covered the edges of the Dupioni so it wouldn’t fray. It was just final fitting on the dress, hem and make the fanny bow. I also talked her into no bra, (she is small busted) but with a small bra attached inside, so there would be no nipples showing through. Then it was serger the 150 or so napkins that were the gift from the brides family. (Old German custom) Then I helped roll the napkins and tableware which were tied closed, made the wedding cake and iced it, and the decoration for the top. Made some silk flower arrangements for various places like the front door and bathroom. My Son-in Law to be did most of the everyday cooking and clean up, while I lived in the basement bedroom room sewing away. We got everything done and the wedding was delightful in a backyard setting. Later something came up about what had been done when, and I thought I must have been there much longer than a week, I couldn’t possibly has done all that in a week, but checking dates proved me wrong. I obviously had super powers at least one week in my life, because I sure could not do it now. Obviously my daughter and I get on well, and her ideas and mine were not that far different. I did not like the fanny bow, but who cares, she wanted it, there were plenty of scraps, I made it and sewed it on. Now when people ask me to sew, I mostly say “No, I retired.”

  14. mrsmole says:

    Lordie, Miss Jane…you have crossed over into the realm of Saint for sure…making the cake and dress and 150 napkins…and a fanny bow to boot…women are amazing creatures! I applaud you!

  15. So your sewing career isn’t all butterflies and unicorns? LOL…I’m sure you were amused. Maybe that mama just envied you your ability to control your own work hours?

    Hope you get through this wedding season without a hitch!

    • mrsmole says:

      You know, Cheryl, you must be right…a sea foam green environment, soft music, birds chirping and a thread free carpet might just be what she wanted. Unicorns and butterflies…who needs them…I need GOOD FAIRIES to come join me during the night and help me sew…but those critters have flown the coop and gone to the oceanfront to escape the heat in this town…almost a month of over 100 degrees is getting old. My husband read my post today and said that it did not sound like his Mrs Mole and maybe I should apologize for my uncommon bitchiness….maybe next time.

  16. jilly be says:

    Responding with grace to people who are |honest| clueless takes years of practice. Of course, expelling smoke from your ears before responding certainly helps

    And I agree that NOT having Kim Novak as a client may well be a very good thing! At least you know she has good taste. ;-)

  17. birdmommy says:

    I think that if you enjoy your work (whatever it is) people assume it’s easy. When I was going on maternity leave (we get 12 months), a seriously under qualified person from my team applied to be the mat leave fill in. His logic for applying – despite the fact that I had 10 years more experience than him? “All you do is go to meetings and tell people what to do”.
    He did not get the job.

  18. Joy says:

    Dear God.. that sounded so in the you’re-just-a-worker-drone-menial-worker-person-and-I’m-so-far-above-you-little-peon mode = pretty stunning. Some can be so ignorant. How you were able to politely and accurately respond with such grace is an immense tribute to the incredible gift you have I previously mentioned: PATIENCE. WoW … the blood would’ve boiled my neck and face scarlet in about 3 secs, ending in pulsating knobs on my forehead… LOL. Amazing.

    I LOVE those sheer jackets = your design or from a pattern? They’re just lovely, and what a fantastic, accurate compliment from someone whom you know knows quality and elegant style. You’ll always have that for the crummier days, and it’ll give you a smile of secret satisfaction.

    • mrsmole says:

      Hi Joy, the post about that jacket pattern is here: http://fitforaqueen.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/tale-of-2-jackets. I have used that same pattern for all her sheer jackets but I am sure you can find something close to it if it is OOP. All the edges are narrow hemmed and the seams either serged or French seamed depending how the mood strikes me and the thickness and slipperiness of the fabric. Strangely enough using polyester from Jo Ann’s gives the best results.
      People in service always have to tangle with folks who think that having the money gives them the upper hand. Having a room filled with gorgeous gowns and killer reviews on Yelp and Google satisfies my ego so all I need is the check at the end. Customers can be forgiven for stupidity.

      • Joy says:

        Thanks so much for taking the time for the pattern link. That turquoise version/your work is gorgeous …. love the color scheme… just a classy piece. You battled it and you won! I have some JoAnn silky poly that just may turn into a couple. I’ve always liked and had success with that type of fabric from them. Glad you get the praises, kudos and compliments for your beautiful work .. you so deserve them. Hope you have a very peaceful, relaxing weekend.

  19. Valerie says:

    Oh what breathtaking ignorance! I wonder if people tell tailors the same thing..

  20. accordion3 says:

    As always, an excellent post. And the comments are of a similar standard.

    I find a lot of people are particularly thick about the effort & skill involved in any manual endeavours. Be they dance, music, welding, cooking or sewing. People are idiots.

  21. mrsmole says:

    But some folks are very creative and leave their mark like the street art you shared this week! Love that reptile!!!! http://bobbinsbikesandblades.com/wordpress

  22. I love reading your posts – refreshingly honest! My mum saved me from a fun one recently – she met someone who wanted me to do some sewing for them , and thankfully she told them I don’t take on any sewing. The lady replied that she knew there was a dressmaker close by but heard she charged alot…. translation being – ”I want it done well but I don’t want to pay well’ …. some people!!!

  23. mrsmole says:

    Amen, Chris….I want quality but I am sure not willing to pay for it. Well guess what cheapy cheapy gets you? Would they scrimp on their hairdresser or dental hygienist? Do they shop around for bargains in other areas? When you turn out a quality product you don’t need skin flints to visit your sewing room, so glad your mom saved your bacon!

  24. sewruth says:

    Your job is so easy because you make it look so! And to think you could have been a seamstress to the stars – nah, just would have been more pressure, they’re such divas!

  25. mrsmole says:

    I did work long distance for the daughter of one of the biggest male movie stars…ever! She was nasty and demanding and dumped boxes of fabrics on my doorstep a couple times a year and then went back to her home and lost 80 pounds, gained 80 pounds, flew to Paris for her movie documentaries premiers that she directed and after a couple years I had to let her go for it is too stressful working long distance without a real live model, never mind one that goes up and down the scale so rapidly. I see your creativity has been unleashed with the new AC knit techniques.

  26. I love your posts; I just can’t believe the stuff you put up with! It’s so entertaining from a safe distance. I find it stressful enough making the occasional item for my DD.

  27. June says:

    You should have offered her a job as an assistant, ha ha! I mean, it’s so easy and stress-free…
    Kim Novak, wow. Your Nancy must travel in some interesting spheres!!!

  28. Tina Blair says:

    Oh my goodness. I had a gal say the same thing this week! I smiled as I took my arthritic knees and got up from my ever so high pile of alterations due out, and wanted to “hand” her my scissors! Yes we have to love what we do to be crazy enough some days. I’m thankful for my insightful, grateful long time customers!

  29. “Stress-Free, not Physically Straining and Fun”? How you didn’t slug this woman is beyond me. I’m in my 50′s and my mother was a wonderful seamstress who made me–and my dolls–lovely things. But she spent a ton of hours working in “sweatshops”. Some days you sewed nothing but pockets over and over again; some days you worked with brightly colored fabric all day long, which made your vision crazy at the end of the day. You lugged a bag full of tools to work every day in case your machine broke. In the summer, it was so hot you could barely breathe. And you did it for a pittance. If the factory was doing a Government contract, it was “piece-work”: you got paid for every piece of material you worked on, not by the hour, which turned out to be less than a pittance. When I think of how hard these women worked, I shake my head in awe. Had that mother of the bride said that in front of me, I might have throttled her…

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