About

After sewing for other people for 40 years it is time to share some funny stories that have been given to me during fittings. Currently, I live on the West Coast of the US and have for 11 years.

In the past 60 years I have lived in (21 years) Wilmington, Calif, (4 years) Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2 years) Long Beach and (18 years) Fullerton, California, (8 years) Liverpool, England. Even though I have had other jobs and careers, sewing and altering has been the one constant throughout my life and it is still my passion. When I was 38 I went to college to get my degree in Fashion Design and learned so many things about industry sewing and construction that was missing from my home sewing background. Every day I continue to learn through my clients about proper fit and pattern design so the journey never ends!!!

Since my blog may not always portray my clients in their best light, I have changed the names and occupations etc. slightly to protect “the innocent”. My identity will also remain unknown. Please feel free to leave comments and I will respond. You can also sign up to get email notices when a new post has been added.

You can email me directly at: surroundedbywhite@gmail.com

16 Responses to About

  1. Thalia Keple says:

    I love your new blog!

  2. LISA TERRY says:

    LOVE IT !

  3. cacoyote says:

    I thought I was the only other person who lived in Wilmington. I lived near the Chowder Barge in the marina for 7 glorious years…

    Your blog is great! Keep up the good work.

  4. Karen Rethman-Foll says:

    Love your blog. Sandra Betzina seems to design for women without hips so the raincoat would probably look great on a upside down triangle shape. I tried one of her “vest” patterns last year but fortunately I made a muslin first. It looked so bad on my shape that I never made it in the fashion fabric. Four friends who have years of professional sewing experience said it was just a bad pattern.

  5. Jo in TN says:

    Thanks! Enjoyed reading the bag lady story! Also, learned a lot on your jacket story!

  6. Bunny says:

    I just figured it out so no need to answer. I am enjoying your blog. It is great. WordPress, not so much.

  7. Trish says:

    I’ve only just found your site (recommended by another sewing blogger!), and am finding it very interesting indeed. I run an alterations business in Sydney, Australia, and am reassured that we both encounter the same issues with problem clients and badly made dresses. I look forward to reading your posts in the future!
    Cheers,
    Trish.

    • mrsmole says:

      Welcome, Trish! Our clients are the same worldwide but with different accents! Hoping you don’t run into too many people like the man who had me replace zippers in his 2 parkas and when he came to pay the bill which ended in something like $19.95 he graciously told me that I could “keep the change) from a $20 dollar bill! A whole 5 cents for my trouble…needless to say the next time he called I said I was busy.

  8. TrishB says:

    Thank you for the welcome.
    Needless to say I have my fair share of difficult clients and also avoid them if they return. My ‘favourites’ are the ones who come to collect finished work, and don’t have the right money (even if they’ve been given a firm quote), so I have to find change for them. I suspect it is a way of subtly implying that they resent paying, as though we should be offering a free service. I sometimes feel like telling them I’m not registered as a charity!

    • mrsmole says:

      I have written to you privately about our businesses…please check your email for a strange address…it is just me in another name.

  9. Dana Cetz says:

    Thanks for sharing some of your detailed work. I can’t believe how over priced the dresses are. I found a wedding dress pattern for 3.95. I thought I could practice with craft tulle or organza before buying the real stuff. I also thought of embroidering my own silk organza lace.

    I hate the idea of buying wedding dresses from the cheap china knock of factories who probably employ work camp laborers.
    Any ideas to help support 36GG in a deep V or sweetheart neckline.

    • mrsmole says:

      The most flattering style for large busts is a halter…think Marilyn Monroe. It elongates your neck and supports the bust while giving you a deep “V”. I altered one last year and it was stunning! The hardest style to carry off would be strapless…which are so common and the bride spends the day yanking her bodice up. A halter dress can have a waistline or not and be shorter in front and longer in the back for drama. Practice on cheap fabric close to the same texture and weight and have someone who is honest tell you what looks good. Good luck!

  10. Kate Robson says:

    Fantastic – I love it!!

  11. A.Ash says:

    how do I follow your blog, which I find very interesting and information, and quite entertaining!

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